Pro-Trucker Driver's Choice - July August 2021 (Find your Trucking Job)

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We Lost Another Good Trucker. A few years back, I would be in my office (pretending to be working) when the phone would ring and either my daughter Tori or my wife Donna would pick it up. I would soon know who was on the other end from the giggling and outright laughter coming from whoever had picked up. I would smile to myself and wonder what Mel McConaghy was up to this time. Inevitably he would have come up with a short story about something or other, or he was just up to his old habit of teasing the girls. When I realized who was on the other end during those calls, I knew that I did not have to rush to finish whatever I was doing because once he got the girls going, they didn’t stop until they begged off to go back to work. One thing about Mel – that man could talk, and he loved the ladies. When this combination came together, and you got him talking to a lady who was receptive to his wild sense of humour, he never ran out of words. I am so very sad to tell you that Mel McConaghy has finally run out of words – he passed away on June 9th. Mel was one of a kind. He entertained our readers and us with his stories for over 15 years. His knowledge of the industry from the ground up was seldom surpassed, and while his view of the world was often humorous, it was also very insightful. He loved old cars and trucks and would readily talk about either one, but Trucking was his life, and he was damn proud of it. We printed Mel’s first story in our March 2005 issue, and it was titled, “We Lost Another Good Trucker.” It was, as the title says, about the death of a trucker. This is the last paragraph of that story, and it is very fitting today. He wrote: “There is one thing I know for certain: if there’s a special place where good truckers go, then Joe and a whole lot of other passed friends will be there, shining their chrome and trying to take care of us truckers left here on earth.” Rest in Peace, old friend. I know that if there is a place for old truckers, you will soon have them laughing in the aisle. I also know that you will be sorely missed by all who knew you. As I said, Mel was a staunch supporter of truckers, and I am sure he would have been very excited, and the first to join the new Facebook page called “Trucking is a Trade.” He loved to talk, but for him, it wasn’t just talk. He was always quick to defend truckers and the trade. He always said that the biggest problem with Independent Owner-Operators (he was one himself) was the title’s independent portion. He said if you had four drivers in convoy, you would have four different opinions on where to stop for coffee. He once told me, “John, if you could get truckers to agree on anything, they would be a force to be reckoned with. There are so many of us that we could have politicians shaking in their boots.” Times are changing, and I have never seen this much interest in truckers getting together to get things done. “Trucking is a Trade” is not a formal association, and there are no dues or fees. It is strictly a group, but that is what it takes a group - a large group. There were times when Mel did not mince his words, and I’m sure he would have said, “It is time to put up or shut up.” There is more information on “Trucking is a Trade” on page 38



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RIG OF THE MONTH by John White

I grew up helping my Grandpa and Dad hauling hay on the family farm outside Mayfair, Saskatchewan. In my younger years, I spent a lot of time in our 1986 Ford Louisville LTL9000. Dad taught me to drive 13 speed, though I rarely made it to the top gears in the first few years! I was seven when I started by driving the truck along the field as dad followed with the tractor, loading my trailer with bales.


fter high school, I came back to the farm and got my license to haul grain. That’s when I really got bit by the trucking bug. Shortly after getting my license, I got a job working as a driver in the oilfield in a brand new 2008 Peterbilt, 379 long hood flat top with an ISX Cummins. I learned a lot from my first boss Tim Sitter. He taught me how to take good care of a truck in harsh environments by

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keeping it clean and well maintained. I worked with Tim for about four years, always aspiring to become an owneroperator, and he always encouraged me to chase my dreams. In 2011 I got my first truck, Old Black, a 2000 Kenworth W900 powered by a red top N14 select plus an 18-speed transmission. As a new owner-operator, my first

job was hauling grain in the prairies. After about a year, I went back to the oilfield but this time, with my own truck, I was able to make better money and be closer to my daughter, Kenley. After a couple of years, I saved up enough money to upgrade to a 2007 Kenworth W900 with a C15 MXS 550 Cat and an 18-speed transmission now known as Gypsy. I drove it in the oilfield until 2013. JULY / AUGUST 2021 Work was starting to slow down, so I decided to set off for something new and joined a company out of Saskatoon, running a long haul, which was always my dream. I got to experience what it was like to run from Texas to Alberta, mostly hauling pipe for the oilfield. Then in 2014, the oilfield crash caused me to look for a new job, so I leased on with another company doing deck work.

we headed over to the West Edmonton Mall for some fun. Mike and I thought we would brave the roller coaster, It turns out we aren’t teenagers anymore, so we slowed our pace and went shopping with our wives. Afterwards, we moseyed on down to the Eskimo Stadium, driving right onto the turf where we loaded Beyonce’s stage then we high-tailed it to Chicago, making it in record time.

I had a weekend free during the job switch, so I picked up my daughter and went camping with my parents. That is where I conveniently met my future wife, Jamie. She was quite impressed by my escapades behind the wheel of an 18 wheeler. So when I asked her if she wanted to come on the road with me, she promptly quit her job as a cake decorator of 7 years to become a truck driver. I taught her to drive, and she got her license, then we ran team for about two years.

One Friday, we ended up in a small town in Ohio called Fort Recovery. We were there to load a grain cart, but, when we showed up, it was a lot taller than it was supposed to be. So we spent the weekend there while they made a few changes so we could legally haul it. We were grateful for the little break, as Gypsy ran for most hours of the day. We were close enough to town that we could walk around and check out some historic buildings at the Fort Recovery State Museum. We were able to get some shopping done so we could BBQ at the truck, and just relax.

During those two years on the road, we had many amazing experiences. We spent Canada Day walking around downtown Montreal, taking in the sights and the fireworks with some friends who work at the same company. It was really cool because we were in the middle of a Military move to a base near Quebec city so we had military equipment on our trailers on Canada day. Another time, because we were team drivers, we could travel faster so we were given a rush load of mobile stairs for loading people onto evacuation airplanes during the big fire in Fort McMurray, Alberta. We drove through the smoky city right after the fire had gone through, and it was still burning very close. One of my favourites was a trip where we met up in Edmonton, Alberta, with our good friends Mike and Rhonda, who were also team drivers. We were hauling Beyonce’s stage from the Edmonton Eskimo Stadium to her next gig in Chicago, Illinois. We had some time to kill while waiting to load, so JULY / AUGUST 2021

On a dark day in January of 2017, I was involved in a horrible accident. I was driving along on what would have been a very normal day when a young person attempted to take their own life. Luckily everyone lived to see another day, but it was an experience that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. The accident caused a lot of damage to both Gypsy and my trailer, which started a long road of financial hardships—dealing with insurance, waiting for parts, and a lot of downtime. All in all, it took over four months to get Gypsy back on the road. During that downtime, we acquired a 2005 International Eagle 9900i, which became known as the Snot Rocket due to its unique shade of green. It ended up as Jamie’s truck once we got Gypsy back on the road. This opened the door for different opportunities and even more adventures. A great opportunity came our way when we joined our good friend Joe who had started a new company,


Smoke’n Transport. Now Jamie and I were able to run together more often with both our trucks. That summer, we were asked by David from WoWtrucks to come to a photoshoot for the 2018 True North Calendar, Women in Transport. At the photoshoot, he learned that we were engaged and hoping to be married soon. He offered to take some photos of both of us, which we ended up using for our wedding photos. Due to the unforeseen circumstances of my accident, our wedding plans were drastically changed from 150 guests to only 6. One day in December, we were travelling together on route to visit family for Christmas. Talking on the CB, we decided to see if we could get a marriage certificate somewhere along the way. One of the places Jamie called said that they could also do the officiating for a very minimal fee on top of the certificate. Jamie asked me on the CB if we wanted to get married tomorrow at 1 pm. I said, I do! That spring, Joe lined up two loads going to Whitehorse, Yukon from Montreal, Quebec. We decided this would make a great honeymoon. Once we hit the Alcan highway, we stopped every chance we got. We stopped at Fort Nelson, British Columbia, to catch a flick at the Phoenix theatre then proceeded up the road to spend the night at the Laird Hot Springs. The next day we went to Watson Lake and took a stroll in the Sign Post Forest before making our way to Whitehorse. Once entering the city area, we reported to the scale where the DOT officer turned travel agent gave us pamphlets for all the cool sights to be seen in Whitehorse. After unloading the shipping containers full of equipment, we took a week off and walked around the whole town, enjoying all it had to offer. It was the perfect trucker’s honeymoon. Approximately 8 1/2 months later, my wife could no longer drive her truck, Snot Rocket, because we were expecting a child. We decided to go on one last trip, just the two of us. We Pro-Trucker Driver’s Choice Magazine


went to Stuart, BC where Alaska is just on the other side of the river. It was quite a scenic winter drive. The doctors thought we were crazy venturing so far away, so close to the due date and not long after we got back, our beautiful little Adalynn was born. The arrival of our little girl brought our team driving chapter to a close. I am lucky enough to have the kind of job where I can take my kids with me during the summer. Though I have many stories, one of my favourite trips was when my oldest daughter Kenley and I went to Toronto. While there, I

broke down, so I called my good friend Travis, who lives nearby, for help. Somehow he was able to find the part I needed. He rushed the part to me, but it was too late to load by the time we got it all fixed up. So we jumped in his pickup and went to Niagara Falls. We spent the night watching the light show by the water and enjoying all there is to see and do at the Clifton Hill Fun by the Falls. A couple of friends and I started a group on Facebook called All Out Big Rigs NoLimits. We started it to bring our industry together for the better.

What started as a small community of friends slowly got bigger to the point where we could bring drivers together for truck shows to help other people in the industry. We have also created fun challenges for the men and women who put pride in their rides. David from WoWtrucks interviews the winners, and then we share pictures of their rigs, and their stories, with our group. It’s fun to be able to put a positive spin on this challenging industry. I am currently still enjoying the long hauls but always looking forward to coming home to my girls.

Oh No You Don’t! Fifty-one years ago Herman James, a West Virginia Mountain man was drafted by the Army. On his first day in boot camp, the Army issued him a comb. That afternoon the Army barber sheared off all his hair. On his second day, the Army issued him a tooth brush. That afternoon the Army dentist yanked seven of his teeth. On his third day the Army issued him a jock strap. The army is still looking for him.....

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JULY / AUGUST 2021 13



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Letters to the Editor

cker azine Pro-Tru Choice Mag ’s Driver

We lost one of the few remaining old school truckers on the 9th of June when Mel McConaghy passed away. He was a driver, writer, ex-Canadian Navy serviceman, and allaround good guy. I got to know Mel when he wrote to the editor of a magazine I bought every month over here in Scotland called Classic Van and Truck. The editor, Ted Connolly, printed his comment in the readers’ letters section- and he included Mel’s website and his e-mail address. Mel was asking for drivers who liked old trucks and cars to get in touch. I replied, and so began a friendship that’s lasted eleven or so years. Not only was Mel an accomplished driver, but he was also a good writer, and one of the reasons he wanted to contact other drivers was to get their opinion on a book he was writing. His first book, The Stoker, was about his time in the Canadian Navy, where he was lucky enough to be selected for service on the Royal Yacht Britannia when looking for a multi-national crew. Allegedly Prince Phillip came down to the engine room every day because the Canadian coffee was better. Who knew, eh? His next book, My Life Through a Broken Windshield, was about his time on Canada’s highways, byways and back roads. For a self-described, dumb old dyslexic trucker, his books were great. In the eleven or so years we’ve corresponded and spoken on Skype, he wrote three or four more books. If it hadn’t been for his encouragement, I would never have started writing for Pro-Trucker Magazine and UK Magazines. Although I always wanted to write about my childhood and family life, I never got around to it until Mel said he liked my “voice” as I wrote. I take pride in that it is similar to Mel’s. His buddies on the CB radio said. “McConaghy, you’re so full of BS you should write a book.” So he did - several. He started out in the trucking life hauling logs to the mill as a young boy with a horse. Well, really, the horse did all the work. Mel was only there to hook the chain onto the logs. And if he hooked too many logs on, the horse wouldn’t move until he lightened its load. At the end of his first day, Mel came back to camp and put the horse away in the stable. He then headed straight to the cook shack. He had barely sat down at the table when the boss came in and lifted him bodily out of his seat. He said, “You don’t eat until the horse is taken care of. You haven’t even taken the harness off.” “Well,” said the young Mel, “I don’t know how to put it back on, and it’ll be wearing it tomorrow.” A lesson followed this exchange in fitting the harness and ensuring the horse was fed and watered before he got fed and watered. He moved on to driving a truck hauling lumber from the mill. In the dead of winter, drivers had to remove the Pro-Trucker Driver’s Choice Magazine

battery and drain the radiator so the truck would start in the morning. One morning he woke up in the bunkhouse, and the stove was just about out. Mel thought it would be a great idea to throw a little gas on the smouldering embers. The resulting bang quickly woke up the rest of the bunkhouse. The talk over breakfast was all about the new kid who almost blew up the bunkhouse. For however long I’ve got left in this life, and just like his bunkhouse buddies, I know I’ll never forget Mel McConaghy. Rest In Peace, old friend.

JULY / AUGUST 2021 15

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The Switch By Dennis Sova I was always interested in the big rigs, so when a chance to retire early from my lifetime career came up, I took the gold watch, got my class 1 and hit the road. For the next ten years, I hauled everything from potatoes to Zambonis in Western Canada and the U.S., acquiring many (mostly) happy memories along the way.


he boss called me into his office and said, “We need someone to do a switch every Saturday around noon in Clearwater with a truck from Edmonton - would you be interested?” After a quick calculation in my head (a ten-hour round trip, in daylight, no rush hour traffic), I said, “You bet!” The scenery was great, and I usually had enough time on the way back to treat myself to the old Kamloops to Merritt road as an antidote to the I-5 blues... My switch partner from Edmonton was Mike. I secretly nicknamed him “Mother Mike” as he always insisted on helping with the landing gear and the lights...I’m sure he would have done the windshield and checked under the hood if I asked. But all good things are inevitably discontinued, and Mike was offered a full-time position and his own truck, so a new guy would be taking over the switch. I did a double-take as my new partner got out of the truck the following weekend. The dude could have stepped right out of the front cover of George Harrison’s “All things must pass” album, including the oversize gumboots. He was nice enough to talk to but seemed very distracted; wherever his mind was, it wasn’t in the A&W parking lot in Clearwater, BC. “I’m gonna miss Mike,” I thought as I started on my way back,” and, who the heck wears gumboots in a highway

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truck?” I would soon find out. It was a sunny summer day (ever notice how many bad hair day stories start out like that?) when I started out that Saturday morning from Delta. After passing through Kamloops, I noticed that the opposing traffic was unusually light with virtually no trucks. Oh-oh! The radio confirmed that the highway was closed in both directions just outside the Jasper townsite due to an accident. All the best-laid plans of mice and men! But, things were looking up as I arrived in Clearwater. Convoys of southbound trucks were rolling through town; this meant that the highway reopened at least four hours ago. By the time I finished my Teenburger, traffic was back to normal, but no sign of Gumboot. I asked the weekend dispatcher to GPS him and was assured he was on his way and should be arriving shortly. Ditto two hours later, I was starting to smell a rat! I was in a full Yosemite Sam mode when finally, four hours behind schedule, the company truck rolled into town. Sheepishly, my new partner confirmed that an accident closed the highway just outside of Jasper townsite, causing a considerable traffic jam. Another truck driver opined to him that the road would surely be closed for hours. That was good enough for Gumboot, who (sensible

footwear or not) set off on a kilometre or so hike to town for a little bite to eat, leaving the rig in the middle of the road. What could possibly go wrong? He was reluctant to elaborate on what happened when he returned from breakfast, and I did not have the heart to ask how much the ticket and the towing bill amounted to. Eager to get going, I hooked up to the new trailer, only to discover a flat tire and no brake lights. A tire shop in town fixed the flat just before closing, but I decided that the brake lights would have to wait for now as I had no idea where the problem might be. My crime spree was short-lived. I carefully rolled across the weigh scale in Kamloops with a friendly wave at the officer inside - I should have known better! (I can’t raid the fridge without getting caught, and today was no different) STOP. BACK UP. PARK, BRING PAPERS, the sign flashed. Apparently, my undoing was that on top of everything else, the bogies were a couple of hundred kilos over the limit. Thanks, Gumboot! But, it turned out that amid all the bad luck, I got lucky. The young officer was one of the nicest I have ever met, and after listening to my tale of woe, he explained where, in the dark recesses of the fuse box, I might find the problem. He was right! Another stranded driver gave me the appropriate fuse; I adjusted the bogies, and after happily receiving a warning ticket, I was on my way. By the time I got to Merritt, it was obvious that I would not make it home that night. The Wagon West Travel Plaza would have to do. I rolled up my jacket into a pillow and drifted off to sleep. I may have dreamt of truck-driving garden gnomes that night, but I can’t say that for sure. JULY / AUGUST 2021 17


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Flood of 60 I

t was a Friday, and I had just come home from school when I got a phone call from my buddy Fred. He wanted Dad and me to come down to his place to take a look at what the flood had washed up in his backyard. Fred lived about 20 miles from us and was right on the bank of the Nottawasaga River, so Dad and I piled in the pickup and went down. Now right where Fred’s place was, the river made a U-turn and then made it another a couple of hundred yards downstream and then headed off north again, so we were prepared for almost anything. When we arrived, Fred took us down to the river and there in the bay was a jumble of logs. These were not your standard logs. They were almost all 40-foot long peeled pine that were at least eighteen inches thru the butt end, and from what we could see, there were a lot of them. (We estimated at least 100). Last year, Fred and I dropped a huge Elm across the river as a footbridge, and because of the high water, these logs were all trapped. Since the flood had washed it down, it was ours by the right of salvage, so Dad, Fred, and I figured that we could come up with some fine timber to take to the mill with a bit of work. Dad knew where he could borrow a good boat and motor, and we had the Case Backhoe, which could reach down over the 4-foot bank and haul them up behind Fred’s house. Dad and I headed home, where I grabbed the backhoe and loaded the bucket up with cables, ropes, a chain saw, my chest waders and some twocycle gas while he headed off to borrow Melvin’s 15-foot boat with a ten horse motor. I headed off with the backhoe and made the 20 miles in a

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couple of hours. When I arrived at Fred’s, I found that Dad had dropped the boat off and headed home while Fred had called John and Lawrence to be down at his place the following morning. By 8 am when Dad showed up, we were already working and had a few logs onshore. Dad checked around and then told us that this operation was all ours and to have at it while he checked with a lawyer about salvage. We worked our butts off all day and had over 40 logs up on shore before we shut down at dark, had supper, and crashed. The next day we put in a 14 hour day, but now we were getting logs further upstream and working them out of the trees, so things went a bit slower. We all decided to take a couple of days off school and keep working, and Monday and Tuesday, we again put in 14 hour days. By Tuesday night, we had cleared all the logs from the Highway Bridge down and had gone downstream to the end of Fred’s place. We now had 105 logs piled up onshore. We decided this was the end, and John and Lawrence went home while Fred and I went to school the next day from his place. I just walked in the door at home Wednesday evening when Fred called and said I had better come down to his place as we had a problem, so I hopped in the pickup and headed down. When I arrived, there was this big shot there trying to tell Fred that the logs were his and he would have a truck come and take them away to a building site

By Dave Madill Dave Madill was Pro-Trucker Magazine’s Rig of the Month in June of 2001 and he has been entertaining us with his poetry ever since. Dave has published three books of poems that are available by special order through Chapters Book Stores.

up at Wasaga Beach, but he would pay Fred $1.00 a log for hauling them out of the river. That’s when I stepped in and informed him that the logs were ours by right of salvage, and if he wanted them, he would have to pay us $4000.00, and we would deliver them to Wasaga but would have to be paid cash in advance, or we would haul them to the sawmill who would be more than willing to pay us. I also advised him that we had checked with a Lawyer, and under maritime law, the logs were our property. I informed him that our Lawyer would handle any further negotiations and that the logs would be hauled to the mill in 15 days as we had to pay our workers and equipment rentals. It took about a week, but finally, our Lawyer called and said he had a certified cheque for the sum of $4000.00 and would I haul the logs to the address in Wasaga. It took me eight days to haul all 105 logs to the beach, but it was well worth it. Fred, John, Lawrence and I ended up taking $600.00, and we paid Eldon $100.00 for the use of his boat, which left Dad with $1500 for the use of all the equipment, and he paid $200.00 to our Lawyer for making a couple of phone calls and reading his Law books. Sometimes makes me wonder why I am a truck driver when I could have gone to school and became a Lawyer JULY / AUGUST 2021 19

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Crimes Against Humanity “Unlike war crimes, crimes against humanity can be committed during peace or war. They are not isolated or sporadic events but are part either of a government policy or a wide practise of atrocities tolerated or condoned by a government or a de facto authority.”


ith a sad and broken heart, I approach you with this column in light of the recent tragic discovery of 215 remains of aboriginal children on the grounds of the St. Paul Residential School in Kamloops. This is a topic that I am unable to ignore and allow to pass by without repeating the grim statistics that every Canadian needs to know. It is vital to understanding the dilemma we all face, every creature that is alive today. I do not want to be different, but I am. I must bear the agony of the families who suffered at the hands of my mentally twisted ancestors & also bear their shame and guilt to the grave. I beg you to read every word and take them to heart, for we must revisit the wrongs that have never been righted. We currently complain about restrictions to our lifestyles by the pandemic. Read the following & see if we really have anything to complain about. I attended the “Truth & Reconciliation Commission” forum at A. L. Fortune Secondary School in Enderby on April 4, 2012. Two things struck me. First, the hair colour of the attendees, mostly white and gray,

very few young people there, even though the hour was not late. The second thing, perhaps more poignant, was that there were two representatives from one of the church denominations responsible for a significant amount of the horror that precipitated the meeting in the first place. The question was asked why it took so long for the government, police and church officials to acknowledge the crimes that were committed against the indigenous peoples of Canada in the form of residential schools, the proliferation of disease, and the determined vision of eliminating the “Indian problem” through attrition of its youth and therefore its regenerative possibilities? Perhaps the only viable answer to the question is apathy. Who cares? Haven’t we all heard the phrase from the old westerns, “The only good Indian is a dead Indian.”? I am astonished at the attitude of many of my peers who, when asked what they think about the native situation, are quick to point out that “they are nothing but trouble.” “Look at all the money Drivers 70-80 CENTS PER MILE! they’ve been given and how they’ve wasted it on drugs and alcohol.” Super B & tridem step “Look at the 2 yrs exp & acceptable abstract mess they’ve Western Canada & USA made of their Some dedicated runs reservations.” “They’re all

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school dropouts, lazy lay-a-bouts – no good for anything.” The white man destroyed the Indian way of life, language and culture and somehow made it the Indian’s fault. By the turn of the last century, Canada had passed legislation that disenfranchised all Indian and Metis people, deeming them of inferior legal and social status. Imprisoned them on reserves of barren land of little commercial value to the white man and thereby making them wards of the state? By 1933 all aboriginal children over the age of seven were in legal custody of the residential school principals, and their parents were forced to relinquish legal custody of their biological children or face imprisonment. How many Canadians are aware that of the 150,000 native children who attended residential school, many handcuffed & snatched from their villages without their parent’s knowledge, one-third were never seen again? Of those 50,000, many deaths and disappearances, the location of their remains is still unknown. How many are aware that aboriginal children were deliberately infected with diseases like tuberculosis and smallpox & left to die untreated? The Superintendent of Indian Affairs in 1919 abolished the post of Medical Inspector for the residential schools, and within two years, the deaths JULY / AUGUST 2021 23 tripled. Now take a moment to think if these were your children, nieces, nephews, cousins or just dear friends, how you would feel. In 1928 and 1933, the Alberta and BC governments passed Sexual Sterilization Acts allowing any residential school student to be sterilized with the approval only of the principal. A minimum of 3,500 young native girls were mutilated. A prominent United Church west coast surgeon whom my mother thought was a wonderful man is alleged to have personally performed over 2,000 such surgeries. In 1938 the federal government made an attempt to close the residential schools and incorporate the children into the public school system. The effort was opposed by the Roman Catholic and Protestant church officials so vigorously that the bill was

scrapped. The last residential school to close was in Punnichy, Saskatchewan, in 1996, just 25 years ago. So much for the Christian influence. Did you know that post-second war testing of biological warfare and mind control was carried out using involuntary participation by students of the residential schools until 1970? And that the federal health department denied groups of native students vitamins and dental care, using them as guinea pigs in order to study the effects? Eyewitnesses to murders in the residential schools have been “gagged.” Mass burial graves are currently being unearthed at residential sites across Canada. Church lawyers are finally admitting a cover-up of crimes committed against residential school students. Lawsuits brought against the church and government officials by

the survivors of the residential school program have exceeded 10,000. Even the International Human Rights Assoc., an offshoot of the United Nations, has been silenced by strong pressure from the Canadian government. As a long-haul trucker with a career of over fifty years, beginning in 1951, I have circumvented all ten provinces and two territories in Canada and dozens of the Excited States & witnessed much of what I am telling you today. My face began to leak many times as I passed by the bleak and empty residential schools, standing as a mockery to the plight of those who passed through their doors and especially to those that never returned from their sentence. I have been haunted for years by the memories. Be well and be safe. Perform a random act of kindness daily … 10-4!

Sometimes, someone unexpected comes into your life outta nowhere, makes your heart race, and changes you forever. We call those people cops.


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What the Hell Just Happened Moments. We’ve all had “What the Hell moments.” Here are a few of mine. 1. I was following a B-train of lumber east of Revelstoke, BC, getting ready to climb Albert Canyon. I stayed behind the lumber even though it was travelling 35-40 mph. As we passed Albert Canyon Hot Springs Road, I saw something move on the right-hand shoulder as the lumber went by. I stayed in the driving lane and just as I got to that spot, a dark figure leaped out of the ditch to cross the road. There was a loud thump. I pulled over and stopped. It was a full-grown deer that jumped so high that it was hit on the top deck of the car carrier, then slid down the hood and hit the radiator and onto the highway – dead. I checked the truck out – nothing leaking from the motor area. I was lucky enough to be able to carry on – there was $3,700 damage to the truck. 2. It was freezing rain coming into Swift Current, SK. I was going to Regina. I crawled into the Esso Truck Stop and parked for the night. At about 4 am a crunching sound awakened me, and my truck was bouncing back and forth. I got up and saw a Keysen’s B-train bulk cement trailer tearing my right-hand mirror off and the right front corner of my cab over International. A new driver stopped, and we did paperwork – he said that he was in a hurry to leave, and he didn’t realize that he was that close to me—$5,000 damage. 3. I was empty going from

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Chilliwack to Vancouver to load cars. At Abbotsford, an accident stopped the traffic, so I pulled up behind a small pick-up pulling a lawn care trailer and stopped. As I did, I checked in my mirrors. There was a “Look-out and hang on” moment. The semi behind me was having a hard time getting stopped. There was white and blue smoke coming off all 18 tires. I could see he was not going to get stopped. There was a big crash, and even though I had all my brakes locked, he hit me hard enough to push me 27 feet – with my brakes on. I hit the small pick-up and pushed it 57 feet further. There was nothing I could do except pull out my cell phone and start taking pictures. The damage to me was about $20,000. 4. Not all “what the Hell was that” moments involve crashes. On a beautiful summer day, I came to Princeton, BC, loaded and headed for Vancouver from Calgary. I came through town and came up the west hill. Across the road at the top was a service station, and across from the service station, there was a cop standing on the shoulder waving me to stop. I told him that I wasn’t allowed to carry hitchhikers. He laughed and said, “today is your lucky day. I’m stopping you because I tracked you on radar through town. You were going under the speed limit and you climbed the hill safely. I want to give you a card allowing you to stop at the service station for a free coffee courtesy of the RCMP for travelling safely and travelling the speed limit. Have a good day.”

5. I was sent to Alberta outside of Westlock, north of Edmonton, with a sand screener to pick up a load of Frac sand for the oil industry. I got unloaded and had to wait an hour for further directions on the phone. The pit boss told me to follow the trail to the road out and wait across from the last backhoe loading trucks and don’t get in the way. As I got to the Backhoe, I was confused. It was sparkling clean, especially the windows and the windows even had kitchen curtains on the inside. The work area where the semi-trucks were loading was tidy and smooth - no ruts. When the sand truck was loaded, the hoe operator shut down and climbed out. A lady was operating the Backhoe in the middle of nowhere, and everthing was neat, tidy, and clean. On top of that, she was a professional, smooth and fast operator. 6. In the days before H.I.D. Headlights or Zenon lights I was going east down Donald Hill onto the bridge before Golden, BC. It was night, and it was foggy and freezing. The old bridge had a 90 degree left turn onto the deck, then 90 degrees to the right to get off. The bridge was glare ice, so I very slowly made the first corner onto the deck. I had the headlights on high beam, and I could faintly see a large Bull Moose trotting in the same direction as I was going. I’m sure he and I were both thinking the same thing – don’t fall down. I was able to get stopped long enough to let him make it off the bridge and into the trees. This was not on my driving schedule, so my

JULY / AUGUST 2021 27 pulse was higher than normal. 7. In the early years of my career as a truck driver, I was in the Husky Truck Stop in Los Angeles when a middle-aged man walked up to me and asked if I could help him with some spare change. I told him I didn’t have any money and that I was

just on my way to the fuel desk to get some and I would get some for him too. He wiped the back of his hand across his forehead, and then I heard a metallic snap. He put his hand in front of him, and he had a switchblade knife in it. He said that he wanted change, and he wanted it now! I put my hand in my pocket

and pulled out less than a dollar in change. He took the change, put the switchblade away, then turned and walked away without saying a word. I thought – what the hell just happened. I’ve been robbed! It was the first and last time.

Friendship Friendship among Women: A woman doesn’t come home at night. The next day she tells her husband that she slept over at a friend’s house. The man calls his wife’s ten best friends. None of them know anything about it.

What is happening in this case? In 2015, this action was certified as a class proceeding. The Representative Plaintiff for the Class, Marc-Oliver Baroch, and Canada Cartage have now reached a settlement agreement regarding this class proceeding, subject to Court approval. Class Counsel will make a motion before the Court for approval of the settlement agreement. The motion for approval of the settlement agreement will take place on November 1, 2021. Nature of the Settlement Subject to court approval, Canada Cartage has agreed to pay the Class $22,250,000.00, inclusive of legal fees, disbursements, withholding taxes, and any other statutory deductions and employer contributions (CPP, EI, EHT, provincial statutory workers compensation schemes, and income tax). Who is entitled to the proceeds of the settlement? If you were employed by Canada Cartage at any time between March 1, 2006 and January 30, 2015 (the “Class Period”) and: (i) were entitled to receive overtime compensation pursuant to the Canada Labour Code; and (ii) your employment was not governed by a collective agreement between Canada Cartage and a union, then you are included in this class action as a “Class Member,” unless you previously “opted-out” of the class action. If you were employed at Canada Cartage during the Class Period and continued to be employed by Canada Cartage for any period of time up to and/or including June 3, 2021, then your eligibility for compensation will be from March 1, 2006 or the start of your employment, whichever date is later, up to the end of your employment or whatever end date is earlier: the end of your employment or June 3, 2021, and subject to whether you held a managerial role or were otherwise covered by a collective agreement. What do I need to do? If you are a Class Member, no further action is required from you at this time. You should receive a Notice of Settlement if the Court approves the settlement agreement. If you are a Class Member, but wish to object to the settlement agreement, please send a request in writing with a summary of your reason for objecting to the Claims Administrator at Canada Cartage Class Action, c/o RicePoint Administration Inc, PO Box 4455, Toronto Station A, 25 The Esplanade, Toronto, ON M5W 4B1, by no later than September 24, 2021. What if I have questions? Visit or email


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Trucking into the 21 st Century With trucking companies springing up faster than manufacturing and shipping can keep up, like in many third world countries, it‘s no longer about quality but quantity where the cheapest hauler often gets the worm. The transport industry was once a proud and professional business where carriers had to go to court to get their operating authorities, define the cargo and rates they intended to operate within, demonstrate their ability to perform or go bust. Today it‘s about paying someone to write the carrier‘s intended profile, application forms and safety plan. This is followed by handing these documents off to a government agency more interested in their $200 National Safety Code (NSC) administration fee than in safety. North America has yet to develop a program equivalent of the European Certificate of Professional Competency (CPC) for carrier managers and owner-operators. In the late 1970s, rumours of change were floated, but it took several more years for the weak and poorly administered NSC programs to overtake the once costly and complicated Motor Carrier system. The unfortunate result was the condoning of the $200 trucking companies. The change continued for even more years until the tragic Humboldt incident, resulting in the usual government knee-jerk reaction to public outcries for change. Though they continue to attempt to introduce change now entering the 21st century across North America, our European Pro-Trucker Driver’s Choice Magazine

counterparts and those of major island nations in the Pacific are far ahead of us on operation, equipment standards, training, and driver recruitment. Licensing in most parts of the world is also considerably more costly as companies have to post security bonds to ensure they will be able to cover their costs of operation and pay employees alike for their start-up periods and beyond. The North American transport industry, meaning Canada, the United States, and Mexico, continue to implement outdated standards that have been tried and replaced by many countries worldwide. We continue to live in the past. We have an antiquated belief that our efforts are modernizing operations and standards across our continent. We retain the mentality that bigger is better and throwing more money at an industry in trouble is a solution to the problems rather than looking to our international counterparts where these ideas have already been tried and replaced. We continue to do this as their industries, in contrast, evolve into professional businesses rather than low-budget operations with a near third-world operator mentality. In other countries, competition is considered good for both the big operators and the small who have found value in each other and share freight along differing routes. The big carriers tend to stick to dedicated routing and time-constrained deliveries while cargo destined to off route or lesser constrained deliveries are relegated to the smaller carriers

who can thrive receiving competitive returns for their operations which allow them to benefit. Another area where North America differs from many of our foreign counterparts is our outdated payment methods to owner-operators and drivers. We still operate on the tonmile, mileage-based wages and shared revenue. Our overseas cousins, some years ago, switched to hourly wages and working constraints in legislation which lowered a driver‘s week from 70 hours in 7 days to a more family and a medically beneficial 48-hour workweek. Did this reduce the driver‘s income? Not really. In fact, it made the lifestyle of the long-haul driver far more on par with other workers. Some years back, I was introduced to the European system where companies operate across the European continent and beyond. Yes, beyond, as some held unusually long trips in which drivers still drove only 9 hours in a 13 hour day. Why? It is simply not possible in many instances to perform a pre-trip, load, tie-down or secure your cargo, drive and perform a viable post-trip inspection in a system where the driver is expected to drive 13 hours in a 14hour duty cycle. When you consider 2 hours through the day hidden in loading/unloading and other expected duties, you only have 8-hour breaks. This can‘t compete with the European mandatory 10 hours off duty in a single stretch, giving the driver time to wind down, eat, sleep, and relax before their next duty cycle. Our European counterparts also have JULY / AUGUST 2021 31 a mandatory driving period, and they can break up the required 45 minutes off duty in 4.5 hour periods over their 9 hours of driving into 15-minute breaks or take them all at once. I found this greatly reduced driver fatigue common to North American drivers. This system greatly reduces truckrelated incidents as drivers are able to remain alert.

on their vibrations to the driver who suffers medical conditions induced by the shared vibration. Trucks can be repaired, but the human body cannot repair the damage induced over time.

Another example is the design and construction of transport trucks into driver friendly and comfortable to operate instead of the large stiff suspension cramped cabs that pass

Do we need to flood the roads with trucks, or should we move toward better equipment that can benefit the human component across working hours, home time and a better method

Isn‘t it time we confronted our slow bureaucratic governments with a need for real change in how we regulate this „everything moves by road“ reality?

of pay? A few years back, I had the opportunity to take along a new driver who had just come out of one of our better driver training schools. He had no idea how to split gears or how and when to use an engine brake, let alone backing into tight destinations. Few if any schools introduce the trainee to multi-trailer combinations, unusual designs or load security, mountain and winter driving, and this is where MELT and other bureaucratic votegetting programmes still fall apart.

Mary Ellen A man was sitting reading his newspaper when his wife walked up and whacked him on the head. “What was that for?” he asked, somewhat stunned. “That was for the piece of paper in your pocket with the name Mary Ellen written on it” she replied. ”Don’t be silly,” he said, “When I went to the races Mary Ellen was the name of the horse I bet on” His wife seemed satisfied and apologized. Three days later he’s sitting in his chair reading again when she nails him with a frying pan. When he comes to, he asks “What was that for?” “Your horse phoned.”

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Training Hours W

hen I read the editorial from our esteemed editor John White in the May-June issue, at first, 140 hours of training for new truck drivers seemed like a lot, but I suppose more is better than not enough. Back in the dim and distant past, in the company I was working for, National Carriers, I was one of the employees selected to go for the class 1 licence training at their own school. The fact that they had their own school was the reason some of the drivers applied for a job there. If you went for training and got a class one, you were supposed to stay for a year or pay back the cost of the training. As usual, some guys took advantage of a good thing and left right after getting their licence and let the company chase them for the money. When you think about it they were probably the no-class type of driver the company was best without. It was two weeks of classroom and practical training in what looked like an old railyard. At the end of the two weeks, you got your test. Eight hours a day for two weeks adds up to eighty hours, so not too far off the 140 hours of BC. The normal trailer length back then was 40 feet, but the school used 30-foot trailers as was allowed by the government testing stations. In their big yard, the school had painted the same grid as the testing station had. The learners were supposed to drive

forwards in an S shape and stop with the bumper of the truck in the middle of an eightfoot by two-foot rectangle with the truck and trailer straight. Then it was the same in reverse, stopping with the end of the trailer in the middle of another rectangle. Again the truck and trailer had to be straight. There was no attempt to teach certain routes as the testing station didn’t use the same route all the time, the testers had the whole of Glasgow to pick from. Obviously, Glasgow has no mountains, so steep hills were not in the curriculum, although there was a steep hill not far from the testing station. It was a single track controlled by traffic lights at each end, one of the guys on the course at the same time as I got taken to this hill by his tester. As he approached the lights, they turned to amber before going red, and why he didn’t stop, we’ll never know. He now had two or three hundred yards of uphill driving, not knowing if something would come over the brow of the hill and collide head-on with him. It was an instant fail for the poor guy. It was the same for winter driving. The only adverse weather you drove

By Colin Black Colin Black lives in Bellshill, Lanarkshire, Scotland and has been driving truck for over 40 years. His story shows us once again that the problems drivers face are universal.

through was the Scottish rain, so there was nothing in the course relating to adverse weather. I think it was assumed that steep hills and snow would all come with experience if you got your licence. As part of the practical training, you were taught to hook up and drop the trailer. Nothing was taught about air brakes except how to connect the susies (airlines) between the truck and trailer. The six-speed truck and trailer bore little resemblance to the top-weight trucks you might be driving if, or when, you got a class 1 licence. The outfit was the bare minimum necessary to sit the test in. Of course, back in the good old days, when you were an inexperienced class 1 driver, there was no shortage of other drivers willing to help you out. Getting the licence was only the start of becoming a truck driver, the experience came as the years rolled on. Now it’s a different world out there for rookie drivers. To start with, they can’t get a class 1 without first passing a class 3 test on a 17-ton GVW four-wheeler. It’s back to how it used to be in the old days, start small and work your way up.

Grandmas know everything! Little Tony was staying with his grandmother for a few days. He’d been playing outside with the other kids for a while when he came into the house and asked her, “Grandma, what is that called when people are sleeping on top of each other?” She was a little taken aback, but decided to tell him the truth... “It’s called sexual intercourse, darling.” Little Tony just said, “Oh, OK” and went back outside to talk and play with the other kids. A few minutes later he came back in and said angrily, “Grandma, it is not called sexual intercourse! It’s called Bunk Beds!” Pro-Trucker Driver’s Choice Magazine

JULY / AUGUST 2021 35


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In the Truck’s Clutches I

once had a job working for an Alberta trucking company pulling super-b flat deck trailers. Most of the work was in Alberta and British Columbia, and since this was before the 2016 slowdown, I was busy hauling oilfield products from southern Alberta up to reload yards in the north. My assigned unit was one of a fleet of Peterbilt 389s. The late-model square hooded Petes were head-turners, and while they lacked adequate power for the weights we were hauling and were light on bunk space, the classic looks felt like a bit of a non-taxable benefit. The Petes were all equipped with 18-speed transmissions and had mechanical clutches. I always felt the mechanical clutch was strange compared to hydraulic clutches found on most other trucks, but I had little interaction with it other than starting and stopping since I didn’t use the clutch to shift. The clutch pedal always had a little bit of free play before you could feel it press against the spring. The play was so light, and the sensor for the cruise control disconnect so sensitive that I had the habit of lightly tapping the clutch to turn off the cruise. When I needed to shut off the cruise control, a quick tap on the clutch pedal with the toe of my left boot would put the throttle back under my control. Well, one day, the mechanical clutch gave me some trouble. With both trailers fully loaded, I headed north on Highway 2 and about 20 kilometres south of Red Deer, I needed to kill the cruise, so I did my usual light tap on the clutch. The cruise stopped like always, but something in the pedal didn’t feel right. I pressed the pedal with a bit more force a second time, and to my surprise, the pedal travelled all the way through its range of motion with barely any

Pro-Trucker Driver’s Choice Magazine

By Dave Elniski

Dave Elniski lives in Southern Alberta. Like many drivers, he started out driving smaller trucks. He later got his Class 1 license and hit the road mostly as a flatbed driver in Western Canada and the USA. He currently works as a transportation safety professional in Alberta, is a proud army reservist where he enjoys driving military trucks, and is a happy husband and father.

resistance and without disengaging the clutch. Something had failed, and I now had no control over the clutch. With this realization, my trip started to feel more complicated. Since I float the gears, driving the truck down the highway wasn’t an immediate concern. What was a concern, though, was how I was going to stop. Or, more precisely, how I would get started again from a dead stop with no clutch. I called my company and explained the situation. They told me that they had a shop in Red Deer that could get me in tonight. The problem was that this shop was well within the city limits and there were several sets of lights between the shop and me. I started to make my way to the shop. The merge off of the highway was easy enough, but the traffic lights were going to be challenging. The last thing I wanted was to end up blocking an intersection. Looking back, simply stopping at the first available pullout would have been the best thing to do, but at this point in my career, I was far too much of a super trucker to consider doing anything other than attempting to get that truck right into the first available service bay without stopping. The first set of lights was a complicated intersection where I needed to make a left turn. Traffic was fairly

heavy as it was around 4:30 pm. The light was red up ahead, and it looked like I would have to wait for the advanced left turn signal. I slowed the truck to a crawl as I entered the left turn lane, and fortunately, my lane got the green signal while I was about a truck length behind the car in front of me, so I was able to make the turn. After three more sets of lights and one right turn on a red at a deserted intersection where I did not come to a full stop, the shop was in sight. I turned into their yard in bull low and gave a strong pull on the air horn cord as I passed through their gate. Thankfully their yard was big enough for me to enter into a holding pattern, so I just kept the truck in low gear and made some circles. A technician walked out to me and said I needed to park against the fence while they cleared out a bay. I told him that my clutch was out, and unless he wanted to work on it outside or drag the truck into the bay later, I needed to keep circling until the bay was ready. This is where the excitement ends. After a few laps around their yard, I was motioned inside a bay where the clutch was quickly repaired with a new bolt in the linkage. I was back on the road, in about as much time as it took me to get a coffee, and with a deeper appreciation for each of those 18 speeds.

JULY / AUGUST 2021 37


Pro-Trucker Driver’s Choice Magazine


Trucking is a Trade W

ith the encouragement and support of many truck drivers, well-known drivers Kim Wylie and Trent LaIone, have started a “Trucking is a Trade” Facebook page. There are no dues or fees to join, but you may make a difference in the Industry by joining this Facebook Page. The purpose is to get truck drivers recognized, trained and paid like the professional people they are. For all the posturing of politicians, the only thing that makes them sit up and take notice is the number of members in a group. Votes are the only thing that is important to them. Truck driver is still the most common occupation listed on the Canadian Census, which means the untapped influence truckers could have as a group is enormous. Trucking associations that represent the trucking companies can influence government policy because they have large memberships. There is no reason truckers can not do the same because our numbers are much higher.

If the government recognizes trucking as a trade, drivers will have to be paid as tradespeople. This will level the playing field and eliminate the fly-by-night companies that undercut rates on the backs of poorly paid employees. The current practice drives rates down, keeps wages low, and can lead to accidents. You will never eliminate human error, but proper education and training will greatly reduce the number of tragedies like the Humboldt crash. Professional Trucking and Insurance companies require a bare minimum of two years (6,000 hours) of experience before they will hire, or insure a driver. They do this because they know it requires several thousand hours to become a reasonably safe driver. It then takes several thousands more hours to become what those in the Industry recognize as a professional driver. With so many different loads and trailer configurations, professional

drivers readily admit they never stop learning. Most of the things you currently see online focus on what truckers do wrong. “Trucking is a Trade” is about what truck drivers do right, the efforts we make and the obstacles we endure. You can post pictures of your truck or stories of your travels and the people who have helped you along the way. By making trucking a trade, we will be able to create a path for people to enter the Industry, get professionally trained, and have a safe and secure career. It’s not easy convincing politicians, even in spite of all the high-profile truck wrecks involving inexperienced drivers. The only thing that will make a politician take notice is the number of votes a group has. If you agree with the aim of the group, it is easy to sign up and be part of the solution.

What a Deal! A 16- year-old boy came home with a late-model Porsche and his parents began to yell and scream, “Where did you get that car?” “I bought it just now,” he said. “With what money?” demanded his parents. “We know what a Porsche costs!” “Well,” said the boy, “this one cost me $15.” The parents began to yell even louder, “Who would sell a car like that for $15?” “It was the lady up the street,” said the boy. “I don’t know her name. They just moved in. She saw me ride past on my bike and asked me if I wanted to buy a Porsche for $15.” “Oh, good grief,” moaned the mother, “she must be a child abuser. Who knows what she’ll do next? John, you go right up there and see what’s going on.” So the boy’s father walked up the street to the house where the woman lived and found her out in the yard, planting petunias. He introduced himself as the father of the boy to whom she had sold a Porsche for $15 and demanded to know why she did it. “Well,” she said, “this morning I got a phone call from my husband. I thought he was on a business trip, but it seems he has run off to Hawaii with his secretary and he doesn’t intend to come back.” With the hint of a smile, she continued, “He asked me to sell his new Porsche and send him the money. I’ve done that now.” Pro-Trucker Driver’s Choice Magazine

JULY / AUGUST 2021 39





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Pro-Trucker Driver’s Choice Magazine


Attitude & Altitude I

f you have an open mind and a good attitude, you are more likely to climb up the ladder of success – and that is the altitude. There is no such thing as a perfect driver, me included. In the beginning, the old-timers would teach me and push me up the ladder of success (altitude). The following are three stories I was involved in. Don’t touch (This was me learning). An old-timer wanted a ride to pick up a truck about 200 miles out of Vancouver. So off we went. About half an hour later, we on the freeway, and in conversation, he said, “I notice you don’t ride the clutch.” “Oh no,” I said, “an old-timer explained to me that it wears out the throw-out bearing and causes other damage, so I don’t do it.” “Well,” he said, “I’m glad you paid attention to him because he was right, so if you see anyone riding the clutch, ask him to take his foot off of it. If he says there isn’t any pressure on it, tell him to lift his foot an inch off the pedal & suspend his foot there & see how long that lasts. However, I notice you have a bad habit. Is your right arm tired because I see you rest it on the gear shift leaver? Now don’t tell me you’re not putting pressure on it because you are, same as the clutch. Lift your arm an inch and leave it there. You’re putting pressure on the gears, and you are wearing out the forks. Don’t tell me you are ready for the next gear change; that being the case, why don’t you put your other hand on the Jake brake switch, so you are ready to use it. By the way, you just ran out of hands, and the truck is steering itself down the road”. When the truck is in motion, there is only one thing in this cab that is

Pro-Trucker Driver’s Choice Magazine

used all the time, and that’s the steering wheel. Even the fuel pedal isn’t used when you go down a hill, so you put both hands on the steering wheel whenever possible. Rule of thumb – if you’re not using it, don’t touch it. He just pushed me one rung up the ladder of success (altitude) because I had a good attitude. Jump and run (It was my turn to teach) This time, I was in the passenger seat getting a ride to pick up a truck 150 miles from Vancouver. Even though we worked for the same company, I didn’t really know him. When he did his pre-trip – he slowly walked around the truck and thumped the tires, then slowly got into the cab and got comfortable in the seat and started the truck – waited for the air pressure to build. Then all hell broke out. He shoved the clutch down to the floorboards and, at the same time, put it in gear. The truck gave a bit of a shudder – then he let the clutch out and put the fuel pedal to the floor at about the same time. The front left fender came up at least 3 inches, and the truck bucked forward. He went through all the gears the same way. After a while, I said to him, “don’t you think you are a little rough on the truck?” He replied that Kenworth’s were tough, and so what if it breaks? That is why we have mechanics. That’s when I found out that he had a bad attitude. We had gone about 90 miles when he decided to stop for coffee. He geared down every gear until he had around five left (Jaked on every downshift) and came to a halt. I said I want you to do one thing for me. When you get out of the

By Frank Milne

Retired Driver, Lease operator and company owner

cab, don’t bother with the steps, and when you hit the ground, you run as fast as you can to the coffee shop. He looked at me and said, “do you think I’m nuts?” I said, “no, but that’s how you treat your truck – why not your body.” Needless to say, it wasn’t a pleasant trip, and with his attitude, he didn’t gain any altitude, and I failed as a teacher. The Young Buck. (Him teaching three old drivers – I was 28!) I was dispatched out of Vernon to pick up a load in Spokane, so I stopped at the Husky in Osoyoos for a bite before crossing the border. I parked beside quite a new Trimac truck and tanker. So I went into the restaurant and saw two guys I knew that were sitting with a younger guy. I sat down with them, and they introduced me to the young guy. They said he had just got a new truck about three weeks ago and was on with Trimac as a lease operator. I asked him how old he was, and he said 21. I said I thought you had to be 25 with five years of experience to get on with Trimac. He said yes, but it was his Dad’s truck, and he had gotten really sick, and Trimac had agreed to let his son drive because he had a good record with another trucking firm. However, before he got sick, his Dad had ordered a new Kenworth, and he had taken delivery of it three weeks ago. They asked him how he liked the new truck and the 335 Cummins and JULY / AUGUST 2021 41 the Jake brake (in 1965, 335 Cummins and 318 Jimmy were the big power, and Jake brakes were becoming popular). They asked him how many bugs had he had to fix so far. He said that nothing had gone wrong so far and that he had never even adjusted the brakes. (No automatic adjusters in those days) One of the guys said, “ Do you tell me you have driven it for three weeks over four mountain passes between Vancouver and Trail and never adjusted the brakes. He looked at us and said, “yes.” One of the guys said, let’s go out and have a look. One

guy went under the back axle, came out a couple of minutes later and said the red paint on the adjusting nut and the keeper had not been broken and that the brakes were in good adjustment. We asked him how he got away with that, and he replied the only time I use my brakes is to stop. I come down the hills at the same speed as before and use the Jake brake. We looked at each other – he had just taught us a lesson. He had put us “old-timers” up the ladder a rung, and we had gained some altitude.

P.S. The firm I worked for had bought new trucks with Jake brakes and a mechanic told me they were replacing brakes on the new trucks more frequently than the old ones because of the speed coming off the mountains. Maybe they should have listened to the “Young Buck.” P.P.S. When you listen, you learn. When you talk, you teach. Last but not least, you can’t learn with your mouth open.

Dumb as a FOX! A young boy enters a barber shop and the barber whispers to his customer, “This is the dumbest kid in the world. Watch while I prove it to you.” The barber puts a dollar bill in one hand and two quarters in the other, then calls the boy over and asks, “Which do you want, son?” The boy took the quarters and left. “What did I tell you?” said the barber. “That kid never learns!” Later, when the customer leaves, he sees the same young boy coming out of the ice cream store. “Hey, son! May I ask you a question? Why did you take the quarters instead of the dollar bill?” The boy licked his cone and replied, “Because the day I take the dollar, the game’s over!”

Hurry Up and Wait

Dave Madill


Seems no matter where I go, it’s hurry up and wait: Got to have you there on time; then sat outside the gate. Throw the logbook out the window and get in there on time I get in at four o’clock – then hit the dock at nine. Go over to the shipper and be there by ten o’clock Eleven hours later I pull out from the dock. No matter what the conditions, no matter what the road Every load is just in time; they are all waiting for my load.

Pro-Trucker Driver’s Choice Magazine


Wide Open Spaces (and closed in places) A

fter 12 years of driving truck, I finally got a chance at a trip to Arizona. I was beyond excited to knock that state off of my list of those I still hadn’t travelled. I believe the only ones left are New Mexico, DC and Alaska. Unfortunately, I have a feeling that two of those I may never see. The trip was absolutely breathtaking! But it sucked that I couldn’t just pull over when I wanted to take pictures and take the time to really take it all in, but the view is still in my mind. To any new drivers, I would just like to say that, in 12 years of driving, I still had to use the “phone a friend” option and ask for help. I was in totally unfamiliar territory, so I needed to ask a friend what the best routing was and where to park along the way. Thank goodness they gave me the scenic route, and it did not disappoint. It was beyond amazing seeing views that I had only ever seen on postcards. I made a few references to movies and TV shows along the way. While approaching West Yellowstone, I prayed that maybe I would see Rip from the show Yellowstone, and he would be out doing cowboy things that he does so well. As I made my way past the Hoover Dam, I was brought back to the National Lampoon Vacation, and the Griswolds were asked, “if they had any dam questions?” Travelling through areas that have references in movies or shows is pretty darn cool! While travelling in Arizona, I noticed that the billboards telling everyone to “Stay Home, Stay Safe!” I must have

Pro-Trucker Driver’s Choice Magazine

seen about 20 different out-of-state plates on RVs or vehicles hauling campers, etc. Not sure if the out-oftowners didn’t get the memo or just didn’t care. Tourists were standing shoulder to shoulder, taking selfies at scenic outlooks, lining up to enter the parks, and so on. Words right from the King of Country, George Strait, are, “There’s a difference in living and living well. You can’t have it all, All by yourself.” From what I see, I feel the Americans are living their best lives while I am just living. I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t envious of all these people sightseeing and enjoying their vacations. It is wearing everyone down to be stuck in lockdown in Manitoba. Essentially I spend most of my time on the road, so it’s refreshing in a way that I get to see what “normal” living is like. Then only to come home to a very grim situation. I feel like staying moving across the US is almost a better situation than actually going home. Although I can’t participate in many activities while on the road, it’s a comforting thought knowing that we will get our life back one day. It’s also nice that most customers in the US have gone back to letting you use the bathroom facilities again. Sitting down at a restaurant and enjoying a hot meal was something I never thought I would take for granted. Not every truck stop allows dine-in options, but we are in a much better situation than we were a year ago.

By Myrna Chartrand Myrna was born and raised in Oak Point, Manitoba and was our April 2019 Rig of the Month driver.

the parking lots of restaurants, malls, movie theatres, waterparks, etc., packed with vehicles. As I write this article, in Manitoba, we can’t even get a haircut, and I haven’t been able to make an appointment for a yearly physical in almost a year and a half. Something that I’m really missing right about now is truck show season. It’s going on in the US, but I’m stuck watching through social media. I so badly wanted this to be the year we got things back to normal at home so that I could be showing off The Brain at local shows and in Alberta. I like being able to show off the truck while it’s still brand new because I’m lazy, and that means slightly less work getting it ready for a show! I’m hopeful that we are moving in a forward direction to normalcy. This year has been the year of the 40th birthdays of my high school classmates and myself, and it’s been disappointing that we haven’t been able to celebrate this big milestone. I apologize to any of my friends if they were trying to keep their age a secret! I just let the cat out of the bag! It’s a good thing I’ve been taking my collagen and using moisturizer. I feel like maybe I’ve slid under the radar, and you would never know I was a day over 25. Wishful thinking, maybe??

It’s just so bizarre in the US to see JULY / AUGUST 2021 43

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INDEX Berry & Smith ..................................................................................................... 09


Centurion Trucking Inc. .............................................................................. 13 HWT Transportation ....................................................................................... 45 Golden Express Trucking Inc. ..................................................................... 05

Big Rig Power ....................................................................................... 03 B & W insurance ............................................................................. 02 & 06 Canada Cartage ....................................................................................... 27

Grant Transport Inc. ......................................................................................... 22

Cool Heat Truck Parts .......................................................................... 28

Jagged Edge ....................................................................................................... 15

Cool-It Highway Services .................................................................. 43

Key West Express Ltd. .................................................................................... 21 Light Speed Logistics Inc. .................................................................. 19 & 46

Diamond Insurance ............................................................................ 29 Howes Lubricator ......................................................................... 24 & 25 Michel’s Ultralift Technologies ...................................................... 23

North Coast Trucking Ltd. ........................................................................... 08

Mobalign Services Inc. ......................................................................... 09

Select Classic Carriers ..................................................................................... 35

Norris & Co. .............................................................................................. 33

Shergill Transport Ltd. ................................................................................. 33 Sunshine Coast Logistics ................................................................................. 17

Ocean Trailer ......................................................................................... 37 The Gear Centre ..................................................................................... 29 Trucking App .......................................................................................... 32

Transam Carriers Inc. .................................................................................... 04

Trucker’s Together Fuel Services ................................................... 47

Watt & Stewart Trucking Inc. ........................................................................ 20

Truck West Collision .............................................................................. 31 Ultrack Systems Inc. ............................................................................. 48


THE SWITCH Dennis Sova





(AND CLOSED IN PLACES) Myrna Chartrand

18 FLOOD OF 60



Dave Madill

Colin Black



Ed Murdoch

Dave Elniski



WHAT THE HELL JUST HAPPENED MOMENTS. Pro-Trucker Driver’s Choice Magazine






JULY / AUGUST 2021 45

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