Monday, August 16, 2021

Truck Driving in Snow / Black Ice

 I’d asked my Driver Manager to keep me along the routes that don’t snow too much as I was still new in truck driving. I had also never driven in snow, period. I’m originally from South Africa, where it doesn’t snow. At least, it didn’t all the time I lived there. When I lived in New Jersey and Salt Lake City, I didn’t drive there. And I pretty much moved as the snow season started in both areas. California is my home base now and it doesn’t snow in Southern California (the part I live in). Driving a semi truck in snow would’ve been a combination of things I’d no experience in. My manager agreed and put a note on my profile.come winter time, October-ish, There I was, being routed from west coast to East coast and back and back along the i80. If I weren’t there, they shipped me along the nothern most states, Montana, which is bordering Canada. 

Snow up to my Hips!

As if my first day on the job didn’t show me how much this manager cares about me; I was still stunned that he wasn’t a man of his word. He kept me strictly along the routes that were snowing all winder! What choice did I have than to put my big girl panties on and suck it! Pun intended! I would hear about freeway closures due to snow. I hoped that wouldn’t happen to me but stayed prepared, in case it did. Lo and beFcking hold, one afternoon, on my way west on the i80, in Wyoming - my favorite state to driving in in winter… not  second being Nebraska and Colorado …! It was nearing shut down time for me when I started seeing trucks lined up along the freeway. I was like mh! Lots of traffic! It was also evening, so I also thought that they were done for the day. I found a spot, squeezed in, shut my curtains and called it a day. 

Who’s gonna tell me what’s going on in the outside world? I don’t talk to anyone, No  cb radio, I don’t listen to AM/FM radio in the truck either. Following morning, I cooked some meat, freshened up and got on my way. There were still long lines of trucks along the freeway. “Wow! People are starting late today! Interesting!” I thought. I had parked right outside a TA truck stop, I needed fuel, so I requested my manager to open up my fuel card to let me fuel there. No! Not this rocked scientist right here! He made me drive ten minutes to the next spot for fuel. Guess what? I ran out of fuel right by the islands! I was a few feet (maybe a metre) away from the hose. The thing wasn’t long enough to reach my hole, haha  sorry! I had to call the office to ask them to send help! Can you imagine? 

I didn’t have cell service, so I had to leave my truck blocking the way, go inside and ask to use their phone. “You are caller number…….. 4 in line, thank you for calling road side services !” The company had to approve a call “out” for someone to come “out” to me from the very truck stop I was! Imagine that! If someone were to do the unthinkable and listen to a truck driver, the company wouldn’t have had to pay extra for a call out  I’d have fueled where I was initially  but what do I know? I’m only the person driving the truck that had zero fuel in it. 

The food looked incredible in there! I didn’t indulge  i made somewhat of a mental not to check that place out if, God forbid, I ended up in that neck again. Not long after my call, someone walked from the service center to the fuel area to put diesel in my fuel filter and get me going. I drove a few feet, filled up and headed on my way. . . Ish! While I was waiting on the phone, I was panicking. The patrons in the store, were like, “you sound like you’re in a rush! You’re not going anywhere!”  I thought they were being funny. Of course I’m not going anywhere; I’ve no fuel in my truck. Duh! Then I realized, they weren’t kidding. The roads had been closed for almost 2 days due to snow and ice. Oh sht! It was the universe’s way of stopping me from being stranded in the middle of nowhere. At least now, I was in a place with wifi etc. Kinda! There was zero parking,  As I’d mentioned earlier. I still had to leave the premises. I ended up down the road, on a made up shoulder off the freeway,  by my lonesomeness. 

Luckily, I had cooked food and spare and I could walk to the truck stop for their services. It always works out in the end. And if it doesn’t, it’s not the end yet.

I wasn’t stuck for long. I kept checking online for openings etc. “but Brook! You said you didn’t have cell service in Wyoming?” I know, dear brethren! Every now and again, I’d get one more bar. I swear to heavens, the wind was blowing signal my way. I don’t know how else to explain that sht. Before I knew it, there were a bunch of trucks coming the opposite way. The roads were opened. I got on the i80 Freeway, and caught up with life. 

One time, I was driving via Montana state. Just before I entered Montana my logs got weird. The computer showed that I had been driving longer than I was and that I needed to take a 10 hour break. What the ef? I’d just started with my day! Anywho! I called my manager, nothing he could do to help. What a surprise! I had to pull over and take the break lest I got pulled over at the truck scale and ended up in trouble. I tried to think positively. Take the rest and get up super early the following day. I started early the following morning. It’s my first time driving in Montana, there are mountains everywhere (hence the name?), it’s pitch dark out, snow and black ice, it was a literal nightmare! Snow was accumulating on my windshield. The wipers were getting frozen in place. Speed limit was like 25 miles ph (40kmh). Snow ploughing vehicles every now and then. Thank goodness for them! The whole experience felt like a weird dream! I’d no cell service. I’m not someone who likes the dark. I need sunlight. For my overall mood, wellbeing, whatever, I need the brightness of day. 

Eventually, the sun came out. The snow was melting. It seemed like the darkness never occurred. Joy really does come in the morning! 

The more time I spent by myself on the road, the more time by myself I needed. I started cutting people out that not only didn’t add value into my life but who took away some of my positivity. You know those people who, after talking to them, you’re like, wtf?!? Yeah, them! People who try to be me and then turn around and try to out-me me. Err, no mam, Pam! I was me first! I’m the original me! Wtf. I ended up with good ole Derrick. My boo thang!

I saw Derrick a couple of times while on the road my first six months or so. Then, we missed each other, schedule wise. He went to Colorado to be with his family. I was in Oregon/ Idaho. I remember calling him while I was there to check up on the fam situation. He was whispering. I’m like, can you talk? He said yeah. Then why are you whispering? He’s like, why do you think? I’m here to tell you, I still don’t know know the answer to that! I was left wondering if this is another case where he acts like I don’t exist in his life. Where I’m being hidden. Mhh!

As time went on, I had to take stock of that relationship. We were talking less and less on the phone. I wondered if we would’ve still been talking if I didn’t reach out. I slowly started to not initiate conversation. Derrick and I weren’t supposed to be husband and wife. It was something to do for me and I have a feeling the same applied to him. We just didn’t discuss that. I had to think to myself, what happens when I’m done? How would I break things off? I’d never want to be the cause of someone else’s pain. I had to really think about all this. Who knows? Maybe he was thinking the same thing as well. I blinked and it had been a week since we had spoken. I thought to myself: is this it? Do We just keep not talking forever and ever? 

I would think about Derrick and be relieved that things ended the way they did. Then I’d miss talking to him and be sad that we didn’t end up as friends. Then I’d be angry that he didn’t at least end things, then I’d wonder if I ended things or did he?

Do I need closure? Closure is a facade!

I was in Montana one day. I needed to take a break. When I saw that there was a Walmart nearby, I started y way there. I soon lost cell signal and my truck GPS froze. Who am I gonna call? I was at a t-junction  when I reached literal crossroads. I’d no idea whether to go left or right. As someone who is direction challenge, I almost always pick the wrong side. Of course, I don’t know that at the time until it’s too late. I picked the wrong direction and ended up in a ditch…

And @BabalwaBrook on all social media  

Shout out to those of you who have stayed in touch. I see you!