So Ya Think Ya Wanna Be a Truck Driver huh? (part 2)
*Sorry to disappoint a few of my n'er do well readers, but this portion of our programming is family oriented. The juicy stuff we save for politics!
So Tommy had made it through his first ever DOT scale check just south of E'town and after satisfying myself one more time that he was going to steer straight & true all the way to Birmiingham, I crawled back in the bunk and took a nap.
Over time in a truck, your body developes a sort of sixth sense about time & distance. When we left the scales I made a mental note to myself that we were about 7 hours out from our destination and sure enough, seven hours later I stared to come out of the fog. Unfortunately it was about 5 minutes too late.
It seems that Tommy had got bored sitting up there all by himself so he did what all drivers do and keyed up the michrophone on the CB radio. Well as luck would have it, he got to talking to an Alabama local about where we were headed, this clown told him about a shortcut through the woods, and my man Tommy thought he would suprise me by getting us there early.
Unfortunately, or as I've always suspected on purpose, the local yokel forgot to mention a 12 foot underpass just immediately off the exit ramp. I shook the cobwebs out of my head just in time to see the nose of the tractor go under this bridge. To his credit, when he heard metal screeching, Tommy stopped. But then he blew all the brownie points he had just collected by throwing 'er in reverse and started backing up.
WHOA! I yelled at the top of my lungs. We'd better take a look see before we destroy any more sheetmetal! Turns out the the truck & trailer cleared by no more than two inches, but the boss lady's tall, shiny, chrome exhaust stack was now about a foot and a half shorter by virtue of the crease in it.
Tommy's looking like he's about ready to cry and I was in no mood to comfort him.
OK Funugie, says I, lesson #1; Look before you go under anything that's shorter than you are! Lesson #2:If you pull on thru we can save the stack by just making it shorter. However, if you back up, your gonna rip the whole exhaust system off the truck! And last but not least, Lesson #3: YOU get to call the boss lady in the morning and explain to her why her tall, shiny chrome pipe is now a not quite so shiny, short chrome pipe!
With that said, I took over the driving duties and banished my super trucker buddy to the bunk until we got to the customers dock at daylight. That was our first drop and we preceeded on to deliver in Montgomery, Greenville, & Andalusia with no further ado.
Except of course when he called in to report his mishap and was told not to worry. It would simply be deducted from his first check & his second check & his thir....!
Our next drop was in Orlando and we were making good time so I elected to let Tommy get some two lane experience under his belt by going on across the bottom of Alabama on US84. Enroute I explained to him about how that pretty red dirt on the shoulder of the road turns into super glue when it rains and it behooves one not to drop a wheel off of the hard surface.
He questioned what to do when he met another truck coming from the other direction, for the road looked awfully narrow. I told him that if he stays just inside the dividing line & the other guy does the same, the air that both trucks are pushing ahead of them will force them apart enough to clear each other. Believe it or not, it's true. It just takes a healthy bundle of nerves at first to put the theory to the test.
Somewhere between Andalusia and Dothan we came upon a Mom & Pop diner/truckstop so we pulled in to have a bite. I noticed they had one of my favorites (fried mushrooms) on the menu. I asked the waitress if horseradish sauce was available to dip them in and with a strange, wary, look, she said it was.
Tommy & I settled into a conversation with one of the locals and in due time our food arived.
The waitress set it in front of us and backed away to the counter with a slight grin on her face & poured coffee for the fellows there. As I picked up the first big juicy mushroom, dipped it in the horseradish, and popped it into my mouth I noticed that everyone at the counter was stareing our way. A millisecond later, I knew why. The dipping bowl was filled with pure freshly grated horseradish and I had a mouthful of it. Needless to say, water didn't help but the boys at the counter , the waitress and Tommy got a good bellylaugh at my expense.
It all worked out for she felt sorry for this poor dumb yankee boy and gave me a slice of fresh baked apple pie and a cup of coffee on the house. She said she hadn't been entertained so in months. I surmised they didn't get out much in that neck of the woods.
Tommy finally stopped laughing long enough to get back in the truck and we continued on towards Orlando.
(To be continued one more time)