Riding in a big truck isn’t anything like I thought it would be. I assumed because you’re the hugest thing on the road, everyone would get out of your way and have a little common courtesy for the professional. I now know I suffered from a bad case of the stupids. I’ve learned a lot about the general public and feel extremely fortunate to have the experiences I do. I’ll admit that I often have the strong urge to gather my family at the farm and stockpile weapons and ammunition, but for the most part I feel a lot smarter about things everyone should be smart about. I’ve almost learned to read highway and street signs properly, and I only tried to get into the wrong truck once this time out. So yay for improvements.
We were on our way to Casa Grande, Ariz., making our way back East towards home. We had been cruising up and down California for what seemed like weeks — I never got used to the time change, and the weather is beautiful, but weird to someone from Ohio. George was driving hard, every available hour of every day was still going to take us four more days to get home, and I think he was a little tired of me whining about missing our kids.
We made Arizona in the dark. I had to pee, there was construction on the highway and he was tired. We pulled off at a truck stop amidst torn-up roadway and a startling lack of signage. The exit ramp back onto the highway was closed, and there wasn’t any information as to where the long, dark road ahead may eventually come to an exit for the highway. We were half a mile into the abyss before the awful realization set in that we were on a cow road, in the dark, in the middle of nowhere (which just happens to be a giant desert with mountains in it).
“This isn’t good.”
When normal people are driving and they say, “This isn’t good,” it usually means the Taco Bell drive-thru is really busy, or something equally as unimportant. When George Parker is driving and he says, “This isn’t good,” it means you’re potentially about to experience a fiery death crash. He is the absolute calmest, safest, most well-prepared driver you could ever want to get into a truck with. If he hasn’t already been to where you’re going, he’s been somewhere close and can find his way without a problem. (This is one reason I think he’s probably an alien, or at least a tweener, or maybe just has a metal plate in his head.)
When he says, “This isn’t good,” I grab for a map and act like I’m going to do something awesome to save us.
“What do you mean, ‘this isn’t good?’”
“I’m not sure it’s OK to be on this road in a big truck. I think I know where I’m at, but it’s dark as hell and the GPS has us off in the desert somewhere.”
“I told you that bitch was trying to kill us when she took us through the desert in California. I almost starved to death.”
“Seriously, I need to stop and look at the atlas.”
I can’t explain to you how dark it was. I also can’t explain the terror I feel when we have to pull the truck off on the side of a deathly dark road. It didn’t help that there were signs for free roaming cows posted about every four feet. If there were ever a perfect place for aliens to abduct you, it would have been this place. I mean seriously, if they had their choice of free roaming cows or a couple of terrified humans, already trapped in big metal box, which do you think they’d choose? I struggled to remain composed while he did his atlas magic.
“Oh good. We’re where I thought we were. No bridges or restricted passes. We’re going into Casa Grande on the scenic route! Too bad it’s so dark, this would be a really beautiful ride if it were daylight.”
“You’re right! We could actually see the cows before they slam into the side of the truck! And if we lived through the alien abduction, we’d be able to give an excellent description of what their scaly skin looks like up close and personal!”
“It’s OK, babe, we’re not going to hit any cows.”
“The signs clearly state we are to be wary of free roaming cattle. And I noticed you offer no comfort against the alien abduction. Did you phone home back there?”
“Did I mention that we’re not only going directly into Casa Grande, but we’re ending up three turns from the drop?”
“You’re definitely an alien.”
Affected tractors are equipped with an automated Eaton UltraShift Plus or Eaton Advantage Transmission with right hand stalk shifter. In the affected trucks, the display on the instrument panel can indicate “N” when the shifter is set into “D” or “R,” causing the truck not to move.