Hooked onto another load of pipe bound for Grand Prairie, Alberta and headed out on the road. This time I was running with another driver who had the same load. We cut up through hwy 40 just outside of Hinton, Alberta and the road was in good shape. After unloading our pipe we decided to fuel up and go to Mama Pandas for a buffet. The food was excellent and I will go there again. Unfortunately when we came out all stuffed and tired, the weather had took a turn for the worse and there was a couple of inches of snow on the ground and forty mile an hour winds. We headed down the dreaded hwy 40 hoping we could travel the 3.5 hour drive with out much accumulation on the road. The trip was slow but we managed to make it to Hinton, Alberta where the winds were still blowing hard but the snow was a lot lighter. We slept that night and went to load cubed metal (appliances etc) for the back haul home. Well this was a painful experience as the operator of the loader had no experience and since this was our first time loading this type of freight it took over six hours to load us both and tie plastic mesh over the load as is required by law. The trip home was a nightmare as we ran into the first real snow storm of the year and only made it to Valemount, B.C. before shutting down for some sleep. The next morning wasn’t any different other than driving in daylight instead of darkness. The highway was attrocious from Valemount to Little Fort. I didn’t see any plows until Avola where we seen a grader which maybe there should of been a few more working that 300 km stretch of road. Didn’t see any accidents which was unreal considering the circumstances. When we got to Little Fort the weather changed to rain (Whew!!) and we had clear sailing home. Bye for now.
Archive for 2008
Hooked onto another load of pipe bound for Grand Prairie, Alberta and headed out. The going was good and I decided to take the long way (hwy 22) instead of taking a chance on the dreaded hwy 40 which is made up of a lot of hills (roller coaster ride) and is a narrow road. I made it to Whitecourt, Alberta before pulling into a rest stop to sleep. There were a few snow flurries but nothing to serious. The next morning I unloaded in Grand Prairie and headed to Fort Saint John, B.C. to load some crushed cars. I do have a photo but forgot to upload the image to my computer so I’ll update this post later. I had to move my fifth wheel to get my weights right as I had to get as close to 30 ton as possible for more money. The trip home was good and the highways and weather was good also. Unloading the crushed cars however was a painful experience as it took forever to unload and the deck of the trailer was covered in oil and didn’t clean up too easily. Talk to you later.
Loaded up some drill pipe bound for Nisku Alberta from the docks. It was early morning and I couldn’t resist taking a photo (see photo) of the city of Vancouver in the morning light. Only wish I would have walked to the edge of the pier to take the shot instead of from my truck. Headed out on the road and ran into some compact snow up on the Coquihalla but other than that the going was good until I got to Blue River where the road became icy all the way to Valemount. From there it continued to be icy until the BC/Alta border and along the way by Moose Lake there were a couple of four wheelers in the ditch on both sides of the road within a few hundred feet of each other. One could only surmise that maybe one of them lost control and the other one tried to avoid him/her and ended up in the ditch also.
After arriving in Nisku it turns out that the company yard I was supposed to unload at wanted me to drive to another destination to unload, however the paperwork specified this address and since no one would guarantee payment to the other destination they were forced to unload me there. Trying to get a delivery to a client for free I guess. Headed back to Edmonton to get a damaged 11′ wide lowbed to haul back to Aldergrove for repairs. The road was in better shape this time when I got to the border. The only bad spot was between Valemount and Blue River but it was relatively small in size and the sand trucks were working the road. Decided to take 5A between Kamloops and Merritt for a change and came accross the remnants of an accident (see photos) where it looked like a lumber truck lost it’s load the night or morning before. Crews were stacking the lumber on the side of the road for removal as I went through. There were two vans in front of me when we were stopped by the flag person. The rest of the trip went smoothly enough and arrived in the yard in the afternoon. Dropped the trailer and got ready for my next trip to Grand Prairie. Bye for now.
Picked up two pieces of steel plate from the docks for delivery to Edmonton. Along the way I had to load a scissor neck lowbed on top of the plate and also deliver to Edmonton. Because of how I had to load the lowbed most of the weight was on the back end of the trailer which I wasn’t too happy about, but what can you do. Luckily I didn’t run into any snow issues other than a little compact on top of the Coquihalla. The drive was a good one and thank goodness as I needed a good trip after the last three. Made my deliveries and headed to load some foam for the trip home. Again everything was good. Bye for now.
When I got back to the yard after dropping off the screening plant I had to hook onto a trailer loaded with a steel container bound for Gilbralter Mines by McLeese Lake. Only being a six hour drive I figured this would be a good trip after what I’d just been through this was a blessing. I made it too McLeese Lake and went to bed for the night. I got up in the morning and headed up the mountain to the mine. At the Gate, I signed in and took an orientation for safety and then discovered that no one knew where the load was to go. Because there was no details on the paper work we broke the seal and looked inside the container. No one could figure out what we were even looking at. Finally someone showed up and determined that it was a kevlar box liner and harness for one of the big Uke ore trucks. Still no one knew where to take it. Meanwhile three hours had passed. I called my dispatch and he called his contacts and finally a person in charge showed up to take me further up the mountain to a crane that was putting together a huge shovel for digging out the ore from the ground. Once up there, I found out that they were just going to unload the container from the trailer and not empty it. I phoned dispatch and was told that no one was to unload the container from the trailer as the container had to be returned back to the docks by Monday morning or someone would have to pay the 200 dollars a day late fees. It seems that the mine had sent their crane operator home earlier that morning and didn’t want to pay the contractor rates to use the crane mentioned previously to unload the container as it was determined to probably take 4 hours to unload (meanwhile I’d been there already six hours). I waited for three more hours while the powers that be came up with a plan on what to do with this container and finally I was told by my dispatch that I was going to take it to Quesnel about an hour up the highway from McLeese Lake. At that point I didn’t care as long as I got it off. At the gate, the security guard wouldn’t let me leave as he had orders to not let my truck and trailer go loaded. He made a phone call and confirmed that I could leave (hooray). Got to Quesnel and unloaded inside a building with an overhead crane which only took two more hours. Finally got home the next day in time to take my truck in for its semi annual MVI. It passed with flying colors, the best news I’d had in a while. Bye for now.
Well I headed up to Fort Nelson to pick up the screening plant that I delivered in August and paid for an overweight permit based on the same weights as when I hauled it up there. Needless to say that was a mistake as when I got up there it was filthy dirty and covered in ice and snow. I had the client clean the tracks and most of the mud off of it before I hooked on and headed for town. It was about one hour out of Fort Nelson in the helmut oil field area. When I got to town I drove accross the scale to confirm my weights and wouldn’t you know it they weren’t even close (51,000kg). Both hoppers were about one third full of snow and ice ( or so I thought) and because it was minus 10 degrees celcius I wasn’t going to get rid of that to easy. I decided to go for lunch with my best friend Dan whom I hadn’t seen in a few months at the local pub. After lunch we went to see a good friend of Dan’s to see if he would weld some mud flap brackets back on the end of the screening plant that hadn’t been replaced since I took it up there. When I got to my truck and the screening plant I noticed that someone had stolen my tool box that I’d stupidly left on my jockey box. After getting the mud flaps taken care of I bid Dan goodbye and headed for Fort Saint John to use the scale there to see if the weights were the same in case the scale in Fort Nelson was out a bit. Crossing the scale in Fort Saint John I found out the weights were the same so I spent another 70 bucks on top of the original 178 to upgrade the overweight permit. Oh did I foget to mention that I forgot the light bar for the back and had to buy some magnetic lights from Canadian Tire to have brake lights etc. Spent the night in Fort Saint John and headed out in the late morning after buying another set of lights and realigning the conveyor belt on the passenger side that broke loose and was sticking too far out from the screening plant. By the time I got to Prince George it was snowing pretty good and I went accross the scale with no problems (yeah). Decided to stop and do a load check and sure enough the lights weren’t working. After testing the circuit on the screening plant plug I determined that there was a broken wire somewhere and I wasn’t wasting my time tracking it down. I took a taxi to Canadian Tire and bought 120ft of trailer wire and wired it right to my tractor. The weather changed when I got to Quesnel and I decided to spend the night at a pullout between Quesnel and McLeese Lake. The temperature had warmed up considerably to plus 5. In the morning when I did my pretrip I noticed mud and ice all over the ground under the two hoppers so I climbed up to take a look and low and behold the snow and ice had melted to leave one third of a hopper full of mud and rocks in both. No wonder my weights were up they forgot to empty the unit (or maybe they didn’t). In any case I headed forward and was glad to get home. Bye for now.
What a week! After spending the weekend in Edmonton, I went to load on Monday and discovered the load was too high with dunnage and I had to sit it on the deck and because it was two sections of a conveyor for a gravel pit, I had to sit the top section on the lower section (metal to metal). I didn’t feel comfortable with this so I cross chained the lower section to the deck and chained the upper section to the lower section in the middle so it couldn’t slide. I had to stop frequently to tighten all the straps and boomers as it kept shifting on me. Finally made it though after driving through some snow flurries here and there. It was snowing pretty heavy over the Coquihalla from the old toll booth to the snow shed, but wasn’t sticking to the road as of yet. Tonight will probably be a nightmare. Glad I’m not going to be up there driving in it. Got to load some lumber wrap and a booster tomorrow for Edmonton delivery and then it is off to Fort Nelson to pick up a portable screening plant I delivered in August. That will be an interesting ride this time of year. Bye for now.
Started out loading steel plate at the docks in Vancouver, three of them weighing 60,000 lbs. Took some manuevering to get the weight right on my drive axles. After leaving, we got stopped at the scale where I discovered I didn’t get it as accurate as I thought. I was 700 kgs over on my drives. They still let me go after looking over my permit. On the way out of town, I fueled up and moved my fifth wheel ahead two notches assuming it was 250 kgs per notch. At the next scale, I got stopped again and had to bring papers. They told me I was still over weight by 650 kgs on my drives. Now I was confused because the first scale I crossed let me go and the weights there were not that far off of the weights now. I had moved my fifth wheel to compensate which didn’t work so I questioned the accuracy of the two scales. My argument saved me a ticket, however I had to purchase an over weight permit before being allowed to carry on. I had to stop at one more scale in Kamloops where my weights read that I was only 350 kgs over on my drives. This is more in line with what I had expected after moving my fifth wheel. Three different scales with three different weights and I am the one who has to pay the price for it…go figure. The load was 12′ feet wide also and we had to have a pilot car to travel so some restrictions were in place. We also had to be in Edmonton for Friday morning delivery so I could reload on Friday afternoon at another yard. Well needless to say once we got to Clearwater we started hearing talk on the radio of a wicked snow storm from Avola to Jasper. Sure enough once we got to Avola we started to notice trucks heading west covered in snow. We made the decision to spend the night at a pullout in Avola as we couldn’t run in whiteout conditions with a 12′ wide load. I told the pilot car driver that I wanted to be on the road by 6 am BC time as that would give me ample time to get to Edmonton and accomplish my goals. The pilot car driver agreed and headed for the local motel. The next morning after waiting for nearly one and a half hours I decided to dolly off and bob tail to the motel only to find I had to wake up the pilot car driver. Needless to say I was choked. We finally got on the road and once I got into cell service I called the company on the other end to tell them I was going to be late for delivery and they said they would wait for me. However my pickup had to be cancelled as they wouldn’t wait. So now I’m sitting for the weekend in Edmonton for loading on Monday morning. All this because a professional in the pilot car business slept in. Oh by the way I passed a few trucks in the ditch between Avola and Jasper but wasn’t in the mood to take photos…sorry. Bye for now.
Hauled another load of pipe to Fort McMurray this weekend, should be the last one for a while. The drive from the lower mainland to Valemount, B.C. was a good one with the sun out most of the way. Rain started at Valemount and continued until Obed, Alberta where the sun broke free again until I got to Wandering River, Alberta. There I ran into a fog bank that lasted all the way to Fort McMurray, Alberta. Visability was only one hundred feet, lifting sometimes to a few hundred. Kind of wish the fog would stay around while I drive that highway as it was the first time I could remember not having four wheelers pass me on corners or double solid lines up hills etc. In fact, the only vehicles passing me were big rigs that I would slow down and pull over for. Dropped off a dune buggy in Boyle, Alberta that I hauled as a favour it seems. I was supposed to get two hundred cash on delivery, but that didn’t materialize. After unloading and heading back to Edmonton, Alberta I loaded a section of a conveyor for a gravel pit to haul back to Aldergrove, B.C. There will be eleven loads in all for this gravel pit as it is a big unit broken down into quite a few pieces. Supposed to snow in Edmonton tomorrow just as I’m leaving. Bye for now.
I’ve been working hard for the last few months with a couple of weeks off in September but that is all. Mostly I’ve been hauling 40′ pipe from Vancouver to Fort McMurray, Alberta. The weight of the loads has been 60,900 lbs. Just under my max for my truck. I’ll be hauling drill rig casing to Edmonton shortly after the last load of pipe to McMurray is done. My truck has been running good (knock wood) however today I noticed that my engine fan was acting up so I by passed the air valve until I can fix it. Will have to hook it up again for every load of course so as not to overheat the engine when hauling freight. Seen a couple of accidents in the last two months, one where a cattle hauler flipped over on his side (see photos) while negotiating an off ramp a little too fast outside of Edmonton, A.B. and the other today between Little Fort, B.C. and Clearwater, B.C. where a driver went for a swim (see photos) in the Thompson River. Well thats all for now.