jobs, power drinks, bicycles and planned obsolescence
July 20, 2010
July 20, 2010
I checked the ads for truck drivers in the Montreal papers last week, and it would seem the good times are back again. Lots of camioneur jobs in the Journal de Montreal (31 ads) and plenty in the Gazette, too. Trucking being a leading economic indicator, this bodes well for the rest of Canada’s economy.
My laptop’s hard drive seized up just over a year after I bought it. The dehumidifier in the basement stopped sucking 14 months after purchase. Seems like the Asian manufacturers have the warranty expiry down to a science. As far as laptops, extended warranty is the way to go. But it was refreshing to lay off the computer for awhile. It should be a tool that you control, not the other way around.
These energy drinks are everywhere, and they’re especially prevalent in truck stops. Most contain a cocktail of stimulants like caffeine, gotu kola, taurine and ginseng among others. I’ve tried one brand on a couple of times with mixed results. It did help me stay awake and complete the trip when I was very fatigued. But despite being extremely tired, I didn’t sleep that long or fitfully while off-duty, feeling the lingering effects for hours the next day. Some people are apparently having heart palpitations because of these potions. Any negative experiences from these beverages?
Lastly, I’d like some advice on bringing a bicycle along on truck trips. Over the years I’ve seen them mounted on the back of a cab. There should be room to do this but I’m concerned about staying clear of the hoses and hydro cord. Of course a road bike fits no problem in the passenger seat of a daycab–if you take off the wheels and the seat post. Then you can strap it in with the seatbelt nice and secure. Fold up bicycles are another idea, but even so they’re still bulky in a small cab. I’ve often thought that a good fold-up cycle would be a nice enticement as part of a recruiting package. Having a bike along can make for pleasant times exploring new locales, not to mention the physical benefits of riding on your time off.
We drivers had three bikes up in Ottawa at one time, that I picked up at a nearby Value Village. We certainly got good use out of them cycling from our suburban hotel along a terrific bike trail that took us past the governor-general’s place and Steven Harper’s dwelling on our way to Mel’s Diner or the Bytown Market. Ottawa is particularly bike-friendly and over a couple of summers I was able to explore the War Museum, Aviation Museum, Museum of Civilization in Hull, and the National Gallery. Did I mention the Museum of Technology? Canadians should see these places. Admission is cheap, $10-15 and we paid for with our taxes, after all. On a typical Ottawa layover I would check out some used books stores, find a good ethnic place to eat lunch, and go for a good long ride along the Ottawa River. Those were the days.
Harry Rudolfs has worked as a dishwasher, apprentice mechanic, editor, trucker, foreign correspondent and taxi driver. He's written hundreds of articles for North American and European journals and newspapers, including features for the Ottawa Citizen, Toronto Life and CBC radio.
With over 30 years experience in the trucking industry he's hauled cars, steel, lumber, chemicals, auto parts and general freight as well as B-trains. He holds an honours BA in creative writing and humanities, summa cum laude. All posts by Harry Rudolfs