Trucker’s Logbook #5
It’s been a while since I’ve spent much time in American Truck Simulator. As I believe I’ve mentioned before, within the first few weeks of playing I had pretty much discovered everything there was to discover within California and Nevada. ATS was released almost two months ago (2 Feb.) and at the time I write this blog posting, we are still very much patiently ANXIOUSLY awaiting for the official Arizona DLC to drop. Oh, before I continue…let me just speak my mind regarding the Arizona DLC. I’ll also just state (for the record) that my thoughts/opinions on things are completely my own. But…(again in my opinion) I would have thought SCS Software would have already released the Arizona DLC by now. I’m not suggesting it should be released if it was not ready, but I believe there was a certain amount of momentum, excitement, anticipation, drama etc. etc. built up with the build up to the official release of American Truck Simulator (2 Feb.) and it would have been awesome to ride that momentum etc. with the official release of the Arizona DLC around the first month anniversary mark. Keep in mind that I’m also not suggesting SCS should commit (or even indicate) they can release a new US state every 30 days. But I just think some of the air has been let out of the balloon. The more time which stands between the 2 Feb date and the date Arizona is ready will see the balloon go a bit flatter and flatter. But again, this is all just my opinion.
As we spent time in Europe for our Trucker’s Logbook #3 and #4, it is time we come back to the USA. Again, with no Arizona DLC…I’ve just been occasionally hauling cargo within California and Nevada. I’ve also been developing all my hired drivers and making sure they have everything they need to be successful. Our current status is much the same as it’s been the past several weeks. Our HQ is in Los Angeles and we have a garage in San Diego and in Las Vegas. All garages have been upgraded to accommodate 5 trucks/5 drivers. In addition to the three garages, we own 14 trucks and employ 13 drivers. There is a reason for keeping one garage slot open. This allows me to test (occasionally) some new truck mods. But I’ll likely fill this up soon. Overall our company is healthy and with over $500K in the bank (and no loans) we are cooking with gas.
So as I said, we are back in the USA and you may remember several weeks ago I discussed the Coast-to-Coast map. Back in late February I drove from LA to Boston (and back). In the past several weeks the maps developer, Mantrid has released many updates to this map including the most recent version (1.5) which includes several new routes. One of the new routes added includes the complete stretch of US Interstate 10 from Los Angeles, California to Jacksonville, Florida. On Mantrid’s new coast-to-coast map, I-10 takes you through Phoenix, El Paso, San Antonio, Houston, New Orleans, Mobile, Tallahassee. There are also routes covering a portion of I-35 and I-45 in Texas and he’s included a route from Jacksonville, FL down to Miami and up to DC.
A little more fine print
Before I get into the meat of our posting today, allow me just to re-state the following. Mantrid’s Coast-to-Coast map was a project he started for his own personal interest of driving from the west coast to the east coast of the USA. He shared his first version of the map and made it extremely clear it was a work in progress and that the scenery (when there is something to see) is mostly a cut/paste from California and Nevada. So this meant seeing palm trees in New York City. While I have been critical of some of the map projects currently under development for ATS (read this post), Mantrid made it 100% clear his map may never be 100% accurate and include 100% real life depictions of the cities and routes he includes.
As I’ve already driven the more northerly route from LA out to Boston, I wanted to pick up a route that would take me out across the southern portion of the USA on I-10. The one we chose was hauling a load of toys from Sell Goods in LA out to Charged in Miami (in a Fedex trailer). The route is a whopping 2,716 miles with an estimated drive time of 70 hours, 36 minutes. The job will pay $66,245 or $24.28 per mile.
Again our route takes all the way across the southern portion of the US along I-10 from LA to Jacksonville, Florida. Then down I-95 through the Space Coast portion of Florida to Miami.
As we did for our last coast-to-coast trip, I have opted for the Kenworth W900. It’s still dark thirty as we fuel up at our LA garage. The trailer pickup point is just around the corner.
We pickup our FedEx trailer just before 4:30 AM on Thursday morning. We are fully rested, fully fueled…”we’ve got a long ways to go and a short time to get there”.
The absolute worst part of this entire 2,700 mile trip will be the first few hours of driving 55 mph through California. Thankfully, once we cross the state line into Arizona and continue eastbound, the speed limits keep rising. (well mostly) Welcome to Arizona!
Unfortunately, Mantrid placed a red light intersection and a 30 mph speed zone through Phoenix.
Hello New Mexico!
Our first night (and fuel stop) will be near Deming, NM. We still have a very long way to go.
As I said earlier, there isn’t much to look at in terms of scenery. Miles and Miles of Texas (I-10 between El Paso and San Antonio) Speaking of Texas and I-10, US Interstate 10 is just over 880 miles from the entry point just before El Paso to the Texas/Louisiana state line at Orange, Texas. We spend the better portion of Day Two just crossing Texas. We would spend our second night just outside Lafayette, Louisiana.
The scenery just outside New Orleans with a few ships in the gulf. This is somewhat near the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway (but not really depicted on this map)
After a very long day 1 (driving across CA, AZ and NM) and a long day 2 (driving across TX), the US States of Louisana, Mississippi, Alabama zipped by pretty quickly. Our third night would place us around Melbourne, Florida (along the Space Coast portion). This would set us up for an easy day 4 with less than 200 miles to drive. As I’ve said, the coast-to-coast map has a lot of cut/paste features from CA and NV. Does the image look familiar? This is in Miami, but this is also in LA.
We’ve arrived at Charged in Miami, Florida.
I continue to level up and progress nicely.
Parked up at the nearby repair shop where will plan out our next opportunity.
If it can be worked out, ideally I would love to get a route from Miami that I could haul north up to the DC or NY area. Then before I head back to Cali, I would like to head back to Oklahoma City then South down I-35 through Dallas/Ft. Worth and continue south on I-35 to San Antonio. While there is nothing to see along this route. My parents live half-way between Waco and Austin (Temple) on I-35. We’ll see if can make all that work out.
If you aren’t bothered by long stretches of open road with little to nothing to look, and you aren’t bothered with some cut/paste to populate some of the cities along the way AND you truly want to experience driving the long and open road, then check out Mantrid’s Coast-to-Coast map.
Now for a bit of good news. I really don’t follow that many of the add-on on map projects for ATS. You can get a better understanding of this by reading this blog posting. But, I do follow Mantrid’s progress. Mantrid continues to work on this map and is adding more routes, more cities and more stuff all the time. This map may never be to the level of quality and accuracy we will see from SCS or from the likes of ProMods. But it was never designed to be.
Enjoy it…or pass it by. The decision is yours….
By the way, it took me just under two hours (real life hours) to drive from LA to Miami.
Until next time…
Watch out for those bears….