Friday, March 25, 2011

Adventures in a Transport Truck - Monday

There is some scrambling to be done to get Hal back driving with his regular partner. When Hal was off for a week with the flu, Florin had to find a new partner. And since then their schedules haven’t meshed. For the last month he has been teamed up with Olga.

Hal really enjoyed his month with Olga. Apparently she is very chatty and loves car shows, two characteristics he really appreciates in a teammate. And she is a good driver which makes Hal happy because he can sleep without worry of being tossed around the bunk or being thrown out of the bunk. Apparently it is hard to sleep in a moving vehicle. I don’t understand that personally. I can fall asleep in a moving vehicle about ten minutes after we start moving.  Hal is jealous that I have that skill.

Olga is taking her final driving test and then will be paired with her husband as a long-haul team. I wish I could learn how to drive a truck and learn how to not get sleepy when I drive for more than an hour or so. I think Hal and I would make a great team. We get along really well when we are traveling together.

So Hal is running single this week. Neither Hal nor I are very fond of single driving. Hal doesn’t like it because he has no one to talk with and it is much harder to drive 13 hours straight than it is to drive in 5 hour shifts while team driving. And Hal really hates having no one to talk to. The last time Hal drove single for a few days, he called me as many as five times each day. Not that I mind talking to him, but my life isn’t that exciting so by the third phone call I really have nothing left to say.

Hal invited me along as his passenger this week so he won’t be lonely. And, besides, I am an excellent navigator with maps and the GPS. It was a struggle to decide to go because I had made some commitments this week – the most important one to my Mom.  Special thanks to family and friends who have stepped up this week to take my place getting Mom to her appointments.  I really appreciate all your help.

I love road trips. In fact we usually go on road trips either visiting or letterboxing at least once every time Hal has time off. And I really want to know what Hal does every day when he is away from home.

Hal was pretty excited when I agreed to come along while he was running single to keep him company and act as navigator.

Monday was spent running errands, cleaning the apartment, doing laundry and taking Austin to an appointment at the sports clinic. By the time this was all done it was supper time. Hal went to bed after supper to try and get some sleep before it was time to leave.

I packed the mini fridge with lots of yummy food. I roasted a chicken breast and sliced it for sandwiches, boiled eggs, made potato salad, baked some chicken legs and packed several containers of cut up fruit and veggies. We also packed cereal, peanut butter, jam and bread and a tin of Nanna cookies.

I should have slept. Hal should have slept more. We headed out the door, van all packed, by 8:30 pm. I shot a short video on our trip showing our perspective of other trucks, cars and signs from our van window.

We arrived at the Mississauga yard at 10:30 pm.

After I signed four pages of legalese I was ready to accompany Hal on his runs. I had to promise not to operate the truck and not to get run over by other trucks. I can see how that could happen especially since I don’t have a reflective vest. (You always forget something when you pack, don’t you.) On the other hand, my slippers have glow in the dark moons and stars on them. I imagine that should help make me more noticeable as I’m running across the yard in my slippers to find the ladies’ room.

There is so much to be done before heading out on the road. You have to get paperwork, find your truck, pack your truck, check your truck, fuel up your truck, check all your fluids, find your trailer, double check that the load is ready to go, lock onto your trailer, check your trailer, weigh your trailer, pull up to the office and turn in your inspection sheets and pick up your paperwork for the trip. And you must be sure to update your log book. Then you are finally ready to head out on the road.

While Hal was doing all the above chores, I spent my time watching all the jets taking off and landing at the airport which is right next door. They are so low it seems like they are going to snag on the fence here.

Needless to say it was well after midnight drove through the giant automatic gates and headed out on the road for Ottawa. It was a lovely trip despite some light drizzle. Hal had a little trouble adjusting to the shifter on this truck. I pointed out that judging from the condition of the shifter, other people had trouble shifting it too.

I took a video so you can see what I saw. The world sure looks different from the seat of a transport truck. I was way too excited to be tired so of course I didn’t sleep at all.

(Note:  It looks like I'll have to wait until I'm home to upload the videos)