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Daily Prompt: Exhale/No One Got Hurt

Trucking
My Last Rig

I started out early one morning yes before the sun came up, as do most truckers.  I had delivered one load of water, with my tanker,  a few hours south of Boston.  I stopped for coffee,  for the ride back up to the mountains for my second load of the day.  I walked around my rig kicking each tire as I do after hauling a load for few hours, all was good they were all still up and lights all were working properly so I made my way back into the driver’s seat.

I made the trip up into the mountains of New Hampshire for another tanker full of Spring Water.  I took three or four loads a day,  six to seven days a week into the bottling plants as we prepared for Y2K, do you remember that in 1999,  as the world worried about life as the calendar turned to the year 2000?  Well I  had hauled rubbish, household waste for years then switched to hauling a nice clean load, one I never got my hands dirty or truck for that matter.

It was a gorgeous day out on the highways and back roads of New England.  I reached the top of the mountain where the water came from the spring and backed up to test the water and load the tanker, all 8100 gallons.  When it was over flowing I shut off the pump and closed the hatch on the top climbed down and went  around to get back in the truck for load number two.  I was grossing out at 103,000 pounds. Yes I had a reducible load permit, I was a Heavy Hauler.

I was always tense as I maneuvered my rig off the mountain, overlooking the Big Lake.  See there was a stop sign at the bottom, silly engineers, and I don’t SWIM!

The ride through New Hampshire was once again beautiful and then I entered the highway where my speed increased and I was hammer down to get the load of water to the plant before they ran out yes that is how fast they were filling one gallon jugs.

As I made it to the tolls on Route 95 South I went through with my easy pass soon I would be in Massachusetts.  This is where things went bad real bad and in a hurry.  I had just gone over the nasty metal bridge in Newburyport when I saw a  tire,  yes a huge semi tire ready to cut in front of me. I had never felt anything at the moment it came off but now I looked to my left in the mirror and saw a school bus I blew the air horn very loudly turned on my emergency flashes  to get everyone’s attention praying for myself to not hit this large tire and lose control of my rig and it’s load on board.  I already had my foot off the accelerator trying to let it slow down so I could start dropping gears and make my way to the breakdown lane.  Holding tightly to the wheel not knowing how this would play out I held my breath for what seemed like forever.  This tire crossed in front of me and the bus and then headed for the median strip never loosing speed or falling over to stop the nightmare and then popped up beside a Black Saab, yes it has been 13 years plus and I remember vividly.  The car thankfully was being driven by someone not texting or talking on their phone and they yanked the wheel to miss my tire it then went off the highway. totally.

Now as this was happening another tire came up beside me as I was trying to move over one lane at a time scared to death wondering if I could hold onto her as this had never happened to me not even in a car. This tire ran straight up beside me and then off to the right and over the embankment.  You see I had 22 wheels on my rig and  except for the two steering axle tires the rest of them were paired up.

I made it over to the breakdown lane and was happy my boyfriend was in the passenger seat for this trip not that he could do anything to stop the nightmare but I was shaking when I stopped and as he hugged me he said “I swear I do not know how you stay THAT COOL as you are at highway speeds and loose two tires and could have killed someone.”  Who was COOL?

Now out of the truck and not wanting her to be destroyed by the weight and airbags and springs taking a beating I had him crank the landing gears on the tanker down and we unhooked the airlines and electrical plug and I pulled ahead.  I then got out of the truck and I was so angry you see I had spent over $1,000.00 for two tires and new rims and all new wheel studs that weekend, I called my tire man from the side of the road and I can not say here what I said to him but I had him send a tow truck at HIS EXPENSE to come get me.  I called the plant up in the  mountains to send another driver for my tanker of water.

I then climbed back in the truck  and  then and only then did I EXHALE.

 

Life on the road is tough on drivers of rigs for they get no respect from other drivers but that day I earned their respect,  for had I been a yahoo with no common sense they would not be here and you never would have lived a few moments in the rig with me.  Yes I am a female trucker but a damn good one!    Do you know the whole time this took place and then the wait that ensued I never saw one State Trooper you see they know me and I am responsible and courteous  though at times going over the speed limit back in my trucking days, which is why I always put money back into my business equipment, my RIG, as I asked a lot of her.  Now for the rest of the story some day I will finish it and title it THE TIRE MAN,  as it is a good one!

A woman was just killed by a tire coming off a rig here in NH and I re-lived this event all over again bet you everyone on the road with me that day just over 13 years ago did too.

PAY ATTENTION not all things are within our power to PREVENT as I sadly learned.

 

Keep On Trucking!

Peace

 

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Hummingbirds and CB’s

Well yesterday, the 10th of May, our Hummingbirds finally made it back here to spend the summer with us.
As I sat playing frisbee with JT I had a female hummingbird sit upon the clothes line just to the left of where I was sitting. She looked healthy and I was glad to have just hung fresh sugar-water out for them. The Apple Tree is what I go by. As it had started to look as if it would burst forth in gorgeous blooms, I readied their feeders.

Up here in New Hampshire we have the Ruby Throat variety of Hummingbirds and an occasional Hummingbird Moth visit us. You know I love these little fighters though, I keep learning more amazing facts about them.

So did you know I had just one tattoo? It is in fact a life-size Hummingbird and this was also what I used for a CB Handle. Now the handle was used when traveling cross-country in the tractor-trailer we never used our own names? Did you have a CB and a Handle? I was trucking when Burt Reynolds made Breaker 1 9 pretty famous. Many songs, mostly country ones, have been done all about trucking, highways and roadie. I loved Convoy’s line “Crash the gate doing 98 and let them truckers roll!”

I had some wonderful times driving the night hours out there on the quiet roads of America. I usually drove after we had our evening meal and kept laying down the miles till it was time for breakfast, when the ex and I would switch. He did not want me, a greenhorn, in all the rush hour traffic he figured at night with just other rigs on the road what could happen.

Well let me tell you one of the stories from so long ago. I was heading west and in Kansas and had stopped to grab a coffee to help get me through my 12 hour shift. The road was dark and filled with many wild animals you had to not only watch for but to avoid as well. While filling the thermos for my evening run I was talking with fellow drivers who would be going the same way, WEST. So we followed each other out and got our trucks rolling down the interstate and chatting on our CB’s we all introduced ourselves and they thought Hummingbird was awesome! I told them it was because I was FAST! They loved it and off we went hammer down, (pressing the gas pedal). We gabbed for hours with each of us keeping our eyes peeled for the police as we were not doing 55. Then someone who had the lead suggested we try something he had all his lights on and if you have traveled the United States you know what I mean, LOTS OF LIGHTS on his rig. We truckers have a special name for ones like this, Chicken Hauler. Yes we have lots of nicknames like our CB Handel’s, like your personal car is called a 4 wheeler. So with truck out in front fully covered by tons of lights and the one in the rear of our convoy(a group of MANY RIGS) with its lights on, all of us in the middle had just our marker lights on NO HEADLIGHTS! Yes not to swift, were we night riders of our countries highways, mostly hell raisers and non conformists.

So mile after mile with our radar detectors working over time ever mindful of State Police we continued this way for miles and miles at a very good clip! Then we hear the bird dogs go off(radar detectors had names too) as a trooper was headed east and running his radar and capturing us all speeding but also us dummies in the middle of the convoy running without headlights. Now they run CB’s as well and had been listening to us talk and I was a very young female and they were all experienced truckers and who do you think the cop came for, yes ME! I saw him go into the medium strip and it was such a dip I saw his headlights shining on the sky above. He then came flying up the highway behind us and by now yes all of us had our lights on and speed to about 60 mph but he had locked on to me he said in the end.

So my trucking CB buddies were gone, I was alone except for ex in the bunk sleeping. I was in big trouble! This officer walked up to my driver’s door and told me to come back to his police car. As I opened the door and started down the ladder of our cab-over Freightliner he saw how young I was and ordered me to go back in and get all my PAPERWORK! License and registration book and my Log Book! OH NO I was really in trouble I hated doing logs as I could not do them the correct way as I had been taught to in tractor-trailer school not with the ex.

So with all of this placed on the floor of the cab I climbed down then reached up for all of this and headed back to the waiting officer. I am ordered to get into the back where upon he proceeds to read me the riot act about how I could have been killed. I told him if I had to pay a fine on the spot he would really see me die, at the hand of my ex-husband yes really young and dumb! I was not to speed or play around and I had a CB and Radar machine so there would be no fines! In the end this trooper was very nice and gave me a $20 fine I mailed to them from home. Sadly this was not the last time I drove FAST, like my little Hummingbirds! I too had places to go and people to see.

Happy Mother’s Day to all of you Mom’s! I am going to have my best one yet! It is also JT’s birthday!