Highway Safety During The Holiday

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Barb during our driving days.

I’m certain most drivers have heard the road trucks with their “square” tires. Those tires should be in the recycle bin, not on the road traveling seventy miles per hour or whatever the driver thinks he can get away with.

Case in point: While driving for a company with a fleet of flatbed trucks I once hauled a load of flat steel from Los Angeles to a construction site near Spokane, Washington. For the last 500-miles I’d been listening to a tire on the trailer. The pounding had grown worse, and after unloading I found a payphone and called my dispatcher who was in another state.

Go to such and such a place in Sandpoint, Idaho and pick up a load of power poles going to Chicago.

I have a trailer tire on its last legs. Where do I go to get it taken care of?” I asked.

Is it still holding air?

Yes.”

Get all you can out of that tire.

Following his instructions, I proceeded to Sandpoint, loaded my 90-foot poles on a 43-foot trailer and started east on Interstate 90 with 36-feet hanging over the back of the trailer. The highway was rough and the poles wiggled.

I was near Big Timber, Montana when the tire in question gave it up at about 60 miles per hour, issuing a shotgun type report. An unfortunate young man in a Chevrolet pickup was passing at that moment. A four-foot strip of tread peeled off the blown tire, snaked its way from under the trailer deck and landed on his hood. He did everything except wreck his vehicle. We stopped. There was no damage to his rig other than some bruised paint that buffing would remove.

He continued on his way and I limped into a tire shop in Big Timber and bought a new tire.

HOWEVER, had this individual in the pickup been on a motorcycle, or the tread had whip through an open window of an automobile, the story might have had a more tragic ending.

When you’re headed to Grandma’s house over the Christmas Holiday beware of the 18-wheelers rolling down the highway with pounding tires.

Aromatic

Aromatic triggers one of our five senses. It’s akin to hearing. It can be enjoyed and sometimes it leaves an indelible mark on us.

As some may know, I finished my working years driving a semi throughout the lower 48 states and Canada. I have some lasting memories – some good, other not so good. But one memory jumped out this morning when I read the word of the day – aromatic – it involves a stand of pine trees.

Barb and I called Oregon home at the period of time in question. We were accustomed to the scent of salty coastal spray, high-mountain fir and hemlock, juniper, and sage from the high, central desert. But my job, demanded that I be on the road, away from all this, for six weeks or 18,000 miles, whichever occurred first. Once my week at home was over I generally picked up and load near my home and returned directly to the east coast. I generally stayed for the duration, driving north and south on I-95.

During the period in question I’d picked up a mixed load in Upstate New York and began my numerous drops as I headed for the west coast. Somewhere in Wyoming I left I-80 and followed a small road south that would intersect with  US 40. My nose and sinuses were still filled with New York, Pennsylvania, the hot Interstate crossing Illinois and Iowa until late that night when my driving time expired. After finding a wide place in the mountains I pulled off the road and went to sleep.

In the wee hours I awoke with the urge to relieve myself. As I opened the door and stepped out into the silence of a full moon the scent of high mountain pine filled my lungs. It was intoxicating. 

The scent fulfilled my definition of aromatic.

<a href=”https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/aromatic/”>Aromatic</a&gt;

Why Do I Write

I’m an air force vet, been retired from the work force for going on 18 years, which makes me 79 years old come this autumn.

I don’t know if I’m a blogger or just a writer. With no ax to grind I doubt I’m much of a blogger. I more of a spinner of tales.

Writing seems to be what I do. An inner force compels me to make words. In following this call, I’ve used the Sears portable, an old Olympic upright founf at Goodwill for $3. I also wrote with a Commodore 64 using a word processor called Easy Script. Then, like many, I graduated to the 8088 XT. And finally, today, I use a Windows 7 desk top, an iPad, and a Nexus 7. Sometimes I even stoop to pencil and paper when the writer’s block is hounding me and brain storming is required..

This business began in 1964 while I was often on alert while serving with the Strategic Air Command. I often had time. 

Overdrive Magazine, a new trucker’s journal, was casting about for articles. They asked people to send them their hands-on driving experiences. I didn’t have many yarns to share, so I spun “The Hill” on a Sears portable and sent it in to Jim Drinkwater, the editor. He published it and then sent me a crisp $10 for my trouble.

I was hooked and never stopped spinning yarns related to the people who are amateur radio operators, truck drivers, motorcycle riders, bicycle riders, airplane pilots. Whatever needs telling at the time.

This entire thing boils down to three words: It’s a hobby..

Truckin’ Days

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This is Barb posing by our rig when we were team-driving for Werner out of Omaha. We were pulling a trailer load of extension ladders from Ohio bound for Seattle. Our required six-weeks-on-the-road were completed and we were headed home to Eugene, Oregon for a week off. Our dispatcher in Omaha had texted us over the Qualcom as we motored through Oregon’s Columbia Gorge and instructed to wait for another Werner truck that was three hours behind us with a load of Lay-Z-Boy recliners bound for Portland. We swapped trailers. He went to Seattle. We went to Portland and then home. I think it was 1997.

Going home

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Barb and I have finished six weeks on the East Coast and we are now headed for Seattle. But the dispatcher has instructed us to switch trailers with a Portland bound truck. When he arrives we’ll deliver his load and then go home for a week.