April 28, 2006

18-Wheeled Vigilante!

So... I'm driving back from Memphis this afternoon. My Shop Van is in fine tune, and I'm in a hurry to get back to the crib. Average speed is around 80 to 85 mph, and I'm makin' tracks. It's a bright and sunny day, and the temperature isn't bad. A Good Day for Drivin'. Interstate 40 East, The Mississippi river about 95 miles in my rear-view, Just East of Jackson, TN...It happenned.

Now, anyone who's ever run any decent stretch of two lane blacktop has experienced a trial or two. everything from broken down vehicles, to "Road Rage", to being boxed in by a couple of Semi's having a "Drag Race" for twenty miles (at 62 miles an hour in a 70 zone.). It's this latter phenomena that I'd like to discuss for a minute...

I think that we can all agree that one of the most frustrating things that can happen to you on a long drive is to be stuck behind a couple of tractor-trailors that are running side-by-side at about the same speed. The penultimate "rolling roadblock". the truck in the "fast lane" is doing about a 1/4 of a mile-per-hour faster than the other truck, so he won't give up and get out of the way...The truck in the "slow lane" gets paid by the mile just like everybody else, so he isn't giving up any progress to alleviate the impasse, as it will hit him in the pocketbook. Stalemate. Here you are (an innocent four-wheeler) stuck behind this mass of rolling metal, with no option other than flashing your lights or blowing your horn (neither of which will do a damn bit of good in getting these trucks away from each other).

Here's the scenario: The truck in the "slow lane" is a really interesting rig. you've all seen a truck rolling down the road (sans trailer) that had another truck attatched to it backwards, right? One big bar holds the trailing trucks' rear-wheels off the pavement, and the other truck is driving normally. This contraption was much the same, but the "bar" that held the two tractors together was doing double-duty...as a car hauler. Between the "big truck" there was a full-sized Chevy Suburban! (Nifty contraption if I do say so myself.) In the "fast lane" there is a Semi hauling a flatbed. A flatbed filled with wooden pallets. Empty pallets. They're stacked up five or six high, right in the midle of the trailer. Heavy Cargo?...Not so much. Why the hell isn't he moving faster? I have no idea.

Behind this "Rolling Roadblock", I'm absolutely fuming. Five miles passed... No change. Ten miles passed... No change. Dear Lowered, something's gotta give... I began to hear a vaguely familiar sound of the "rumble strips" that lie outside of the stripes on every Interstate Motorway. We've all heard the particualr "BRRRRRRRRRRR" of those things. They're there to ensure that someone who is asleep behind the wheel, is awakenned before they collide with a guardrail. I've wandered into them a time or two, but this was different. "BrrrRRRUP!" is what I'm used to. What I heard was: "rrrrrrrrrrrrrRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR" I looked to my right... to find a full-sized "Semi Truck and Trialer" in the "Breakdown Lane"...Accelerating.

When he had passed the truck in the "slow lane", he crossed over into the "fast lane", and he did somethin unexpected... He hit his brakes. I nearly rear-ended the flatbed in front of me, but I'm marginally more obsevant than the average gnat, so I applied brakes myself. The back-to-front vehicle shot past me on the right, and the "flatbed" pulled into the right lane. I was now able to pass, and pass I did.

I gave the Freight Driver who'd "checked up" the "Slow Passer" a "Big Thumbs Up" (as I went around him after he'd politely moved into the right lane, so I could pass).

I don't care what you say... Not all truckers are BAD.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at April 28, 2006 09:58 PM | TrackBack

Holy Cow! I'm glad you got to pass and all but somehow that sounds.... Dangerous...

Posted by: Richmond at April 30, 2006 07:33 AM
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