my old truck-my old prison

my old truck

Originally uploaded by jayfherron.

I last saw this rig on December 31,1998.
We were up in Kendellsville Indiana. It was an interesting day. I had been up most of the night with miserable chesty pains and thought I had a bad dose of flu ,or a bad cold was coming on.
I say we-I was married to the rattlesnake wrapped in poison ivy at that time-and she traveled in the truck with me. We were staying the night ion a motel-it was snowing badly out side and the load was up at a steel mill waiting for us to return in the morning to meet a crane. Everything I hauled was huge-and if it did’nt drive onto the trailer it had to be picked by a crane. Learn this-if you want to be a trucker learn the wide load business….most every night is a night of rest and sleep,not pushing boxed freight or frozen stuff-worse yet,living produce fresh from the plant-rushing all the time and missing more sleep than its worth. And-Lumpers…hauling wide loads requires NO LUMPERS. Lumpers-my general public…are guys you have got to hire to off load your freight and thats at a rate in the 120 dollar range.
So-if trucking is your interest…learn the wide loads. You cannot move them at night except maybe in parts of New York. Who cares-just trust me,wide loads are the prime way to go.
In my working life-this is what I did the most. It is exile. It is a prison-no question at that. Once you are in a truck-you can’t get out of it…fact. It is worse than a drug,almost…but no doubt it is a prison. Most likely the same size as a cell-oh,a little nicer-sure. But just the same…it contains you and has you at its mercy.
Don’t get me wrong. It is a far greater thing than a real prison-but don’t be fooled…because these things,these trucks-lock you in and you can’t get away from them.
I used to load these tanks in York Pennsylvania. Odd place for the plant where they build them-this ones a Bradly,and brand new.
The United Defense plant is almost right behind the Harley -Davidson plant…I’ve hauled to there too.
We’d haul this kind of tank all up through Virginia and over that mountain pass into Charlotte NC -that is a ride down that grade. We’d carry this to Ft.Stewart Georgia and there they would arm them. We’d reload right there-aleays…and would carry the same machine,except an old unit,to Texarkana-and there it’d go on the ground…and we’d load there at Texarkana to got to Camp Irwin in California…I think it was near Barstow-but where ever…it was deep in the desert. Yet it was always good to get there because it took you out of the military haul cycle and you could load a machine of less destructive goals…and would usually end up at some interesting part of the country.
I loved trucking. The chest pains I had that night in Indiana were the near ending signs of a heart attack…I’d been having the damned things all across country since new years eve that year. I’m fucked for new years eves-I think.
I always find stuff interesting because that morning after we off loaded at the steel mill we stopped at a truck stop to eat breakfast and they were having a benifit for a kid there-I think he got burned real bad…but can’t remember. I do remember the local radio station was broadcasting live from the cafeteria in the truck stop about raising money for this kid-and an hour later I am layiong in a hospital being told I was having a serious heart attack. That was the last day I saw my old truck…and my Marlboro’s went that day too. Not all bad.
I always think about that kid-and have no idea what it all was about. Just stuck in my head because of that day.
It is funny-oddly funny,as you will learn soon enough when I finish telling the rest of the account of ‘Rose’,the Americas Most Wanted experience my life attracted….because I had a stroke two days later-the day she and her boyfriend moved in up the road from me…800 miles away. I had not been to my home in 121 days until I had the stroke. Been home ever since.
( I am getting a great mess of photo’s developed and set on disc so I can share my own pictures-like this truck photo is my own…so the crime story will come with pictures)
I have a different life with out the truck. Iived in that mahine-altough I have a home here…the truck was the place. Had a TV set with VCR and a micro wave and closet space and the ride was like being in a Cadillac…gawd,a Caddy!! There are some of the sweetest truck stops in the country that were like homes-Jimco in Ripon California…I loved that old truck stop. It was an old Ma and Pa kind of place with several different buildings that had services of various kinds-the main building had an old style bunk house and I used to sneak my old dachsund Joe up there with me…he loved the place too. It was right on a walnut grove-acres and acres of these huge trees planted in neat rows and was so nice to just carry a cold beer through there walking Joe-him on the search for a new ferol cat to chase-the place was rich with them.
The truck is a prison-but some convicts are comfortable with thier relationship with thier cells-and I was no different. I kept big money in keeping this truck waxed and the wheels polishe-it made me money…but it also made me proud,really really proud.
I cut my right thumb off one day when chaining a bulldozer down and this old Puerto Rican surgeon sewed it back on….he was so gentle until he found out I was a long distance trucker and then he cut loose and was less compasionette-blameing his hatered for truckers on me. I limped around the west coast with that bum thumb-oh did it hurt-still does sometimes.but jeez do you not realize how much that one thumb means when it comes to zipping up your jeans. I was in the old truck stop in Barstow and could zip my pants so I had to wonder around the restaurant looking for a volunteer-felt like a damned fool…but a cute little waitress said not to get any ideas and she zipped me like a momma would.
Any way…I miss the life-yet I don’t…because I’m not in that prison any more,but long for the exile.

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