Trucking Digest

Today was a fairly normal day on the road for me. I’d delivered a load of drinks to Santa Fe the previous evening before driving down to the truck stop outside Albuquerque to rest up. Thought it’d be busier really but it was only half full. So, this morning I took the chance of a quick wash and brush up before breakfast in the grill. Then it was time to check in with Jed, my dispatcher. I brought Jed on board not long after I got my first rig, the Peterbilt 579. Back when I was a hire-rat it didn’t matter if the office was a mess but once I became an owner driver I quickly realised that some organisation was needed at home base. Jed’s an ex-driver – gave it up because he wanted to spend more time with his family – so he jumped at the chance to get back into the business without having to spend long nights away from home. Together, we’ve started to build the business.

I remember the look of surprise on his face when I came back to the depot in a Freightliner FLB a few months back. I saw her at a Kenworth dealership in Los Angeles and fell in love – old school cabovers have a certain appeal and she was in beautiful condition. I reasoned back then that the time was right to expand the business. We advertised for a driver the next day and spent quite a while looking over the applicants – Jed said we should go with a young lady name of Mille. I wasn’t sure but she had the best credentials of the applicants so I agreed. It was a good decision and Mille has quickly become one of the Republik family!

I rang base – “What’ya got for me today Jed?” It seems the weather in Bakersfield is bright and sunny – funny how a question about consignments and manifests starts off with a weather report – but that’s Jed all over! “Yeah – it’s a sunny morning over here too! – now quit stalling.” It turns out that jed has sourced a load of white goods – Toasters, Kettles and Microwaves – going south to an outlet in Las Cruces. “You’ve remembered I’m in Albuquerque, right?” “Yeah – collection is just across the interstate from where your at. They’re open and ready for you, said you can come ahead!” So that’s my first job of the day. “And…” Jed continues “I think the receiving company will have a follow-up consignment – I’m just negotiating that at the moment.” Now that’s good news – nothing costs a company more than dead time.

I haven’t told you but I’m out in a new truck – well I’ve had her about a week. We were ready to expand again so I popped into the local Pete dealer thinking about a second 579. I’ve been really pleased with the first one – reliable and economical. Mille certainly seems to be getting the best out of it. I told the dealer my thoughts – I like the 579 but I’d like something a little a little more traditional. He suggested the 567 – it’s a 579 but with a heritage twist. In fact they even do a Heritage model! I liked the idea and decided to get a special paint job – whilst Jed didn’t agree with spending the extra money I’m sure he’ll like her when he sees her first hand. You see, the Bakersfield dealer couldn’t source the special so he put me in touch with his fellow dealer in Flagstaff who was happy to help out. He even took a photo of her as I drove her around the block for the first time……579 inside but traditional outside – I like it!

So back to now – I picked up the load for Las Cruces and set off down I-25. Traffic was light until I reached Socorro. It was like night of the living dead driving through there and we came to a stand on a couple of occasions for no good reason other than people not knowing what lane they needed to be in. Losing momentum is frustrating for truckers and it gave me an excuse to test the air-horns – Yepp, they work! I was just crawling into Las Cruces when Jed called back – “That follow-up is confirmed – You got used packaging to take over to Roswell – I’ll fill you in while they unload you.” When I arrived at the delivery point it seemed like the only guy around was security……but I’d caught them on their coffee break and they quickly found me a bay to back into…

Jed came back with details of the used packaging consignment – it’s destination was unknown until just before he called me because the consigner was looking for the best price for handling the stuff. Now Roswell was confirmed. Used Packaging doesn’t pay very well but as a load to fill in the rest of the driver’s hours it’s a good option. My concern was whether I’d make Roswell inside my remaining hours. Jed said “You’ll be fine.” – and promptly hung up! With the cargo unloaded I had to shuffle to a different bay for the old boxes to be put on board. It always amazes me how empty boxes weigh more than full ones – close on 39000lbs to drag east.

Loaded up with a quick bite and some coffee I set off into the evening……skirting Alamogordo and up to Carrizozo before turning east once more. It’s quiet on the road late evening and you get to thinking. Names of places en-route remind me of the Westerns I saw when I was a kid – the Rio Grande that we crossed near Las Cruces. There’s the Pecos River over at Roswell – There’s no law west of Dodge and no God west of the Pecos. And we’re riding the Billy the Kid Trail – now hows that for a liturgy of westerns?

By the time I reached the outskirts of Roswell I was starting to feel tired. It’s funny how the signals seem to stay red for longer when you’re reaching the end of your drive and looking for a nice warm bed! I made it to the delivery just within my hours and the handlers unloaded the trailer pretty quickly. Then it was time to head for a motel – I needed a proper night’s sleep!..…I’ll tell Jed about the westerns in the morning and get a weather report too 😉


Trucking Digest

Here we are back behind the wheel and riding towards new maps that are coming for both ETS2 and ATS. There were unannounced deployments to both games yesterday which may only be bug fixes but could also include preparatory work for these map releases. In Euro truck we’re expecting some more of the eastern European countries including Romania, Bulgaria and european Turkey. American truck will finally see the state of Utah – often predicted as the next state but previously subverted by New Mexico, Oregon and Washington!

This week, with The Hunter COTW taking quite a bit of my time and a short term special event in Euro Truck, I fitted in a couple of drives in ATS. The first was north from Ehrenberg to Winnemucca. This entailed driving east to Kingman to pick up Route 93 up and over the Hoover Dam to Las Vegas whose evening lights and sights we were able to enjoy as we passed through……From Las vegas we picked up Route 95 and made our way up to Beatty where we pulled into the rest area for the night. Here we are creeping through the town looking for the darn thang!…

Next morning and refreshed we continued up the 95 to Tonopah. Now, I don’t drive this route very often. As the only town with a delivery point between ‘Vegas and Winnemucca, Tonopah rarely appears on my available manifests. Most of my jobs either take me up the main interstates in California or I’m continuing up the east side of Nevada on route 93 to Ely and Elko. So the road less used becomes less familiar. Even so, there were quite a few bits along the route that looked new and when I got to Tonopah I didn’t recognise the place! The SCS Software mapping teams have clearly been back in there improving the standard once again. The new road layout is now true to the real road layout at Tonopah where we divert off the 95 and pick up the 376…… SCS’s willingness to go back into existing maps and improve them for free is a welcome change from the gaming norm and to be applauded.

A swap onto Route 50 and a quick refuelling stop in what I take to be Austin (another improvement waiting to happen?)… …before picking up the 305 to Battle Mountain and driving on to Winnemucca from there – Job done. There is a certain irony that having not driven that route for a long time, my very next job should take me back down the same trail as I took a load of Ethane all the way across to Farmington in New Mexico. I doubt that, when we get the state of Utah, a run from Winnemucca to Farmington will go anywhere near Tonopah and this route will become even more of a road less travelled! Here we are on the return journey, about to take a break at that seedy rest area in Beatty…

I mentioned at the start a special event in Euro Truck. There is a new Goodyear Tyres dlc and the event was to announce it and to give the community an opportunity to get it for free. All you had to do was carry out 10 deliveries of the special trailers but you only had 4 irl days to do it. Here is my Renault on my first delivery. Anyone spot an issue?……Yes – conflict of interests with Monsieur Bibendum of rival tyre manufacturer Michelin on display! So, at the earliest opportunity I popped into the DAF dealer in Bordeaux and bought an XF 105.460 – passing the Renault on to an employee. Here are some shots from the rest of the event in the new ‘non-partisan’ DAF…

Hope you enjoyed that quick look at what’s been going on in my Trucking world. Who knows, maybe the next Digest will be about a new map release? Keep the shiny side up everyone 🙂

Trucking Digest

Here we are with another week of purely American Truck Simulator driving. Currently, my ATS hours trail those of Euro Truck by around 100, so the catch-up is well underway. Next week I intend to blend in some driving from both games to share with you.

This week saw my money and experience in the new post v1.35 profile cross the point where I could upgrade the garage in Bakersfield, buy a second truck and hire a driver. This would have happened sooner but, as you will have seen from the last couple of posts, I have been experimenting with a couple of owned trailer types and trailers don’t come cheap! It does set Republik Trucking up well for the company to grow – two general purpose trailers for drivers to use.

The big question for me was what truck I should buy. The choice seemed to be the between the Peterbilt 389 or the Kenworth W900L. Both very fine beasts. I looked long and hard at both of these and a variety of paint jobs. Rolled Gold – my old W900L – came close to being ressurected and she probably still will be. I also had a couple of ideas for a 389 but for some reason I couldn’t settle on which to buy. The good news is that the post v1.35 dust has now settled on the mod’s in the workshop and all of them are now compliant with the new game version. So I took a look there. First, let me note that Harven has added a new truck to the collection – the Kenworth W990. I will certainly take a look at that one soon. Back on line are the Freightliner FLB and the Mack R600 too – both favourites of mine. GTM have also updated their Kenworth T800, T610 and W900B along with the Peterbilt 567. So, a plethora of trucks to choose from.

As I have been driving the current Peterbilt 579, I decided that an older truck would be nice and I’ve gone with that old fave, the Freightliner FLB. I’ve fitted her with a Cummins N14 460E engine and the 13sp Eaton-Fuller box. It’s quite interesting comparing this older engine with the current MX13 455HP engine fitted to the Pete 579. With a heavy load I find that I need to use the splitter more when changing up than on the more modern MX13 – it just seems that the engine is less flexible than the current type. However, I have found that being proactive in keeping the revs in the sweet spot results in good fuel economy (even if it does mean not enjoying the sounds from the engine at higher revs!).

The FLB is finished in an old-school brown and white paint scheme. I took the decision to run without my own trailers for a while to carry a wider variety of loads. The 579 has been passed to a new driver with 12834 miles on the clock. We can swap back in the future should I wish as my logging of truck distance is based around each truck’s odometer and I should be able to maintain a record of how many mile I’ve personally driven in each truck. Anyway, here are some shots of our FLB…

Arriving at home base after a shakedown run – time to pop over the road for coffee and donuts with the local bears 😉

Delivering a tractor to a farm outside Tacoma – fields full of pumpkins had me thinking of Pecan and Pumpkin Pie 🙂

Climbing out of the Port of Tacoma with a tanker of Propane – lovely sunset…

Interior of the cab shot while southbound on I-5 in Oregon – looks like we’ve got us a convoy!..

More of my adventures next week – Drive safe everyone 🙂