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Travels of a Trucker Post #11 Take Pride in your Ride

November 15, 2011

The ride home

It is early morning and I have just traveled over 1000 Kilometers empty or for those of you down South over 600 Miles in one day. I started at 9am from Kitimat BC and traversed the following Highways. 37 South, 16 East, 97 South and I have arrived at Boston Bar for the night. I am bagged, but a little relieved that the journey from the last 7 days is coming to an end. I have no phone service and I parked here to get a coffee in the morning and wouldn’t you know it, a work crew has blocked the road to the Husky so I cannot get my morning Coffee 😦  I don’t worry too much. My goal is to make it to one of Canada’s top Coffee Chains called Tim Horton’s in Chilliwack, BC. It is 8am when I leave Boston Bar and shortly before 9:30am when I pull into the Chilliwack Tim Horton’s. Along the way the sky is turning from a dull gray which is what the last 7 days have been to a glorious Blue Sky and I am relieved.

After getting out and getting my coffee, I return to my truck and I can see the filth all over it. Sand, Salt, Water Grunge, Oil, Dust, Dirt. It has been a couple of months since this baby has seen a wash. After this trip, knowing the full effects that Salt can have on a truck with corrosion and electrical wiring turning Green, I decide to get it washed. First though, I have other things to do. I return to the yard and hand in my paperwork advising the dispatchers that I will be off for two days and working locally for two days. Thus I restate I will not go out of town until next week. Secondly I head back over to return the trailer we have rented for this special trip to Ocean Rentals. I am lucky. An accident has just happened on the Port Mann Bridge in the direction I am going and traffic is just beginning to become snarled. Once I have returned the trailer I head over to Fountain Tire and have 4 drive tires replaced and a steer tire that has worn down. Finally I head over to the Wash Bay. It is half an hour wait before I get in since the service here is exceptional. They do a lot of the washing by hand. I ask for the Acid treatment since my truck has not had it for months. Once in a blue moon I will get it to bring out the polished aluminum and clean off everything thoroughly.

from front to back they work, top to bottom standing on Catwalks above the trucks they easily reach the most hidden portions of dirt on the truck. She is starting to appear like a truck again emerging from the filth of the last 3 months that have built upon her. I feel good as it gets washed knowing that it will sparkle at least until I hit that first mountain overpass and all the dirt, sand and snow get into everything again.

She isn’t the newest of trucks to be sure, but she is faithful, keeps me warm at night, doesn’t leave me stranded, rarely leaks and gets me from Point A to Point B with minimal resistance. This truck is a 1997 Kenworth. Definitely not my preference of truck to be sure. It has no moveable mirrors so blindsiding is done with difficulty and with the use of my convex mirrors. It is a truck that is super light and excellent on fuel. The only problem is the owner of this truck that I drive for turns a blind eye that the truck is doing loads it was not intended for. This truck is the perfect tandem axle produce truck running the triangle route (Vancouver, California, Toronto). She is light with only a 40 rear end. She has a 15 speed (Bo-Lo 5, Lo 5, High 5). Basically a glorified 10 speed transmission. It is not designed, spec’d or fitted to do heavy haul, but that is exactly what I haul. Anything and Everything from Tridem Axle Decks to Super B’s. Now don’t get me wrong, she does the job okay, but running up the Coquihalla at 17 Kilometers or 10 Miles Per Hour is not the most ideal thing for a truck. Specifically the magic number for any truck pulling doubles up a mountain is 30 Kilometers or roughly 16Miles before a chain is needed. I run even in the Summer 17 Kilometers  up the hills. I refused to pull the doubles in the winter and the company I work for knows it.

So, when I say take Pride in your ride, know your truck. Know it’s limitations. Know what it can and cannot do and don’t make it to be what it isn’t. In this case, I don’t have a choice since I drive for an owner operator. Make sure your truck is cleaned occasionally. Keep it oiled and greased and well maintained. Keep it fueled up so it is not taking in the bottom of the barrel all the time. Make sure you have the proper equipment to get the job done and most of all if you have days off and know it, don’t be afraid to tell the service department what needs to be done. In this case, I am off for two days and my Kingpin needs replacing. Our shop mechanic knows since I went there personally and told him. When you start taking Pride in your ride you will go above and beyond to ensure that the truck you are in will take care of you also.

Thanks for reading. If you enjoy these short stories and insights into trucking, please follow me by connecting with email.


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