Grinding Gears

Anyone who plays computer games knows about the grind – it’s that period where you have to make money or some other attribute by doing repetitious tasks. In our Euro Truck simulator company build we’ve entered that period with the purchase of our Volvo. We don’t have the variety of different trucks that we had doing ‘hire jobs’. The goal of upgrading to a multi slot garage can seem a long way off. After a hiatus while I worked on rearranging the real life office and a three day lay-off with a bad cold, we’re back posting about our adventures as we grind our way towards the necessary money in the bank.

We set out to escape France – the land of Trolls… sorry typo – that should read Tolls though it feels like the game is trolling you when you meet them barriers so often! We made our way up to Calais. I think there must have been a fashion week in London because at Calais we picked up a load of Mens Clothing in a Jack Jones trailer. The shortest route from the collection point was via the ferry so we took that and headed up the M2 to London crossing the River Medway near Rochester with the high speed rail link on our left and the sun going down ahead.

Driving in England means using the wrong side of the road and I’m glad that the Volvo mirrors give good visibility of the traffic to the right of me! Night had fallen when we arrived in London but we still had plenty of driving hours in hand so I looked for another job and was lucky enough to find a Leibherr LTM1030 mobile crane that needed shifting to Esbjerg in Denmark. So we picked that up and drove north up the M1 before heading across to Hull and crossing the Humber bridge to catch the ferry from Grimsby. This was a 24t load and a bit heavier than I would normally pick but fortunately the route didn’t have any mountains to climb!

In the US we’re also grinding for that garage upgrade. I took a rather nice JCB Fastrac from Santa Cruz to Barstow which earned me another Long Distance point and over $14k. Moving on from Barstow I took a load of Silica over to Holbrook rail depot. Quite why they aren’t shipping from the extensive rail depot in Barstow is beyond me – perhaps it works out a little quicker this way?

Back in Denmark and we shipped a 23t load of Pears from Danish Agro in Esbjerg across to Sweden and Linkoping, home of SAAB. That’s another heavy load but the route was thankfully, once again, relatively flat apart from the climb out of the port area at Goteborg. It was also our first tandem trailer of the build a company series.

Paraphrasing C.W.McCall, ‘Was dark of the moon on the 6th of June in a Kenworth pullin’ … Machine Parts. Doesn’t flow quite the same as ‘Logs’ does it 😉 We picked up this load from Holbrook rail depot and set off on the first genuinely long distance run for our Lone Star Project. We were taking the load up to San Rafael – a distance of over 900 miles. I fitted in a rest stop at our garage in Flagstaff. I actually parked the trailer in the local FedEx depot for the night. That’s a trick you should remember for trailers that won’t fit in the regular parking places at service stations. You can always drop the trailer somewhere else then drive your tractor unit into the sleeping area. This job was paying an amazing $42k and the game decided that it wanted some of that money back! The ai organised an accident on I40 but I successfully avoided hitting the stationary traffic. Our Kenny doesn’t have a retarder so when faced with danger ahead it’s Jake Brake on, stab at the air brakes and keep changing down! Not to be outdone, the ai decided on a sneakier ploy. The trap was set at the Barstow intersection where the I40 merges with the I15. There’s always the potential for trouble here. As I moved along one lane, an impatient ai driver in a queue of traffic on my right decided to pull out into my lane. I had already passed his car but somehow he managed to hit the rear of my trailer. The in-game Pigs decided I should be fined $1250 for the collision! Now that’s definitely a case of the game trolling me!

The delivery in San Rafael was down in the docks area – way out of the main town, so I was pleased to pick up a load of Propane from the Texaco depot which is just across the other side of the highway. This tanker load was bound for Phoenix. Being an ADR Flammable Gases load it also paid well – $49k. But – to illustrate the point that you need eyes in the back of your head, look who is tailgating me on I10! That’s one Smokey risking becoming a bug on my bumper. He stayed there for a good few miles then, after I was forced to brake by a car pulling out from a slip road, breezed past. Frustrated at being unable to give me a speeding ticket, he must have radio’d his buddies up ahead because I was called into the next weigh-station. As I approached I found a queue of stationary traffic which was not an issue as I was already slowing but it was quite amusing seeing a GMC van driving back onto the interstate from the desert – goodness knows what the ai drivers had been getting up to!

Did I call this period in the game a grind? Actually it isn’t because, as you can see there’s never a dull moment! And, even when the ai isn’t trying to ruin your day, there’s always the wonderful scenery to enjoy. Next post we’ll be back in Scandinavia. I’ll leave you with a shot of the K100 passing through a rare Californian thunderstorm on the I5…

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