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Hauling to Skookumchuck

In around 1988, I was working for Stinson Transportation out of Delta, BC. There were 2 brothers, Doug and Al. Doug being the suit type while Al wore jeans and drove a truck. Between the two of them, they could make things happen. We specialized in heavy haul and had various configurations of trailers, air lift axles, jeeps and we even had a container lift where a container could be held in the air while the driver could switch trailers on their own.

One day I was standing in the office at 3pm, thinking I was going home for the day when a call came in from another driver who was pulling a load out of Vanterm for a new Customer. The load consisted of a standard 20' container tank loaded with an acid for cleaning pulp mills. The danger of the load was one thing, but that tank was only 3/4 full with a minimal baffling system, leaving the truck and driver at the mercey of an unstable load pushing and pulling as you drive. Driver Howdy (Gordy) tried to go up the ramp up out of Vanterm, but the load pulled back so hard it stalled his truck. That was it for him, he called and they sent me down to help.

I got down there as fast as I could, because you never want to block any roads or excess pavement around the docks any more than you need to. I arrived, hooked up and moved it around a bit. Wow, that's weird, but if you plan on the swish at the right time, it can even help you to drive better. After getting up and over the Vanterm Ramp at the North foot of Clark Driver, in Vancouver, BC., I drove back to the yard in Delta and felt pretty confident about the liquid load.

My new schedual became MacBlo in Kamloops on Monday morning then back to Delta to load another tank to deliver in Skookumchuck Pulp near Cranbrook on Wednesday at 7am. After delivering in Skookumchuck I would then pick up a load of lead or zinc out of Trail back to the coast. Then Friday I would return the 2 empty tank containers down to the Burlington Northern in Seattle, Wa.

The first load out of Trail I loaded the zinc around the tank, but there was too much weight on the trailer and Jeep with almost nothing on the drivers. Well, it was negative 20 as I left Princeton at midnight on my first trip, there was a light dusting of snow, but mine hill was really slick and there was no way I could make that hill. Yes, I put the chains on at the bottom where I was supposed to. After trying to launch and realizing that it was hopeless, the damage was done and the truck needed a hook back to the coast. I ended up waiting for a Greyhound at Eastgate and made it home the next day.

The boss was pissed, but knows that there isn't any way to load around the empty tank. We tried a couple of things, with one a gig where we contracted a warehouse with 2 forklifts to pick up the container while I repositioned the trailer to allow the mty to be at the back and we could load the front part of the trailer. After finding that we could not get enough weight to the drivers, we built a deck on the jeep, problem solved.

This went on for about 6 months and things all changed for Stinson Transportation. Emerald came and brought with them a new, unheard technology, a tridem trailer. Our little stonghold on the heavy container market was about to come to an end...

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