Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Well I'm in Utah.....

....though not to where I want to be. But I'm not too far so I'll just get up a little earlier tomorrow.

Getting out of Oregon takes so LONG. Really....fifty-five is time consuming. You know what they call Oregon don't you? The biggest county in California. That's what Lobo told me...a friend of mine. Me and him go waaaaaaaaaaaaaay back. Lobo's his CB handle from the early nineties and one of his screen names on AOL from the middle nineties. From back when there was park 'n view at truckstops instead of Wi-Fi.

But like I said I'm here. Good old Snowville Utah. Seriously remote. I'm ...like....amazed that they have internet here. They barely do.... Cingular works but it's very slow. Sprint doesn't work at all.

So I left outa the Arrowhead (proud owner of a shiny new Knife)

Right off the bat when leaving the Arrowhead going eastbound is Cabbage. I mean getting on the onramp and youre heading up hill.

I heard awhile back at the Baker Truck Coral why it's called cabbage. One of the folks that works there told me.

It seems that a long time ago when the road was first built it had lots more twists and turns than it did now (kinda hard to believe but I'm gullible). Then as now the eastbound side is seperate from the westbound side....they follow separate paths so to speak....although apparently more so then than now. So anyway this guy was standing maybe about where the Arrowhead truck stop is looking up at where the road went up the hill.

"That's right purty " he's supposed to have said..." It looks just like a cabbage".

And that's the tale.....

Doesn't look nothing like a cabbage to me...so perhaps they changed it.

Years ago...before Al Gore invented Global Warming so he could have something to do after not being elected President... when we had serious winters...maybe thirteen or fourteen years ago.....I pulled into the Arrowhead truck stop kinda like I did today. (didn't get a Knife then) There was snow on the ground and the chain law was in effect. I was a KiddieVan myself then so I had to GO!!!!

Couldn't wait for better weather...nope...gotta go.

So...I pulled into the Arrowhead...wiggled around amongst all the trucks...and found a relatively dry, flat spot. Not an easy chore. I then dropped my trailer...pulled out from under it. (real easy with a van...it's called rolling down the landing gear.) ....a few feet....and proceeded to chain up my tractor.

I took a good long time about it and did the job right. I made sure the chains were on there nice and snug and used plenty of bungee cords to make sure they staid that way.

The I hooked up and headed out...bout two hours before dark.

About midnight or so I pulled into the parking lot at the flying j in La Grande. Forty five miles.

It seems that some folks caint read. Or won't read....or don't want to go to the trouble to put on chains.

They'd rather spin out and block the interstate....which is what happened.

Just about the time I got rolling fairly well....maybe twenty or thirty miles an hour (snowpack...no need to get going too fast)...I had to slow down and stop. A line of trucks and cars in both eastbound lanes stretched outa sight up the hill.

Jackkifed set of doubles they said over the CB.

So a wrecker was sent from, I would presume La Grande, down the wrong side of the interstate ...down the hill...to snag and drag the wiggle wagon on up the hill.

We all thought that was fine...now we can go.

Wrong. Now a van spins out...jackkifes and it's blocked again.

Down comes the wrecker.

Rinse and repeat. This went on for a couple of hours. Finally I was sitting there and noticed a Highway Patrolman.....WALKING up the interstate between the parked vehicles. He was looking at tires....for chains. If he didn't see chains he'd say....

"Driver...if you don't have chains on this vehicle by the time I come back....I'm gonna write you a ticket"....and he'd head on up the hill. He said that several times before he was outa earshot from me.

Lotta guys didn't have chains....started asking to "borrow" them from those who did...or those who had extras. I suspect some money was made that night by selling company property.

Finally I got up the hill...parked...went to bed.

Woke up the next morning late....went in and ate....waited for quiet a while.

Left about noon.

Still had chains on...twenty thirty miles an hour.....

Then I got to this......only it was covered in snow and ice...it being winter and all...before Al Gore.

This is the start of a fairly long down hill. So..I quiet naturally applied the brakes...no need going too fast.

Things got SERIOUSLY interesting after that. It seems that the trailer brakes locked up....wouldn't release.

On snowpack.....and ice. The trailer started to pass me...on the left.

I really hate it when that happens. The trailer is supposed to be behind...not passing. So the only thing I could do was speed up to get in front of it.

Which is what I did.

Only now were going just a leeeetle too fast.

Faster than say...forty miles an hour and tirechains don't stay on all that well...no matter how well secured they were to begin with.

I started to sling chains. Made a hell of a racket.

I fishtailed down that hill....maybe four miles?

Over the CB radio I heard folks going the other way talking about the Acrobatic (Brand X) truck. I didn't care...I was trying to stay ahead of that trailer....it had a mind of it's own and it wanted to PASS.

By the time I got on level ground we were going WAY FAST!!! Luckily there weren't many vehicles on my side of the highway...and luckier still it got flat and stayed that way...no hairpin at the bottom or nuthin either.

I slid to a stop...pulled onto the shoulder...and sat there for a while. It turns out I didn't have a chain one left on truck or trailer.

Luckily Brand X had Quail Com..(see below). I informed dispatch of the situation and a service truck was sent my way. Several hours late it arrived...the mechanic got out.....talked to me a bit....got a propane torch outa his truck and crawled between the trailer wheels.

Five minutes later and he was done. It seems that some kind of an outlet valve had froze open......the brakes couldn't release until it closed....or maybe it froze closed and....well anyway it froze.

He melted the offending piece of ice. It worked then..

All done...pay the man..... I did...he left...and after a while I left too. Slowly and carefully and I didn't get all that far. Just to Baker City. Where I sat for a day till I "got it together" and left the next morning.

So the moral of that story is. No need to get in a hurry in bad weather...and make sure the Air Dryer is working properly in the winter.

Of course we don't have to worry about that now...not with global warming and all.

But that was years and years ago.

Today I just toodled on....no big rush...pretty day. Watching the scenery and the other trucks.

BoatHauler heading back for another one. Broke down truck....

Hmmmmmmmmm.....now there's an odd one..A little bit of rain....
Past what used to be the number one "got to stop at" truck stop in the US. The Boise Stage Stop...

Past "my babies". I carried two pieces of those particular wind towers into the location. One piece...a hub....

Can't really see it too good. It's located right in the center of those blades. It's fairly large too....about twenty foot in diameter and maybe forty thousand lbs.

You see...these mommas are HUGE.

I also carried the middle section in too...different trip...weeks apart. It's about eighty five thousand pounds....over seventy feet long...and over fourteen foot in diameter on the big end.

THAT was an "interesting " (in the chinese curse sense) trip.

In the winter...in snow...in the mountains..

I'll tell that tale another day.

I'm here....

I just watched some Kiddie vans....(a Stevens and an England .) try to smash each other while parking. An England was backing into a parking space...taking her own sweet time about it too...Stevens got impatient and backed BEHIND the England. Good thing England stopped there would have been a meeting of behinds... Then the England, apparently rattled.. put a pretty good dent in a light pole while backing up. That's OK...it stopped her...otherwise I wonder where she'd end up?

I'm tard...Gonna be a big day tomorrow.

Nite ya'll


Below: Quail Com

Kinda like homing pigeons but with quails. Quails are smaller...take up less room in the truck...use less food. When in an emergency situation, like the one I was in occurs ,the driver then ties a message to the quail's leg and throws it into the air..the quail goes for help....if help doesn't come after a while the driver can eat the remaining birds....

Uh no...that was a joke.

The real name is Qualcom..but I hear it called quail com so much I couldn't resist.

I guess the Qual part mean "quality" and the com part means communications. Short for Quality Communications? Hard to beleive someone could pat themselves on the back that much without dislocating a joint....but Isuppose it's possible.

What it is ...is Satellite Communications. The truck has a little rotating dish type antenna inside a cute little white plastic bubble...the antenna keeps a "lock" on the satellite...(geosync?...dunno..but that sounds logical...LEO like the proposed Iridium system might need a faster tracking motor)..

The Driver has a keyboard and he can send and receive messages from dispatch in near realtime format. This way the driver can be permanently on hold and ignored with no effort from the dispatcher.....or not. Added bonus...no background music is required.

Addittional aspects of the system.

The company can track the truck....knowing exactly where it is at all times. IF a truck stops at Cafe Risque on I-75 in Florida then dispatch gets a free peek. Of course...they'll never do this ...it being ONLY a communications device.

And finally...nothing can ever go wrong.......go wrong.........go wrong..

Very expensive both to buy and operate....but it's the latest thang so all the companies gotta have it.
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