Friday, December 09, 2011

Day 7

Foggy morning, but still warm enough to go without a jacket. Loaded quickly. The cleanest washroom I've seen so far on this trip - it's amazing how seemingly little things like that can make your day.



Rade says: "The air is still leaking, we have a flat tire and we are still in business". We both laugh. It reminds me of the famous scene from "The Blues Brothers", except we are a long, long way from Chicago :))

Had a hearty and probably very unhealthy breakfast - deep fried mushrooms left over from last night's dinner. We ate at Fran's, a seventies style diner that wasn't renovated (and probably not even cleaned) since the seventies. Burgers were pretty decent though, or we were just very hungry. It's amazing what this lifestyle does to my appetite :).




Next stop, Taylor, Texas. Just received a message from dispatch, after that Bryan, Texas. We are going in general direction of home, but we don't know whether we'll pass through Houston, Dallas or some place else. We will be more-less full by the time we exit Texas, so it should be smooth sailing from then on.

This is what a message from dispatch looks like. Miracles of satellite communication:



A lesson: Never wear polarized sunglasses if you'll be looking at LCD screens a lot (cell phones, cameras, GPS-es, laptops...). LCD is polarized too, making the screen completely dark when viewed through lenses polarized on a different plane. On a trip like this glasses tinted on top half only work the best. I have a pair just like that but decided to bring these polarized and heavily tinted ones instead. Lesson learned.

Less barren country now. Trees are 80-90% green here, the fall has just started. Some very poor towns with uninventive names, like Milano. Good road, straight and ecven pavement.

Just saw a motorcycle. A helmet-less guy on a Harley (what else?) with ape hanger handlebars. We've seen very few motorcycles in Texas so far (less than five) which is quite surprising considering the 12 month riding season. You wouldn't catch me dead in a car if I was living here, especially since helmets are optional.

The land of tanks, tankers and pipes.

A big sign for George Bush Library, just outside of Bryan, Texas. A dog sleeping on a trampoline in the back yard. Bryan looks OK, arrived for shipping.

Engaged in some load shuffling while waiting for folks to come back from their lunch break. Reminds me a lot of the old computer game called "Sokoban". Those who played it will know exactly what I mean, except that there is pulling and lifting as well as pushing in this one. there's quite a bit of planning and combining involved to organize the load efficiently. Sometimes you need to unpack it too... The trailer is 53ft long, nine feet wide and about nine feet high.You can load a lot of stuff in here, especially if you plan well and double-stack it.



Next stop, Quitman, near Dallas.

The area we are passing through is nicer then before. Farms and ranches, neat and pretty green for Texas. A few oil pumps don't mess up the scenery. The road is bumpy, I can hardly type. It's good that the seat is air suspended, my kidneys would suffer otherwise :).



The truck is 18,000 pounds heavy, trailer 15,000.

Crosses on the side of the road are a fairly common sight, even on the highway. I'm wondering how fast one needs to drive here to get in serious trouble, especially having in mind that traffic is quite sparse and road obstacles of any kind rare. Scratch that - just seen a lady typing on her cell phone in earnest while hogging the left lane at 120 and occasionally swerving every which way. That's a sure way to become a statistic.

Another cross, this time where it has no place being. What does it say under it, "cheeses is lard"?

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Palestine, TX, population 1852.

Our paperwork has cleared the customs, just got a confirmation via SMS. Our next load is our last for this trip. We are headed home from there.



I took my first nap while on the move :). The picture is from Rade's phone.



The area we are passing through is nicer then before. Farms and ranches, neat and pretty green for Texas. A few oil pumps don't mess up the scenery. The road is bumpy, I can hardly type. It's good that the seat is air suspended, my kidneys would suffer otherwise :).

The truck is 18,000 pounds heavy, trailer 15,000.

Crosses on the side of the road are a fairly common sight, even on the highway. I'm wondering how fast one needs to drive here to get in serious trouble, especially having in mind that traffic is quite sparse and road obstacles of any kind rare. Scratch that - just seen a lady typing on her cell phone in earnest while hogging the left lane at 120 and occasionally swerving every which way. That's a sure way to become a statistic. 

Palestine, TX, population 1852.

Different scenery on North 69.This road is designated "Texas forest trail" and it lives up to it's name . Smooth pavement, sweeping turns, generous speed limit of 70mph (110km/h). I'm wondering out loud what the speed limit on a similar road in Canada would be. 80, if we are lucky. Long live Texas, damn the nanny state!

Arrived to an intersection near Quitman, what a funny name. The GPS says we are at our destination, but there's nothing here but forests and farmland. Rade calls (barely a cell phone signal). We are on the right track, just need to proceed for five more miles. Got there just fine. A single loading dock, one truck already there. Waiting for him to finish loading we had time for a meal. Whatever was left in the fridge was devoured quickly.

The guy unloading his truck ahead of us travels with his dog. The first time I've seen it and Rade doesn't remember ever encountering a trucker with a pooch copilot either. 



The night has fallen by the time we loaded nine pallets of some "food stuff". I later discover it's $50,000 worth of "glutamine".



Driving through a rural area with no lights but our own is a little eerie. The road is mostly void of other traffic, corners few but fairly sharp, pavement good to excellent. Texas highway 37.

No cell signal here, writing offline again. It's so dark that I have to dim the laptop display all the way down. A red light above co-pilot's seat illuminates the keyboard really well without being a hindrance to the driver.

We'll be out of Texas soon, having driven 1570 miles through it. No more pick-ups, just fix-ups. We'll get that flat tire done at the earliest convenience. BTW, it's tire number 5 when counted left to right, front rto back, or third tire from the left on the front truck axle. I found out it's out of air when I stepped on it while we were looking for the air leak. If someone told me you can drive a loaded truck with a punctured tire ("flat" is a misnomer in this case - the other tire is holding it) for several thousand miles without problems I would have thought they are making fun of me. Now I know :). Air leak looks like it can wait until Toronto, the pump making up for the loss in pressure.

A big-ass sign reminds us that we are passing by Hope, Arkansas, the birth place of one William Jefferson Clinton.

Stopped at a TA (Travel America) truck stop to see if we can get the tire done. Two hours wait. Forget it, we'll be in Little Rock for the night by then and there's service there too.

Service center in Little Rock packed. Continuing on to Memphis, Tennessee.