It’s All Flatbeds and Lumber Tarps in Bitterroot

As the sun comes up on the Bitterroot National Forest in Montana, the trucks are already lining up on one of several logging roads now active in the forest. Those trucks, and their drivers, are waiting for loads of lumber to be carried to a sawmill in Seeley Lake and other logging towns nearby. Up to 10 trailers haul between 40 and 45 logs out of the forest every day. It’s all flatbeds and lumber tarps in Bitterroot, as it has been for decades.

The section of forest being worked at the time this blog post was written covers 165 acres of ponderosa pine. It is but a drop in the bucket when you consider the more than 1.58 million total acres the forest covers. Every one of those acres is systematically thinned as part of the federal government’s forestry management strategy. By the time the entire forest is thinned appropriately, it will be time to turn around and start all over again.

lumber-tarps

Forestry management is an important part of keeping the trees in the Bitterroot National Forest healthy and productive. All trees need plenty of sunshine and nutrient-rich soil, but ponderosa pine is especially needful. When forests are not properly managed, overly-dense pine groves can fall victim to insects, disease, and lack of enough sunlight due to the thick forest canopy. And, of course, forests that are not properly managed are always prone to devastating fires as a result of lightning storms.

Every trailer of logs and lumber tarps represents another acre of forest land properly managed by thinning. It is a way of life that not a lot of people understand. For the professional trucker, driving a truck along the quiet and narrow logging roads of Montana is quite a bit different from hauling a dry goods trailer down the interstate. There is nothing quite like it to those who do it.

Hauling Lumber Not Easy

Hauling cargo such as machinery and steel coil is comparatively easy next to lumber taken directly from a place like Bitterroot. In terms of the former, you simply hook up your trailer and go once your cargo has been properly secured and covered. Hauling lumber is decidedly different.

Preparing for the journey is pretty straightforward: Secure your lumber tarps, do your pre-trip inspection, and make sure any necessary paperwork is in order. That’s the easy part. The real adventure is bringing your rig out of the forest and onto the main highway. The thing about lumber hauling is that the logging roads truckers must navigate are not always straight and flat. In fact, rarely are they so.

It takes a very skilled truck driver to successfully navigate logging roads without damaging equipment or the lumber itself. Once a rig makes it to the main highway, life does get easier. But that does not mean the trucker no longer has to pay attention. The section of Montana where the crews are now working is well known for dense fog and icy roads – especially during the morning hours. The trucker has to be at the top of his/her game until the sun comes up and melts away the fog and ice.

Indeed, it is all about flatbeds and lumber tarps in the Bitterroot National Forest these days. All across the forest regions of Montana, Idaho, Washington, and Oregon there are logging crews and truck drivers working hard to harvest lumber as part of a responsible management program. At Mytee Products, we are proud to supply truckers with high-quality lumber tarps they need to keep things rolling.

Sources:

  • Missoulian – http://missoulian.com/lifestyles/hometowns/productive-ground-lake-como-logging-underway-in-area-first-cut/article_554a8b49-3004-5544-bc4b-beb72a1e6270.html


Start Thinking about Mesh Tarps for Next Spring

In previous blog posts, we’ve talked about preparing for the onset of winter. Hopefully, your preparations have included everything from checking the wear on your Low Pro semi tires to inspecting all of your flatbed tarps for rips and tears. Being prepared for winter is the best way to make sure you get through without any major problems. Then you can start thinking about spring.

When spring does finally arrive just four months from now, flatbed truckers will begin to see more loads involving sod, trees, plants, and other sorts of exterior landscaping materials. These kinds of loads don’t do very well with the typical nylon tarp that can damage fragile leaf and stem systems. Some shippers won’t allow their loads to be covered with standard nylon or canvas. Instead, they expect drivers to use mesh tarps.

mesh-tarp

A standard mesh tarp is made of polyethylene material that is both breathable and durable. Mesh protects living cargo from the damage caused by wind and road debris during transit, yet it does not keep out the sun or rain. When applied correctly, a mesh tarp can provide all the protection live cargo needs without any of the damaging effects of a solid piece of nylon or canvas.

Choosing Mesh Tarps

We recommend you start thinking about mesh tarps during the winter so that you have plenty of time to research your options. Like all of your other tarps, the goal is to purchase mesh products that are durable enough to withstand the punishment of flatbed hauling yet not so expensive that they break the bank. You’ll be pleased to know that Mytee Products has a complete selection of mesh tarps that can be used on flatbeds or with covered trailers and tarping systems.

We offer more than a dozen different size options, from 6×8 all the way up to 50×50. Each one is made with heavy-duty 6-ounce polyethylene and fitted with durable #4 brass grommets every 2 inches. Seams are reinforced with 2-inch polyester webbing, as well.

Should you be in need of a mixed mesh product, we also carry a 10-ounce PVC-coated polyethylene mesh tarp in multiple size options. This is a stronger product better suited for loads where material strength is favored over shading. It is an excellent option for transporting sod in southern states where the sun can get pretty hot, even in the spring.

Protect Your Load and Your Paycheck

The arrival of winter means less than favorable driving conditions and a more challenging time tarping loads outdoors. Some drivers will already be looking forward to spring even before the new year arrives. In light of that, start planning now to purchase mesh tarps for your spring loads. Remember, protecting your load means protecting your paycheck at the same time.

Loads of sod and other landscaping materials do not necessarily require traveling hundreds of miles between shipper and receiver. Many of these loads tend to be local or regional. But wind and road debris can be just as damaging over 20 miles as it is over 100. Having the right kinds of flatbed tarps on hand guarantees you will be prepared to protect your load regardless of what it is you are carrying.

Mytee Products is your source for high-quality flatbed tarps, tarping systems and parts, truck tires, and so much more. We have been supplying America’s truckers with the supplies and equipment they need for more than 30 years. You can rely on us for great products, great prices, and our 30-day, money back guarantee.


Maintaining Carports and Storage Structures in the Winter

Last month we introduced you to our new selection of carports and storage structures with a blog post offering general tips on how to use them. We discussed things such as positioning and local permitting issues. With winter setting in, we want to expand the discussion to specifically address winter concerns. Portable carports and storage buildings are suitable for most weather conditions, but there are some things that need to be paid attention to if you live in an environment that experiences harsh winter weather.

As we discussed in our previous post, snow is a major concern. Portable carports and storage structures are almost always built with an A-frame roof or a semi-dome design. This is on purpose. All of these designs are such that snow and rain fall off them very easily. But the designs are not foolproof. In especially heavy snowstorms where several inches are falling every hour, it is possible for snow to accumulate.

carport

Preventing one of these structures from collapsing under the weight of heavy snow requires getting the snow off the roof as quickly as possible. The easiest way to accomplish this is to simply tap the underside gently with a broom or the snow brush from your car. Gravity will do the rest. If your structure is already bowing under the weight of the snow, it may not be safe to walk underneath. In that case, using a push broom gently on the exterior can solve the problem.

Anchoring Your Structure

It is imperative to anchor your carport or storage structure at least on the four corners. It’s even better if you can anchor along the sides as well. Anchors, by way of stakes driven into the ground, provide the structural integrity your carport needs to withstand windy conditions. Where winter is concerned, here is the most important thing you need to know: any stakes you drive into the ground may become immovable once a hard freeze sets in.

This is good in the sense that a hard freeze will prevent stakes from being pulled up even under very windy conditions. It is bad in the sense that stakes unable to flex with the wind may increase the chances of a carport’s material ripping or the metal frame bending if winds are extreme. Such conditions are rare, but they are possible. The solution is to use a two or three half-hitch knot on your anchor ropes. This kind of knot allows you to adjust the tension without having to move your anchors or the structure itself.

Extreme Temperatures

All of the carports and storage buildings we sell are manufactured using high-quality PVC fabric on top of galvanized steel frames. They will handle most winter weather without a problem. Having said that, extremely cold temperatures can make PVC fabric somewhat brittle. If your structure will be exposed to subzero temperatures for more than a day or so, it’s important that the fabric is secure enough to prevent it from moving in the wind. Otherwise, a combination of wind and ice can result in cracking.

If you can erect your portable carport or storage structure using a permanent building as a windbreaker, you will be better off in all four seasons. Keeping the wind at bay will go rather far in extending the life of your structure.

We invite you to browse our entire selection of portable carports and storage structures. Mytee Products has been supplying truck drivers and property owners with high-quality products like these for more than 30 years. All of our products are backed by a 30-day money back guarantee.


Tarps and Straps: Above or Below?

One of the questions we frequently hear from new flatbed truckers is whether to strap a load above the tarp or not. This question arises from the fact that new truckers see their veteran counterparts do it both ways. Some like their straps above the tarps; others like them below. But it is truly a preference thing. There is no single way to use flatbed tarps and strap systems as long as the load is protected and the tarps and straps survive the trip undamaged.

What new drivers should understand is why veterans choose one set up over the other. They also need to know that the same driver may use different setups depending on the load being transported. It is like choosing between Kelley and Triangle truck and trailer tires – drivers make their cargo control choices depending on the loads they typically carry.

tarps and straps

Straps Applied Above Tarps

There are two primary reasons you may see truckers apply their straps over the top rather than underneath their tarps. The first is to prevent the tarps from ballooning in the wind. In such a case, the load itself has already been secured underneath with either chains or additional mesh straps. The tarp has been applied only to protect the cargo from wind and road debris. This set up makes it easy to apply flatbed tarps with very little fuss while using straps to prevent ballooning.

The second reason for strapping over the top of the tarp is to secure a soft load and preventing ballooning at the same time. A good example would be transporting crates of vegetables from a farm to the processor. Such a load is unlikely to be traveling hundreds of miles, so the driver is not worried about securing both the load and the tarps separately. He or she will just throw the flatbed tarp over the load, followed by securing each stack of crates – and the tarp at the same time – with a strap.

Straps Applied Under Tarps

Likewise, there are several reasons for applying straps underneath flatbed tarps. The first is to make sure maximum load securement is achieved. Sometimes a trucker will carry a load that does not conform well to tarping, so placing straps above the tarp would not provide the best securement. By strapping underneath, where straps come in direct contact with the load itself, the cargo can be made more secure. A tarp goes on top, secured at the corner and along the sides with bungee cords.

Drivers may also choose to apply straps underneath in order to avoid loose corners flapping in the wind. They use the same setup as described above. Flatbed tarps are placed over the already secured load and held in place with bungee cords. Along the same lines, this setup is also preferred among drivers who do not like the visual presentation of exterior straps.

Lastly, there are cases in which the driver really has no choice. Drywall is a great example. Most drywall shippers tarp their loads in the shipping yard so that there is never a question about the drywall being protected. All the driver has to do is to secure the load to the trailer and pull away.

Regardless of how you decide to use your tarps and straps, Mytee Products has a full selection of both. We also carry a full line of cargo securement supplies, tires (including 11R22.5 and 11R24.5 truck tires), tarping systems and accessories, portable carports and storage structures and, of course, a full line of steel, lumber, hay, and mesh tarps. If you need it, we have it.