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Author Topic: Gone West (Part One)...  (Read 2093 times)

coloradogreen

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Gone West (Part One)...
« on: June 30, 2013, 06:43:17 PM »
Until this past week, I had never run 80 West Cheyenne in a big truck, all of my westbound running was up and over Eisenhower and Vail. Until this past week...

It began with a trailer switch for a clean tank and then moving myself on out towards Logan, Utah. With good weather, the fluids topped off, and full tanks, I trucked right along. Now, like I said, I had never driven 80 West of Cheyenne in a big truck, but, I've been on it numerous times in my personal vehicle, so, I at least knew what was coming and where it was. The slide into Laramie, the Sisters, and dropping down to Echo Junction onto 84 North up to 91 and across into Logan through Sardine Canyon.

After some good truck I got to Logan and dropped the empty out to be loaded and went and found my loaded trailer. All the bills checked out, called the load in, and got myself pointed East with 48,500-lbs. of raw milk.

Seeing as its Summer I knew pulling out of Utah and Western Wyoming might be a bit slower going to keep the rig from overheating, and Sardine Canyon is a good test of your trucks cooling system with a good several mile pull starting gradually out of Logan, and topping with a roller-coaster. Then you start the seven mile drop into Brigham City.

Through all the up-hills the truck pulled at about 220-degrees. A lot hotter than the trucks used to run, but, a comfortable temperature for today's engine (in fact, left on auto on the engine fan, it won't kick in until 220-degrees).

There's some debate (elsewhere) as to whether or not the old trick of kicking on the engine fan while coming down a mountain actually makes a difference. My honest belief is those out there have never come down a mountain grade steep enough (or heavy enough) to feel the effect it can have on coming down a mountain grade. Plus, it'll keep your engine plenty cool, too.

Sardine Canyon dropping into Brigham City is a great drive. Lots of green, pass a lake, its a relatively docile grade if you're coming off the top in the right gear.

After pulling down off of Sardine it was back south on 84 down to Echo Junction. Anyone who's driven this stretch of highway knows that there are several miles of tight 55-mph curves. Most of the trucks will come flying through the canyon and run the turns up around 60-65mph. Seeing as my load has lots of slosh though, I come around those turns at 50mph. That's a rule I was taught and keep religiously about turns, especially if you haven't been through it before, of going 5mph under the suggested speed for the turn. If the other trucks want to go faster, they've got a turn signal and a passing lane.

On up to 80 and back East. The stretch of 80 between Echo and the Sisters, other than pulling up the hill to the scale, is a relatively smooth stretch with nothing more than a couple bounding ups-and-downs. And then you get to the Sisters.

Ah, the Sisters. This was the part of the trip I was really looking forward to. Anyone who trucks in around the Rockies knows about the Sisters. And, if you haven't driven the Sisters, you've probably at least heard stories. It's a famous stretch of road for finding out just how fast your truck is geared. With a couple miles straight down into the bottom and then a couple miles back up the other side, many drivers have started picking up gears. And the most famous of the bunch are the cattle-haulers, some of which will be doing 100-mph by the bottom before the pull up and out.

If you're headed East on 80 you start the Sisters with a several mile climb to the top of the first down-grade. Perhaps the "ugly" sister, it isn't what you would call the famous part of the run. Like Sardine, careful pulling and not keeping the foot glued to the floor kept the milk wagon from getting hot and we crested the top.

Now, seeing as my load likes to move on me, I wasn't sitting there wanting to run the Sisters at 100. So, I used another old rule I was taught (I used it back in Sardine, too) to know what gear to start dropping off the Sisters in: come down in the same gear you went up in. With the Jake on high and the fan running I kept myself held back until the first "step" in the hill (from the East, the middle Sister changes grade several times). Once I hit that point with no more than two miles left to the base I started grabbing gears. 73mph at the base I kicked the jake off and started letting her roll up the far-side. With that head of steam I carried myself up plenty of the last Sister without a whole lot of throttle.

Clear from the Sisters to Rawlins where I parked for the night. I've always liked Rawlins (well, the truck stop just West of Rawlins). Quiet, open country.

Up the next morning, after a breakfast of oatmeal I rolled back East on 80.

You may notice on this trip that I was running a lot more of the interstates than I typically do. There's a simple reason for that: speed. The load needed to get there as fast as possible.

A couple minor hills, Elk Mountain, and on up to the Lincoln Monument outside of Laramie. Hotter than the day before, the truck was up to 225-degrees pulling this hill. In days gone by you might have been cracking a head at those temperatures. It's amazing what metallurgy has done, another ten-degrees and I would have been in a bad way, but, at 225-degreees all it meant was dropping a half a gear to keep the rig from getting any hotter.

Fuel East of Cheyenne, at this point the jake was essentially shut-off. Other than Pine Bluffs, a short little pull around a bluff... covered in pines, by the time you hit Sidney, Nebraska, 80 flattens out.Clear over north of Grand Island 100 miles or so to a small dairy processor. All said and told, the load, which started as an "emergency" load arrived 2 hours early.

For those who haven't seen them before, here's the Sisters from about halfway up the Eastern side:

(not my image, photo credit to Richard Ambrose)

Troy.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2013, 06:45:46 PM by coloradogreen »
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Gone West (Part One)...
« on: June 30, 2013, 06:43:17 PM »

LocalCoilHauler

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Re: Gone West (Part One)...
« Reply #1 on: June 30, 2013, 07:23:42 PM »
That reminds me of a hill my dad climbs when going north for a delivery in Ontario. It might not be as steep but still... when your loaded with 90, 000lbs by the time you get up half way your certain to be at a crawl :( and trust me feels like an age climbing it at a crawl. The challenging part unlike in your situation is that at the bottom of the first decent there are a pair of streetlights so its not like you can climb the grade on the other side with the speed gained from the first. I cant post photos now cause of Photobucket but those from Ontario who are curious the hill is on Hwy 50 just north of Bolton ;).
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coloradogreen

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Re: Gone West (Part One)...
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2013, 07:30:04 PM »
That reminds me of a hill my dad climbs when going north for a delivery in Ontario. It might not be as steep but still... when your loaded with 90, 000lbs by the time you get up half way your certain to be at a crawl :( and trust me feels like an age climbing it at a crawl. The challenging part unlike in your situation is that at the bottom of the first decent there are a pair of streetlights so its not like you can climb the grade on the other side with the speed gained from the first. I cant post photos now cause of Photobucket but those from Ontario who are curious the hill is on Hwy 50 just north of Bolton ;).
Been through a couple hills like that. You can ask Ryan (Peterbilttrucker), the start of Sardine Canyon out of Brigham City is the same way if you catch light wrong you're starting from a dead stop.

I don't know what it is with towns and cities and states putting lights or scales at the bottom of the hill.

Climbing Eisenhower and Vail at 115,000-lbs. with that claw I was down to about 15-mph pulling the hill, took 30-min to 45-min. to get to the top. Some of use (although, not mine) who run heavy in the mountains have cruise controls that will set as low as 5mph. Helluva' lot easier on the leg to just flip the cruise on and walk up the hill at 10mph than hold it with your foot.

Troy.
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peterbilttrucker

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Re: Gone West (Part One)...
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2013, 08:13:25 PM »
Sardine Canyon from Brigham to Logan as Troy described here is the canyon I pull six loads a day over at 129,000 pounds...makes for a pretty slow day. Haha.
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Re: Gone West (Part One)...
« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2013, 08:13:25 PM »

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