We have all dealt with governments that make us think someone did not show up for work that day. This adventure begins in September in Edmonton. I was hauling automobiles for Allies Systems. I was given a load to Hay River, NWT, for the Ford dealer and one Ford four-wheel drive work truck was to be taken to the barge that ships to the isolated settlements further north. This truck was destined for Kugluktuk, NWT or what is now called Nunavut, to a government construction site.
I loaded in Edmonton, and nothing out of the ordinary happened on the way to Hay River, where I unloaded at the Kingland Ford dealership. From there, I took the last truck to the barge landing out of town. I went into the office and showed them the paperwork, and the lady said the only problem is that this is September, and the barge stops shipping in July. That way, the barge is back to Hay River before freeze-up. Then she said that they were not allowing equipment to be left in the compound over winter this year. Right about then, I thought I should phone Kingland and the terminal back in Edmonton.
The government handles this in Quebec, which is 3 hours different, so I was left waiting for further directions. It was a test of patience but I had been tested long before this. (I’ve helped raise three teenagers.) Finally, I got told to bring the pickup truck back to Edmonton. I asked about the rate of pay to return. They said that the rate from Edmonton to Hay River was very good. They (the government) would pay a back haul (less rate) since I was returning to Edmonton anyway. My reply was No! No! No! My truck doesn’t run any cheaper going up or returning. They finally agreed that the return trip would pay the same as going up to Hay River. I hauled the truck back to the compound in Edmonton and parked it inside the fenced yard. It sat there for almost a year. I don’t know whatever happened to it. I thought many times that a normal person would have arranged the connections before it was shipped. Maybe the day it was arranged, the person in charge didn’t come to work. I often thought a foreman was still waiting for a Ford truck to arrive.
Sometime later, in the winter, I was asked if I wanted to go to Sea-Tac (Seattle, Washington Airport) and load seven cars at the airport and take them to Hay River. They were all 4-cylinder diesel engine cars from different manufacturers. There was Volvo, Volkswagon, Ford Tempo, Dodge Rampage and others. The idea was to test them under winter conditions and compare them to Volkswagon. After testing them in Hay River during the winter, the plan was to ship them to desert countries to test them in hot weather.
The Hay River test was two weeks long, and I thought that sounded like my kind of trip. I went empty to Seattle and loaded the vehicles with no problems. The paperwork was in order, and they sent me on my way. Everything was fine until I got to Edmonton, where five ghost cars suddenly surrounded me with all the red and blue lights flashing. There were six officers, all dressed casually (no uniforms). The first came to my door and told me that I had to look at his badge in his pocket. The second officer said they were with the internal taxation department and wanted to know if the tax had been paid on the vehicles. I told them there were no problems at Sea-Tac or the border and that they were going to Hay River for cold weather testing. They are not for sale, and they are owned by manufacturing companies. I told them that if they wanted to follow me to our storage and office, they would be able to talk to one of my many bosses. We all went to our office, and two hours later, they sent me on my way. The rest of the trip to Hay River went well. I unloaded at Kingland Ford in minus -20 to -25 weather, signed the bills, and returned to Edmonton.
Three weeks later, I got a call asking if I wanted to pick up those vehicles and bring them back to Edmonton. Without thinking, I answered with three letters, YES! So I went to Hay River and out of town to a field where the tests took place. It was -38, and they had not been started for a week. Not one of them started on their own except the Volkswagon. I was excited to see the service truck from Kingland Motors finally show up to help start them. I took them back to Edmonton and unloaded them at a balmy -12, and they all started. Those trips were what made me want to haul automobiles for thirty years.
If a person maintains a positive attitude and a happy outlook on life, each trip is an adventure.