Breaker 1-9, how bout that westbound flatbed, you got your ears on bud? How bout it westbound? A minute or so later a voice came booming over my CB radio. You got Big Jim from Wyoming here, who we got on that end? I tell him they call me Bojangles and I hail from the great state of Kansas. Big Jim was quick to ask how Toto was doing. Wise guy.
Big Jim asks what’s on my mind. I asked him whether he’s seen any bears (State Troopers or local cops) for the last few miles and because I’m about an hour over my 10 hours I needed to know whether or not the chicken coops (weigh stations) about ten miles down the road were open tonight. Big Jim assured me the chickens had flown the coop for the night (the weigh station is closed) and said he hasn’t seen a bear for a couple hours or so. Mash the gas Bojangles, this is Big Jim, I‘m heading to the house. I thanked Big Jim for the information and told him to be careful and to keep his britches between the ditches. This is Bojangles, I gotta be in Jacksonville, Florida by morning and I’m outta here. And off into the night we headed our separate ways.
I was doing a little rearranging in my basement the other night and brought in another box of priceless treasures (junk) from days gone by out of the garage and came across the briefcase my dad had given me years and years ago when I first started trucking. I probably hadn’t seen this stuff in almost 20 years. In that box was my old log book, which by the way, I hated. There was a map of fuel stops from one end of the country to the other. Safety manuals out the wazoo, and booklets dealing with hazardous materials, load limits, and night time driving. I came across my dispatcher’s card, her name was Jean and for the most part we got along pretty well. I opened a manila envelope crammed full of the papers my wife and I had to fill out anytime she came along as a passenger. Then there was the notebook I used for all the needed information on every load I ever hauled. Information like Shipper name and address, phone numbers, load and seal numbers, piece count, weight, and pick up time. That was followed by the same information about the receiver of whatever I was hauling at the time.
I Can’t say I remember every detail of every load I ever hauled but a few of them do stick out. One load (hazardous chemicals) started in New Orleans and ended in a town called Nitro, West Virginia. First off, I thought the name Nitro was a little weird. It was a trip that included the “Huey P. Long” bridge in New Orleans. I’ll just say my wife ended up scared to death in the sleeper before we’d even gotten half way across it. It was after we arrived in Nitro when the real fun started though. The rest of the story involves a “Haz-Mat emergency clean up crew, a completely unrelated explosion at a chemical warehouse across the road from where we were. That explosion prompted local health officials to issue a warning for citizens to stay indoors and to close all windows, doors, and to shut off their air conditioners. Yeah, I remember that particular load pretty well.
There was the time outside Ashville, North Carolina when I lost my brakes going down a mountain called “Black Mountain,” that was fun. The last load into Chicago is still fresh in my mind too. Let’s just say it involves a fellow trucker who called himself Wagon Master, a truck stop bar, a couple of bikers, and making what could easily be considered one of the worst decisions I‘ve ever made. We’ll see, maybe I’ll get into that but then again, maybe not. I’ve got stories about truck stops, lot lizards, missing kids, (especially young girls) and some of the other things that go out there with some of those living life on the road.
Anyway, I’m going to tell some of these stories over the next few weeks. If you’re interested, stop on by, who knows, maybe we can have a little fun along the way. Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Happy New Year.
Maybe you have a similar story or you’re just curious about life on the road. Visit my web-site at www.rm235.blogspot.com click on comments and lay it on me. Or you can always e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org