The road so far

It’s been more than a week since my last post and orientation has come and gone. Much has happened in that brief amount of time. I’ve gone from Portland, Oregon to Salt Lake City, Utah, and then all the way up to Grandview, Washington and then to Calgary, Alberta.

After Orientation was over, I was given a rental car and told to drive all the way to Salt Lake. My new truck was at the Volvo dealership being repaired. Repaired? Yes, that’s what I said. Turns out the previous driver was up in Canada during a winter storm and decided to make a u-turn on a public road. Knight has a strict no u-turn policy, and so this was his first major mistake. Anyway, he made his illegal u-turn and lost traction due to the black ice on the road. He then jackknifed off the road and into an embankment. $30k worth of repairs later, including a new fifth wheel, wiring harness and rear axles and new hoses for the diesel exhaust system and I was now the proud recipient of truck 596. After getting a few more bugs worked out in the Salt Lake Terminal, we were off with our first load!

I took off with a load of toilet paper and headed up to the Walmart DC in Grandview, Wa. Simple enough load, and nice and light. I figured it would be a cake run, and that nothing wrong could get in the way.

Wrong. It wasn’t a major breakdown, but when an airline snaps off of your air tank while driving, thats a issue. Luckily I was already parked in a chain up zone, cause I needed to grab something from the back. As soon as I pulled my airbrake, I heard the snap and the pop! Sorry, no crackle. It was a two hour delay as road service had to show up and repair a 2 dollar part with an assortment of different fittings and couplings. I felt like this service tech must have been a former farm mechanic, because his repair job was totally unconventional… but it got me back on the road!

I finally arrived at the Walmart distribution center and checked in with security. Easy enough situation, just drop my loaded trailer and grab an empty knight trailer from around the back. Done and done. Soon I was out the gate and headed to Yakima, it was time for my first trip back into Canada. My trailer was already loaded and waiting for me when I arrived. It took an hour to pull it out of the dock, place my empty trailer into it’s spot and then re-hook up to my load. Then paperwork for border crossing and proper loaded calls to be sent in. By the time I got done it was dark, but as I was getting ready to leave I saw the most amazing shooting star. It was bright white with a long florescent streak. Suddenly it started to glow bright orange and broke apart into several little bits. Really wish I had my camera for that one.

The next morning I got as far as I could before having to shut down. I only made it to Bonners Ferry. My paperwork for crossing the border has yet to be approved, and as I was at the last city with cell signal before the North Idaho wilderness, I figured now would be a good time to see about getting it fixed. After waiting nearly two hours, my border crossing paperwork was finally approved. The problem was now my timing was completely off. Should I just continue driving, or continue in off duty mode and leave at like one in the morning after getting a few hours of sleep? I decided to get as much sleep as I could and then get up super early and drive until I reached my destination. I made it to my receiver with just a few minutes to spare before I needed to take my 30 minute break. In other words, I drove for almost eight hours straight before stopping at my customer.

After finishing that load, I then had to drive 2 hours northwest to grab a load of insulation. I arrived at the shipper and walked into the office with a smile on my face. The guys at this location have always been super nice to work with and I was excited to see them again. Their excitement at my return to Canada was short lived however as they soon discovered that my load didn’t exist. Another two hours wasted and I found out that the load was canceled. Okay, what now? A different load was soon procured for me, and all I had to do was to drive back down to Calgary. The only problem I had at this moment, was my exhaustion. It was nearly 4pm, and I had been awake since 1am. I got as close to Calgary as I could and shut down at a rest stop. I needed sleep and lots of it!

I woke up the next Saturday morning refreshed and ready to grab my load. I was excited because I would be heading back to the states, and my wife was going to pick me up and take me home for a day of rest. The only problem was the snow. Yes, it had snowed overnight. Almost 3 inches to be precise. My return trip was about to get that much harder. You can’t drive as fast when the roads are snowy and covered in ice. If you do, you’ll certainly pay for it. It was tough going for majority of the day, winter weather being the major culprit. However, eventually as I got far enough out of Alberta and deeper into British Columbia, the weather got warmer and the roads dried up.

I crossed back into Idaho around six pm, and drove as quick as I could down to Post Falls, Idaho. I had a beautiful woman who was waiting to take me home for 24 hours of family time. I’m thankful for my current job and am so glad to be back with Knight. I am also so thankful to have a good and loving wife. However, big things are about to change for Emily and myself. We’re moving up to Post Falls in the next few weeks and are hoping to join the community at Saint John’s Orthodox Church. We are getting ready to say goodbye to Lacrosse, goodbye to all the things we’ve worked on and hello to the new and the unknown. It’s quite the emotional trek and more than one post will result from it.

For now I am home with my family. I will leave in a few hours to get back into my truck and will head to Longview, Wa in the morning. Then I’ll grab another Canada load and I’ll start the journey all over again. Thanks for reading my friends. Until next time!

-Orthodox Trucker

Snowy land scapes and long roads in Alberta. Canada

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