This week with the upcoming release of the new Oregon DLC in American Truck Sim I’ve done nearly all my driving in Europe. I have positioned my Mack in San Francisco which should be a good jump off point for jobs into Oregon. That DLC releases today and I guess I’ll be driving in ATS for much of the coming week. However, what’s been happening in Europe?

Working towards getting my second truck and trailer meant doing longer, better paying jobs. This self-evident ‘truth’ became a reality after dropping off a delivery in Köln……because from here I picked up a job going to Olsztyn in Poland. I don’t often go ‘east’ because the roads once you get into darkest Poland are a nightmare – they’re single carriageway and are inhabited by some of the maddest ai drivers you could wish to meet! Going straight across Poland from Berlin to Warszawa isn’t too bad as that route is all dual-carriageway but we’ll need to turn off at Poznań and from there it’s eyes-on-stalks driving up via Bidgoszcz to Olsztyn. I’m giving a slightly wrong impression here – the drive is through some great scenery. It’s just that when you get to the other end, you will breath a sigh of relief if you’ve got away with just a paint scrape!

Crossing Poland is synonymous with crossing the Vistula. Here we are crossing the famous bridge at Toruń……It’s a shared bridge with a railway track running alongside the road. I see a couple of drivers have had a minor accident on the on-coming side. I arrived in Olsztyn after rubbing my wheel hubs against the concrete barrier at some roadworks where a minor scrape was preferable to colliding with oncoming traffic – see what I mean 😉 After maintenance and a rest we were off to Košice in Slovakia. According to the route planner this is a 7 hour drive – someone’s having a laugh!

The route is mainly along the D9 which is almost entirely single carriageway despite being a major north-south artery. To add to the problems there are lots of crossroads without lights like this one……That sign means that vehicles on the D9 have right of way but you get lots of drivers who pull out regardless forcing you to brake, so it’s best at all of these to slow to around 30kmh on approach just in case – which eats into your time very quickly. The scenery is pretty though……You can tell this is one of the older maps despite being a DLC add on – it’s probably on the upgrade list for the future. After all those crossroads, there’s the T-Junction at Iłza where we waited ages for the vehicles in front to move on as they gave way to a seemingly continuous stream of traffic. Once we’d got going again past the ruins of Zamek castle……We were running very late and time was short. Once more we crossed the Vistula, this time at Nagnajów where the road and rail bridges are again faithfully recreated…

From there we found ourselves on better roads for the final run down to Košice. Always up against it, we picked up two 160 euro sleep avoidance fines as we busted our driving hours. For the record, the in-game driving allowance is 11 hours (gameclock) before you must rest. Rest periods are 9 hours if I remember correctly. This is not actually in line with the real world EU driving times but it’s a good compromise. So – you can see that somewhere along the ‘7 hour’ run we burnt over 4 hours. The job itself was only allowing 12 hours so taking a break on route was never a option.

After that I took a load from Košice to Nurnberg. This was a much easier run with no real danger of busting our time. Here we are crossing the Bela River at Dovalovo in the midst of the Tatra mountains……As you can see we’re on a ‘proper’ road 😉 In Nurnberg we found a Volvo dealer and after taking a loan bought our second truck and trailer. The Merc was delivered to Montpellier for me along with the trailer and I hired a driver to use that truck. The new Volvo is something for the next Digest as this one is overly long – until then, don’t overdo the Truckers Breakfasts and make sure you get to bed on time 😉

Most people who go shopping on the High Street rarely give a thought to what’s behind the façade. Parades of shops often have service roads – grimy places where deliveries are made and the rubbish collects ready for removal. Here is one such road in North Finchley…

This photo was taken 10 years ago and was one of my early forays into HDR editing. Although I achieved the effect I wanted back then I’d probably do it different now – in fact I’d probably B&W it for starters 😉

This is my entry for Nancy’s Challenge this week.