copyright '99

Am I cursed? Can I not have a smooth trip?

I thought I was going to Arizona but when I got to work they told me I was going to Merced, just South of Sacramento.

The trailer was still full with the flyers I had brought from L. A. and they had to unload it. I think they wanted me to help but I was busy cleaning out the tractor as they had put me on one some smoker had used and it was filthy. By the time I had it cleaned out, and my stuff put in, yes, I took my time, the trailer was empty and I had to take it to get it inspected. This didn't take long but by the time I got to Abbotsford they wanted overtime to load me. Lying buggers.

They phoned my office and told them that because they hadn't made me an appointment they weren't ready for me and they would have to go into overtime. They said they closed at four thirty. I got there at three thirty and left at four forty.

The truck still doesn't have a nine in the window so I had to pay cash to get across the border.

When I got to Oregon they spotted the out of date sticker on the Oregon plate. The only state that still makes you carry a separate license plate. You used to have to have one for every state you ran in but now the others just mark it on your cab card.

Oregon pulled me over at the scales and harangued me about no plate but I had a cab card. I just didn't have a sticker. It was in the mail from their office. It didn't show up on their computer until they did some fine tuning and then they believed me but they told me I had to have the sticker on by Mon. at the latest or I would be charged $280 for failing to display.

I was supposed to unload on Fri. and reload in Sacramento on Fri. and be home by Sunday but the best laid plans of mice and men.

I did unload in Merced (about two hours South of Sacramento) on Fri. but my load to Winnipeg didn't materialize so they sent me to L. A. again. The trailer permit for Calif. ran out so I had to buy another one to get home.

I was going to go into L. A. and walk around but the rapid transit system doesn't come out as far as the city of Ontario on Sundays.

I hit the bank machine but could only get $40. I forgot that I had written a cheque to my dentist last week.

Worrying about being short of cash and having to pay two days parking I was walking back to my tuck and I found a parking slip that was only one hour old. I watched TV in the drivers room for another two hours and then got my truck out for free. You are allowed four hours free parking.

Walking around the mall Sunday morning I had found a side street where some truckers were parking for free so I joined them and then wandered around the mall and went back to the truck stop and watched some more TV.

The wind had picked up and turned chilly and I had stopped at my truck to get my jacket. Walking back along the path beside the street there was a girl dressed in a t-shirt and shorts. I told her she would freeze. We smiled at each other and I walked on by.

At the top of the freeway overpass I stopped and, as the girl wasn't far behind, I let her catch up. I asked if she was trying to get a ride. I asked her which way she was heading and then suggested the best place to stand so that she would be seen under the street lights (she had dressed all in white so she would be seen.)

I escorted her over the overpass and said I would stand with her but then no one would stop. I suggested that I could stand back on this side of the street and watch which was the best I could do for her unless she wanted to share my truck for the night and try in the morning when it was warmer and safer.

She thought that was a good suggestion and walked me back to my truck.

She talked like I write, non stop. I learned that she was hitchhiking back from Mexico where she had been visiting a friend near the Gulf of Mexico and was on her way back to L. A.

Two or three times a year she goes to truck stops and gets rides to Texas or Mexico to visit friends and relatives. So she is very familiar with trucks and truckers.

She had just had an encounter with a foreigner in the truck stop. He had insisted on buying her a coke though she didn't want it and then had followed her out of the truck stop. When she had seen me coming, unbeknownst to me, she told him she was waiting for me and he had left in a huff.

I did notice a man jay walking across the street and he seemed kind of weird so rather than jay walk where he was, as I had planned, I waited for the light and crossed on the intersection to avoid him.

The next morning, after getting dressed, we walked over to McDonalds to use the washroom.

I still had to wait another half hour until I could get hold of someone to tell me where to load.

When I got to the paper company I found that my appointment was for nine o'clock. I pulled out my food box and made us both a sandwich. Then the young lady crawled back into bed. I just sat behind the wheel.

They finally started loading me at ten and within half an hour we were back at the truck stop to get the permit, but it wasn't there because UPS (United Parcel Service) is closed on Sundays and my office couldn't ship it.

I was told the I-5 was closed for snow on The Grapevine and to take the I-15 into Nevada. Then I learned that the I 15 was closed because a truck had jack knifed in the snow.

I took a chance that The Grapevine would be cleared by the time I got there and headed to L. A. to drop off my rider. I never did hear her mention her name and I never asked.

Because of accidents on the freeways it took nearly two hours to get from the truck stop to the I-2 into L. A.

After a short trip on the I-2 off the I-210, I dropped the girl in L. A. and within a block found an on ramp to the I-5.

It took another hour to get to The Grapevine.

The top of The Grapevine had had snow but it was all ploughed and melted by the time I got there.

The Grapevine is actually a series of short hills and valleys that peak out at four thousand feet above sea level. You climb a long steep hill North of Los Angeles and an hour later descend into the flat lands of California where most of their produce is raised.

Not to be confused with the Grapevine Hill, in the area of Los Angeles' South Bay, 160 km to the

Going down the North side of The Grapevine the speed limit is 35 MPH for trucks. Empty trucks go out and pass the endless line of, bumper to bumper, loaded trucks.

Halfway down there was a truck in the runaway lane with a tow truck hooking up to it.

Shortly afterwards a loaded truck went by me with it's brakes smoking. Shortly, another loaded truck passed me, its brakes smoking even worse. A Smokey was on his donkey with his blueberries flashing. I slowed down and gave them room to pull in in front of me.

A half hour North of the Vine I stopped at Button Willow for fuel, shower, shave, and laundry. Erasing all evidence of my encounter with the no name brand blonde.

For complete details of my encounter with the young blonde you can read my biography. Soon (someday) to be available in a bookstore near you.

Do you believe in fate, preordination, etc. I don't but I don't not believe and sometimes I wonder. I had been watching a TV show called the Sopranos and left before it was over.

Why did I leave when I did? If I hadn't left when I did, would I have met the blonde? I was feeling lonely and she comforted me in my time of need.

But is that true? Perhaps I was there in her time of need. Had I not come along at that time would that man have molested her? If I had not shown her which turnoff to hitchhike from would she have gotten a ride in the wrong direction? If I had not offered her shelter would she have gotten a ride with someone who would have harmed her, or perhaps, dressed as she was, caught pneumonia, or have become hypothermic?

It is not the first time that I have been in the right place at the right time to aid some young damsel.

I was walking through skid row in Vancouver one evening and as I approached a young lady and a man she was talking to she turned to me and said, "Finally. I thought you were going to miss the bus."

I looked at her and looked at the derelict in front of her, stepped in front of him, and looking down, asked, "Are you bothering my daughter?"

The girl put her hand on my arm, "It's OK, Dad." but stumbled on the last word. The rubbie asked, "Are you really her dad?"

I stepped closer. From my 6' 4" height I glowered down, "Doesn't matter to you. Either way you're out of here."

He took the hint and left. I stood there watching him go and then turned to the girl. She looked at me and began to wonder if she was any safer.

Stammering she said, "I'm OK now."

"Are you sure?" I asked, taking the hint.

Timidly she replied, "Yes. Thanks."

I walked to the corner and crossed at the light. On the other side of the intersection, like Mike Hammer, I melted into the shadow of a doorway. When she had boarded the bus safely I continued on my journey wondering what a young girl, dressed as nicely as her, would be doing in this part of town in the daytime never mind after dark.

I once had a patrol dog that hated drunks. If Sol started growling and straining at the leash, though there was no one in sight, you could be sure a drunk would appear from somewhere within a few minutes.

Once I was patrolling in front of a hotel and Sol was growling and barking. A well dressed lady, three sheets to the wind decided she wanted to pet my dog.

With great effort I held sol in the heel position and try as I might I couldn't convince this lady to go away. You cannot argue with a drunk.

She walked up to me and despite my protests squatted in front of Sol. To my surprise she got a German Shepherd face wash.

Shortly after she left I got another surprise. A lady came up behind me and said, "Thanks".

She explained that she was a waitress in the club below street level. A drunk had run up a big tab and was going to leave without paying. She would have been stuck with the bill.

She finally told the drunk that he might get past her but he wouldn't get past the cop upstairs. His eyes followed her pointing finger and saw me standing outside the entrance door. Wordlessly he paid his bill and left.

Was it fate that had me standing with my back to the door while some drunken female petted my dog.

I could recount a couple of other instances but this was supposed to be a short story for a short trip, however, neither has turned out to be very short.

I must remember to include these incidences in my biography.

At noon on Tue. I stopped at Corning, Calif. to pick up my sticker but UPS hadn't been there yet.

UPS showed up Wednesday morning and I headed North again. I spent the night in a rest area in the middle of Washington.

Thur. morning I awoke at 3:30 AM and figured if I hustled I could get through Seattle before rush hour. Made it. Just barely.

Once I was through Seattle I stopped at a rest area but decided that I might as well keep going as it was only another hour to the border.

Processing the paper work didn't take long and I boogied into Burnaby arriving at the customer an hour before my appointment. There were no other trucks ahead of me so they unloaded me and I took the truck back to the shop and cleaned out my stuff.

By nine o'clock I was on my way home. Perfect timing as Lin usually wakes up at ten and leaves for work at twelve. I stopped in the office to pick up my paycheque and didn't get out of there until one with the admonition that I should NOT put the cheque in the bank for at least a week.

Why do I bother? Now they want me to leave tomorrow night for L. A. again. I might as I am so far behind on everything here it would take me a week to catch up anyway.


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