RePete Performance

| August 02, 2001

Adam glanced at the bright spot behind the clouds. It was too close to the horizon. After sunset, the roads would be slicker, the shoulders less visible and he should be almost to Monarch Pass. He shuddered. The narrow road was as crooked as a snake’s back and steep.

His boot slipped on a patch of ice. I should stay here at the truckstop, he thought. The plows will run early, and it’s supposed to warm up to the 40s by midmorning.

Still, he inspected his tires, lights and air lines. Large flakes drifted on to his hat and parka. He rubbed his chapped, red hands together and stared down at the highway.

He climbed into the 379 Peterbilt that he affectionately called RePete. He peered into the bunk. His partner, Grumpy, was still hibernating. Adam turned the defroster on high, the wipers on low and then bowed his head. If only he could talk to Sam.


They’d been married for almost three years. Financially, things were harder than they’d anticipated. They’d estimated repairs, maintenance, fuel and insurance and added extra to be safe. Seven months ago, Sam had announced that she was pregnant. A month later, RePete dropped a piston. It cost them a week, plus towing and repairs. The company threatened to take them off that run if they were late again.

“At least she’s fixed for now,” they consoled each other. But their sighs of relief seemed to blow fuel prices even higher.

Now, Sam was on family leave. Her second-graders would finish the year with a substitute, and Sam would be without a paycheck.

Adam tried not to look at the shiny 2-year-old Peterbilt at Frank’s shop. She was cobalt blue with only 150,000 miles. It was too much to dream.


Adam gripped the wheel, his knuckles white. Grumpy’s head poked through the heavy curtain behind him.

“Getting a little snow, huh?” Where are we?” Grumpy asked.

“We’re just about to the top of the pass. We almost stayed at the truckstop.”

“What changed your mind? Still couldn’t get ahold of Sam?”

“Yeah. No answer.”

When they’d talked last night, Sam said she’d had some contractions.

“Are you in labor?” Adam had asked. He’d felt a contraction, but it was in his chest.

“Just be here in two weeks,” she’d replied. “Early contractions are normal. We’re okay.”

Adam was afraid to take off any more time than he had to. Still, Sam wanted him to be there so badly for the birth. And what if something happened?

He’d tried to call her first thing this morning, then all day. He cursed himself for not spending money on a cell phone.

RePete Performance

| August 02, 2001

Adam glanced at the bright spot behind the clouds. It was too close to the horizon. After sunset, the roads would be slicker, the shoulders less visible and he should be almost to Monarch Pass. He shuddered. The narrow road was as crooked as a snake’s back and steep.

His boot slipped on a patch of ice. I should stay here at the truckstop, he thought. The plows will run early, and it’s supposed to warm up to the 40s by midmorning.

Still, he inspected his tires, lights and air lines. Large flakes drifted on to his hat and parka. He rubbed his chapped, red hands together and stared down at the highway.

He climbed into the 379 Peterbilt that he affectionately called RePete. He peered into the bunk. His partner, Grumpy, was still hibernating. Adam turned the defroster on high, the wipers on low and then bowed his head. If only he could talk to Sam.


They’d been married for almost three years. Financially, things were harder than they’d anticipated. They’d estimated repairs, maintenance, fuel and insurance and added extra to be safe. Seven months ago, Sam had announced that she was pregnant. A month later, RePete dropped a piston. It cost them a week, plus towing and repairs. The company threatened to take them off that run if they were late again.

“At least she’s fixed for now,” they consoled each other. But their sighs of relief seemed to blow fuel prices even higher.

Now, Sam was on family leave. Her second-graders would finish the year with a substitute, and Sam would be without a paycheck.

Adam tried not to look at the shiny 2-year-old Peterbilt at Frank’s shop. She was cobalt blue with only 150,000 miles. It was too much to dream.


Adam gripped the wheel, his knuckles white. Grumpy’s head poked through the heavy curtain behind him.

“Getting a little snow, huh?” Where are we?” Grumpy asked.

“We’re just about to the top of the pass. We almost stayed at the truckstop.”

“What changed your mind? Still couldn’t get ahold of Sam?”

“Yeah. No answer.”

When they’d talked last night, Sam said she’d had some contractions.

“Are you in labor?” Adam had asked. He’d felt a contraction, but it was in his chest.

“Just be here in two weeks,” she’d replied. “Early contractions are normal. We’re okay.”

Adam was afraid to take off any more time than he had to. Still, Sam wanted him to be there so badly for the birth. And what if something happened?

He’d tried to call her first thing this morning, then all day. He cursed himself for not spending money on a cell phone.

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