Great Falls MT to Mona UT
Saturday Sept 1st
644 Miles driven
Cool old D11 dozer parked up near the truck stop in Utah.
After a terrible nights sleep ( Fridge motor , see previous blog ) I was up at 6 am. The driving hour regulations meant my compulsory break period ended in one hour . Just enough time to make breakfast . Porridge loaded with fruit and a freshly made coffee, followed by another coffee and a walk with my dog , meant it was time to leave my overnight parking area .
Pre-trip inspection completed and breakfast packed away, quick clean of the cab and interstate 15 southern bound by 7.30 .
Within an hour of leaving the truck stop the views from my office window changed dramatically . The section of the highway from Great Falls to Butte takes my breath away. A stunning mountain backdrop combine with twisting sections of road , following a river basin, provides me with a great morning drive and I soon forget about my lack of sleep . I am wide awake now and determined to enjoy every moment . Whether it’s the scenery or the two large cups of coffee I had early I’m not sure , but what a start to the day.
A beautiful mornings drive comes to an end with a lunch break taken at a great rest stop at Pocatello IdahoUnder the new regulations in effect in the States , a driver has to take a minimum of a half an hour break within the first 8 hours of the working day . This is an improvement in my book . I was grateful for the opportunity to take a break on this first day of September . This particular rest area has a nicely laid out trail which took about twenty minutes to stroll around , providing myself and my dog the opportunity to stretch our legs giving us both exercise and fresh air.
I don’t actually eat lunch as I find its makes me tired in the afternoon, I prefer to snack as I drive to keep awake and hunger at bay .
After my break , I pass through the remainder of Idaho and enter the second state of the journey south, Utah . This State brings me into the first large city since leaving Calgary . Salt Lake City on a Saturday afternoon gave me refresh into the joys of heavy traffic when driving a semi truck. Something I had not experienced for over ten years . This was fun . Seriously I enjoyed it . I had forgotten how people behave when in their cars . Driving a truck, you are quite a bit higher up than cars and this elevated position gives you a bird’s-eye view into people’s vehicles as they pass you . I am amazed that people don’t think they can be seen or no one is watching when they are driving . This provided me with some funny and other stomach turning sights when driving through Salt Lake on this sunny warm afternoon . “Hey Lady in the fancy SUV stop picking your nose and wiping it on the dash !” Seriously .
Once the free entertainment had died down I was beginning to think where I was going to stop this evening .As I had fueled the previous day it wasn”t necessary to do the same today . This truck was fitted with two very large fuel tanks and I could easily drive for two days without the need to refuel . This gave me the option to park in smaller rest areas . While having no facilities , they offer a peaceful evening and a different experience altogether .
My Saturday afternoon cruise through Utah was interrupted by a vehicle fire on the side of the highway, causing traffic to come to a halt for around an hour . Thankfully it didn’t appear as though anyone was hurt and I passed the time away talking to a fellow trucker from Nevada, who had pulled up next to me during the incident .
Already in my second day , I have noticed how much modern technology is making life easier . Firstly, my hours of driving , resting and sleeping are all recorded automatically my a machine connected directly to the electronic management system on the truck . This has replaced the need to manually record each event in a log book and hope you did it right when inspected by the DOT. Secondly, my border crossing paperwork is now done via an electronic log process , making the whole process easier for the driver . Lastly , the days of driving and looking at the map and a directory of truck stops to figure out where you are going to stop for the night or get fuel etc have been replaced by a very useful app called “Trucker Path”.This app tells the driver where the parking areas are located, gives to directions via google maps if required and even shows you space available ( although this does rely on drivers inputting this information when the get to that particular rest area so this information could be unreliable ). This gives the driver the opportunity to pick the truck stops of their choice depending on what type they prefer or what services they or their truck require .
So armed with this information at lunch time , combined with the knowledge of how many hours I had left to drive , I picked a small rest area near Mona,Utah. So it was with an hour of day light remaining I pulled in a small gravel parking area next to a new BP gas station with a Subway attached . Treated myself to a large sub and an ice tea for supper , followed by a nice evening walk with my dog to finish off a great second day .