Alyssa Writes

24 Hours with a Truck Driver

Long road ahead

Monday 15 July

04:30: Three S’s and make tea.

05:15: Leave home to catch 05:55 GO Bus to Aberfoyle

06:45: Arrive at Operating Centre (OC). Do safety check of tractor, get assignment, pick-up trailer. Driver points at blue bottle of Lysol – “Every time you use the bathroom at a truck stop, spray the bottom of your shoes. I’m very par-tic-a-lur

07:30: On the way to Smithville through Grimsby and West Lincoln. I stare out the window at the wind-blown trees permanently leaning eastward in the Niagara escarpment country. I’m tired.

08:00: “It’s all about space management. Utilizing what you need.” Whatever the client we’re delivering to needs, it requires $13,000 worth of glass bottles.

10:53: Off to Niagara Falls for pick-up. Nap time for me.

12:05: Lunch choices at duty-free: McDonald’s or Tim Horton’s. Salad it is. I get the feeling salad will be a common theme of this trip.

13:57: First funny comment over the CB radio. “They’re checking for illegal porn downloads. Everyone clear their phones.” Another driver responds, “You can get porn on the phone?”

14:09: After “staging” (sitting in a queue in a separate parking lot for trucks) for an hour, we can’t cross the border. According to the American customs officer, there was no paperwork though we had received our manifest approval. He sends us to the FDA building. It’s powdered Lipton Iced Tea not cocaine. Jeez.

15:00: I do some stretches and lunges. Fellow truckers look at me strangely.

15:30: Finally through customs and on our way to Pennsylvania.

16:00: Receive approval to cross border. Informs us not to cross border until 16:16. Ugh.

17:06: Arrive in Bradford, Pennsylvania. Drive across the Allegheny National forest. Don’t make it to the delivery location because of silly border delay. Only a few hours left before required break of 10 hours – no more driving allowed without breaking the law.

Pilot off US Highway 22

21:21: Make it to Pilot, a chain of truck stops where we will sleep, with seconds to spare. Minutes later we would have slept on the highway shoulder. It was dark, the air was damp and my skin was clammy immediately after stepping outside. Trucks were lined up and I expected them to go Transformers at any moment

21:22: Realize we are parked next to a “gentleman’s club” called Fantasy Island. Palm trees and everything. Learned what a “lot lizard” (i.e., prostitute) is.

21:30: Eat dinner at Subway. Driver eats chips and some vanilla Nestle milk. I brush my teeth in the bathroom.

22:00: Trip planning for the next day. We’re headed back to Ontario but we still need to deliver iced tea to Newville.

22:10: Bed time! I sleep through the night.

07:37 (16 July): Leave Pilot. The place is completely empty.

08:15: Start all over again with the three S’s at the Carlisle/Harrisburg OC

For the rest of the story, see Quali-Dad Time