This week Epi got a message from the NHS telling her that she must not go outside for 12 weeks as she is considered as ‘high risk’ because of her underlying health condition. So, she has to stay home for at least 3 months and I’m gonna have to do all the outdoor things while trying to minimise the risk of bringing in the virus from shopping, etc. For many of us – that’s being caught in a trap with no out. I’m sure you’re going to get bored. So here’s a thought if you’re struggling to keep yourself busy at home… Computer Games!

We’re having to spend time indoors and watch box-sets or, heaven-forbid, read books or possibly even talk to each other! Of Course, those ought to be enough – the read books and talk to each other was all there was when I was a kid! But the world has moved on by quantum steps since then 🙂 In our current ‘lockdown’ circumstances, computer games provide an almost unlimited opportunity to entertain or educate. They’ve been there to do that for quite a while now and maybe it’s the right time to take full advantge of the resource they offer.

You’re probably wondering if you’ve come to the right post – it’s about trucks and simulation isn’t it.. right?? Yes, this is Trucking Digest and we’re going to talk about driving in a major global crisis!

On 30th of March SCS Software announced a new event for us regulars to take part in. Set to run until the 6th of April it was all about showing our support for the real world truckers, out there delivering in the face of Coronavirus, whilst underlining the need for non-essential workers to stay at home. Called #TruckAtHome on twitter, it drew an immediate response from the community. It’s fair to say that we drove our hearts out over that 7 day period, consistently tweeting images with the #TruckAtHome tag to highlight the need for people to #StayHomeSaveLives. I personally drove over 34000 Kilometers in-game and was frankly very tired come monday night when I did my last run in American Truck Simulator from Los Angeles to Pendleton. The community achieved over 584 Million Kilometers! I hope we got our message across to the wider populace! Simultaneously, tied to our community effort, SCS donated money to charities working in the fight against the virus in their area and their mobile team went out delivering to local hospitals. I saw one person ask the question – why am I doing this for people in the Czech Republic. He’s a kid and so can be forgiven – the explanation is simple – help in any location helps us all globally because we are all in this together.

The driving campaign resulted in me finally resurrecting Rolled Gold in American Truck……and giving her a personal trailer. I also, as a result of something else that I was doing (remember those Frac Tanks for the final achievement in the last post?) decided to get a Freightliner Argosy – I’d like you to meet Monster……and she growls like a monster with the Cummins Signature 600HP engine 🙂

In Europe, most of the driving was handled by a new MAN TGX – no names or pack-drill in my European company. Here she is wearing the company blue with the special logo for the event…

One of my younger trucking colleagues from Serbia has been asking me to get a Renault Premium – apparently that’s his favourite because they’re rare in his country… Np, Happy to oblige – here’s a Renault Premium in the standard blue of the special paint job released for the event by SCS.

I hope you’re all keeping well, keeping safe, staying inside (as much as going for essential items allows). Keep the shiny side up!

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 🙂

Having just had an excellent holiday in Scotland I guess taking a run up to the land of my Father in Euro Truck was inevitable. Here’s Corbieres heading south across the Firth of Forth with a load of wooden beams from Aberdeen to Edinburgh. This is an area of the old maps that will need rebuilding as the Scottish parliament has authorised another bridge across the Forth because the current bridge was being overwhelmed by the level of traffic. Resembling the Millau Viaduct in France, it is now open to traffic. Tragically, Italy has seen the failure of one of its bridges this week with significant loss of life. It will be some time before the cause of the collapse is known but it seems likely that similar pressures of traffic to those in Scotland may be part of the cause. I show this shot of the Morandi Bridge in Euro Truck with my thoughts firmly with those who suffered loss in this tragic event and my best wishes for the Italian people…

Much of my driving this week has been in American Truck and I’ve been battling the curse of New Mexico. What curse you may ask? In New Mexico I find that there is an added risk that coaches, trucks and the ai in general will drive into you. But I also note that it seems more likely to affect some trucks than others. I’ve been driving the Kenworth W900B which is one of the GTM mods and it’s a big truck. In fact I have to say it feels bigger than the W900L that SCS provide as standard in the game. Now that’s a bit strange as the W900L should be longer with a lower hood than the W900B (unless I’ve missed something somewhere). But the W900B seems to be very wide – so wide in fact, that I was driving down a curving road without a trailer in Clovis and a passing coach clipped my rear fender despite me being on my side of the lane lines! I wonder if there’s a bounding box issue there? But I have also not experienced similar issues with the in-game W900L. If you look at images the W900B looks a very big truck…

Anyway – time for a change. We all know the wonderful Freightliner FLB that is currently in the careful charge of modder Harven. Harven has now released the Mack R600 truck on the Steam workshop. I had to try that one 🙂 Initial impressions are good although the set-up of seating and steering position seems to be a bit ‘clunky’ currently. The finish of the truck’s appearance is great… The interior is either charcoal or a leathery beige which is the finish I went for. Looks great in colour but it also makes a great B&W image…..And how about that arrogant Bulldog and proud MACK emblazoned on the front…

You’ve probably recognised this as the ‘Rubber Duck’ truck and it is a variant of the Mack that starred in the film. Sure looks like we got us a convoy 😉