So Ya Think Ya Wanna Be a Truck Driver huh? (part 1)
For any of you who have ever wondered about the picture on my blog page, there is a story behind it that needs telling. More because I'm racking my brain about something to write than because my readers are dying to know. So at any rate, here goes!
Back in the day when I still thought it would be neat to train wannabe's how to motor down the road in a big rig, along came Tommy.
Tommy was a likable sort who had gotten caught up in the mass industrial shutdowns & layoffs of the late 1980s. He was in his early forties and had spent his entire adult working career in a lunch meat plant in northern Indiana. The plant shut down due to competition and Tommy found himself without a job. He was given the option to transfer but the wife & kids rebelled so he had to make a change.
Turns out that his Grandpa, who had recently passed on, had been a truck driver and as Tommy was mulling over what to go for, he began to reminice about Grandpa's highway stories and decided he wanted to try. What the hell? He had to do something for a living!
I gave him his driving test and for someone who had never steered anything bigger than the family stationwagon, he did remarkably well. He was eager to learn and followed instruction better than most so we ran him thru a drug screen & DOT physical and put him to work.
Our first trip out was a multidrop load with the first stop in Birmingham. Now B'ham, Alabama is 8 hours truck travel time due south of Louisville. You just jump on I65 South, cross the Kennedy Bridge, and hammer down. Simple enough or so I thought.
Silly me, there I went thinkin' again. As I said previously, Tommy did rather well on his driving test so I was confident that once he got pointed in the right direction all would be ok. So we did our pretrip, fired 'er up, and headed for the interstate. Once we got onto 65 South, I asked him if he was good to go and he nodded in the affirmative. Allright said I, just head south and wake me up in about 8 hours.
I crawled back into the sleeper bearth, not so much because I was sleepy but because my experience had been that newby's had better luck concentrating on what they were doing if they didn't have the distraction of me sitting in the passenger seat stareing at them. From my pearch behind him, I could gaze out to take a look see if needed and we both could relax a bit.
Once I laid down, I must have been more tired than I thought and almost immediately half/dozed off. He crossed the bridge and I felt the the rig slow down and lean into a right hand turn but didn't think much of it because of the upcoming hospital curve. Not ten minutes later, I felt the same reaction and could sense that we were on another bridge. Time ta take peak.
Upon doing so I found us to be westbound on I64 headed for St. Louis.
YO Tommy says I! Why are we going west? Birmingham is south! Well, says he, I was in the right lane and the sign said I must turn! OK, says I, jump off here on I265 and go around again, only this time get in the middle lane and head SOUTH!!
Believe it or not, this same scenario played itself out twice more prior to me returning to the buddy seat to navigate. Now we've lost an hour going around in circles and I've been rudely rousted from a good catnap! Oh well, at least he now knows how to get to St. Louis. Or does he?
Nevertheless, I hung in with him until we got past E'town and went back to the bunk and slept lightly. (To be continued)