There’s been a change in me. As the years went by, I found that I was no longer enjoying the culture and the government rules. The overnight delivery, electric logs and inspections of trucks and license qualifying were getting to me. I was getting old. I thought it was time to hang up the keys, so I sold the trucks, thinking I would relax and enjoy old age. I stopped driving for about a year and spent my time doing the odd jobs around the house. I quickly found out that when a person retires, there are no weekends. One day is just the same as any other day.
There’s been a change in me. As the years went by, I found that I was no longer enjoying the culture and the government rules. The overnight delivery, electric logs and inspections of trucks and license qualifying were getting to me. I was getting old. I thought it was time to hang up the keys, so I sold the trucks, thinking I would relax and enjoy old age. I stopped driving for about a year and spent my time doing the odd jobs around the house. I quickly found out that when a person retires, there are no weekends. One day is just, the same as any other day.
His trucks were all late 1990’s old school, with no electronics, and very well maintained. He said that he had to keep them in excellent repair because he could not afford a break down on a logging road. One of the first trips was to haul a load from Chilliwack to Manson Lake, B.C., with a “B” train. Manson Lake is about 160 km west of McKenzie, B.C., on a forestry logging road. It was 30 years since I pulled B-trains, but it came back quickly. I felt at home – old school!
Chilliwack to McKenzie was standard blacktop, but, as usual, the traffic had no consideration for others on the road. The VHF radio had the usual crap. One guy was telling how his boss was a bum that didn’t know what he is doing, and the other guy was explaining why he and his wife split up. So that part of the trip was not new.
Once I got to the forestry road at McKenzie, the road changed completely. The trail was one lane, and the VHF was all business. Logging trucks were calling their mile markers so others knew where they would meet, and the road was rough gravel with soft spots. There was almost no traffic, but I only travelled at 40mph or lower, so the load did not move. The road (trail) was narrow, with hills up and down and sharp corners. The load that I had was a rock drill needed to blast a new road at Manson Lake. After 3 hours, I got to a junction that was about 5 or 6 miles to the job site. It was late, so I thought I would pull over and have a nap, then leave in the morning. It looked like a worse road than what I had been on, so I wanted to do it in the daylight. When morning came, I got up and had a duck’s breakfast – a drink of water and a look around, and I was ready for the world. Within a half-hour, a rough-looking character in a beat-up pick-up came to my door and said he was the boss and I could follow him to the site of the unload. He turned out to be a good guy. He cautioned me to be sure that I was straight going onto a temporary bridge because there was a 90-degree left turn immediately after the bridge. That’s when I understood what my boss said - no rookies.
I started across the narrow deck – there were no side rails – and it was about twice as long as the truck and trailers. The width of the deck was the width of the truck tires, plus about a foot on each side. When I came to the end, I stopped before the left turn and got out to survey the situation. There were no guard rails, and there was a sheer cliff on the right, and on the left, the trail dropped about 60 feet into the river. I turned back to the truck and trailer and thought that moments like this could cure constipation!
I made the turn okay, and when I got to the unload area, I was not surprised to see there was no Loading dock. The site boss said that where I stopped was good. They would bring the Cat over, and he could pile the dirt behind the trailer, then skid the load off Of #2 trailer. I could split the trailers and unhook the #1 trailer, and they could pile the dirt up to the front of the trailer and drag the load off. He said they would push the dirt piles away from the trailers, and I could hook up. Believe it or not, it worked, and nothing broke.
The yard hands seemed rather strange. I don’t think they were running on all cylinders. One fellow wore plastic ski boots in the summer in the mud and rain. I asked about his boots, and he said that he had bad ankles. The site boss told me that nine people lived in an old log house that was the only thing left of the old townsite of Manson Lake. He said that they live there all year around. There was a sign on the old house that said “General Store.” He said I could get breakfast for $18.50 consisting of coffee, toast and eggs, but if I wanted bacon, it would be an extra $10.00. I told him that I would pass. Once I was unloaded, I headed for the bridge. This time it was a blindside right turn onto the bridge. I started into the turn, thinking if I missed that corner, I would soon know if I was going to heaven or hell, but I made it, so I guess I’ll have to wait a little longer to find out.