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 šŸ˜‰

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

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 šŸ™‚

This week took on importance in the SCS community because Saturday marked the 3rd anniversary of the release of American Truck Simulator. The release represented a major milestone in that the developers made a mistake in opting for a smaller scale map than the one used in Euro Truck. Why was that so? It resulted in a prompt decision to rescale the entire released map to match the Euro truck maps and saw the start of a number of innovations that not only impacted on the ongoing expansion of American Truck Sim but also introduced new elements to Euro truck that might not have happened had American Truck been released at the 1:20 scale initially. Now we see ongoing re-mapping of existing maps alongside new development and I wonder if that would have happened without the advent of American Truck Simulator?

That SCS intend to move forwards in both simulators is very apparent from their communications with community. We’ve been shown the next truck to appear in ATS – the International Lonestar……seen in early development courtesy of Carthoo. That’s gonna be one divisive truck – you’ll either love or hate it – I’m tending towards dislike šŸ˜‰

With the ATS anniversary I thought I’d get into the spirit of things. Three trucks formed the basis of available fleets when the game launched – which was one more than the states delivered back in February 2016. In fact, the Kenworth W900 only made it by the skin of its teeth otherwise we’d have only had the Kenworth T680 and the Peterbilt 579 to choose from at the start. Back then the Peterbilt was my weapon of choice and I chose to fit one of those out in celebration. Here’s a couple of shots from a run between Bakersfield and Elko crossing the only two states in the game when it released, California and Nevada……running through a quiet downtown Stockton in the night before crossing donner pass in the dark and passing Reno’s lights. Here we are clearing Carlin tunnel in dawn’s light after cresting the summit of I80 between Winnemucca and Elko……and finally we parked up next to a Kenworth T680 in a reunion of the first trucks…

I’m aware that one of my followers, Cee, lives in Oregon – a state that was added to American Truck Sim just before Christmas. Here’s some shots from a short drive earlier today carrying a load of butter from The Dalles to Eugene via Portland…

I will finish by adding that I’ve had to add new hardware to my set-up. It was precipitated by having a wheel and pedal for Truck Simulator and the effect that has on other computing wishes and requirements. I think that deserves a post in itself for a full description – maybe next week’s trucking Digest will be a ‘Hardware’ issue? šŸ˜‰ Rock on everyone šŸ™‚

I was somewhat surprised to find it’s Wednesday again – doesn’t time fly! This week it’s all about American Truck Sim as almost all my driving has been in the states. In my current profile I’ve reached the critical point where the garage gets upgraded, a second truck is purchased and a driver is employed. Much of the end of last week was spent grinding to get money for the second truck.

Most of the journeys were routine but I must relay the tale of one particular trip. I picked up a load of Toys in Fresno. The destination was Camp Verde just over 600 miles away. That is tight for time in a standard shift but possible if no traffic issues are encountered and the police don’t call me into every weigh-station on the way. The other issue was fuel – did I have enough? You can’t be entirely sure how many gallons you’ll use on any given run – again it’s down to road conditions and other factors that vary on every trip. Whilst I’m usually a very sensible driver, every now and then I like to take on a challenge šŸ˜‰

I set off down the I5 to Bakersfield where my route took me through town in the early morning……before picking up Route 58 to Barstow. At Barstow I picked up I40 towards Kingman. The Arizona police at Topock often call me in to the weigh station but on this run they waved me through! With the higher speed limit in AZ I maintained 60mph through Kingman. Just past the Route 93 – Phoenix intersection the low fuel warning light came on. Time to press on regardless! I made it to Ash Fork and turned off I40 onto Route 89. There is a fierce climb on this route and some sharp corners that demand respect then a steep downhill section to pick up Route 169 at a T-junction (SCS mappers being even more liberal than usual with the map here). From here it’s a straight run through to Camp Verdi. I had just made it over the first climb when the engine cut. Decision time – stop or let the truck roll? I let it roll because I know there’s a service station just outside Camp Verde. It gathered speed down the hill towards a junction and I was praying that no one would pull out and force me to brake. It stayed clear and we hit the up slope beyond. Our speed dropped but amazingly we rolled over the top at around 25mph and then we were on the gentle down grade towards Camp Verde. The services came into sight as I rounded the last curve – we’re gonna make it! I had to brake gently to slow the truck and turn into the fuel pumps. We stopped right next to the pump but… It was the wrong pump! Aaagh!!! Now that’s what you call an epic fail šŸ˜‰ Time to call the recovery people. It’s fun to remember that it is ‘just a game’ once in a while šŸ™‚

By the way – I would have completed within my 11 hour shift! I want to tell you about another run to illustrate how much type of road, weight of load and gradients affect the time a journey will take. I picked up a load of Milk in Yuma which was bound for Las Vegas. Although the tanker is about the same size as a fuel tanker it’s almost twice the weight because of the greater density of milk compared with petroleum. In the real world you’d probably pick up Route 95 straight away but the southern section of that road isn’t on the game map so it’s Interstate 8 west to El Centro and then Route 111 north towards Indio. Around halfway along the 111 there’s a small town which I suspect represents Calipatria. There’s a busy crossroads here that you really have to slow down for and take your turn with the other traffic. Then, at the other end of town you will probably come to a scene like this……The ai vehicles invariably collide at this T-junction because they just don’t seem to see other vehicles. Then they sit there not doing anything. There’s only two ways to deal with this – either squeeze past the accident (ok if you’re travelling south but you’d probably get a wrong-side fine from the police if you try it going north) or quit the game and restart it which will remove the ai traffic. I did the latter on this occasion and even so had to avoid an ai truck turning across me as new traffic spawned! From Indio its I10 across to Blythe where we pick up the 95. That’s a road with steep grades and a level crossing at Vidal that has a 15mph speed limit! Here we are cresting another climb to the north of Vidal……At Needles it was a short run on I40 to Kingman before heading up the 93, climbing to the Hoover Dam and descending into Vegas……where I made delivery with not much of my 11 hour shift left. So a trip of 440 miles took as long as one of just over 600!

After that run it was time to head back to Bakersfield, buy a truck and hire my first employee. It would have been so simple to go down the road of another Peterbilt 579 Duty Cab. But there’s a new kid on the block – The Peterbilt 567. GTM, a group of modders led by SiSL, have created this truck for ATS and made it available through the Steam Workshop. Here’s their video advertising the 567…

…I think PACCAR should employ them in the marketing department don’t you! So I decided to buy one with a 450HP Cummins ISX15 engine and 13speed box. Here’s what she looks like…

I’ve passed the 579 to my new driver Etienne and he’s already making good money for Cal Republic Transport šŸ™‚ I’ve been really enjoying the 567 and sometime soon I’ll be in a position to afford a third truck with a sleeper cabin. Another dilemma – should that be the classic Peterbilt 389 or the aerodynamic 579 or just maybe it could be another 567? I think I’ll wait a while before making that choice. I’ll share some trips in the 567 and hopefully from Europe too in next week’s Trucking Digest šŸ™‚