Tuesday, May 23, 2006
Can't start off with my usual "Morning folks" because I'm cheating a bit and beginning this on Monday. No big whup!
First a little background. Most older drivers have "run double" at some point in their careers. Running double is simply 2 drivers in the truck, so that the load keeps moving while one or the other driver is sleeping, or as close to sleep as you can get while hanging on to the mattress like a crab, to prevent sheet burns as your @#$ partner slides you from one end of the bed to the other on the corners.
I did most of mine during the 70's, when a bunch of us were running up and down the Alaska Highway like raped apes. The Pipeline was being built, and they needed the freight as fast as you could get it up there. During that time I ran with many different drivers, some so bad I kicked them out on the trip, some would last a trip or two, and the odd time you'd get a good one that would last a while. You've got to keep in mind that when you go to the bunk, you're literally putting your life in his hands.
One of the good ones was a guy named Don xxxxx. Although I'm sure Don would'nt mind, since I have'nt talked to him for a long time, I'll just use his first name.
Don was a good driver, even if a bit aggressive, clean, honest, interesting to talk with for the most part, but Don had a problem. Oh God, did he have a problem! He had a glandular condition that caused a foot odor that not only could you smell, but I swear you could taste! Most times I could handle it, but when we got to sniping at each other, it just seemed to magnify it.
One such time we were heading North, Don driving, and pulled into Muncho Lake at Mile 463 on the Alcan, basically a lodge, where we were due to eat and switch drivers. For some reason we had been fussin' with each other and carried it inside. As I was trying to eat a meal he kept it up until I told him to shut the xxx up or he'd be walking. Finished eating, paid the bill, and out to the truck. He's still yappin' so I told him once again to shut up and go to bed or we'd get it on right there. He told me to do something that is physically impossible, took his @#$% boots off, and crawled into the bunk.
Normally he would crawl in there, close the curtain, and open the vents before he took them off, but this night he's being a jerk. A jerk that is close to getting his ass kicked. Okay, game on!
As soon as he was in there I picked those foul things up off the floor and threw them into the bunk. Just as quickly he threw them back out! Bad move partner! Off we go, and when I felt he was sleeping, I rolled down the window, picked up the boots, and air-mailed them.
Pulled into Watson Lake, Yukon, our next switch point. He comes out of the bunk, says he does'nt know what was bugging him, and apologizes. No problem Don, we've been running hard and we're getting beat out. Sit there while he goes through the ritual scratching, farting, hacking, and because showers are few and far between, putting the 14th layer of Right Guard on.
Finally he looks around the cab and says "where's my boots"? "You know that sharp corner at the bottom of Mile 558"? Yeah. Well, if the bears have'nt eaten them, because they like rotten things, we'll stop on the way back and pick them up.
Why you (oh my, the words he used). I let him rant for a while, then told him he had 2 options. Either walk across the road to the General store and buy himself some boots, or get behind the wheel and go truckin'. Pick one, and do it now! Before he got into the cursing again I explained how I had told him a hundred times about those @#$ boots, and that if he wanted to "take it outside" I was more than willing, and able.
He backed off a bit and asked me almost nicely if I would go and get the boots. Not a chance! Finally he climbed down out of the truck and set off across the gravel parking lot, through the ditch, across the road, another ditch and gravel parking lot, and into the store. Tiny Tim tip-toeing through the tulips had nothing on ol' Don. Each time he'd step on a sharp rock, he'd shake his fist at me and curse, which was'nt helped by my sitting in the truck laughing at him. If only I'd had this camera, or any camera.
Finally he comes out of the store. Oh my! what a nice pair of boots. Sharp stones won't bother those beauties. Across to the truck where I'm now in the passenger seat, hands me the receipt, which I promptly put in my shirt pocket, releases the brakes, into gear, and off we go. All without a word.
I went to the bunk, closed the vinyl curtain, opened a vent, and threw the receipt out! Months went by before he asked when I was going to pay him. For what? For that receipt I gave you. Oh that, I threw it out. Yep, you guessed it, into the cursing again.
Of course I finally paid him, damn those were expensive boots. We remained friends for years, and both got many a laugh out of that episode of "male-bonding". If I had'nt been such a wild man in those days with scrapping, I would have been the one walking, because he owned the truck.
In a lifetime on the road, those days were the best. If I could go back to any period in my life that would be it. I miss the comraderie(sp), the Yukon, and the times when it was just you, the truck, and the elements. Luckily I have the next best thing, great memories!
Trucker Bob blogged at 4:22 AM