Running up the gears through Glenwood Canyon glimpses of the Colorado River splashes like a silvery eel alongside the highway. Snow is clumped along the canyon walls and pushed aside by the plows, waiting for the sun to warm their masses and add their collective trickles to the river below. A few hours out of Denver with the shadows along straight up. Another hour and I should be making my way through Grand Junction. Not much traffic on the highway, middle of the week and most folks are at work. It’s a long and empty road that lays ahead. If the weather holds I should make Soldiers Pass and 15 headed for Provo. Wind has picked up, blowing like a hurricane through the canyon. Damn day cab drivers don’t know enough to slow down when pulling doubles. Fedex up ahead with the last van flopped over, must have been empty. He ain’t getting home in time for dinner tonight. “What’s the time? Been out almost four hours, got seven more to go. And about a month to go for Christmas if I get back in time. There’s an outlet mall just before I hit Provo, maybe I can do some shopping there tomorrow. Yeah, maybe.”
“Two long ribbons of black top gleam in the sunlight where the snow is melting. Hope to make Green River in a few hours. Maybe I’ll get a hot meal. Getting tired of canned Vienna Sausages and crackers. Think I’ll put a book on tape in the player, take my mind off the monotony of the highway. Red clay everywhere. Sage brush, when there is any water to grow the stuff, not much else. Yeah, no wonder they call it the “Old Mormon Muddy Mission”. Only a pair of Mormons would cross this track, and on bicycles too. I wish they hadn’t put a governor on this truck. Sixty three is just too slow for this country. God help me if I break down, haven’t seen a patrolman for the past two hours. Long hours behind this wheel is wearing me down. Turn the tape over. ‘The Wine Dark Sea’, almost like being here. Eagle Canyon will be coming up soon. Promised Janie’s boy I take some pictures of it. He doesn’t believe me when I tell him you can’t see the bottom. Maybe if I had some binoculars and it was noon then maybe I could but can’t tell that kid nothing. He’s a good kid. Don’t know as I want him growing up and driving trucks. Ain’t much of a life. Wouldn’t do it if I could get a dozer job pushing dirt around. God, been years since it was open season on jobs like that. I keep trying to tell him that working thirteen hours a day ain’t the way to go through life. But Billy, he don’t understand. I should never have driven him around in the cab last year. Most kids shrink when they are sitting this high above the cars and see that big wide hood in front of them. Billy just took to like a duck to water. I swear, that kid just might be a natural born trucker. It’ll kill him in the end. It slowly kills all of us. What was that he was saying about the greeks? Better rewind it and listen again. Got to keep my mind on driving now. Almost time to hit the exit and head over the mountains, over Soldier’s Pass. Not feeling hungry right now, might wait until I hit the pass. Couple of small restaurants up there.”
“Glad to stop and get out of the saddle. God, my back aches some. I’d take some Motrin but that would put me to sleep. Just going to have to drive through it. Damn, closed for the season. Yeah, I forgot. Oh well, I’ll heat up some water for coffee and open a can of Vienna Sausages. Might make me some hot soup when I shut down for the night. If I remember right the place I’m going is in the north east part of town. Yeah, that’s right, damn DOT renumbered the exits. Man, I drove all through that town before I learned I got off on the wrong exit. Stupid Mormans, if I seem some on bicycles I’ll run them over. What’s on the NOAA channel? Better get going quick, storm coming in and I don’t want to get caught on the downside when it hits. Too many tight curves on the west side and too much traffic. Got fifty thousand pounds of steel coils and I ain’t jackknifing my trailer for anyone. I swear, I’ll run right through them. Check the chains first, make sure their tight. Tarps are okay, time to move. How much time I got left? About two hours. Going to be close. If I remember there is a spot where I can park for the night without the cops rousting me. Damn cops have no respect for the NHTSA people. I can’t be breaking my hours limit just for the local cops. ”
“All right, found me a place for the night. A turnout with half a dozen other trucks. don’t expect any trouble form the local yokels. Debating whether I want some soup of not. God, I’m tired. Think I’ll just take a couple of Motrin and sleep. I don’t think it’s going to get too cold tonight. It’ll be nice to shut the engine off and have some quiet for a change. Better put an extra blanker on the bunk. Set the alarm for seven, might as well make it eight. Can’t move before then. I can use an extra hour of shut eye.”
“God, the cab is cold. Must be forty right now. Come on, turn over. Ah, that’s the way. Should have some heat in a few minutes. Turn the camp burner on and start the water. I need that hot water on my face, wash the grime off at least. Cab is getting warm and now I can wash my upper body, get some of the smell off. Coffee tastes good. Got time for a second cup while I put on a clean shirt and some deodorant. Check the maps. Where is the delivery? Okay. What time is it? Call the people and ask for directions. Amazing how many people don’t know how they get to work every day. I think I’ll have time to write a post card, might not get sent for a day or two. Wish I knew where they were sending me next. Maybe I pick up some fense on the south side of Provo. With some luck I can get out of here by noon and heading somewhere south like LA. Actually, I’d rather it be Pheonix, keep out of California. Got to get moving, tail end of traffic and with some luck I’ll be heading somewhere other than Utah by noon. What’ve I got, another three or four week out. Oh darling, wish I were home tonight in my bed with you. Tomorrow is a long time.