Last time, we joined Motown Dog on a night trip from Santa Fe to Kingman. Today we’re going to join Azyet as she takes a load of Stone Wool from Esbjerg in Denmark to Le Mans in France. It’s quite a long trip and we’ll need a rest stop around the halfway point. Lets do a quick introduction. Azyet is a DAF XF 105 equipped with a 460HP engine and a 12 speed automatic gearbox. In addition to the engine brake, she also has a retarder to help with slowing down. She’s hauling one of our company’s curtainside trailers.

We collected our load from the harbour and set off with a view of the docks…

20220715120659_1

Not far along the E20 heading east, we found someone who was not having a good day…

20220715121155_1

…A reminder of the importance of securing the load correctly before setting out. At Kolding, we picked up the E45 heading south to make our way into Germany. At the border near Flensberg, the road becomes Autobahn 7 and we continue over the Kiel Canal…

20220715121842_1

…It’s quite a climb over that bridge and despite having a relatively light load, we lost some speed. But the guy who was overtaking us lost a lot more and had to try again on the down hill after the apex! I don’t know what his problem is – I’m cruising at the truck speed limit of 80kmh and the retarder is holding my speed to a little over that. He’s risking a fine if the Polizei spot him 🙄 On these roads Azyet is very happy cruising at 80 in top gear and she will put in a pretty economical performance over distance.

Staying on the ‘7’ and we dive under the Elbe River at Hamburg, surfacing in the docks area of the city…

20220715122411_1

…Just south of Hamburg we leave Autobahn 7 and take Autobahn 1…

20220715122600_1

… which will take us south west past Bremen. There’s some nice rolling countryside around here and we’re enjoying the ride…

20220715123225_1

…the ‘1’ will take us most of the way to the Belgian border so we can relax and enjoy the drive. Can’t relax too much though as there are always things going on including other trucks joining the autobahn at slower speeds. This was near Osnabrück…

20220715123519_1

…a Bring truck pulling out. With a string of traffic in the fast lane I had no choice but to slow and then grind my way up the hill at his speed.

As we pass the Kamener Kreuz junction we can admire a sculpture by Alex Gockel featuring 8 angels carrying a helicopter painted in the colours of the ADAC – Germany’s rescue helicopter service…

20220715123901_1

…Popularly known as the ‘Gelbe Engel’ – Yellow Angels

Not far to go on my first shift now, At Westhofen we diverge onto the 45 and see the first signs indicating Liège…

20220715124145_1

…the 45 will connect us to autobahn 4 to pass south of Köln. You can see the famous railway bridge and cathedral in the distance as we cross the Rodenkirchener bridge…

20220715124916_1

We’re fast approaching the Belgian Border, but I plan to pull in at the last German services to refuel (it’s cheaper in Germany), and park up for the night. I planned the stop at the start of my journey and here we are on time with a few minutes to spare on our driving hours…

20220715125305_1

The fuel cost €766 and early next morning we were off and driving across the border into Belgium. Initially on the E40, we picked up the E42 as we passed Liège and continued past the airport…

20220715125647_1

…This is an older un-rebuilt section of the #ETS2 map and some of the bends along the route are unrealistic. I always slow to 70kmh for the section past the junctions to Luxembourg and Reims. Some time ago SCS introduced random events which placed roadworks and accidents at different locations on the road. But on the older maps some roadworks were permanent structures, like this one near Namur…

20220715125906_1

…There have been some changes over the years as if the work is gradually nearing completion and I assume this fixed roadworks will disappear when the mapping is rebuilt in this area.

We picked up the E19 near Mons and crossed the border into France…

20220715130258_1

…where the E19 becomes France’s A2 autoroute. We’re now into the Peage system and during the rest of the trip we will pay €151 in tolls 😟 The plan is to head west towards Le Havre so we picked up the A29. We cruised along this road maintaining a steady 80kmh. Although the limit for trucks on much of the Autoroute network is 90kmh, it’s more economical to drive at a slightly slower pace. We only drive to the full 90kmh when we’re tight for time.

Not long before we reach Le Havre I spot the name Paluel on the road signs…

20220715130907_1

…I’m going to turn off there and take a short cross-country drive to pick up the A28. Coming off the autoroute means we have to pay the first of two tolls on this run…

20220715131547_1

…They have security guys at every peage – probably there to deter acts of vandalism.- Nous Français détester donner de l’argent au gouvernement 😅

The short trip on the D490 has its benefits because we get to cross the River Seine via the Pont de Brotonne…

20220715131846_1

…and nothing says ‘Bienvenue en France’ better than a field of Tournesol…

20220715132007_1

…Sunflowers 😎👍

Off the D490 we picked up the A28 heading southwest. There are some lovely forested areas here…

20220715132517_1

…and long open viaducts carrying us far above deep valleys…

20220715132559_1

…That speedo is still sitting resolutely on 80kmh😅 Then, almost before we know it, we’re there…

20220715132958_1

We dropped off our load at Wilnet…

20220715134328_1

…watched leaving by the security guard. Then it was off to get Azyet maintained (another €494) and find a hotel for the night. Another job completed and 1452 more kilometres on the odometer. Fuel consumption worked out at 24.2l/100km or 11.67mpg in UK measures. 👍

Here’s the in-game map of where we’ve been. Northern section – Esbjerg to near Dortmund…

20220717205740_1

…and the southwestern section from near Dortmund to Le Mans…

20220717205715_1

I hope you have enjoyed our trip 😎👍

Middle of the month and time to join in with Clare’s Share Your Desktop Challenge. Same format for me as last month’s entry – two desktops.

On my Gaming PC I have a desktop that ties in nicely with Clare’s, since Space is involved. This is a screenshot from a game called X4…

20220711204508_1

It’s a view of my ship, a small fighter, docked at station. The ship is an Elite Vanguard and is the first ship you are given when you start the game. It’s an interceptor rather than a dogfighter. As I’ve only recently started playing this game, I can’t really tell a lot more about it and certainly no plot details. I’m not even sure it has one in the starting option I chose – more of a sandbox where you make your own way in the galaxy😅

On my Photography PC things are a lot simpler. Here’s a photo taken on Brompton Road…

Robinsons PE56 YXS on Brompton Road

Centrepiece of the image is a Volvo FH12 belonging to Robinson’s Haulage of Sandy. Fitted with a 520HP engine, the tractor unit has a 6×2 Tag-lift chassis – note that the centre axle is the driven one. This configuration is a little unusual in London as it is commonly favoured by companies that work on untarmacked roads. There is also a crane fitted behind the cab to assist with loading flatbed trailers. The truck conforms to the ‘You can never have too many lights’ rule-of-thumb and has a nice set of air-horns too😅 If you look in the centre of the windscreen you can see an Angry Duck – the hood ornament from Rubber Duck’s Mack truck in the 1978 film Convoy. There are a lot of other ‘Volvo’ details added to the vehicle which tells me that the driver loves his truck! Finally, for those that haven’t recognised the large building in the background – it’s Harrods 😎

All this hot weather in England has disrupted my usual trucking. I like to wear my headset while driving so I can enjoy the music of the engine. But sweaty ears is not something I’m comfortable with so I have been having a bit of a break and doing other games.

Today, it was a bit cooler and I took the opportunity in the morning to do two drives. The first was in American Truck Simulator, where I fired up Motown Dog to move a digger from Santa Fe (NM) to Kingman (AZ). For those who aren’t familiar with my trucks, Motown Dog is a Mack R600 fitted with a Detroit Diesel 6V-92TA engine producing 335HP. She has a 10-Speed manual gearbox.

This is a good time to talk about a physical issue that I have with the mechanicals associated with my gaming. The steering wheel I use is now 6 years old. In that time I have probably averaged the equivalent of around 20,000 real world miles every year in the game. That’s a lot of driving and my IRL car has no idea how easy a life it has😅 The issue with a computer steering wheel, pedals and gear stick lies in how they operate and the ingression of dust that accumulates. The wheel itself is largely immune to any dust related issues. But the gear stick, despite having a pseudo leather cover below the knob, does suffer from some dust getting in. Additionally, the rubber blocks that push the switches, break down over time and become sticky. This is something I can deal with quite easily – take off the cover from time to time and liberally spray the switches with WD40 Contact Cleaner. The same approach can’t be applied to the pedals. They use potentiometers to measure things like throttle and clutch position. Unfortunately they build up a sticky film over time and that produces an effect known as spiky throttle in the sim racing community. In truck sims the effect is a little different – you find the throttle doesn’t always close or the clutch doesn’t always disengage – both result in an awful grinding sound when driving a manual truck (much as incorrectly operating the clutch would do in the real world). For this reason, I will be buying a new wheel and pedal set-up in the future. Times have moved on and the latest ones don’t rely on potentiometers👍

With that discussed, lets join Motown Dog on her outing and I’ll explain how I’m getting around the issue in the meantime. I had 5 hours in hand after completing the previous job, so I parked the Dog on the maintenance guy’s forecourt while looking for more work…

20220625181543_1

…That’s our drop-deck trailer and we’re picking up a lot of good machinery loads with it. Having confirmed the job to take a Digger (called a Backhoe Loader in game!) over to Kingman, I fired up and got under way. The collection point at a quarry was a bit of a pain but we got it loaded and were on our way.

One of the things I’ve found that helps with the pedal problem I have described above is to double de-clutch. That works really well with this truck and, ironically, is probably more realistic on a truck of this age than nice neat single clutch shifts😅 Here we are passing through Albuquerque as the sun gets up…

20220714085357_1

Because I was using up spare hours from the previous job, we stopped in Sky City and I headed over to the hotel for breakfast and to sleep away the day.

Back on the road at 17:30 and I just knew the DoT would be calling us in at Gallup for an inspection…

20220714091740_1

…There were no issues and I should hope not with an almost brand new trailer and a doted over truck😅

We cruised at 50mph – any faster hurts the fuel consumption and I knew we had time in hand. As long as we hit Kingman around 03:15 we’d be parked up to rest with an hour to spare on our shift. It’s generally quiet at night on the I40 from Gallup, past Holbrook, through Flagstaff and on to the junction with Route 93. We ground our way up the climbs and I let her have her head on the downhills, once topping 65mph. Then we were at Kingman and drifting into a quiet town…

20220714093943_1

The delivery at Kingman was one of those awkward ones where you don’t know how tight things will be until you’re in the yard. Today it wasn’t too bad – just reverse into a spare bay to turn the trailer around and then shunt back into the required delivery spot…

20220714094608_1

…Thank god there weren’t any doubles parked in the adjacent slot or we might have taken a lot longer to park it. Then it was off to a parking area and time for the Dog and me to catch our Zee’s 😅 By the way, fuel consumption for the trip = 7.85mpg 👍

Perhaps I’ll run through a European delivery in another post 😎