coming off the pass…

snoqualmie pass

Originally uploaded by jayfherron.

The view out of my office shown here is going east off the pass at snoqualmie-obviously snowing,but not as bad as it was up near the summit. At least here the visability has cleared somewhat,but dont be fooled and trusting like the SUV that has come around me-this road has ice all over it but one can be decieved by the dampness of the slush and by merely seeing the pavement. Me-I’m scared to death and won’t feel better until I see the road level out. Coming off a mountain is like finding fools gold-the decline into a grade does not look steep until you are well into it. You can see what I mean by looking in this photo as the road looks fairly straight forward but indeed-it is quite a grade and dangeroas even in dry weather.
The great city of Seattle is behind me and everytime I would climb this grade to pull a load into Kent-which is usually where we went whenever in the Seattle region of Washington …I would think of what it must of been like to be the early pioneers of discovery of the lands in America-because they damned sure walked all of this.
In the cabin of a truck along the long lonesome highways the driver tends to allow his mind to wonder into places of thought-its all you can do! And those places are vast because of the many miles and hours and hours but the places I enjoyed the most were when I could go back into time to consider the hardships men and woman had to get across America and to endure the weather along the way.
In Nebraska there is a place where you can still see the wagon wheel tracks of those pioneers and it is amazing that not much more than a hundred years later I am sitting here by this computer and in a few seconds after I get done with this any one in the world can read it.

I can honestly tell you that I miss it . There was always something about going into a truck stop restaurant when the snow was covering everything outside and the effect of it made the places seem more homey and friendlier-the warmth of the indoors for sure had something to do with it but yet the way snow covers everything and compresses the world into smaller accessable spaces,it sort of pushes people together in an interesting sort of way.
I remember being snowed in a truckstop in Eire Pennsylvania-The Green Shingle,and they would quit menu cooking and the kitchen would make this wonderful beef stew and hot rolls and serve it up to anyone who sat down. It was just beef stew-but looking out into the grey of winter and the limited distance the snow storm allowed seemed to transform that stew into the best meal you ever had in your life.
Theres also Dysarts Truck Stop north of Bangor Maine-the kitchen used to hand out a bagged sandwich if you were heading north through the wilderness-the waitress’s ever on you if you left food on your plate telling you that you cannot leave until you have finished,but everyone in a state of concern for the driver heading north…especially if it was snowing. A guy could get stuck out there and it may be quite a wait before someone plows through-theres nothing there north of Bangor for around 150 miles-as I said,a wilderness.
Up in Mars Hill on US 1 up at the top of the state is a small old style truck stop. I was there one time and it snowed and the snow was so deep you sunk to your knees unless you wore snow shoes. I learned enough to just sit it out because the folks at the truck stop would send guys out with sacks of donuts and big thermous filled with coffee and at each truck they would advise us that the county was coming with the plows and would be clearing our way out as soon as they could-and there were always drivers green to the road who would not know about not locking the brakes down-the lines would freeze and the shoes would lock to the wheels and it usually took a bit of work to thaw them out crawling beneath the trailer with a hand held torch to run along the lines to melt the ice in the moisture the air makes inside them. Those who kept thier brakes free would be able to form a convoy behind the snow plows and they would lead you to Houlton and to the road south….it needing plowed as well.
I learned to move wide loads-they kept you from having to mess around in the snow and ice-keeping you parked until the road was really safe since the bulk of wide loads are the costliest frieght on the road and they dont want to risk it being lost in a ditch somewhere and the DOT keeps us from moving and all of that extra precaution never hurt my feelings ever….like when the old days and I was pulling produce from Florida to New England-snow or no snow-it has to get there,so there is not precaution. Moving wides loads-I never ever had to put on my snow chains as I was not allowed to move….whereas-in a freight truck,general frieght-those chains have got to go on because the load has got to go on!
I dont why I felt like talking about this today-I guess its because I heard that places like the Twin Cities is snow bound and temps are low and under zero and the thought of that brought back memories-I allowed my brake lines to freeze up the in the north country about a hundred miles from St.Cloud and had to be towed to a huge barn with heavy duty heaters to thaw all of the truck out…my fuel was freezing too. It was a holiday-Christmas day and I felt sorry for the tow guy because he had to come fetch me…but not for long,every one at the shop was working and it was business as usual for them,and I don’t I felt sorry for him at all,he was in such a foul mood about life in general so I’m certain there was no spirit of holiday joy in the guy anyhow.
Oh well…if your going down a mountain pass and its snow and ice surrounding you-keep your foot off the brakes and keep your eyes straight on the road….and quit your worrys,your knuckles will turn pink again once you hit the bottom.

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