once upon a over size load…

wide load in mirror
Originally uploaded by jayfherron

I was going through my box of photographs yesterday-marking them for others to understand why I took the shot , or where. It always amazes me how a photograph can take you right back to that moment.
Like in this photograph-it was taken out the window of my truck of the desert ahead of me. We were in Nevada-my dachsund Joe and I,in the desert…and it was freezing cold.
I’ll never forget-on the way to this drop point it was total desolation and then all of a sudden in the middle of no where was this small prison.
Now where this photograph was taken we had to be about 20 miles off of any paved road. It would’nt have mattered if this two track we were on had been paved…the scenery all around for the past two hundred miles had been pretty much the same.
I remember passing that prison once before. Trucking is like that-you may only go through a state twice in your life but damned if you don’t usually see the same thing and it being so notible…as this prison was.
Like all prisons-it was surrounded by a fence,and about five feet in there was a second perimeter fence. Those fences were only about four feet tall-and not covered by any threatening wire….nor were there guard towers.
The buildings were small too-painted white and obviously meant for locking men up and for a prison it looked like any-but its size and location made it stand out.
Hauling this concrete building is a slow haul. It takes a while for the truck to get up momentum on the flat highways-but once you’re going you can float along at a good speed and make some time.
In the hills the thing becomes an anchor and drags you up each one. In a place like Nevada the hills and the chill and the same view for over hundreds of miles going really slow can make one appreciate a convicts willingness to stay put and not dive over the fence.
We had to tow this thing along a rail road line. We now being two semi trucks-mine and the crane support truck (which carrys the extra boom and counter weights and cables) and the crane and a four door pick up truck with some of the crane crew-and a huge boom truck which was driven by the rail road guy…he was to guide us down the line.
You could tell when all of us arrived to meet the rail road guy that todays going on was a fully rare occasion for this man. His boom truck and he went each day 100 miles down this track-his track…to remove ‘the deads’. Cows who happened along the same time the train did-or just happened along and died on the tracks…no wonder Nevada is a state of odds.
The rail road guy most likely had never had to instruct another human being in his life. This days was his proud day as he explained when a train apprached we all had to pull as far to the left as possible to keep from getting hit from pieces of stone. And…we had to stop if there were ‘deads’.
He stayed and smoked a cigerette with me when we reached the point to where this building was going to set. My job was over as the crane crew set up-that would take about an hour and then I’d get in position.
What a job this guy had. His whole day was to drive this two track-you could’nt go any faster than 20-maybe 25 miles an hour. He said it took him nearly the day-some days easy,some actually got busy. He had to swing out a boom and drag a cable up the berm the rail line sits up on and clamp the cable to the cows leg and climb back the berm and winch the carcass off the track.
At the end of his day is a small-very small travel trailer-his truck carried a tank with the only water. A small genterator ran a light and radio and a VCR player…the next day he made his turn around trip. According to him,he had it made.
I was amazed at the fact this guy actually had to stop along the way to the drop site-we stopped twice along the route. To save time-we all dove out of our trucks gloves on hands and climb the berm and hauled the thing down ourselves. The old rail road guy told me it was his best day ever.
Once the concrete building was off the trailer I was off on my way out of there-this time alone…thinking about that old guys job. Granted-it is very beautiful out there in the open desert,but so monotonous. Doing that day after day…after day. And my mind got to thinking about that prison-what industry does it preform out there if pulling ‘deads’ off the rail road line was about the only job around?
Crazy life.

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