It was two weeks till Christmas, as Dad walked into the Garage while I
was installing the last two tires on his R Model. He stood there, watched for a
moment, and asked if the truck and I were ready for a West coast run. Well, the
truck was, but it meant I would have to miss a week’s school, which was no problem.
The next morning we were in Toronto at Dillon’s, loading the biggest metal
lathe I had ever seen. This thing was 34 feet long, had a bed that was 6 feet
wide and weighed just under 14 Tons. They slid it into our specially equipped
dry van, and we chained it down to the rings we had in the floor of the van.
Once tied down, we headed for the Vancouver docks to have it loaded on a ship destined
for somewhere in Asia.
Dad and I switched driving and sleeping until the Manitoba border but
then we had to get sneaky. I had my Ontario Class 1, but because of my age, it
was not good in any other province, so Dad had to be behind the wheel when we
crossed the scales. Everything was fine until we pulled into the Blackfoot truck
stop in Calgary. Dad got out and started a walk around while I got my boots on.
It had been snowing, and the lot was slippery. As Dad stepped out from between
the trucks, an idiot in a 4-wheeler came around the corner of the lot, went sideways
and struck Dad, pinning him between the bumper of our trailer and his rear
fender. I heard the crash and heard Dad scream at the same time. I got to him
in time to see Mr. Idiot bounce off another truck and then plow head-on into a
third. Several drivers came running, dragged the guy out of his 4-wheeler, and
“detained” him. Someone else ran to call the Police and an ambulance while I
grabbed our first aid kit and looked after Dad. He had a bad gash on his leg,
so I quickly stopped the bleeding, but on inspection, I suspected he also had a
broken leg. The Police and ambulance arrived about the same time and took over.
The Police arrested Mr. Idiot for reckless driving, hit and run, and DUI while
Dad and I headed for the hospital. Dad indeed did have a broken Tibia, and they
suspected he might have a concussion, so they said they had to keep him for at
least 2 or 3 days. I headed back to the truck stop with orders to find a driver
to get the truck to Vancouver and then deadhead straight back.
I got back to the truck stop and started asking around, looking for a
driver, when Edna (she ran the diner) spoke up, saying she knew someone who may
go with me. I was given a phone number and called a gentleman named Lou Norris.
I explained my problem, and Lou said his truck was in for an overhaul, so he
would come over and talk to me. We talked for about half an hour, and then he
said he would help me out. So he arranged for someone to come get his pickup
and away we went. By the time we hit the highway by Bowness, I knew I had a
driver. Lou got us past the Kamloops scale, and then I took over. We switched
back before the scales at Hope, and he ran us into the docks, where we unloaded
and headed back. Finally, we pulled into Calgary, I paid Lou for all his miles
(and most of mine), and I went to see Dad.
Dad was glad to see me and impressed with how quickly I was back and how
I handled everything. He told me we had a load to Alliston, Ontario, about 40
miles from our house. I got Dad checked out of the hospital after they fitted
him with a walking cast and a set of crutches, and I was surprised at how well he
The load Dad found was from a Calgary company that had gone bust and was
forced to sell their brand-new printing presses for 10 cents on the dollar. When
Dad called them and told them of our dry van, they jumped at the chance to get
their equipment home, dry and not rusty. Dad quoted them a very high price which
they agreed to with no qualms. The trip back into Ontario was flawless, all the
scales were closed except Westhawk, and they waved us through as we only had
1200 pounds in the van. I swung by the house, dropped Dad off and then went and
delivered in Alliston. Dad, meanwhile, was now playing the wounded warrior game
and was being waited on hand and foot. All in all, the trip turned out well,
and we had a great Christmas that year.