Tourist Trucking

Dave Madill : Dave has been entertaining us with his poetry since 2001.
Posted By Dave Madill : Dave has been entertaining us with his poetry since 2001. On 2024-05-18 20:21:33

It all started in the summer of '69 when Dad brought home an R700 that had seen better days. It was in sad shape, but he got it for less than scrap value, and we had an engine, transmission, and lots of spare parts. Dad figured it would be a good winter project and we needed another highway truck anyway.

Dad wanted to do this one right, so he shipped our engine to a professional rebuilder to have them completely rebuild the engine. They put in oversized pistons and shaved the block, and a new engine came back with a little bit of extra horsepower. I went through the tranny and made sure it was like new, and installed it in the frame. From there, it was on to the cab and hood, and we started looking for a sleeper. I ran across what at that time was called a Super Sleeper, but it was a 60-inch mid-roof with double bunks and was in good shape. With a little bit of swearing and some elbow grease, we had ourselves a truck. Mom got involved in reupholstering the cab and sleeper, and I sent it out for a paint job. We named it Double Blue. We finished it off about mid-May and sent it out on a couple of local jobs to get all the kinks out, and it ran like a Swiss watch.  

At this time, Mom came up with the idea that Dad should take this truck, find a slow load to the West Coast, and take her on a trip. On the other hand, Dad said the bunks were too small for him, and there was no way he was giving up his R model for this piece of junk. Mom was an English War bride, so she crossed the ocean and travelled from Halifax to Barrie, Ontario, but she had never made it more than 100 miles north or west of Barrie. I knew that Mom wanted to see the rest of Canada, so when the summer holidays came up, I found a load in a sea can that didn't have to be at the Van docks for two weeks. I picked it up and told Mom that we were going travelling. She was a bit disappointed in Dad, but still, this would show her our country, so she agreed.

We were off Monday morning, and the first day, we made it all the way to the Sou. I gave Mom the bottom bunk, and after the novelty wore off, she got a decent rest. Tuesday, and since we had friends in Wawa, we had a short day and spent the rest of it visiting a lady that Mom had served with in the WAF.

Now the scenery opened up, and all day Thursday, all I heard was how beautiful and rugged the north was. We had a fairly short day and spent the night in T Bay. Friday, it was all gasps and oohs to the Manitoba border and then to Winnipeg. Saturday, I decided to push a bit, and Mom could not get over how vast the prairies were. Then, as we came into Calgary, she could see the mountains. Even from a distance, she commented on how large they were and asked how we would get through them. Sunday and the trip down into Golden was a white-knuckled ride with many more oohs and aahs, and we pushed on to Kamloops. Monday and the trip through the Canyon was more white-knuckles and gasps at the sheer beauty. We spent the night at Chilliwack and delivered to the Vancouver dock early the next morning, then off to a friend's place to visit and park the rig.

I rented a car the next day and hopped the Ferry to the Island to visit the Madill clan and across the Island so Mom could wade in the Great Pacific with nothing between her and Asia but water and then back to the mainland on the night boat.

I told Mom this would be the end of tourism, and we headed home. I was going to have to make some miles, and on Friday, I found a load for the Peg that I could deliver on Tuesday, so we actually took our time and took the Southern Route across BC and delivered on time. Thursday, I found a load that would put me 25 miles from home and was in no great rush, so I grabbed it and took Mom across the Northern route through Hearst.

Finally, the trip was over, and Mom was still in awe of all the things she had seen and how vast and beautiful our nation was. I don't know when I had a more fun trip, but I know my mother never forgot the miles. It's hard to believe, but we actually made some money on this trip, and it is one I will never forget.

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