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Friday, October 13, 2006

Morning folks. Most people can think of things in their past that they not only are not proud of, but amazed that they survived. I'm certainly no different.

Like most drivers my age, I did things when I was younger that scare me today when I think of them. Today's tale is just one of them.

I'm putting these pictures up to show not only how much I miss the life I had, but how glad I am to have lived it. The one below, while not my truck because mine was a different color, is the dash I sat behind the last 7 years on the road. One hand on the wheel, and one on the stick, and I was where I belonged.

Today we're up on the Alaska Highway, the home of my bud Ralphy. The year was 1974, and I was hauling pipeline freight from Seattle WA to Fairbanks AK. 4600 miles round. Leave Sunday night, back Friday afternoon. See where I'm going?

Being young and foolish, I drove like the wind, with no thought of the danger I posed to myself or anyone else on the road. Not to mention the peril I placed my young family in. Luckily in those days there was very little traffic up there, but still.

On this trip I was southbound, and beyond exhausted, but determined to make it to a certain spot before I stopped for 3 or 4 hours sleep. By the time I got to Fireside, mile 543, I was into seeing things that weren't there. Like people on bicycles, my usual.

So off the road at Ken's lodge, pull my boots off, grab a pillow from the bunk, throw it on the passenger seat, flop across the doghouse (engine cover), and die.

6 hours later, wow!, I woke up IN the bunk, undressed, between the sheets, at Gunther's lodge at Muncho Lake. Mile 463! Nothing made sense. Remembered lying down, but that's all.

Got dressed, went inside and asked who drove my truck in last night. What? We watched you pull in, turn the dome light on, set the throttle, get out and go to the back of your trailer to water your mule, get back in, shut the light off, and go to bed. Oh Lord!

To this day I don't remember driving those 80 miles. Thankfully these days there are checks and balances, like log books and hours of service audits, but back then it was like the Wild West. As scary as it is to now think of some of the stunts I pulled, and got away with, I'm not only glad I survived them, but thankful for the lessons learned. Lessons that allowed me to become a driver that put over 4 million miles on, and retire with a good name and wonderful memories.

Stop by tomorrow for some funnies sent to me by my little babushka. Sunday, if the weather is decent, I'm going to head up into the mountains and take some pictures and DVs.

Oh, before I forget, Boop's surgery is scheduled for Oct. 27th. Keep the good thoughts.

Trucker Bob Image hosting by Photobucket blogged at 3:18 AM

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