It’s been a while since we did a Wilson Wednesday but like the last time we did one, I’ll say it again, I’d like to make these more regular……. Come on HCW drivers let’s make it happen this year. Starting above we have one of the longest serving drivers on the fleet, John Stocks in WIL2580. Loaded from Belgium with some agricultural machinery heading back to the UK.
Sneaked in from Friday last week as it makes an interesting photo. Taken by Neil Jarrold this was a local job by every bodies standards. Kent back to Suffolk with a big old DAF.
Nice photo that one. Taken from N5HCW’s offside camera looking at the 8×4 Volvo that is L100HCW, with top Wilson subbie Mike Tasker lingering in the background. The two Wilson trucks are loading in Holland tomorrow with 36 ton drums. Tasker is off to Belgium.
Holiday haulage with Geoff Tarbun in WIL2219. Geoff is the elder statesmen of the fleet therefore isn’t worked that hard. Pictured here heading for Italy to load an in gauge load back to the UK. Must been a long day as he hasn’t even had time to wash those wheels!
Finally this week we have Ady in his few week old 650S, R80HCW. Loaded from Germany back to Yorkshire. The Krone forage trailer is a big piece of kit, even on a wafer deck trailer it sits about 4.30m high. Permits all the way back to P&O at Europoort with this one!
A nice little catch up with the pro’s at HC Wilson. Right trucks, right trailers, doing the job as it should be done. Looking forward to the next WW already. Thanks chaps!!
Monday 11th January – Woke up at 0730, two other trucks, low loaders, had arrived in the night ready for a busy and cold day loading. I’m up and dressed and start on setting up the truck with timbers etc, ready for my loading spot. Crane rocks up at 0800, gets set up and is on with loading the German registered Glogau Yacht transport R730. These are some seriously sized boats going out today, 5m wide and upwards of 13m length! It takes them longer to get out of the gate than to actually crane the boats on. A Polish low loader is up next, another 5m wide and super long boat loaded and another 20 minutes to get out the yard. I get the go ahead to come in and get in position by half 9, loaded and secured down by half 10, all going well so far. We’re 3m wide and 4.3m high so the marker boards and beacons go on, now it’s just the usual waiting around all day for them to finish their last jobs on the boat. Meanwhile my next important job is swapping alcohol with my polish electrician mate, Grappa for him and Vodka for me! Time ticks by but, unbeliveably and also unprecedented, I get the green light to leave by midday, so just an hour to wait for my 24h to finish and then on my merry way at 13:30. Being Convoy Cat 1, there aren’t too many rules to hinder my journey, unlike the German and Polish low loaders who are running at cat 2 and 3, they will have to wait until 22:00 to leave, have escorts and a whole host more regulations to adhere to. I run up to exactly 4h30 just into Germany, take a quick break then carry on west to the AS24 just before Hannover. I’m heading Belgium and Paris way on the return leg, as its ever so slightly quicker. With just over an hour left on a 9hr drive, I keep on and make it to an Autohof (the only places in Germany with space at that sorta time) on exactly 9hrs drive! Its 23:30 now, so straight to bed for me. 738Km done.
Tuesday 12th January – 0800 and up, I wander into the Autohof to make use of the facilities. I pay for the privilege of a space to park and at a cost of 14 euro for just 9 hours, I don’t feel like i’ve had a bargain, but needs must I suppose. Its absolutely pissing down and I set off at half 8. I make my way down to Wuppertal and across to Dusseldorf, avoiding traffic at Cologne. Heading down the 44 now, I clear Germany at Aachen and i’m into Belgium. I make it past Liege and pull up on 4h28. (as you can tell, I don’t like to waste minutes and with the least amount of stopping as possible!) I’m heading for Paris now, but its early evening so its not an ideal time for the worst city in europe traffic wise. I pick up some more diesel in Vemars Total, the last services on the A1 before gay Paris. I had thought about staying here for the night but, its rammed at half 5. I head on and use the A104, finding space in a services, luckily! Its half 6 and i’m on 8H45 and i’ve covered 702km today.
Wednesday 13th January – I’m doing well for time this week so I take an 11h break and i’m up and on the road at 0530. I continue around the 104, then pick up the a4 into Paris as the traffic is still pretty quiet. A86, A6, past Rungis and I’m clear of Paris within an hour. I run out my 4 and a half and pull in just north of Poitiers on 4h25. I chill out for 45 minutes and then do a further 1hr30, stopping for some lunch. Out the corner of my eye I spot a tudor services Merc parked up in a services south bound on the a10, then via FB later see it was in fact the owner himself en route to spain and being questioned by the gendarmes! Other than that brief excitment, its a very quiet and boring drive between Paris and Bordeaux. There is no traffic at Bordeaux again and I run my time out as far I can get to Spain. It runs out at the last services before the border and I’m on 9h56 driving time. I make use of the car bays again as it’s a tad busy being evening in a french services. Good quiet day and 842Km covered.
Thursday 14th January – Still doing really well on time and also as we’re not able to arrive in Lisbon until friday morning, I take another 11hours off. I’m across the border at Irun again in the dark, no police at all this time and pull in for diesel at the as24. I do 2 hours more, which gets me to Miranda do Ebro, I stop for a break and take some pictures as its particularly cold and snowy here! By chance, while I was up in Poland, they had another disruptive amount of snow but I’ve managed to skirt it again! The rest of the morning is almost all in freezing fog, it takes a long time for the sun to make it through the clouds and finally at 11:30 it actually feels like day time! I make it to the As24 by Salamanca on 3h47 for the last fuel stop. I have a bite to eat and start the last 4h to home. Unfortunately, now the sun is up and burnt through the clouds, I’m driving straight into it for the duration of the last leg, which really plays havoc with in cab temperatures and also ones eyes! All good though, PT-ES border crossed without worry and just the hilly, absolutely dead road down to home. I park the truck just near the house at 17:15, on a respectable 9hr38 drive, 826km. Its 15 degrees down here, so a walk with the Wife and the dog, a bbq to follow and its time for bed.
Friday 15th January – I’m up and away down to Lisbon at 03:30, arriving in the Marina just after 5am, Lisbon like most cities, has a curfew for abnormal loads and only permits them into the city between midnight and 6am. I found out the hard way that they do enforce it, so I follow that rule now! There are no cars blocking the entrance this time and the security guard is on hand to open the gate for me. I catch a couple of hours more sleep, and wake up at 8. Unfortunately I can already see that the tide is on its way out, which means that unloading the boat is going to be delayed somewhat. My fears are confirmed and the boat is booked to be lifted off at higher tide circa 2pm. I spend some time having breakfast with the bosses and helping with some maintenance on the existing house boats we have down here and the time soon passes. Finally we get down to business, slightly later than planned but all goes well without any hitches. The new owners are there too, to watch their investment hit the water. I’ve had 9hrs off by now so I finish tidying up the truck, strap down and hit the road home. No dramas on the last stint, just under 2hrs back to the house including a quick stop for a new air duster and pressure gauge. I make it home just within daylight, a 9 day trip complete and not far off 7000km.
Great 2 part blog thanks George @. Can never get enough of drivers diaries as I’m not out there doing my own. Please send another as and when you want to. Also if any of you readers are keen, then feel free to email me, long or short with some photos and I’ll happily publish them on TBUK.
I think it started on Instagram and the rest is history! My love of the #littlebigcabclub trucks, is becoming the stuff of legend, so when asked by another member of the club if he could send in a guest blog, what else could I say but yes. George Turner or @european_lorryist as he’s know on Instagram spends a lot of his time driving an LX cabbed MAN TGL collecting house boats from Poland for his business in Portugal. To good a story to miss right?? Over to George for Part 1, Part 2 will follow in due course.
Wednesday 6th January – The truck is always at home with me which is a nice little bonus with this job. I pop out to the little MAN and fire the night heater up, its the first time since living in Portugal its cold enough for an iced over windscreen. Card goes in at 9am and I head off in the direction of Lisbon. A quick pit-stop in Torres Novas to exchange a drop link for my own van, and onwards down the A1 to the capital. My company franchise & transport house boats, and I arrive in the marina in good time without issue. I’m only here to pick-up some paperwork and a few interior fixtures for return to Poland. All this only amounts to around 20 minutes and I’m back up the road and home by half past 1, just a little food prep and laundry to do for the off in the morning. 283Km today.
Thursday 7th. January – Not a particularly early start, loaded the last of my bits and bobs into the truck and I’m on the road at 08:30. Its always quiet on the A23 heading up to the Spanish border at Vilar Formosa, just a quick stop to drop in 50 euros of diesel to last me to the AS24 at Salamanca, AS24 are a bit thin on the ground in PT. Arriving in Salamanca I fill up with 250L worth of diesel, which is not far off what it holds, running a bit close to the wire here! I carry on another hour or so and pull in on 4h29, half way to Tordesillas. A quick bite to eat and back on the road, N/E direction, Burgos, Vitoria-Gasteiz, AP 1, AP 8. Plenty of snow over the hills at Miranda de Ebro, but its all running smoothly thankfully. A few days before this they had been over run with snow and shut the motorway, as they do in Spain. On 8h48 driving and at a quarter past 7, I pull into Itziar Services just before San Sebastian and make use of the empty car park as all truck spaces are occupied. One thing about being in a little truck is not needing to worry about parking, one can manage to find something suitable regardless! 757Km today.
Friday 8th January – 11h off and on I’m the road by 06:30. Cross the ESP/FR border at Irun still in darkness and not bothered by the Gendarmes this time. Usually they’re quite perplexed why an Italian truck with an English driver with Portuguese Documents is heading for Poland empty. I’m usually asked 3-4 times if I’m carrying more than 10k in cash, and then subsequently searched for the said non-existent cash! Carrying on I feel a bit tired, putting it down to having a month out the saddle and a relatively early start, I stopped just after castets for a quick 15 minute snooze. Still dark at this point, but the gendarmes are set up in this particular aire and doing checks on unsuspecting drivers, fortunately again, they left me alone. I clear a traffic free Bordeaux nicely by 10am and head east for Clermont Ferrand. Pick up some more diesel at Perigueux, then over the hills of the a89, snowing at points but all good and keeping at 90ks for the duration! I have to make a bit of a detour to avoid the closed N79 west of Moulins, but then rejoin the n79 for a frustrating 70kmh drive through the road works. I pull in on 10h03 at the last aire before the A6. Loads of space here, but then I suppose its friday night in the middle of france. 833Km today.
Saturday 9th January – Another 11 hours off and card in and I’m away by 05:30. It seems like what trucks are here, are all leaving as well, quite a busy rest area for the time. I crack on for an hour and a half along the A36 heading for Germany, when again like yesterday, i’m feeling pretty tired! I pull in for a 45 minute snooze this time, by which time its daylight again, albeit still white and frosty. Its a fairly long and boring road the a36, but I eventually cross the non existent border and head up the 5 towards Heidelberg. Another road with not much to see on it, as well as being a quieter than normal saturday morning. At Rastatt I pull up for a supermarket sweep, I just end up buying mostly alcohol for home and the lads in Poland though. The supermarket is quiet and i’m back on the road in 20 minutes. A quick AS24 diesel stop at Karlsruhe, then up to the 6 and heading east for Nuremberg. Fairly uneventful drive apart from a small detour north of Nuremberg to avoid an accident. Parked up at half 5, pitch black and again i’m pushing the boundaries on 10h 02. I’m about an hour south of Leipzig. Living the dream on a saturday night so cook some super noodles, hot dogs and had a can or two of Desperados. 856Km today.
Sunday 10th January – Its a half past 4 start on a Sunday, but i’ve only just over 600km to do, so it wont be a particularly strenuous day. 1H30 drive down, I top up the tanks again, plus remember to fill the separate night heater tank this time, its been working over time the last few nights! Onwards and up to Berlin, then east across the border into Poland at Frankfurt-Oder, never any police or problems here. 20Km along the A2, a quick interval for a ticket at the toll booth, then onto the hugely uninteresting drive to Poznan. A little snow in the air again, but solid KM covered, I head north after Poznan on the S5 and stop at Marathon Int. Transport for a final diesel top up, then just 1hr30 left up to Bydgoszcz. A little detour for the new motorway roadworks and I’m outside the boatyard nice and comfortably at 13:30. I Start my 24h rest and immediately set about changing the drivers front wheel as a previous small crack in the alloy has developed into a crack across two of the wheel nuts! Its a quick 30 minute job with the use of a long bar, it takes longer to get the spare wheel off its hanger! I stay put for the evening, cook some more dinner, a few cans and an early night ready for loading in the morning. 662Km, 7h48 drive today.
Peterbilt Motors Company is excited to announce that the Model 579EV is the first zero-emission,battery-electric, Class 8 truck to successfully reach the summit of Pikes Peak.
This significant achievement demonstrates the superior performance of the 579EV and its integrated battery-electric technology. Along with over 110,000 real-world miles on the Peterbilt EV fleet of trucks, this feat further proves that the 579EV is ready for real world, customer operations today. The significant achievement was captured on video and can be seen at https://youtu.be/dJLiFUf1h6w.
Peterbilt tackled the challenge of climbing to the top of Pikes Peak, or “America’s Mountain”, to highlight the 579EV’s excellent power capabilities and drivability, even under extreme road conditions and cold temperatures. The most famous mountain road in the United States, the ascent to Pikes Peak’s summit at 14,115 feet has an average grade of 7% and incorporates 156 turns over the last 12.42 miles.
Over a 3-day period, the 579EV made the journey up Pikes Peak multiple times with ease, each time using the recovered energy from regenerative braking on the descent to recharge the high-density battery packs to repeat each climb with ease.
“The performance of the Model 579EV while navigating to the summit of Pikes Peak was nothing short of amazing. Handling the 156 corners was made easier thanks to the lower center of gravity provided by the battery location on the 579EV,” said, Darryl Oster, Peterbilt assistant chief engineer.
“This is a huge moment for Peterbilt and everyone who has worked countless hours to bring this truck to life. Being the first battery electric powered Class 8 truck to conquer one of the most iconic roads in North America is just the beginning. Peterbilt is leading the charge on commercial vehicle electrification, with three distinctive EV configurations available for customer orders today in a variety of applications,” said Jason Skoog, Peterbilt general manager and PACCAR vice president.
I’ve never parked up with a frozen load on so the fridge is starting up much more frequently than on any fridge work I have done before. Not being that used to it I’ve had a pretty bad nights sleep and am feeling very tired this morning, but nevertheless I am up bright and early after a nine hour break ready to get going. I have over 500 miles to cover today. My only concern was getting around Bordeaux, which I manage easily enough before 0730. From there on it’s a fairly straightforward day to the port until I arrive to be told I was booked on last night‘s boat. This panics me to begin with, as I am worried that tonight‘s boat could be fully booked and I’ll be stuck here. As it turns out it is like a ghost town. I am able to make a reservation without any hassle and I am ready to catch the 2345 boat back to Portsmouth.
Thursday 24th December
I arrive at Portsmouth at 0645 to disembark and mercifully it’s nice and quick and I’m out of the port within 20 minutes, which most will know is very quick for Portsmouth. All that is left to do now is head back to the yard to give the truck a quick rinse off and I’m done. The reload isn’t due delivery until the 28th of December, so I’m off to enjoy Christmas with the Mrs and my little girl. Merry Christmas everyone and happy new year 🥳.
I’m up and keen to start work at 0800 hours only to find out the delivery is not until 1200 so the waiting game begins. I eventually get onto a bay and I’m unloaded by 1400. It’s 4 hours and 45 minutes drive to my delivery in Portugal so it’s going to be another late one today. As I’m heading into Portugal I am glad that 12,500kg of the load has already been delivered and all I am left with is 650 kg for the next drop as the hills here are brutal and I wouldn’t of fancied carrying any extra weight up and down them especially in the dark and foggy conditions that we have tonight. I make it to the delivery at 1830 and within 10 minutes I’m unloaded and on my way back to Spain to collect a reload from Valladolid the next afternoon. I find a nice truckstop that is open 24 hours that I am able to get food at when I arrive at 2200. I’m going to bed a happy man not having to eat a microwave meal in the cab for my tea.
Tuesday 22nd December
I wake up to the news that the French have closed the border for trucks coming back from the UK. This turns out to be good news for me, as a lot of the boats have been fully booked going back to the UK for weeks and getting a reservation has been near impossible. A lot of people from the continent started cancelling their bookings as they would not be able to return after making deliveries in the UK. I set off at 0900 and arrive in Valladolid at 12:00 for my reload of meat free meatballs…..what a grim thought!! The loading is fairly quick and I am back on my way by 1330 heading for Caen. I make it to Irun for the night where I park in one of my customers yards. The lockdown rules changed here this morning so I just about managed to sit down for some food at 1900 and have a meal before they have to close for their new curfew at 2030.
I get to spend the morning with my girlfriend and daughter taking her to visit Father Christmas which was a nice bonus getting to do that before going back to work over the weekend. At 1830 I am back in the yard ready to head to Leigh Delamere services to meet Pete who has loaded the trailer for me with one of his trucks and take it off of him to head on down to Portsmouth ready to catch the 0800 crossing in the morning.
Saturday 19th December
Up at 0600 to get checked in for the boat. Once on board I go to the restaurant for some breakfast then back to my cabin and back to sleep for a few more hours to be rested ready for late drive that evening. The boat gets in at 1530 and I am clear to hit the road straight off of the boat I head to Castets to park up for the night and make good time I managed to make the drive in 8 hours 30 which I wasn’t expecting as I’m used to doing the drive in the day and losing the best part of an hour going around Bordeaux.
Sunday 20th December
I get up for 0800 for breakfast and a shower but much to my shock the restaurant is closed now for Christmas which seems a bit early to me given that there is almost a week until Christmas day. I have to settle with a McDonald’s breakfast from across the road and will have to stop for a shower en route when in Spain. I make a quick stop at the services in Oiartzun for fuel and a shower then get straight back on the road. I feel quite tired today for some reason and haven’t done this road going straight across the northern part of Spain before. I’m not sure whether it is just because I am tired but it just seems to go on and on and I began to get quite bored in the last couple of hours of the journey and cannot wait to park up for the night and get my head down. I eventually arrives La Coruna and park just around the corner from the delivery at 2000. The only thing open for food is a Burger King so that will have to do for this evening.