Goodaye all. I am now in Burlington, north of Seattle. I got in Friday and headed straight to the Kenworth plant in Seattle where Bart, who had been at Kenworth in Australia, is now the plant manager here and had agreed to a tour of the plant.
I saw a triple chassis rail off road haulier and a number of tri drives on the production line and a few other bits and pieces and raised a few questions. As you can imagine, I was not allowed to take any photos inside the plant. Due to the fact this plant does a lot of off road trucks, the manuals still reign here at above 80%. There is far more variation in the number and types of Kenworths built here, than in Australia, due to the wide ranging markets, including up into Canada.
After the tour I headed north and spent the night in a Washington State Rest area. It is signed with a section for trucks, one for campers and another for cars. During the afternoon, some cars with trailers and motorhomes stopped in the truck bays for short stays, but during the night some trucks stopped in the campervan bays, one with a cycling frig motor. There is also a dump point for motorhomes here, toilets and shade and tables and chairs.
These used to be called turnpike doubles when I saw them years ago and may still be now and in some states I am told, they still run with 3 of these trailers, but only 27 feet long each. I did read recently there is a push to have them slightly longer, but so far it is being rejected.
There is a kiosk manned by volunteers, much like our Driver Reviver, but not so structured and they supply free tea and coffee from Friday to Monday, but that is all. The biggest thing I noticed straight away was the lack of rubbish bins anywhere, except in the toilets and they were all overflowing. Not only that, someone had missed the toilet and left their crap in piles on the floor and some had walked in it and we think it bad when our blokes do it where there are no toilets. Maybe he had an accident, but you would think they might at lest try to clean it up. From the smell of the truck parking area particularly, some truckies there can’t walk to the toilet to pee either.
I was told there are no bins outside as locals dumped their rubbish there, but whilst many truckies arrived with bags for the bin, it seems back to front to have none for them to use and then more people will throw their rubbish on the roadside and that was evident as well. Washington State must have some weird weight laws as this combination is quite common.
You can see the single wheel lift axle on the prime mover and one at the rear of the trailer. They do steer to an extent, but not through any linkage and many I looked at near had the edge of the lift tyres ripped off, so they do drag. I think this gives them 63,500kg in Canada and 105,500 pounds in the USA according to one with it shown on the truck.
No DG Diamonds on the front of the truck, only the front of the trailer (so how you see it from the front I don’t know) and no signs on any of the b-doubles, though with so many 53 foot trailers, perhaps they still fit in that length. So much still to chase up on and get enough detail to know what it means.
This was one of only two prime movers I saw with these super wide single tyres. The other driver had them on his trailer as well and commented that he did not like them in the rain on the drive. Finemores have a number of trailers with them on, but I have not seen a truck in Australia with them on the drive. The fellow also said they were $2000 US, each.
I spoke with one driver in Seattle who does mainly local and his issue was with other car drivers, but one I spoke with at the rest area, nominated those using phones and they too it seems, are ramping up the penalties for such use.
Off to bed now as I am touring the PACCAR Technical Centre tomorrow and then hoping to visit Boeing, before heading eastbound and down towards 3M. Safe Travelling to all. Rod Hannifey.