Saturday, July 12, 2008

The west is the best

SIOUX FALLS, SD - The desert will be the death of me one day. Got stuck in Elko, NV, a few days ago on a truck that kept overheating as it chugged along deserted I-80 in thick air filled with smoke blowing over the Sierras from California burning. Got routed to a repair shop on a hardscrabble strip of casinos, motels, and gas stations, a rare stop between Reno and Salt Lake. My stomach had been doing worrisome sickly flips all day, like all these physical and mechanical components revolting against the overambitious human mind.

I am 47 driving hours away from completing training (would have been done by now if not for aforementioned breakdown and a slew of other unexpected delays), and my next step will likely be getting dropped off in Omaha to wait for another trainer (this would be trainer #5, for those counting at home) because Larry's going home for a week, and he's getting on my last nerve anyway. I don't do well when I don't get regular meals. And I mean, I REALLY don't do well. And flatbed operation requires an amount of effort I just have no inclination to make, especially without regular meals.

But in better news, I found what I believe to be my new favorite stretch of road in all the land: I-84 from Boise to Portland, first winding through the Cascade pines under a weepy gray sky then running along the Columbia river with Washington State on the other bank.

Columbia river sunset

On the night of the Fourth of July, I drove south over the Grapevine snaking uphill towards Los Angeles in gathering dusk, and when I crested the hill the LA basin exploded with light, more and more fireworks beyond hills with every turn, confetti falling and dissipating into the brake lights of city traffic.

The more unfamiliar parts of California I see the more sure I am that this is my home, no matter where I came from or where I'll go in the future.

NorCal Sierra back road

NorCal power line sunrise

(Click on individual pictures for bigger versions. More can be found over on Flickr.)


gabsatrucker said...

I'm with you on that flatbedding business, too much extra work for not enough extra pay (although I'll probably get flamed for that opinion!). Got to have my meals too, I try to eat something every 3 hrs otherwise I get "hangry" (hungry and angry) and it's just not good for your system to go that long without eating. Crossing my fingers that your next trainer is better.


Gypsy Trucker said...

Heh, I'm with you on "hangry." What's been happening is that I'll snack on small things I have in the truck for half the day, then finally ask my trainer if we can stop for real food, then wait a few hours till he actually does that, and by the time I have access to real food I'm so ravenous that I eat too much and feel like crap. Goddamn I can't wait until I have my own truck so I can make my own decisions about meals and showers and stuff.

Decorina said...

Gad, you have been through the mill with trainers. This one sounds like a real winner - a flatbedder? Jeez, they are about the most testosterone poisoned truck drivers out there.

I feel for ya - I didn't have much in common with my trainer (also male, but a van driver at least) either. After I was on my own I found out that he had his truck, trailer and HV (high value) load stolen...he will never drive again. So very sanctimonious as he raked in the dough that I made for him. We drove team for almost 5 weeks - and he spent almost 10 days at home during that time. I had a friend in the Seattle area, though so didn't have to stay at the sorry motel that Werner stuck me in.

Hang in there - it will be worth it.

Terry said...

Hey Girls!! not all flatbedders are bad!! or testosterone filled for that matter.....

Anyway, WOW I thought you should be finished up by now!! Just hang in there, and I promise it will get better when you can and do make your own decisions!!