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Travels of a Trucker Post #7 To Penticton

November 4, 2011

So it’s late afternoon, I’ve arrived in the yard and I have a 7am appointment in Penticton. I get to the yard and groan. I have a flat deck load going, but it’s a crane with a 75 foot hammer. It sticks out almost 10 feet exactly and now I need an overlength permit for a non reducible load. I can tell right away I need lots of belts and I will be using chains. A lot of work for a short trip. So I begin the tedious task of strapping this load down. 1 chain here, 1 chain there, a strap here a strap there. Soon I count it all. I have 5 chains on the load and about 17 belts! It;s going to take me a long time to unwrap it all again when I get to my unload spot for the A.M.

It’s 4pm before I am ready to go. The sun is beginning to go down and a lot of my travels tonight will be in the dark and travelling along Highway 3. If I had looked at my permit I would have seen I had to go through the 97c connector. However I did not look at my travel permit and I heard on the VHF radio that it was crappy up there. So I decide to take Highway 3.

Travelling along highway 3 is much like ddoing the twist and shout. With so many sharp curves and slow corners it is a slow highway to travel. However, it takes me 4 hours to reach Penticton. The upside to taking highway 3 is that I bypass the Coquihalla and the Connector which is a more direct route, but the hills are monsters. On this particular night, it is getting cold, but there is no snow yet. It is rather dry and clear tonight with a brisk chilly air.

Good traveling weather for a truck actually. I arrive in Penticton shortly after 9pm and my co worker texts me asking where I am. I tell him Penticton and he says he will be there by 11pm. We are expecting a third driver to show up too but he is driving a day cab and won’t be leaving until early morning.  In the morning at 6:30 am I wake up to see the crane crew arriving. I pull over to their lot and begin the arduous task of unstrapping and unchaining my load. The wind is cold blowing in at 30mph. Shortly after I go in, my co worker who has now woken up also goes into the unload site. Our third driver has not shown up yet. We are unloaded in an hour and finally receive word that our third driver was stopped in Summerland and being inspected. So we wait for word on our reload and also begin to wonder if the truck or the trailer or the driver are out of service. An hour passes and by 9am the third driver has arrived bearing the blue paper that held him up. A ticket. Apparently his log book was not up to date.

As he arrives, we get word from the mayors office to the crew that the machinery has to disappear. Apparently under political pressure the announcement of this project has not commenced yet and the mayor wants the fanfare and publicity of announcing it and seeing all the equipment will leave people with the impression that work has commenced. So we are asked to remain while they decide what to do. Meanwhile we have a dilemma. The guy in the daycab has to get going or he will be out of hours! So a decision is made. The daycab and I will go on our way to Lavington to pick up lumber and the other driver will remain to assist in the moving of anything that needs to be moved.

Lavington is a small community with a lumber mill approximately 25 kilometers South of Vernon on Highway 6. Nestled in the heart of the mountains, it is a small rural quiet community. We go there consistently to pick up lumber on behalf of Tolko. I know in my heart that the travel to Lavington and the return will put the daycab guy out of hours. I begin to think about the trip. This guy started out at 2am and it is now 1oam. We are 2 hours from Lavington and with the load he will be close to 12 hours on duty before he leaves Lavington. Then he still has to fuel and make his way back to Surrey. So off we go to Lavington.

Arriving at Kelowna we go to the Petro Pass to get fuel and as we pull into the pumps we discover this cardlock of all places is out of fuel and they are awaiting a delivery. I of course had lots of fuel, but the daycab would need fuel. So we continue onto Lavington, the sun is shining but it is a windy day. We get our loads in Lavington and it is now 1pm. Daycab driver has been on duty for 11 hours so his time frame is narrowing. He needs fuel to log before his 13th hour of driving. We go for fuel in Vernon. We still need to cross at least 3 scales and 1 of them we can go around. After fueling we continue on and find that the Vernon scale is closed. So we are left with 2 more scales to get by. We go up the 97 that cuts from Kamloops to Vernon. Once we reach Kamloops we divert through the 5a to avoid the Scale.

On the 5a it is another twisty road that winds around Quilchena and an Indian Reserve. It is a narrow highway and there are frequent truck roll overs on this highway. When we arrive in Quilchena I am ahead of the daycab by about 1 kilometer and I see what appears to be a Police car parked up ahead. I slow down to well under the speed limit and pass him and I can see his door is narrowly ajar which makes it seem like he is ready to jump out of his vehicle and pull a car over. It isn’t a Police car but a Commercial Vehicle Safety Enforcement or C.V.S.E.. I keep on driving and keep watching for the daycab and he doesn’t appear. Worried, as his hours are now almost up and approaching his 14th hour I pull over and wait. No sign of him. 5 minutes goes by and still no sign of him. Great! No phone service and he has been pulled over again. So I continue on to Merrit. When I get to Merrit I call the third driver who remained in Penticton and he is headed back empty. No load. So we confer and if the daycab does not appear by the time he reaches Merrit we will go get his truck and bring him back. So I wait and suddenly I see him. i am parked already at the Husky thinking that the CVSE allowed him to get to Merrit and he had to shut down.

He keeps on driving!! I am astonished, but concerned. What happened? Well he keeps going and I am chasing him. Trying to chase another truck and gearing up is difficult. I finally catch up to him on the hill and he shows another blue ticket! Oh my I am laughing so hard I am almost crying. That was his second ticket and now he is out of hours. If he is caught he faces 3 more fines plus being shut down and forcing the owner to rent a motel. What a day for him, he must be pissed I think to myself. Wow. 2 tickets! So off I go and when I reach hope I get a message…which scale is closed the text says. I phoned the Haig Scale and find the Haig to be closed so I text him…go through the Haig Highway 7 I say. he responds. Thanks for all your help. We arrive back at the yard by 8pm and daycab has been on duty for 18 hours. He must be bagged I think to myself. I caution him that next time they ask to tell them no way unless he has a sleeper!

Thanks for reading. If you enjoy my stories, please follow me 🙂



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