Richard Klaus Thoughts

The World according to Richard Klaus..Trains, Planes, Cars, Wales,Scotland.

Just a couple updates.

Dateline: 6/16/2010.

I’m in Tennessee tonight. Brought a load of plywood from Baltimore to a small town in Tennessee, then got a load of casting sand to go to New Jersey.  Not my favorite state to deal with, toll roads, crowded, and right now muggy.

Hopefully something headed west from New Jersey will turn up.

In other news. The Welsh Highland, cross town link to the Ffestiniog Railway will be approved for operation in October. I expect that a full schedule will wait for the 2011 season. The hold-up seems to have been the design an installation of the warning light on Britannia Bridge. This is the sort of thing that happens when governments are involved. It’s not like anybody had to invent the train crossing.

I find that in the interest of accuracy, I must modify this post. Sometime ago, I read somewhere that there was a bureaucratic hold up on the Welsh Highland cross town link.  As Chris was correct to point out, this was a funding problem.  Furthermore the Welsh Government has been a big help in completing this huge project.

My personal funds may permit a trip to Dublin next year, my Wife really wants to see Ireland. A quick boat ride to Wales seems like a good idea.


June 17, 2010 Posted by | trains, Truck Stuff, Wales | , , , , , | 3 Comments

U.S. Customs

So, I get up to a book warehouse in Ontario, Canada today.  No problem getting into Canada, got the books on board and headed back to the border. Yep I got all my forms filled out and filed. What could go wrong?

Well somebody at the brokers office could reverse two letters on the trucks license plate.  Three hours later I left the border office with the full knowledge that during the time those inspectors spent “solving” that problem a couple hundred “farm workers” slipped across the southern border.  But the country is safe from trucks with PR instead of RP on the plate.

Oh, and in all the fuss over the plate, they forgot to run the truck through the scanner.  That didn’t dawn on me until I got down to Eire PA. and I not going back.

We may all be blown up someday, but at least we are safe from typo’s.

February 27, 2009 Posted by | Truck Stuff | Leave a comment

Well ya gota love it.

So last week I get a load of tea to take to Calgary. Leave Portland, Saturday morning with plenty of time for a Monday delivery. Get to the border about midnight Saturday. It turns out someone somewhere didn’t do the customs paper work right, oh and it can’t be fixed until Monday.

OK. 25 degrees out, I’m on the Idaho, British Columbia border, and it going to be a day and a half before anybody can look at the problem.  Sounds like some desk jockey should be buying some fuel.

As you might imagine I’m not real happy.

January 26, 2009 Posted by | Truck Stuff | Leave a comment

Got a little bit of snow.

December 24th.

December 24th.

Bit more snow than we have had in the Portland area for awhile.  The Van on the left is the $175 Dodge mentioned in an earlier post.  The snow drift on the right is our 93 Dodge Intrepid.

Took this Christmas Eve, looks like I might be able to get the Intrepid out today (Friday).

After sitting in The Dalles, Oregon,  Saturday night, Sunday, and Monday morning. I finally gave up and drove back to Biggs Junction, then south on 97 to Madras, then over Mt. Hood to Portland.  Talked to a State Policeman that told me it was open, but he didn’t want everybody to try it. I used to run Portland to Prineville every day, so I’m used to Mt. Hood in winter.  What the State Police didn’t want was a bunch of trucks from the Midwest to take a try at the mountain. That would have been a mess.

This was the end of a 7 week trip. One new tire, and a heater fan that broke in South Dakota, on a 5 degree night. Not bad for what was going to be a ten day out and back.

December 26, 2008 Posted by | Truck Stuff, Uncategorized | , | 1 Comment

I’d like to get home someday

Well, I figured that this would happen after the holidays, what with the shippers holding their breath, waiting to see what “The One” is going to do when he takes office.  Turns out the with all the once a year trucks out here, Christmas tree trucks are out here looking for trips back to the north-west.  That makes for a bunch of extra trucks, after what seems to be a small amount of freight headed that way.

This trip has been quite the trip around the country: Portland/Rhode Island/New Jersey/Georgia/Ohio/Alabama/Mississippi/Ohio/Alabama.  Now we’re near Birmingham Alabama, and have a load to pick up tomorrow that goes to Lansing Michigan.  Hopefully from there, something headed to the Northwest.

Kind of have the feeling, that for the first of the next year, I’m just going to have to chase freight. Just go city to city wherever the best paying freight is going. If I have to I can get by on very little while on the road, so I’ll make it work, one way or another.

But hey, “It’s a livin”

December 4, 2008 Posted by | Truck Stuff | Leave a comment

U-Haul Rant

I’ll depart from my normal posts to warn you about U-Haul.  You see the vans around town with that “Rent this truck for 29.95 a day” painted on the side.

Well what they don’t tell you is that their going to add a huge mileage charge to that daily fee.

Last week my oldest Daughter was faced with an quick move, oh and there’s a whole story about that.  Anyway I happen to get the chance for a trip to Phoenix, and would be in the area during her move.  The was apparent that we needed a van or pick-up for some of the move, my 53 foot trailer and Freightliner tractor, could not get into the apartment complex. 74 feet of truck is a little bulky at times.

Well, I went to the local U-Hual and rented a Ford Van.  One short move, for many reasons I’ll not say to where, returned the Van and payed $93.00 for the daily plus mileage.  Mind you, I could have dropped my 53 foot trailer, and rented a 28 foot furniture van for $35 for the day.

To be fair power is way more expensive that trailers.  If you should, always try to get the job done with a trailer.  Even if your car is a Mini, or a Golf, think about getting a proper trailer hitch, that way when the need comes along, you can rent a small trailer, for $20 a day, and no mileage charge.  It’s just a better idea.

With a 28 foot trailer, both apartments would have been no problem.

Just something to think about before you rent a truck.  Think about passing some cash to a friend with a pick-up, or a Van.  To many people $50 will get you a Van and some help for the move.

November 12, 2008 Posted by | Truck Stuff, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Recaps on a bus?

Something that might get past some of you. The bus that crashed this week in Texas had recapped tires in the steer position. Now I run recapped tires on my trailer, I used to on my tractor, but, never on the steer axle.  Recapped tires are know for tread separation, and sometimes the body of the tire is so old that the tire just explodes. I’ve had this happen.

First of all it’s not legal, second it’s just stupid. The front tires are more heavily loaded than the other tires on most trucks, or buses.  On my Freightliner the steers hold 5,500 pounds each, and I’ve owned trucks where this ran as high as 6,200 pounds.  In the drive and trailer position you have a maximum of 34,000 pounds but the is split between 8 tires, 4,250 per tire. And while the drive and trailer tires are paired with another tire, the steer tires are on their own, and are subject to the force of turning, a hard turn trying to rip the bonded cap off the body of the tire.

Any vehicle in interstate operation mush use new tires in the steer positions. Even in local operations where these rules don’t apply, such as local container haulers, I’ve never seen anyone use recapped tires on the steer axle. And some of these are guys moving containers around town, with a beat up old Cabover that they picked up for less than ten grand.

This bus company is probably out of business, and should be. Top of the line Michelins are $550 each, the caps they bought where probably $300. OK so you saved $500 on a pair of tires, nice job guys.

August 11, 2008 Posted by | Truck Stuff, Uncategorized | | Leave a comment

More Global Warming

So, it’s the tenth of June in Central Oregon.  Birds flying about, people camping, and kids playing in the local creek? No.

Well how about six inches of snow.

Yeah, and I took the tire chains out of the truck a month ago.June 10th

If this is global warming, the warming part is all wrong.

Take note Mr. Gore, this white stuff is very cold.

June 12, 2008 Posted by | Truck Stuff | | 1 Comment

Fuel prices, and the grocery store.

Really I’m not whining here. When I have to pay too much for fuel, it goes on to the freight rate. The new truck (see photo) gets pretty good mileage. Runs 6.75 to 7.5 MPG depending on the load.

Here is the problem for the country. Every drop of fuel we use in heavy trucks, shows up on the store shelf. In the price of what we brought there.

Last week in Nevada, I was in Tonopah, and down to about 1/4 tank. Well the Texaco was at $5.12 for diesel, and the Chevron at the north end of town was $5.19. I needed about 220 gallons to fill up, and took the chance on going on to Hawthorne, about 80 miles further on.

At Hawthorne the fuel was a little lower at $4.99 a gallon, so being very close to empty I got fuel. The pump cut off at $500 dollars worth, I thought about getting more, that being only 100 gallons, but figured I could make it to southern Oregon on the 100 gallons, so off I went.

We’ll see how this all settles out. Food prices are going to go up, trucking companies are going to go out of business, and when things do get better, there will be fewer options for shipping.

It’s a little frustrating to have billions of barrels of oil sitting under the U.S., and yet have the government lock it all away. Maybe when you have the use of an Air Force plane to get home for the weekend, and some intern puts the gas in your car, from a free government pump, you lose track of the real world.

Here is the simple answer. Do we drill for the oil we know is there? Do we look for more? Do we work on other energy,(wind,bio,nuclear,geothermal)? Well the answer should be yes to all.

Oh yeah, and maybe the government could get out of the way, and let us solve this problem. I’m pretty sure I don’t want the people that run D.M.V. running my fuel supply.

May 27, 2008 Posted by | Truck Stuff, Uncategorized | , , , | Leave a comment

Truck in the shop tonight.

Boy this has got to stop soon. Just spent $17,000 plus to get the truck back on the road. This morning in L.A. on a trip I really didn’t want to make, I’m running down I-210 and the truck sputters a couple times then quits.
Figured it might be a bad fuel filter, had a service truck come out, we fiddled with it a bit. The mechanic had a computer with him, and we found that all of the fuel injectors, had low pressure.
The engine would not stay running, so called a tow truck ($640) to take the truck to Freightliner, in Ontario.
Very probably something simple in the fuel system, not like every injector would go bad at the same instant. Still makes me very unhappy. This was suppose to be a quick turn, Junes sister is getting married Sunday, and I wasen’t happy about working this trip in anyway. Now it’s looking like I need to take her to the airport, to get her home on time.
Had wanted to take a few days off, and get the truck into Freightliner in Brooks, Oregon where I know the people. Now it being looked at in L.A. by mechanics that know they will probably never see me again.
My instincts all told me to not take this trip. I think I’m going to start listening to them more.

April 25, 2008 Posted by | Truck Stuff | Leave a comment