I’m coming up on my first anniversary of riding with George. I’ve been a little over 30,000 miles in 11 months. For someone who, up to this point in time, had traveled a grand total of about 10,000 miles in her entire life, that’s a lot of highway. George did more than triple the number out on the road 350 out of 365 days last year. I’m sure there’s a formula we could use to figure out how many times the wheels on the truck turned, but I can only do math that involves how much morphine a 95 year-old woman can have without detrimental effects, so I’m assuming it was a lot of rotations.
I’ve learned a lot about trucking — mostly that it’s a really hard job and potholes suck. Also, when truckers have nightmares, they probably involve Jersey walls and orange barrels. I’ve learned there are a lot of people who have never driven a truck and who love to tell truckers how to truck. On a related note, would you go to the fishmonger for a headache? Because that would make about as much sense as appointing someone who had never even seen the inside of a truck up close as the person in charge of all the trucks in America.
I’ve got a great idea! Next time I’m having chest pain, I’m going to the fabric store, because I’m certain I’ll get the help I need there. While I’m flopping around dying, they can sharpen my pinking shears.
I’m going to have to crown Oklahoma with the “worst roads” title. There are potholes in Oklahoma with potholes inside of them, and inside of the inside potholes are tiny Mexican villages, where they grow maize and build sun temples. We almost ran over a National Geographic crew climbing out of a pothole on 44 between Tulsa and OK City — a mastodon skeleton had been discovered inside an Oklahoma pothole. Once, we had a delivery in Oklahoma that was to a pothole. I chipped a tooth on the turnpike when I made a grave error in judgment and tried to drink from a glass bottle while being bounced around the cab like a lottery ball. (That one is actually true, and why does Yoo Hoo still come in a glass bottle?) I think I’ve made my point. Let’s suffice it to say, Oklahoma needs to fill in the dang holes.
We delivered to a cave in Kansas. I know you’re not going to believe this, but there was road construction inside the cave, so along with the overhangs we cleared by about 3 centimeters, there were orange barrels and huge piles of debris. Also, plastic sheeting hung everywhere, just to give that homey “Dexter” feeling. George had to get out of the truck to find someone to move a vehicle they had left, just out in the middle of the only thoroughfare, mostly because it was a cave and they didn’t expect a lot of traffic. When the owner of the vehicle came around the side of the plastic sheeting and saw a giant truck and 53′ trailer, he nearly fainted.
“How did you get that thing in here?”
George was a little irritated, as he had done some pretty fantabulous maneuvers to put the damn thing where it was, and was only concerned with getting it out again. He didn’t answer the guy, so I stuck my head out the window to let him know. “It was hard! You should have seen it! It was crazy what he had to do! We went back, we went forward, we went back again….”
I didn’t get to finish, because George was inching toward him in a way that could have been misconstrued as “menacing,” so the man had jumped in his car to move it. But it was crazy and you should have seen it. It’s one of those times I know, without a doubt, I would have burst into tears, parked the truck where it sat, and walked off into the woods. This is probably why I don’t drive professionally. Companies probably frown upon walking off into the woods when you get your truck stuck in a cave.
We’re heading back out Monday, and once again, we’re going somewhere I’ve never been. Salt Lake City should be pretty this time of year, if there’s no freak snowstorm. I’m no trucking expert, but I do know, just like the ancient mariners who brought goods before them, fair weather is fortuitous for truckers. I’m certain at some point we’ll have to brave the highway crevasses in Oklahoma, but I’ve packed bubble wrap for my spleen, and look forward to the trip. See ya’ on the road!