snow and ice and trucks…

cool x truck

Originally uploaded by jayfherron.

I remember the morning this photo was taken. It was Christmas day 1997-fridged Fargo North Dakota.
We were heading west to Seattle-I was hauling several sections of a roller coaster from Rhode Island to be rebuilt at a big amusement park in the north west. The longest haul I ever had-the load was on the trailer nearly four weeks…unheard of,but it was all a collection of circumstances.
We woke that morning in a motel in Mora Minnesota-snow blown up so high against the motel door the manager of the motel had to dig us out.
Then the air lines on the brake system froze….the moisture in the air all became ice and the truck refused to roll. I had begun a hike to a truck stop we had passed-but a family made a u-turn and gave me a ride to keep me from freeezing too.
I remember the guy that operated the tow truck they sent was the most unfriendliest man I ever met…until the check cleared. They had to shut my entire rig in a closed garage and use heaters to thaw the lines.
I will never forget how cold it was. The heater in the truck actually quit-died dead and cold…and the cold air that leaks into the cabs of the big trucks is relentless. So I drove into Fargo wrapped in a sleeping bag to stay warm.
I’ll never forget how crisp and clear the day was and how empty it seemed-although that part of the country is isolated,still….no one around. An odd sight came up in the center of the lanes of the interstate-I had to slow down to go around it…a sofa was sitting in the middle of the road having must of blown from the back of a pick up…and too damned cold for the driver to stop and reload. There it sat-brand new complete with a big red bow,out in the middle of no where.
They sent us to Billings to get the heater fixed-a two day journey completely wrapped up in the sleeping bag…not the way to drive truck.
The interstate was closed after Billings. It stayed shut down into new years eve 1998. Both of us caught a bad cold and spent the entire week laid up in a motel in Billings-and finally the highway was reopened until we got to Missoula,then they closed the gates again and we celebrated new years in a snow drifted parking lot of a truck stop there.
You can see the wreath on the truck to the left-in the photo. Its a pretty peculiar way to make a living when you volunteer your life to stay out on the road through the holidays-so very strange and lonely as you drive along and think about all the people-families at homes that you pass along the way,celebrateing.
I really miss the adventure trucks offered. It was every day a love hate relationship…the loads or the truck or the destination might not at times be the best.
Once the military loaded me with one small tool box…one guy could have put it in a pickup truck – by him self…and drive the thing across country. They could have sent it UPS it was so small,but the government had hired our big truck to tote this one small item from the naval air station in the coastal regions of Maryland-all the way to the Navy base in San Diego. Piece of cake run…no weight,and the entire run was like being empty all that long distance.
I got paid over a grand for pulling it-so the outfit we hauled for must have gotten a few grand more than my check was for….the stupid tool box could have been dumped out on the side of the road and bought brand new sixty times over or more for what they paid to tote it.
And theres poor homeless kids.

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