For truck driver Arthur LaPlante of Howland, the longest haul of the day could be the first haul of the day.
Employed by Chester-based Treeline Inc., LaPlante drives a 1999 Freightliner as he hauls logs and pulpwood to various destinations. On a brilliant late September morning, he chats about his work while watching high-grade hardwood logs being placed on the log trailer attached to his truck. Loading “and strapping down” the logs will take approximately 30 minutes, he says.
LaPlante has backed the truck and the attached Stairs Log Trailer into a yard about a mile off the Boyd Lake Road in Orneville. “This load is going to Chester to our garage to be processed,” says LaPlante, who started with Treeline in October 1994. He then drove a 1995 Mack.
He lives in Howland, not far from this 100-acre harvest site in Orneville. “I usually get up by 1:30 [a.m.],” he says. “By 2 [a.m.] I’m on the road.”
Treeline Inc. often ships logs or pulpwood long distances, frequently to the Verso Paper Co. mill in Jay. “The main run, first thing in the morning, is to Jay” because his truck will be needed later in the day to haul loads closer to home, LaPlante says.
Before heading to Jay, he makes sure the truck’s ready to go the previous afternoon. “I only park it [the loaded truck] five minutes from the house, not even that, across the bridge right on the Lagrange Road,” LaPlante says.
The Verso Paper Co. woodyard in Jay is open 24 hours a day, letting truck drivers like LaPlante off-load before dawn. He sometimes picks up return loads in Solon or elsewhere while en route home; most days will find him loading up at a Treeline harvest site before he calls it quits.
“Usually I’m parking the truck by 5 o’clock [p.m.],” LaPlante says.
In his free time, LaPlante and his wife like to go “boating. Usually we take the kids out boating when it’s nice.” Interested in classic cars, he owns a 1973 Plymouth Roadrunner that he sometimes displays at Maine car shows, including the Sept. 8 Wheels On The Waterfront car show held in Bangor.