I took a break from the boats for awhile and got my CDL. I traveled to alot of places in these our great United States.
I have rolled through the hills and foothills of Kentucky. I have made the “little hill” rolling through the Cherokee National Forest on my way to the Carolinas.
I have been through Snowshoe, West Virginia summit on a bad day while tuggin a heavy load to New York.
I have rolled through the hollers and hills of Southern Indiana passing the home of a once well known and still a hero Larry Bird.
I have driven for hours on the wide open plains with nothing but the occasional ruins of a dust bowl era farm house to look at for miles.
I have driven the endless cornfields of Southern Minnesota and the North Woods Indain Reservations of the Northern part of that same state.
I have had to stop and put chains on so I could summit the Continentail Divide in the middle of winter around about the same parts where the Donnor party became snowed in.
I have driven I-5 through Gilroy on a hot day to smell the garlic for miles. I have driven through Moneteray on a foggy moring and made it to Big Sur just in time to witness some Sequias standing in immortal grace.
I have made it down to the border and had conversations in broken Spanglesh with my Latin buddies in the far far South.
I have driven the Deserts of Texas to the urban cowboy hangouts and the high country snow storms of the same state all in a day.
I used to run 1 log but it was very rarely legal. I would just do my best not to get stopped and then nobody had to know my log was not in he black.
I would drive for 48 hrs and sleep 4. Then drive for another 48 and sleep 4 more. Then I would work all day Saturday until late in the evening.
Sunday was sleepin in until 7 to get up for church. Then off to our favorite “pancake place” for a healthy after church brunch.
Spend the afternoon doing what the wife and kids wanted to do and then back in bed by 5pm so as to be up by Midnight to head out and do it all over again.
I was doing ok and my boss was blessed enough to have regular enough work to bless me.
He never forced me to take a load and I never refused one.
I was burning the candle at both ends though and I know it.
I still feel to this day that those 4 years of driving truck probably took 10 off my life.
But you know I would get right back in a truck in heartbeat if I could do it and still feed my family.
There was just something about the freedom. I had my truck so clean you could eat off the floor. I had a bunk that was made up for short naps of if i needed longer I could strip down to my skivies and get some real rest.
I had the latest and greatest CB that was “tweaked and peaked” with a few devices on it that I won’t mention that really reached out and touched someone.
I knew where all the speed traps were at, had my “ear on” and I was radar capable not to mention “radar invisible” in a lot of case.
Maybe one call a day from the dispathcher. Other than that just me and my rig. If the customer on the delivery end was a jerk I just tendered my notice of arrival, unsecured my load, and took a nap until the load was off. When he was done I would hand him my Bill of Lading and say sign right here, Sir. Thank you very much." And I was off to make some more money.
No living, eating, showering, sleeping, working, and on and on in crowded conditions with people you would never even give the time of day to on the street.
One thing I enjoyed most of all though was driving down a country road and seeing a nice inviting looking country home with the curtains pulled back and tied emiting the soft yellow glow of a reading lamp.
Sometimes you might even catch a glimpse of the easy chair and the man of the house sitting in it in quiet contentment reading his evening paper.
Maybe his wife was in the kitchen making him dinner. Maybe his kids were grown and out of the house or off at school.
What ever the reason he had a piece of pure heaven on earth right there in that house and if he is a true man in his heart he knows it. That is why he makes it part of his routine.
The paper might not even have anything interesting in it but to fullfil his Rockwellian dream he sits and reads in perfect, house warming silence.
Sometimes I would see this glow even later at night with the shade mostly drawn shut as if to say, “Yes it is night time but knock on our door if you need to”.
The feeling of that heavy rig in my hands would come back to me as I would try to hang on to a little piece of that heaven while I would watch it fade in the distance.
When I get home I turn my reading lamp on and partially draw the shades so any truckers drivin by may get a little bit of comfort from my family and I.
That is the way my picture window stays most of the time.
And when I bobtail my rig home from the truck stop and pull in the drive the first thing i see is the warm glow of a soft yellow reading light.