Sittin’ around

Here I sit in Delta, British Columbia on my 36 hour reset. I am once again by myself as I dropped Heather off in Kitchener to house and puppy-sit while the elder daughter, Niomi and man-friend Nick are on a cruise.

Freshly washed at the Blue Beacon Truck Wash in Portage, Wisconsin

We were feeling very peckish from the extreme weather around the continent this year so it was nice to get away from the prairies and run a couple of loads into South Carolina for a short lived dose of sun.

During one of our resets in Winnipeg we rented a Dodge Ram and headed south to visit with Ethel, Bob, Bob’s beard and the animals. I was really looking forward to seeing the greatest dog in the world…Charlie. For the couple of hours spent there I shot a lot of photos and not one of Charlie. I did however get a couple of Gidget who is now 6 months old and a whopping 60 pounds.

 

Gidget was happy to see me

Karma is ‘King of the Castle’

Heather got to see her pony Rose as well who was snubbing her for moving away.

Heather sharing a joke with Dexter while Rose looks on in distaste

 

I am still trying to figure out how to edit my GoPro videos as well. I am getting there and really looking forward to seeing Gaebs video going through the KidWorx indoor park at Bingeman Park in Kitchener. I attached the GoPro to him with a Junior Chesty mount and let him roam free. There is 38 minutes of footage that I want to knock down into a rip roaring 5 minutes of side busting video. I also have a couple hours of dashboard footage that will eventually be turned into short fast paced travel videos…. or so I hope.

In the meantime here I sit watching NCIS and posting this entry waiting patiently for 5am to roll around so I can head east to Jackson, Wisconsin with my big load of lumber.

We will talk later.

Cheers and happy trails/ G

I see by the date, it’s been awhile

Please accept my humblest apologies for not posting weekly like I was supposed to. But in my defense, I am lazy, and the seasons have not changed yet so I am ahead of the curve….

My workstation..and kitchen..bedroom…cockpit. Welcome to our home

This winter thus far has been brutal weather-wise. It hasn’t slowed down the trucking though. We just turned 68,000 kilometers or 42,255 miles since the first week of November. The bulk of our trips have been in the Midwestern states and western Canada.

I dropped Heather off in Kitchener to help out with some family matters in the third week of January and will be picking her up again next week. Six weeks is a long time to be separated when you are accustomed to being with someone daily.

So, to Heather’s chagrin I got a trip to Vancouver, she was not happy because she loves the Rockies.

ghost truck. A 3 shot long exposure at the Ink Lake Brake Check area just west of Kamloops, BC

Next trip was to southern California. Really not happy now because they have sun and warmth there and she was stuck in a Polar Vortex in Ontario.

Graphic

While in LA I was a little bored waiting for a reload so I started to remove some of the extraneous vinyl graphics on the truck. I removed two fairly thick stripes and left the top two thin stripes just to get a cleaner look and retain some balance in the colour. My thinking was if I went all white, it would look like a refrigerator hauling loads.

This shot is in North Las Vegas where I loaded up some traction motors for trains.

Sunset in North Las Vegas, NV

I also got in a trip last week to Cheyenne, Wyoming then up to Grande Prairie, Alberta and back to Winnipeg for my 36 hour Government mandated reset on my log book. I will be taking off Sunday morning for sunny, I hope, Florence, South Carolina then up to pick up the lovely Heather in Kitchener.

Here are a couple of amusing and quite sketchy billboards I found

I couldn’t decide if this billboard was for an automotive repair shop, a human body repair shop or something kinky. Mitchell, SD along I-90

Nothing really needs to be said here. I-15 near Beaver, UT

I am working diligently on editing some GoPro video into something hopefully interesting and should have that up later this week…. by later this week, I mean well..

Happy travels

Gidget

Gidget, my sister-in-laws new St Bernard/Black Lab cross puppy, told me I was cold and exhausted and should take a few days off so we booked off a week in Kitchener, Ontario over the Christmas holidays.

Stepping back a month, Heather had finally moved into the Hotel Peterbilt with me for the next year or so and we finally started the big step adventure. We have had a very busy month and visited some great places. From the Iowa 80 truck stop, billing itself as the Worlds Largest Truck Stop, to a little Ambest truck stop in Hampshire, Illinois where we found the African Oasis Restaurant where the owner worked by himself from 6 am to midnight 7 days a week creating delicious African dishes. You may not get anything close to what you order but the big man knows better than you what your taste buds are in the mood for.

We had a bit of excitement on our way to Carrot River, Saskatchewan on a bright cold morning. While cruising through one of the many small villages in northern Saskatchewan at 40 kph or 25 mph I suddenly heard a very loud train horn. I looked over to my left and sure enough there was a massive train bearing down on us about 100 yards away. I hammered on the brakes and got the truck stopped so our seats were right in the middle of the track. I slammed the transmission into reverse while the train was performing an emergency stop, wheels screaming and skidding, I literally spun my tires and laid about 10 feet of black rubber getting out of their way. The train managed to come to a stop right on the spot where my truck had been only moments before. The people in the train cab sat there and stared at us for a couple of minutes while I threw them a ‘My bad’ wave. They did not respond, just kept staring…. ok, move on train people, my underwear are dry now……

T/A Walcott, IA

After a quick trip from Selkirk, Manitoba to New Kingstown, PA with a load of steel we headed empty back to Ontario. After dropping the trailer in our Aberfoyle terminal we got hooked up with our rental car for the great people at Enterprise Car Rental in Guelph. Once again Enterprise came through and went over and above expectations for us. We ordered a compact car and were supposed to have a free upgrade but they told us to take our pick from the lot, GMC Terrain it is. Nice mid sized SUV  for the price of a compact. Thanks Enterprise, that is why we don’t go anywhere else.

Christmas Day

Christmas morning found us opening presents with my daughters and their respective –boyfriends– errr, man friends and my awesome grandson, Gaeb. Never mind what everybody else got, I got myself a GoPro Hero3, Black Edition. I hooked it up to my dog Norm with a junior chesty bracket and let him go….. hilarious. Videos to come when I figure the thing out.

In the evening we went across town to Heather’s Sister and Brother-in-law’s house for dinner and played a hilarious game of Head’s Up, an app on Android and I-Phones.

Boxing Day

On the 26th we headed to Toronto for a small family gathering and to meet two new nieces or rather, great nieces, Eve and Brooklyn.

Eve

Brooklyn

It was very nice to spend a few hours with family that we never really see often enough.

Friday 27

A nice quiet day of chillin’ on the couch, relaxing then Niomi and Nick had friends over for drinks and more Heads Up. Gaeb named the friends ‘Stranger Danger’ – Kirsten and ‘Bushman’- Evan.

Great times.

Saturday 28

The day I was looking forward to. We were scheduled to meet up with online friends from Google+ and the Scavenger Hunt we do there. The meet-up was quickly put together by Debbie DeBaeremaeker and her husband Dave DeBaeremaeker. Them along with their children Abigail and Zack, fellow scavenger Tai Mi along with Heather, my daughter Niomi and Gaeb enjoyed an afternoon at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington. To Gaeb’s, and mine, delight, there was a model train exhibit going on.

Scavenger hunt Meet-up slideshow

Sunday 29

Another relaxing laid back day. Nick let me drive his 2014 Toyota Tundra TRD to the Aberfoyle yard where we checked on my truck and the maintenance that was supposed to have been done during the break. Good thing we checked, truck hadn’t moved so now we will be delayed while the shop gets at it tomorrow morning. I took Nick for a ride in Hotel Peterbilt, his first ride in a big truck. He seemed to like it.

Back to Nick and Niomi’s house for dinner and some TV watching and get ready for our big trip to Lethbridge, Alberta and Abbotsford, BC with a load of farm equipment. So tomorrow morning we will return the rental car and hopefully the truck will be ready to go. Most likely we will be spending next weekend in Vancouver so I will try to get some good prairie and Rocky Mountain shots to share here next week.

Happy New Year

Gary and Heather

 

Still waiting to go

We are now in the third week of our adventure and I am still going it alone. We will be moving whatever is left of our mementos and of course, my Big Ass Television, back to Ontario on the 28th of November. That will be the official start of our homelessness.

For week one I ran a nice trip to Sexsmith, Alberta with a reload of lumber from Grand Cache, Alberta back to Winnipeg. It was rather uneventful other than a huge dumping of snow to make the roads a little treacherous.

My Peterbilt 386 with a load of wood pellets destined Grande Cach, AB to Winnipeg, MB
Loaded at The Foothills Lumber Mill, Grande Cache, Alberta

Aurora Borealis Alberta

The Aurora Borealis along the Yellowhead Highway west of Edmonton, Alberta

Week Two brought me to make my first trip to the USA since 2009.

For a little context as to why after 30 years of cross border trucking, I would suddenly stop and stay in Canada only, here goes. Quite simply I got very tired of all of the hatred directed at Canadians, truckers especially by a huge number of people south of the border. This unfathomable attitude and vitriol from Law Enforcement, Shippers, other truckers and the general public finally took its toll on me and I decided, rightly or wrongly, to stay in Canada for a while. My decision did not change my fondness and love for all of my family and friends there, you guys were always awesome.

OK, back to trucking.

I took a quick load, so I thought, to Iowa with a reload in Shaumburg, IL. This is where the quick part ended. The load was delivering on the west coast in Delta, BC. The trip went very well and only small instance of someone targeting me and it was just a D.O.T. Officer in South Dakota, I forgave her very quickly because she must have been bored… being South Dakota after all.
I made my delivery in BC and was given a reload to pick up whenever I wanted in Castlegar, BC so I took my Government mandated 36 hour rest period and then went to load my lumber. This was my first trip ever to cross the southern tier of BC along Highway 3 or the Crowsnest Highway. What a fantastic ride. It starts just east of Hope, BC as a skinny 2 lane twisty road through the rain-forest and very quickly turns into some fantastic mountain driving. The mountain roads take you up and down extremely twisty turns and 30 KPH switchbacks for 10 and 20 kilometer climbs and drops. The snow-capped mountains, fast moving rivers and streams along with towering redwood trees provide a breathtaking backdrop for such an adrenalin inducing highway.

Note to self; get a bike.

Seven hours later I loaded at Castlegar and started my trip home. I checked my BC mountains App for road closures and chain-ups and found out there was an avalanche on my route home. Park the truck, go to bed. The following day my trusty App told me all was good so I headed east to explore more of this awesome highway. The road was dry, the sun was shining and it was 10 Celsius… until I hit the elevations. At around 5000 feet the road was ice, the sun was gone and it was -13 Celsius, quickly zip down into a valley, through a couple of small towns then onto the wonderful Kootenay Pass.

My Nav system. Climbing the Kootenay Pass in Southern British Columbia
My Nav system climbing the Kootenay Pass. My apologies for the crappy quality of the image but I was driving up a mountain and taking the shot with my heavy D300s.

Kootenay Summit along the southern tier of British Columbia. Crowsnest Highway looking west

Top of the Kootenay Pass

Kootenay Summit along the southern tier of British Columbia. Crowsnest Highway looking west

Top of Kootenay Pass looking west

After a safe crossing of the Kootenay and Crowsnest Passes I was hit with the dreaded CHECK ENGINE light and my Nav System was screaming at me to check for malfunctions. Of course the system does not tell you what’s wrong, it just give you a code. I limped my truck into Lethbridge Peterbilt in Lethbridge, Alberta and checked in with Curtis the Service Manager. I gave him the code, he couldn’t find anything on it so they hooked up the computers to the trucks ECM. Curtis got back to me about a half hour later with a confused look on his face.
‘It’s your Ammonia Sensor’ he said
‘What’s an Ammonia Sensor’ I questioned
‘Don’t know, never heard of it’ he muttered
‘Huh, well can I limp it home’ I wondered
He fired up his computer to do some research on our NFG part…
‘It’s a sensor for your DEF System to spray the correct amount into your exhaust, no you can’t drive, no there are no sensors in Canada, we ordered you one… see you Friday’
Insert huge F-Bomb here.

So here I sit blogging, tweeting, re-tweeting, sharing, liking and plus 1-ing on all of my social sites driving people nuts.

See you next time

Gary

Got the truck

So I finally signed all of the contracts and leases and the miriad of other papers that these deals generate.
I spent a few quality hours moving in and getting set up.
I also discovered the joys of a quality bluetooth system for my phone and tried, very hard, to find a spot in my truck where I could whisper and not be heard clearly on the other end of the line. Small things do indeed amuse small minds.
A couple of setbacks did occur. As I was moving into the truck I noticed that Peterbilt had not removed all of the plastic coatings and sticky protective stuff around the chrome and shiny goodies and also my mirror adustment control was not working. So, off to Manitoba Peterbilt I went for the warranty work… and here I still sit.

On the ‘where is Heather’ question you were all thinking, she is flying back on Sunday from visiting family in Kitchener, Ontario and getting her grandbabyman fix.

I am looking forward to my first load of roof trusses tomorrow from Kenora, Ontario to Alberta.

This is a crappy android phone image of our new home.

image

I will be grabbing some good exterior and interior photos this week.

Cheers and thanks for coming along

Gary