Kamloops: The Run From Hell
In the past I have told my dispatcher I would quit before taking the Kamloops run, to put someone much lower in the food chain on it. Well, that worked for a couple years but then my Transportation Manager came to all of the remaining Canada drivers and said he is having a difficult time keeping drivers for the Kamloops route. We were all asked to take rotations until he could hire a new driver.
The route is the most difficult run we have, Over 3500 miles of 95% two lane highway, through Canada’s Rockies. The winding road conditions are treacherous with snow, ice, black ice, and high winds.
My rotation was up and to be honest with you I was looking forward to it as it has been at least a couple years since I have done the route.
After six years of driving to Canada I wanted to finally see a Moose and not just the yellow warning signs along the highway I’ve only seen thus far.
It started all well and good, in fact I was loving the scenic drive. The first day through Northern California, Central Oregon and into Washington. The second day was truly amazing, driving along over a hundred miles of lakes and rivers. All the while staying on my schedule I set to beat a harsh storm, knocking off three of the deliveries.
The third day was mundane and boring as hell but the roads were dry and completed the next three deliveries ahead of schedule.
At Prince George, BC, I took Highway 16 west, the only way to to my last stop in Thornhill, BC. Three hundred and sixty three miles, where logging trucks rule the world and own the highway.
Half way to Thornhill, I rounded a sharp corner, right there on the side of the road nibbling on some grass at the fog line was the most majestic creatures God has created. A Giant Moose!!! In one breath I screamed with excitement and in another I was cussing because it was dark and I turned off my GoPro.
It’s okay I finally saw a Moose!
About fifty miles from Thornhill all hell broke loose. The storm I was trying to beat showed up two days early. It was dumping a ton of slushy slippery snow. I literally parked on the shoulder of the highway for the night in hopes the snow plow ferries could clear the highway while I rested.
The next morning it was still snowing but at this point the plows was keeping up. I made it to Thornhill and offloaded ten canopies and a bunch of parts in record time. I knew I was up against the clock and Mother Nature.
Traveling east the conditions worsened, the plows were loosing against Mother Nature. My top speed was 45 mph, my average was only 35 mph. With over 1700 miles to get home it was depressing.
As I was leaving Burns there is a small grade, so I ramped up from 14 mph to 30 mph. Coming down the grade a logging truck was completely on my side of the highway at I’m guessing 45-50 mph. To avoid a full head on collision I moved to the shoulder as he sped by me in my lane. As I moved back in to my lane my trailer hit slushy snow and whipped to the left then to right.
Everything I tried to get it under control didn’t work. The slushy ice was slipperier than anything I have ever dealt with before. All of this of course was happening in a blink. I was sliding towards a cliff, at that moment I wasn’t really paying much attention to the cliff itself, but I was paying very close attention to the electrical poles that I was sliding towards, I was literally fighting for my life. They say your life flashes before you but it was actually the life of my family that flashed before me, I was thinking of my boys the whole time. I felt my truck starting to tip over, the one thing that finally worked in all of this to my truck upright, I turned hard into the tip. I honestly don’t know if this was what you are “supposed” to do to keep a truck from tipping over but it worked. The next blink I was jack knifed, with my trailer across both lanes, the nose of the trailer hanging off the cliff and the trucks ass end was also hanging off the cliff.
I couldn’t believe it, I wrecked again, the second time in as many weeks. This winter driving was going to freakin kill me. I was so pissed at the logger for causing the accident but I was more pissed he kept going. Alone in my truck with everything from my pantry all around me I was cussing like a drunken sailor, I think I even made up some words. A bit compulsive I started cleaning my truck, yes I realize I might have been in a tad bit of shock. Still seething when the Mounties arrived they couldn’t approach, they yelled from the middle of the road for me not to exit the truck until they can have the power turned off. So compulsiveness is not so bad after all. After what seemed like forever the power was shut down.
One of the Mounties approached my rig, a big burly mountain of a man with a voice that sounded like he gargles with gravel, he asked if I was okay. I felt my lip quiver, my eyes filled with tears., I couldn’t form words with out completely losing my bananas so I nodded my head yes. They decided it was extremely important for me to leave the truck now there wasn’t a threat of electrocution and hustled me out. Here’s where I get pissed all over again, the other Mountie on scene made me wait in the back seat of his police car. My husband has told me stories of what people do in the backseat of police cars. I said but but that’s where the bad guys sit.. I’m now shocked the Mountie didn’t bother to move his briefcase for a Blue Wife. He had some lame ass excuse he mumbled under his breath but I wasn’t having any of it and was not going to sit in the back seat with the door shut. I was missing Deputy John and Trooper Bo, they would never have a Blue Wife sit where bad guys pee, poop and throw up.
Then there was more waiting for the wrecker to pull my truck off the cliff. Once the wrecker arrived it took all of ten minutes to pull it of the cliff, half of which was looking for my tow hooks.
The black ice accident damaged the right side fairings and the front bumper, this accident damaged the remaining fairing plus the upper cab fairing. It looks like total crap on the outside but clean as hell on the inside.
Luckily, it was all cosmetic, I tossed the broken parts in the trailer and followed the wrecker to a safe location to park for the night. I was physically, emotionally and mentally drained, I felt like I could have slept for a week. After talking with my husband to let him know I was okay I immediately fell asleep.
The next day with lower temperatures I hoped it would be better road conditions. Not so lucky I’m afraid, the crap storm kept on crapping on me. I had a 150 miles to go to get to Prince George. At normal speed it would take two and a half hours, it took me six hours.
You would think the hellish nightmare would be over but the loggers in that neck of the woods who rule the world and own the highway were out to kill me. I was almost back to civilization when another logger was hauling ass around this huge sweeping turn. He had his tractor on his side of the highway and the trailer sliding sideways completely across my lane. Praying, Straighten up Please God Straighten up…
Well I’m here to tell the story so he straightened it up.
But wait there’s more..
Seriously, there is more but not life threatening, two separate breakdowns that required road side service with another day delay. This almost sent me over the edge, I seriously considered (more like fantasized) taking a cab to the nearest airport.
I’m a little more stubborn and refuse to allow a run to get the best of me. So I pulled my big girl pants up and chugged home. Then took the rest of the week off.
Enjoy the Ride