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From the Editor’s desk... by John White

voLUmE 18, ISSUE 10 of 11 PUBLISHER/EDITOR John White john@ptmag.ca PRODUCTION/CIRCULATION Tori Proudley tori@ptmag.ca ADMIN/SPECIAL EVENTS Donna White donna@ptmag.ca ADVERTISING/MARKETING John White john@ptmag.ca Tori Proudley tori@ptmag.ca CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Dave Madill • Ben Proudley Scott Casey • Mel McConaghy Ed Murdoch • Colin Black Tamara Weston • Bill Weatherstone Lane Kranenburg PHOTOGRAPHY David Benjatschek wowtrucks.com Ben Prooudley • Brad Demelo HEAD OFFICE Ph: 604-580-2092 Toll Free / Fax: 1-800-331-8127 Published eleven times a year by Pro-Trucker Magazine Inc.,

The contents of this publication may not be reproduced by any means, in whole or in part, without prior written consent of the publisher. The advertiser agrees to protect the publisher against legal action based upon libelous or inaccurate statements; the unauthorized use of materials or photographs; and/or any other errors or omissions in connection with advertisements placed in Pro-Trucker Magazine. The publisher can and will refuse any advertising which in his opinion is misleading or in poor taste. The publisher does not endorse or make claim or guarantee the validity or accuracy of any advertisement herein contained. All materials submitted for publication are subject to editing at the publisher’s discretion. The act of mailing or e-mailing material shall be considered an expressed warranty by the contributor that the material is original and in no way an infringement on the rights of others.

PUbLICATIonS mAIL AGrEEmEnT #40033055 rETUrn UnDELIvErAbLE CAnADIAn ADDrESSES To CIrCULATIon DEPT. 9693 129th Street. SUrrEY, b.C. v3T 3G3 Email: tori@ptmag.ca

Pro-TrUCKEr mAGAZInEe

On November 11th many Canadians will stop at the 11th hour and in their own ways silently remember the soldiers that have given their lives in service to their country. It may be at the local cenotaph surrounded by likeminded individuals, at home with their families or alone in a room somewhere. Some with think of family that made the ultimate sacrifice, others, veteran’s themselves, will remember comrades who did not return. Many of those veterans will also be remembering friends who did return but ultimately lost their battle with PTSD. Unfortunately our veterans do not receive the support from our government that they should for PTSD or the injuries sustained in the military. Today a worker injured on the job receives more from Workman’s Compensation than a veteran, with the same injury, receives from the Federal Government. Fortunately there are some groups formed by Veterans to support their brothers and sisters. One such group is Military Minds Inc. Launched on January 1, 2008, it is a registered non-profit organization who’s Mission is: “To fight the stigma associated with PTSD and connect veterans living with PTSD to appropriate resources in their area based on their individual needs.” Their team provides peer-support to veterans living with PTSD and assists them with finding appropriate resources in their area. They encourage those veterans suffering in silence to come forward and to recognize that they are not alone. Military Minds Inc. is dedicated to assisting veterans navigate the difficulties associated with PTSD. Their group of administrators consists of combat veterans and a resident “Doc” - all of whom have first-hand experience with PTSD and trauma. At the helm is their President, Cpl. Scott Casey (ret). As many of you may know Scott Casey was Pro-Trucker’s Rig of the Month for May of 2003 and has been writing article for us ever since. He was a member of November Company, the first Canadians to put boots on the ground in Sarajevo during the Balkans War. He was also one of the main veterans interviewed during the making of “Sector Sarajevo” an award winning documentary on that mission. Scott has finally published his book (see page 11) on his experiences in Sarajevo and his firsthand account is nothing like what our government was telling us at the time. To learn more about Military Minds Inc., including how you can donate, go to www. militarymindsinc.com also visit their Facebook page which has numerous comments sent in by visitors and veterans from all over the world. One story of which is below. “This came to us yesterday evening from Drumheller, Alberta CA, and we thought is should be shown to you, the folks that make the page what it is. This gentleman was seen in the military area of the local cemetery, his name is Eric Dahl, and he is meticulously cleaning the headstones of the fallen. No one asked him to and he takes no reward for the job. His goal is to have all of the headstones cleaned up for Nov 11. He was doing this to honor and remember those that have gone before. Without a doubt he is truly grateful for what these men did for us. For him, all lives matter...past and present. Mr. Dahl, Thank you.” Lest We Forget.

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LETTERS to the EDITOR

e Whit e John agazin

ker M Truc Prote

John Whi r Magazine Pro-Trucke

Open Letter to the Canadian Trucking Industry I write this letter out of grave concern for the Canadian trucking industry as a whole but particularly for the small carriers, the drivers and owner operators. A fundamental freedom in Canada, under the charter of rights and freedoms, is that one is innocent until proven guilty. Additionally, we are all guaranteed protection against unreasonable search and seizure. Though no rights are absolute, I would humbly suggest that the trucking industry is already unduly subject to an over bearing obligation to continually prove its innocence whereas the burden should be on that of the authorities to prove guilt in appropriate circumstances. Particularly, the Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) and the whole supporting rationale is fundamentally flawed as there would be an overwhelming burden of proof being placed on the driver where as it should not be. On this premise alone the proposed changes to Federal and Provincial legislation should be abandoned in their entirety. It is very foretelling to note that Transport Canada’s own language in their recent request for comments on the

ELD proposal, interchanges the terms “equipment” and “driver(s)” as equals. Currently, government mandated electronic monitoring of an individual is limited to extreme cases within the criminal justice system, where one’s rights have been severely restricted in support of society’s greater right to protection etc. The ELD compulsory mandate in its entirety is an unwarranted and less than subtle attempt by Transport Canada, with support from the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, Canadian Trucking Alliance, and other misguided groups to illegally and impetuously electronically violate an individual’s rights by tracking the piece of equipment they are operating without any benefit to the society or the safety thereof. Transport Canada has not provided its own verifiable independent research showing that an ELD mandate would actually improve safety, rather its own cost benefit analysis states that 99.1% of all benefits are attributed to large carrier financial savings. If Transport Canada and carrier associations where serious about safety they would abandon ELD and advocate strenuously for much more simple mandates, such as: minimum reflective standards for the many near-impossible-to-see-in-the-dark roads across Canada; or minimum driver training standards; or removal of speed limiting devices which lead to many unsafe maneuvers by cars desperate to get around unnecessarily slow moving trucks. CTA’s owns website is duplicitous, indicating support of an ELD compulsory mandate and numerous safety

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slogans, such as “Trucks are the safest vehicles on the road” - indeed they are! However, these current safety statistics where accomplished without a compulsory ELD mandate. In regards to alleged savings, large carriers are the primary benefactors of an ELDs. In reality this mandate would cause a significant undue financial burden on many small carriers and Owner/Operators not just in the technology itself, but also installation, maintenance costs, additional training costs as well as further exacerbating recruitment and retention of good professional drivers. Citizens of this great country do not appreciate “big brother” micro-managing their every move under the guise of safety, and many drivers consider ELDs an affront to their professionalism. Filling out a paper log is not an undue burden, however researching, purchasing, installing, and maintaining ELD’s would be! Furthermore, it is very disturbing that Transport Canada’s mandate, with support from CCMTA & CTA etc. is based directly and overwhelmingly upon the proposed flawed US Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration rule. Hours of Service regulations in Canada are substantively different and considerably better than there US counterparts, thus it is perplexing that the Canadian industry would “roll over” and adopt and promote a flawed ideology from the south. Furthermore, this FMCSA ELD rule is currently being challenged before the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court and we would be wise to avoid basing this countries laws on the U.S.’s

legal quandaries. In conclusion, the Canadian trucking industry needs to seriously question the legality, necessity, actual safety benefit and savings of this perpetrated ELD propaganda. I respectfully submit the initiative to mandate ELD use by legislation, is at best woefully misinformed and at worse undermines the very freedoms this great country is built upon! Sincerely, Dave Holleman Mission, BC Editor’s note: Very interesting and worthwhile comments Dave. Hi John! First of all I’d like to thank you for the great magazine you publish, I really enjoy it. I have my own small one truck trucking company here in Austin Manitoba, hauling grain and fertilizer or whatever can be hauled in a hopper. Late the other night coming home from a run I decided to try my first (and probably last)go at poetry.... At least it kept me awake for about an hour! Use it if you want to, throw it away if you don’t! :) All the best, Ken Brandt, Blue Star Transport Austin, Manitoba

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Heading Home It’s late at night, I’m heading for home, the moon is so bright it sparkles the chrome. The rumbling Cat, propels us along, the cab is filled with musical song. The roads are dry, the winds are light, what a lovely ride home on this beautiful night. Editor’s note: Good job Ken. Short but sweet. Expresses that great “coming home” feeling that everyone can relate to. 

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ReFleCTIONS THRU mY WINdSHIeld

By Dave Madill Dave was Pro-Trucker Magazine’s Rig of the Month in June of 2001

Trucks and Sledding

Way back when,(1950?) Fred and I were up at the pit loading gravel trucks for Dad and Len who were doing round trips of about 30 miles. This left us with plenty of time on our hands and nothing to do. It is never a good situation when you have two teen age kids with plenty of time on their hands. Now our pit was located on top of a hill and all around it was planted into Christmas trees except for a strip 20 or 30 feet wide that ran alongside the road and just inside our fence. It was the middle of February in the snow belt of Ontario so there was probably a good three feet of snow on the level. We had the pickup up there with us so we could keep warm but boys and boredom do not mix well. There was an old broken down 40 something Chevy single axle sitting at the far end of the pit and I wandered over to check out the old girl. After looking her over I came to the conclusion that if we took the hood off and turned it over we would have a pretty good toboggan. It

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i n fo @ t i m s t r a i l e r re p a i r. c o m was the perfect situation as one of us could ride it down the hill while the other could follow down on the road with the pickup. We could then pull the hood back up to the pit where we could change places. Those old hoods were only held on by a couple of bolts so it was a short job to remove them and muscle that piece of iron to the ground and turn it over. Pulling it across the pit was just a bit of a problem as the hood was rusty and did not slide too well but after running back to the shop between loads and getting a couple pails of water and letting that water freeze on the hood it slipped over the snow like it had wings. Dad never noticed what we were doing so after he and Len left with the next load we were off and running.

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Pro-TrUCKEr mAGAZInEe

Since it was my idea and my “expertise” I would get the first trip. I figured it would be steerable just by shifting your weight around so we pushed it over to the top and I climbed on board. (Did I mention that this hill was about 12 percent and about a 1/4 of a mile.) Off I went and things were going great until I hit a little dip in the snow and then all of a sudden I could not see too well. Couple shakes of the head and I notice I am headed for the trees so I threw all my weight on that side to try and turn. Well it turned all right and now was headed for a barbed five wire fence and a fence post about eighteen inches around. That was when I hit a bump and at full speed the hood and I went airborne and the hood tuned sideways in the air. The hood collected quite a bit of air but my body was not quite as aerodynamic and I hit the post and then the hood hit me. Between the hood and the post I was in pretty bad shape. I was knocked out as well as breathless from having three lower ribs broken and poor Fred had to hop in the pickup and come down and rescue me. The only way he could figure to get me out to the pickup was to load me back on the hood and try and control it to the bottom of the hill where there was a gate and where he could get me back to the road. Well he loaded me on the hood and started down but about three quarters of the way down the hood got away and I continued my trip down with Fred loping along behind like a madman trying to catch up in snow up to his waist. Lucky I was unconscious or I

might have tried to steer some more and would have not had the soft landing in a group of cedars right beside the gate. Fred was still trying to get me into the pickup when Dad showed up and with one quick look figured what had happened and had me in the pickup and headed for town. I actually woke up on the drive in and this was one of the very few times I ever seen Dad bury a speedo but he was in a bit of a hurry. I ended up in the Emergency Ward and after a couple stitches to my forehead and a lot of tape I was released the next day. Dad never did say too much about that escapade but he did make Fred and I drag the hood back to the pit by hand and put it back on the old truck.

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novEmbEr 2016


PRO-TRUCKER MAGAZINEe

Idle Time By Scott Casey Scott, our Rig of The Month for May 2003 has written “Ghostkeepers” a book about his years as a gun toting truck driver while serving as a Canadian Peacekeeper in the former Yugoslavia.

Thank you for your Service

With our troops being deployed to Afghanistan in 2002 there has been a notable increase in the hearts and minds of the average Canadian. Those who normally wouldn’t have given our servicemen and women a second glance, have since found something within themselves they didn’t know they had, patriotism. It’s always been there for many, but Canadians in general, if they felt patriotic, kept it to themselves. We may not take it to the same degree as our neighbours to the south, but if you pay close attention you’ll notice a significant increase in flags being displayed on people’s homes. Another interesting phenomenon that has presented itself out of this recent patriotic realization is the open acknowledgment that regular citizens are affording our Canadian Armed Forces members and veterans. I recall many a time in the dark days of the 80s and 90s, where as a young soldier walking down our streets, I was completely ignored in the same way a well-to-do person may ignore a homeless man holding a sign. Thankfully, those days are a thing of the past. For how long is the question though. It’s with this new love of our Army, Navy, and Air Force that we should not let the candle burn out. Our CAF, for the most part, is working in a peaceful state. However, there are still troops deployed in very dangerous parts of the world and very soon more will be serving in “Peace operations,” which also carries the burden of danger. The losses Canada has suffered while defending the greater good has been staggering. Since our birth as a Nation, Canadians have answered the call, without hesitation. Laying their lives on the line for something bigger than the world or country or flag; they’re willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for the man or woman next to them. For their families, and way of life. They’ve made that sacrifice for you. They don’t know that you drive truck or that you got cut off in traffic this morning. They don’t know that you’ll be in Edmonton for morning or whether you pull a dry van or a flat deck. What our troops do know, is that you are an important part of the social fabric that makes up our country. This November 11th take a moment and remember the men and women who gave their lives so that you may live yours.

november 2016

I

n 1992, while the world’s eyes were on the Persian Gulf, 900 Canadians were exposed to acts of barbarism, ethnic cleansing, and genocide on a scale not seen since the Second World War. They found themselves grossly outnumbered, completely surrounded, and regularly engaging in close infantry combat. To Canadians at home this was called a “peacekeeping mission,” that could not have been farther from the truth. Many war stories are told from an officer’s point of view. In this 100,582 word true account I, Corporal Scott Casey, expose the truth that was Operation Harmony. I dare you to feel my feelings and to see the Balkans War through my eyes at the ground level frontline perspective. Follow me, a member of November Company, The Royal Canadian Regiment into the depths of Hell. It will be a challenge not to change the way you look at humanity. Whether you are a Canadian or not, this gripping tale of GHOSTKEEPERS, will give you a new respect for the soldiers who put their lives on the line “In the Service of Peace.”

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2017 Big Rig Weekends Dates: BC-July 7-9 / Alberta-August 18-20

PAGE 11


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. You can get Ed’s new book at www.drivingthroughmymemories.ca Wondering if you all got a chuckle as I did … still chortling in fact … from Dave Madill’s October treatise on inspections and “creative logging”. My vast, even my half vast experience goes back to the early fifties when I began long haul and almost 40 years before paper logs were mandated in Canada. They were already an annoying feature of truck travel in the Excited States, along with Mileage Books in Michigan. The latter would be checked, say when exiting the ferry across the Straits of Mackinac, where there now exists an aging suspension bridge which we watched being built in the mid-fifties from the decks of the car/passenger vessels. But I digress. As a director in an owner-operator organization in the late ‘80s I was part of the DOT promotion of paper logs in major Canadian cities such as Thunder Bay, Winnipeg, Calgary and Vancouver where we held seminars. That’s when the “creative logging” of which Dave writes began and still is used by a large number of diesel skinners

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Call Al 604-882-7623 today. I know because I spent 10 years as a safety supervisor and still audit up to 20 driver logs every month. I believe I helped write ‘the book’ on the subject as I see vestiges of some of the tricks I used on a regular basis, in many of the log sheets which are right now sitting on my desk awaiting my inspection. Of course we all know that most revenue is usually earned from moving a big rig and its cargo from point A to point B. Loading, unloading, waiting one’s turn, highway delays, stop-checks, truck related store purchases, minor on-road repairs and servicing such as lubes, oil changes and washing, especially at home in one’s driveway, are not money-makers and the time spent on them does not always find its way onto the ON DUTY (Not Driving) line

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2017 Big Rig Weekends Dates: BC-July 7-9 / Alberta-August 18-20

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on a paper log. And don’t kid yourselves, even the DOT folk are very much aware of these anomalies but tend to overlook them because most carriers ignore they exist and the wages they ought to earn. Here are a few of the more obvious and bizarre entries I see every month: • No time or too little time shown for fueling – a truck related activity. • Only 15 minutes shown regularly for loading, tying down and tarping. • No time entered for making purchases of engine oil or DEF and other truck related items such as log books. • Inadequate time entered for pre and post trip inspections and daily paperwork. • Hours driving and distance traveled are not always consistent with each other. It is impossible to average the posted speed limit in any jurisdiction without speeding. I have had log sheets turned in where the driver has averaged 157 kph for the day which is almost 98 mph. I know the operator was attempting to maximize driving (revenue) hours while minimizing non-driving, non-paying time but please, everything within reason. I have seen sheets turned in where a driver has shown averaging almost 180 mph between two towns but only 20 mph between the next two. Technically this could constitute a False Record of Duty Status which carries with it a hefty dollar penalty. A daily log sheet ought to tell an accurate story of the

2017

Big Rig Weekends BC - July 7-9 Alberta -August 18-20 PAGE 14

NEW Extended Hours Mon-Fri 8 am- Midnight • Sat 8 am- 5pm day’s activities. When signed it becomes a legal document and may be used as evidence in a court of law. It is entirely up to the individual as to how seriously it is observed. I have been to court with drivers on several occasions both for and against and consider the log an important document as a legal and historical record. Electronic logging devices (ELDs) will likely be mandated here in Canada by the end of next year or early 2018. Then the cat will truly be out-of-the-bag and both carriers and authorities will have a better grip on the hours a professional asphalt engineer actually spends in the pursuit of his/her daily routine. And if all goes as planned he/she will be compensated adequately for all that time which he/she has been fudging and/or hiding all these years. There will be some whining and sniveling on the part of consumers, shippers and on up to the carriers to cover the extra expense involved but the movement has already begun to classify truck driving as Skilled Labour - and it’s about time - so it isn’t that far a leap to expect a decent wage to reflect the upgraded category. Truckers are the only employee group of which I am aware that hide some of the hours they spend on the job because they know they aren’t likely to be paid for them. That philosophy has to change and we have a perfect opportunity to make it happen. As far as inspections are concerned most of the time I welcomed them since it was to my advantage to maintain my units to the required standards and of course I was eager to display the coveted decal on my windshield indicating a successful visit with the person on the creeper dressed in orange. Downtime is not productive time except for the repair shops and often occurs away from home when and where it isn’t convenient. Once, when chosen at random for a going-over of my ‘77 KW at the WB Kamloops scale, the officer completed the inspection of my 8 year old warhorse and stepped onto the running board to tell me that he was both surprised and pleased at the condition in which he found the unit. At the same time he leaned through the window and pressed down on the electric horn button in the center of the steering wheel and to both our astonishments it beeped loud and clear. I maintained my composure and never said a

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word, but honestly and this is the absolute truth, that horn had never worked before in all the years that I had owned the truck. That incident still puts a smile on my face. Drive safely, take pride in your ride and above all … enjoy … 10-4!

From the Patch By Tamara Weston

Tamara and her husband Eric, were the Rig of the Month drivers in our October 2014 issue.

Diesel Therapy

So here it is, surgery is all done I survived. No cancerous cells were found in any of the tissue tested so no further treatment needed. So it’s back to normal life..... or is it?? I did not come away from this whole process unscathed that is for sure. I am missing bits and pieces and have been ordered by both my doctor and Eric to do nothing. No lifting, no working, no “fun,” for at least 6 weeks. How I ask does that translate into “normal”. My lifting restriction is 10lbs, or a 4lt jug of milk so that is my reference. No vacuuming, no laundry baskets, no groceries. I have an amazing grandson and yes he is almost 8 but I help him in and out of my pickup so what now? I can’t?? I was also warned not to drive....ya right! I am a

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Phone: 403.278.1129 • Fax: 403.278.8307 Email: marilynt@diamondinsurance.ca driver. I also get the no driving my rig due to the amount of force needed to use the clutch, even if it’s just to stop and start. I get that my job is a physical one, load arms are difficult to manoeuvre and hoses are long and cumbersome. So yes I am off work. But, I can’t see the issue with driving my automatic pick up to and from the corner store. I cannot be at the mercy of another with all of my independence stripped from me in a single moment.... fragile? ugh! It’s been terrible, my truck is my sanctuary, my quiet, my Zen. I make peace with myself in that seat. In the months immediately prior to my surgery I found myself going up and down the road in silence. No radio or CB, nothing but me and my truck. The purr of that big Cummings calming my thought process and always keeping me grounded in reality. The hardest part of waiting for something like this surgery was not allowing the “what ifs” to completely consume my thought process. So now that it’s over, I am forced to be fragile. I have no idea what that is. That is not who I am. I do for others, they do not do for me. I have been so unbalanced by this whole thing I find myself wishing for the quiet of my truck, the alone of it, the therapy that comes with being alone with myself in the seat. The countdown is on for my clearance to go back to work and I can’t wait. Eric has told me on more than one occasion that it gets in your blood, that he too would go out of his mind if he was forced to quit driving. I never fully understood what he meant until now. 

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Rig of the Month by Janet Laursen

Cover Photo by Brad DeMelo / Pro-Trucker Magazine My name is Janet Jessie Laursen and this is my story. in the small town of Pt. McNeill. One of those blink and I was born in the town of Comox, British Columbia and you miss it kind of towns. My family and I lived there grew up on north Vancouver Island. My first home was for a couple years until I was diagnosed with a severe ill-

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ness. We then moved to Campbell River to be closer to Children’s Hospital. We lived there for several years until my parents parted ways and my mom, sister and I moved to Courtenay to live with my grandparents on their four acre property. I spent a lot of time with my grandpa, helping him with everything from fixing the tractors to falling trees. He was a retired logger so he had a lot of knowledge to pass down and an inspiring get it done attitude. He taught me how to drive the tractors and the old Chevy we used to gather firewood. I was driving that Chevy pickup long before I was old enough to drive. Growing up I never had any set career goals. I didn’t have any dreams of being part of the trucking world. To this day the only real trucking movie I have seen is Smokey and the Bandit. My grandma wanted me to go into the RCMP but how do you tell your grandmother you’re better at breaking the rules than enforcing them. I had had an interest in anything with wheels and an engine since my grandmother placed the first hot wheels in my hand. So in the last two years of high school, when the trades courses became available, I jumped into the world of Automotive Repair. After graduation I enrolled in the Automotive Service Technician course at North Island College. The next summer after completing the course at North Island College I worked at a local cattle farm to earn some extra money till I could find work at one of the local repair shops. It was one of those jobs you have to learn every-

Janet Laursen thing on the fly and learn it quick. One day the boss threw me the keys to the dirty old Mack flat deck and told me to go around the field and collect the hay bales. I had never driven a truck before but you didn’t say no, you just did what you were told. Despite a few rough shifts I picked it up pretty quick. That was the first time I actually drove a

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truck, cool story huh?!... After the haying season I worked at a few of the local repair shops in hopes of getting an apprenticeship. The course had counted as one year and three more years were required for a full ticket. Unfortunately in a small town it’s not what you know but who you know and I saw many new graduates signed onto apprenticeships while I stayed on clean up and oil changes. The shop I worked at was right next to the highway so I would see all the logging trucks coming into town on route to the local mill. I would think “That looks so cool,” so I decided I was going to get my class 1. Not knowing anyone who would teach me how to drive a truck properly I went to the driving school in town called Cumberland Transport. I was paired up with Walter Jarc in a Freightliner pulling a 48’ flat deck trailer. Walter was a great teacher with a calm demeanor and an old school way of teaching. I went into the course with an open mind and willingness to learn, never with the attitude that I knew more than he did, so I was quick to learn anything he was willing to teach me. The training consisted of the basic skills, shifting, turning, highway training, reversing and maneuvering around a herd of cows that got loose in town. After completing and passing all the required road tests I received my class one license. That was the easy part. When your nineteen years old getting someone to hand you the keys to their rig can be tough but I was determined.

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PAGE 22

After handing out what seemed like thousands of resumes with no success, I finally was given a chance driving part time for an owner operator. It was a straight truck with a china top and about maybe half the buckles worked. Not the prettiest rig but we all have to start somewhere. It was going to be a very physically demanding job and he was doubtful I could handle it. I assured him I could handle anything they threw at me and I did just that. I worked with that china top for a while then I later moved on to bigger companies working on the mainland. Having lived my whole life on the Island this was like a whole new world. I hired on with a company that offered a training program for running the mountainous country of British Columbia. We had nothing on the Island that could compare to places like the Coquihalla or Kootenay Pass. After completing the three month course they turned me loose to run solo. Working mainly in British Columbia I have seen almost every mountain pass and road in the province but there is no stretch of blacktop that has shown me as much carnage as the Trans-Canada Highway between Kamloops and Field. One family of four would learn that in the winter just because the road looks black doesn’t mean it’s not icy. Their new pickup rolled end over end ahead of me eventually landing on its roof only a few feet from a steep drop off. With the exception of a written off pickup and their belongings strewn across the highway they were lucky and all walked away with minor injuries, however I have seen many that were not so fortunate. After a few years of commuting to and from the island I found a job a little closer to home which still was in Courtenay. I was working nightshift driving a tri drive Freightliner day cab pulling a tri axle trailer hauling paper from the mill in Port Alberni. This would be where I would have my first animal collision. Most people hit a deer or a coyote…. I hit a cow. As I met a convoy of oncoming traffic the runaway bovine wandered out onto the dark two lane highway and right into the path of my fully loaded truck. After striking the animal on the drivers’ side I watched in disbelief as it rolled down the road, got up and walked away, slightly tenderized. As it was a company truck I had to call the night dispatcher and explain what happened. My explanation was followed by a long pause of dead silence,

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then finally he said, “well, you always do things a little different Janet”. I stayed on that run for a while till the chance came up to drive a 2007 Peterbilt 379 for an owner operator hauling groceries for Loblaws to Gold River and Pt McNeill. It was a good opportunity despite working a grueling graveyard shift of 11 PM to Noon. Sadly the job only lasted about eight months as it was under bid by a company out of Surrey. The Surrey company had the run all of two weeks before Loblaws was asking for us to come back. However we had all been laid off and the company wasn’t planning on bringing us all back. I had known for a few years by then that if I was going to stay in trucking, driving a company truck was not going to be enough, I would want to own my own truck. Having saved up a reasonable down payment over the years and seeing the potential in the Peterbilt I was driving I asked if I could buy the truck. The owner, wanting to get out of trucking agreed and I became the new owner of the truck I have today. Wanting to work close to home I hired on with a company that promised work on Vancouver Island. They never came thru on their word and I quickly tired of the low pay and disorganization so I left there to work at Aggressive Transport in Langley. It still wasn’t Island work but they were a far superior company compared to the one I was working for. I quickly settled into the Prince George haul routine and decided to move to the mainland, because

commuting on the ferry gets old real quick. I worked there for about two years until my earlier childhood illness started to make its return. Battling fatigue and weight loss I turned to another job reluctantly with the same pay and a shorter four day work week. This proved to be a mistake, it turned out to be more stressful and my health quickly deteriorated. I started to miss work and eventually landed myself in the hospital. After seeing numerous specialists I was getting back on track again. However, shortly after being released from the hospital my current employer laid me off in favor of someone who would work for less. So now I was unemployed. Wanting a change from reefer work and a job that required more physical activity, I applied for a few flat decking jobs, returning to the kind of work I originally started on. I was fortunate enough to get a job opportunity with Stingray Express out of Calgary. However they would not need me for two months. I took the two months to recover and transform the look of my truck. With a huge amount of help from friends and family it was transformed into the truck you see today. By June 2014 I was ready to start the new adventure. I bobtailed out to Calgary to pick up my 50’ tri axle flat deck with a quick draw roll top that I would be hauling to and from Oregon. Never having set foot in the USA since the age of five this was going to be a whole new experience

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once again. My first trip across the line I was met at the customs booth by a very intense looking officer with a voice of someone who has just inhaled a balloon full of helium. “Don’t laugh, don’t laugh” I thought as he drilled me with the routine questions. I passed the test and with that hurdle over I made my first trip into the USA. Having spent the majority of my career on two lane highways it was a big change to run on a multi lane freeway. I quickly grew to like the new challenges this job would give me. One load really stands out to me and that was the crane from Ritchie Brothers in Nisku bound for South America. It was going In Bond to Tacoma and until that day I didn’t even know what In Bond meant. This crane would require eighteen trucks to relocate it to the ports with me being one of those trucks. This might not seem that interesting to some but to me it was pretty damn cool. I currently own and operate the same truck I purchased six years ago. Known by some as “Shelby” named after my German Shepard that lost her battle with a very aggressive cancer in 2013. I dedicate this build to her. The 2007 Peterbilt 379 flat top has undergone some major changes since the first day I drove it. Under the hood lies a highly modified CAT motor, because stock is not an option in my world. The sluggish Acert twin turbo was converted into a single turbo 6NZ. The twins were replaced with the Big Boss turbo and a PDI Ceramic Manifold. Custom built injectors were installed and PDI

tuning bringing the motor to life. The stout motor laid down around 800 horse and 2400 foot pounds of torque on the dyno run. Behind that motor is an 18 speed transmission followed by 3.08 gears. The roof was originally littered with antennas, horns, beacon lights and stock cab lights and was like washing a porcupine so that was all removed and a smoother penny light design was installed. The original bunk was a 63” flat top and that was replaced in favor of the smaller 36” flat top sleeper and the square headlights swapped out for the double rounds for that old school look. I will finish off with this, for the most part it has been a good life experience, like a roller coaster ride of good and bad days. I am very grateful for all the support and help from friends and family and I can’t thank them enough. I don’t think I would be where I am today without them. If I had the chance to do it over I’m sure I would have done a few things differently however one thing would remain the same and that is my moto that hard work and determination can get you a long way in life. I would hope this story may inspire anyone who is considering entering into this profession that you don’t have to come from a long line of trucking generations to succeed but to always remember, common sense is your best friend and never think you know it all because there is always something new to learn. Safe travels and keep the shiny side up. Peace out. 

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TYReS ACROSS THe PONd 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.

Recently on TV over here, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder has been in the news, unfortunately this is not a new affliction for our soldiers, years ago it was known as shell shock. At that time soldiers suffering from shell shock were thought to be malingerers, or worse, shot as deserters, or for cowardice. Thankfully science has proved it is a terrible affliction that many soldiers and others suffer from. I remember my Mother telling me that when my Father came back from the Second World War, he had horrible nightmares. One night he thought my mother was one of the enemy and he had his hands round her throat strangling her. Luckily, she managed to gently wake him up before any lasting damage was done by saying, “Jimmy, it’s me.” As my father was a crack shot with a rifle the army made him a sniper, but even into his eighties it was still on his mind. He would say, it’s a terrible thing to kill a man from so far away, but he knew, and I always

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EMAIL: truckwest@shaw.ca WEBSITE: truckwestcollision.com reminded him, it was either kill or be killed. Like all soldiers, his rifle was kept clean and maintained at all times, it could, after all, be the difference between life or death for him and his squaddie pals. So when the war was over, and he was being shipped back to blighty, he was about to board the ship when an officer said, space is tight on board soldier, throw your weapon in the sea. I’ll never know word for word what my father said to that young officer, it might be best summarised by the Glasgow term, ‘Aye, right pal,’ but he kept his rifle (friend) until he was demobbed in Scotland. The threat of death was always there, especially when my father and his company were on the march and passing through bomb devastated areas where the enemy had been. One day they came across a German motorbike and sidecar in a ditch, all his pals knew my father loved bikes. He rode a motorbike and sidecar in the army. They all wanted to pull it out of the ditch so my father could ride it, but he said no, if it didn’t blow up when they pulled it out, it probably would when he started it. When our troops were chasing the Germans through the countryside booby traps were always in the back of the soldiers minds. The Germans knew if they left booby trapped items in full view, some British soldiers would be tempted to take a souvenir home from the war. But the soldiers didn’t have to be involved in the fight-

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ing to be affected by stress, my father was on Gibraltar when he saw HMS Ark Royal being torpedoed. He ran to his officer to tell him what he’d seen, the officer dismissed my father’s report as nonsense until he’d looked through his binoculars for himself. The attitude of the commanding officers could make all the difference to some soldiers. A pal of my father got news that a German bomber running from the RAF had dumped its load of bombs to lighten it’s load and try to escape. All the bombs fell on a small fishing village in the north of Scotland. As it was common for generations of families to live on the same street it wiped out this man’s family completely. From his wife and children, to his grandparents, father, mother, aunts and uncles, every generation was lost. The soldier went to his commanding officer to ask for compassionate leave, his request was denied, “Do you know there’s a war on soldier?” he asked. We’ll never know the state of that man’s mind when he got that devastating news, he took what he thought was the only way out and took his own life, he just couldn’t face going back home with no family to welcome him. There was some light relief however, while on Gibraltar my father was guarding a fuel dump. One day an old local man came chugging up the hill in an old lorry, the old man stopped and asked my Father in broken English if he had any spare petrol. My Father gave him a five gal-

lon can of petrol, in return, the old man told him to come to his café in the town for a meal. After a very tasty home cooked meal, a welcome change from army rations, my father was back on duty at the fuel dump a few days later when the old man came back up the hill. This time he was sitting on a cart pulled by a donkey. “Where’s your lorry?” asked my father. Throwing his arms in the air, the old man said, automobile boom! It was then that my father realized the high octane aircraft fuel he was guarding didn’t agree with the old man’s ancient lorry. Modern day soldiers maybe go into the forces as a career choice. My father and a lot of other “Fifers” joined the Blackwatch in answer to their country’s call to repel Herr Hitler. The outcome though would seem to be the same, the horrors of war are imprinted on their minds for a lifetime. Lest we forget.

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delIVeRING THe GOOdS, SAFelY By Lane Kranenburg Lane is a former driver, fleet owner and former Executive Director of the AMTA

The Professional

On Friday evening this week as I was walking out of a restaurant with my wife when we noticed a tandem tractor with Manitoba licence plates bob-tailing on McLeod Trail in Calgary. I immediately thought about the various issues that are involved with the task of driving a truck. I did not speak with the driver but I was reminded of when I drove truck back in the ‘70’s and how much dedication and perseverance it took. The driver was away from home, and probably looking for a place to shower and clean up. He or she would then wait to off-load and then re-load for a new destination. I couldn’t help but sympathise, thinking he or she was once again stuck for the weekend so that the load could be delivered on Monday. I know that these were assumptions, but I remember hitting Peace River late on a Friday and not being able to off load until Monday. What does one do away from the family in a place far from home?

My respect for professional drivers is huge, and I know from experience that it takes patience, dedication, knowledge, and attitude to succeed at the career of driving, and yet the government still refuses to list this occupation as skilled. My fight with both the Provincial and Federal governments continues on this point and I am confident that we will eventually succeed. On another subject, several years ago I started and co-chaired an initiative to look at the issue of fatigue. Just recently this task was completed and the resulting Fatigue Management Course is now available. Industry and Government were the main push at completion of this excellent course, and it does not address the hours of service, it focuses on the lifestyle of the professional driver. Drivers from three different companies in Canada and three more in the United States were the subjects for this study. A few of the issues identified were the number of drivers that suffered from sleep apnea, a very treatable ailment, and as well poor diet and very little or no exercise. We not only dealt with drivers, but we met with the spouses of those drivers and got the inside scoop on sleep habits, exercise and eating habits. This course is now available on the Alberta Transportation website and is worthwhile investigating. Many hours of study with drivers and their families went into this course and it will have drivers take a different approach to their occupation. I bring up this subject because it is important to look after yourself both for you and for the benefit of your family.

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It is vital you think about what you are currently doing and what can be done to make this very important occupation better. I realize that many of you are already doing the right things, but too many of us are not and I include myself in this. When I was behind the wheel my eating habits were terrible, and other than some work loading and off-loading I did not participate in any workouts of any kind. Keep on trucking and keep the profession as one to be very proud of. ***** Attorney: Doctor, before you performed the autopsy, did you check for a pulse? Witness: No. Attorney: Did you check for blood pressure? Witness: No. Attorney: Did you check for breathing? Witness: No. Attorney: So, then it is possible that the patient was alive when you began the autopsy? Witness: No. Attorney: How can you be so sure, Doctor? Witness: Because his brain was sitting on my desk in a jar. Attorney: I see, but could the patient have still been alive, nevertheless? Witness: Yes, it is possible that he could have been alive and practising law somewhere.

The

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mY lIFe THROUGH A BROKeN WINdSHIeld By Mel McConaghy

Mel is a retired veteran driver who has spent 40 years on the road.

Winter

The time of year where real truck drivers get separated from the faint of heart and the wanna-be’s. I have known drivers that could handle just about any situation imaginable, but as soon as the snow started flying they would head for a nice job in the office or take an extended

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2017 Big Rig Weekends Dates: BC-July 7-9 / Alberta-August 18-20

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winter holiday. I can hardly say I really blame them, I remember many a day or night when I headed out on a trip and wondered what I was doing there with the soft fluffy snow blowing around painting a solid white canvas in front of your truck, eating up your headlights and reflecting your driving lights back in your face. You find yourself driving in a total white out every time you meet another outfit or even a four wheeler. It is just like someone threw a dirty white sheet over your windshield leaving you guessing where the shoulder of the road is and at times even trying to remember if you are on a corner or a straight stretch of road. Your eyes strain trying to pick up a glimmer of the lights from a vehicle ahead of you whose lights have drifted in to the point of nonexistence. You would love to pull over and wait out the storm but you can’t remember where the turn outs are and you can’t see them. Even if you could remember, you don’t dare stop because the lights on back of your outfit have drifted in to the point that they are invisible to the traffic behind you. Then there is the black ice that might be laying in wait for you! It might be laying under a thin skiff of snow or hiding in plain sight, blending in with the black of the asphalt and only comes to your attention when your steering becomes very light or your drivers lose traction, or even worse, your trailer takes off for the ditch.

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2017 Big Rig Weekends Dates: BC-July 7-9 / Alberta-August 18-20

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I remember a trip through the Pine Pass in the sixties when the snow was so deep, they ran out space to move it and the highway was down to single lane traffic from the Ski Hill to Silver Sands. You had to follow a pilot car through it. There were times, before that road was straightened, when you could be going around one of the many corners and run into the results of an avalanche, bringing you to an abrupt halt with snow over your hood. While any numbers of these things are running through your mind. There is always the thought of the hills and the thought of spinning out. The panic of sliding down a mountain pass, backwards, out of control and then the relief, when your truck picks up a little traction and stops so you can chain up. At this point you’re thinking, ‘why didn’t I chain up at the bottom?’ Or you’re descending a steep grade and your Jake stalls your engine and as you try to restart your engine and get your outfit under control, looking for a patch of sand or anything that will get you a little traction. What is it that keeps you out here on the road? I retired when I was seventy, not because I was through driving, it was because of medical problems within my family. I know drivers who are still driving in their eighties but what keeps them doing it? I’m a firm believer it’s the adrenaline rushes they get every trip. Every hour of every day during the winter they are getting the adrenaline rushes that keep them young.

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2017

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2017 Big Rig Weekends Dates: BC-July 7-9 / Alberta-August 18-20

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Heroes From another Time One day a year we honor them for everything they gave, Blood was shed and tears were cried, many went to an early grave. So many men from ages past fought so that we could be free, Fought to keep their families safe, on land, air and sea. One day a year we honor them, do we not owe them more? These men gave their very best on land sea and shore. Heroes from another time, to us the torch they passed, Memories must be kept alive or our freedom will not last. Now my sons and daughters are standing proud and free, They bow their heads in reverence to the Sons of Liberty.

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 or amazon.com PAGE 38

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A

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