Driving Through My Memories for January/February 2023

Ed Murdoch: Ed has held a commercial drivers license for 65 years and has spent the better part of 50 years on the road.
Posted By Ed Murdoch: Ed has held a commercial drivers license for 65 years and has spent the better part of 50 years on the road. On 2023-01-19 18:29:21

Happy New Year one and all, and I trust '23
will be somewhat more friendly to the industry that we all love and hate
simultaneously. I hope the festive season of giving was a truly memorable time
for you and your loved ones. Unfortunately, the winter to date has not been
particularly user-friendly, with more snow than usual and bitter cold both on
the flatlands and even in places not used to such extremes.


If we Canucks had nothing else to talk
about, we'd still have the weather. We can't leave home without it. It
dominates our thoughts and our conversations. The weather consumes significant
amounts of radio & TV news time, too. It is the number one topic of
discussion wherever two or three are gathered, especially this time of year. Let's
face it; our country enjoys as many climactic characteristics as it does ethnic
backgrounds. Canadians champion the weather. If it were an Olympic event, we'd
win gold every time. Of the three weather networks worldwide, two are in
Canada. We've even invented a vocabulary dedicated to it. "Cold enough for
you….eh?" Which is not so much a question as a statement. Or "Warm
enough for you…..eh?" "Geez…. it's raining cats and dogs!"
"We're snowed under." "The frost is on the pumpkin…."

Our neighbours to the south improperly
accuse us Canadians for their adverse weather systems, for instance, "a
cold front from Canada is headed our way." or "a storm is moving in
from the Canadian north-west," etc. We have weather watches, alerts, warnings,
and advisories, sometimes preceded by the word "severe." There are
Alberta Clippers, storm surges, wind chill factors & humidity indices as in
"…….it feels like minus 40 or plus 110.


I think the weather brings us together as a
community and nation. It gives us common ground. No matter in what diverse
geographical region one lives or toils, the climate provides an 'ice-breaker,'
a subject for water cooler chit-chat or CB chatter. "We're going camping
this weekend. Whad'ya think the weather will be like?" or "I have to
drive to Calgary tomorrow. Do you think it's going to snow?" Advice often
accompanies wishes for a pleasant weekend or trip: "take along an extra
sweater, don't forget your gloves, scarf, toque, sunglasses, umbrella,
sun-screen, etc."


Together we celebrate great weather, and
when Mother Nature gets mad and deals us a bad hand, we commiserate with each
other, offering a helping hand where possible and staging money-raising events
to assist those who have experienced a disaster. We depend on the weather to
feed our families; when there is a drought or flood, we all suffer.


A spectacular weather calamity also affects
trends in the transportation industry. For example, when there is a significant
event such as the tragic losses experienced in Slave Lake Alberta or Hurricane
Katrina a few years back, new construction requires supplies to meet demands,
and the best way to move large shipments of material is by truck.


Fifteen years ago, after unloading a load
of newsprint from Port Alberni in Chino, California, one blistering August day,
I was 'urgently' dispatched to Tempe,
AZ, for 9:30 pick up the next morning. It was a load of styrofoam forms (say
that ten times really fast) for construction in Edmonton, Alberta. Stopping
overnight at Buckeye, I phoned the shipper early in the morning. He said, "Oh,
you weren't supposed to be here until tomorrow morning." So much for the 'urgent'
part of the mission. However, the shipper, being a practical man, offered to
load my trailer as the product came off the line, although it would take pretty
much all day, which it did. Now on that particular day, it was 125 F (51 C) in
the shade in Tempe, and as most of you are aware, there isn't much shade in
southern Arizona, so yes, it was warm enough for me!

Once loaded, I found a degree of relief,
literally a degree, in the shadow of a building down the street and waited
until after evening rush hour when it would be safe to pass through Phoenix and
head north to Flagstaff. With the trailer totally cubed out, the entire cargo
weighed a staggering 1,700 pounds. It didn't take my CAT very long to reach the
6,000 feet of elevation gain between Tempe at 1,100 feet and Flagstaff at
almost 7,000. It was noticeably cooler there at my favourite truck stop, Little

After fuelling, followed by a shower and dinner,
I pointed the Eagle north on Hwy 89 for Navajo Country, found a beckoning
turnout to accommodate my rig and settled down for a few zzzzzzzzs. When I woke
up in the morning, there was a noticeable chill in the air and, lo and behold,
a dusting of snow on the hood. It had gone from 125 F (51 C) to 28 F (-2 C) in
less than 24 hours! It must have set some sort of world record!

The coldest I've ever experienced was -65 F
(that would be -54 C) in Kirkland Lake, Ontario. Up north, the atmosphere is
generally quite dry, so it doesn't seem as cold as when the temperature is
lower, but the humidity is higher. In the mid-'50s, when we moved from Kirkland
Lake to Long Branch near Hwy 27 and the Lakeshore west of Toronto, my first wife
thought she would be in heaven, doffing her full-length muskrat coat and
walking around in shorts and t-shirt all winter. I assured her that compared to
the dry cold in Timmins and Kirkland Lake, where she taught school, she would
never have been colder than she would experience near Lake Ontario with the
dampness. Disbelief turned excruciatingly into resignation by the following

While stranded on the barren wastelands in
mid-winter, changing a headlight or fixing broken wiring without gloves,
accompanied by sub-zero values and howling wind, plays havoc on one's fingers.
It becomes most notable upon reaching the twilight of one's sojourn on this
planet, a stage which I have achieved with mixed feelings and considerable
joint pain. But, on the other hand, suppose you are a younger aspiring hi-miler
or just venturing out in your 4-wheeler to pick up milk and a loaf of bread at
the corner 7/11 (I wonder what 7/11 is in metric?). In that case, you might
want to consider investing in a high-end pair of skin-tight gloves to offer
even a fraction of protection to avoid the discomfort of arthritic joints later
in life.


Meanwhile, it's so cold even the brass
monkey is bundling up. It's so cold lawyers are putting their hands in their
own pockets. It's so cold when a police officer yells, "Freeze!" you
do! Are you still repeating 'styrofoam forms'? Ten times? Motor with care,
perform a random act of kindness every day and all the best in the New Year …

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2020 Vision by Greg Evasiuk...


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Bad Breaks and Good Luck

Driving Through My Memories for January/February 2023


Time to Reset!

Halcyon Days of Trucking

All Experience…

The Piggy Bus Encounter

Sports and Life Lessons

Winter Storms

Humboldt Tragedy_MELT program

Driving Through My Memories

On The Road Again

Wait Over Weight

I Write

Elliot Lake

The Good (?) Old Trucks

Canadian and Proud of it

Six Cans for Buffalo Joe

Monkeys and Peanuts

Safety First

30? 60? 90? Late Pay

Nothing New


Has anything changed?

Holidays - Then Back To The Grind.

Old Trucker Troubles

Loose Moose

Some of the Trucks I've Seen

The Last Ride

Cold Load Home

Make it a Holiday

Winter Wonderland Trucking

Thinning the Herd

Just Be There…

And to All, a Good Night!

Dumb and Dumber

Helping Out in a Clutch

The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.

Driver Retention Matters_ New Volvo VNL


Tires and Trouble

Idle time

Dinner on the Road

Load Security

Tourist Trucking

The Last Ride