There are so many things I never knew until I traveled a little. I was almost 44 before I ever got in a truck, and I hadn’t seen a whole lot of the United States. I have learned so much in the past three years, more than I ever planned to. I was talking with a friend from the page who rides along with her husband once in a while, but plans on getting her CDL and going full-time team after their kids leave home. I told her she wouldn’t regret it. We live in a beautiful, diverse and incredible country, and I feel really lucky to have seen a good part of it.
One of the most important things I’ve learned is to be prepared to be afraid.
Every state in the Union has a “Bureau of Terrifying Things,” and their main objective in life is to post signs of bitey things all over the place. Texas has an especially astute bureau. Their “Beware of Rattlesnakes” signs at every rest area in the state are horribly void of pertinent information and heavy on the terrifying. Where exactly are the rattlesnakes – inside or outside the toilet area? Because if it’s inside, no bueno. I’ll hold it until we get to the WhatABurger, which is apparently on rattlesnake-free ground, because there aren’t signs posted of angry rattlesnakes just waiting to eat your face off.
The animal crossing signs in South Florida are absolutely blood-chilling. Snakes, alligators, cougars, I think at one point I saw a sign that just had a cluster of claws, beaks, fur and teeth, standing on top of a tiny human that had Xs for eyes. We all know what that means. (This is possibly a filthy lie.) Even worse is traveling through those areas in the dark, when all you can see is guts and eye shine on the side of the road. It’s pretty disconcerting to see a green, scaly trail of carnage for a quarter mile when you’re out in the middle of a swamp in South Florida in the middle of the night. Someone killed the Swamp Monster and his wife is probably going to seek vengeance. Beware. They always blame the trucker, you know.
We slept in the desert in Rachel, Nev., one night and didn’t get abducted by aliens. We did, however, have a difficult time passing through the wandering herds of cows with no fences, which was completely new to me. I have been around cows my whole life, but only on dairy and small production farms, I never knew people just let their cows just wander aimlessly around, causing trouble on the highways. It’s probably something I would have never known if I hadn’t seen it on the road — it’s not really something I can ever recall wanting to Google. The thought of rogue bands of misbehaving highway cows isn’t even weird to me anymore, and I’m having trouble trying to decide if that’s a good thing or a bad thing.
My birthday is Sunday and we pick the truck up from Pittsburgh Power from her rebuild shortly after, so it’s a new year with a new motor and new things to learn and be horrified about. I’m kidding, I’m only horrified about half of the time. The rest of the time is an adventure I look forward to and appreciate, unless it involves signs with pictures of scorpions on them posted inside the public restrooms. Thanks, Arizona.