Most people travel to their work place and/or for their work. Same goes for most of us in the trades. We travel to our work, we travel for our work. What sets us apart from the daily to and from work sedan driver is that we truck our work to and from work.
We get ourselves to the job site, we get our tools, as well any materials or product (such as a set of stairs) to the job site. We manage to do this in any terrain, and any weather. You know the any terrain part – the houses that are built on top of the tallest mountain with a nearly impossible driveway to navigate. Even in dry summertime weather they’re tough, forget it when the snow comes.
The weather aspect again became apparent this week. We had scheduled a pick up of materials from a job site on Tuesday. This would work well because I could build a quick stringer template and test fit right on -site! The weather called for a couple of inches of snow. We could have put off the date – but the on site fork-lift was being returned Wednesday – so we went forward with the schedule. What’s a couple inches of snow? Childs play!
The morning went great – we got out of the shop ahead of schedule. The sky was blue, temperature in the mid 20’s. Weatherman – wrong again! We got to the site, they had the materials out and ready, within the hour we were loaded tarp’d and strapped. It took a little longer to test fit the stringer templates, but shortly after lunch we were back on the road. The sun was now buried behind low clouds, but no sign of precipitation – clear sailing. A three hour trip and we’d be at the shop. On our way home my wife, who was an accomplice for the trip, suggested a lunch stop.
“Well, how about McDonalds’?” It’s reasonable, and we can get in and out, I thought.
“NO!” was the only reply.
I didn’t take her response lightly, when you’re on the road time and expense must take top priority! I had to put my foot down on this one!
So as we were about half way through our meal at the nearest diner, we overhead a couple mention a snow storm hitting a town up north.
Hmmmmhh? “That’s where we’re headed!!” we looked at each other, eyes widened.
We finished our meal quickly to get back on the road. It wasn’t far up the road and the weather turned. The winds came along with the snow. Both the traffic and the snow were light at first. A minor annoyance at this point. As we hit the interstate the snow got heavier, wetter and slippery.
We kept moving at a reasonable speed – around 45 mph. A car here and there had spun out into the median or guardrail. I couldn’t help wondering if they bothered to slow down as the inclement weather had hit- the roads didn’t seem that bad.
As we got off the interstate we knew the challenge lay ahead. Two separate mountain peaks to traverse. We barely started our ascent over the first mountain and I could feel the wheels spinning. I reached down and shifted into four wheel drive. The roads were slippery for only an inch or two of snow.
“You didn’t have it in four wheel on the highway?!?”
“Didn’t need it”
The change in altitude became quickly apparent. The slight dusting of salt used was rendered useless in the gusting wind and lower temperatures at the higher altitude. The absolute absence of any road crew didn’t help matters. The road hits it’s steepest climb at the last peak. Tantalizing you with potential success until the very last ascent. We were still going, but hit enough of an icy spot that the back gave to the right, like losing your footing on an icy sidewalk. I steered into it bringing it back, until the front broke to the right. Like most county roads, there was little shoulder – with a drop off to get to that. The truck veered sharp right, I braced for being sucked off into the ditch by way of the shoulder. As my wife said “God reached down and tapped the truck back into the road”
We eased up and over the top. I’m not sure if the driver behind me, who planted themselves under the bumper of my trailer, knew how thankful to be. We crawled down the other side in low gear. We passed an armored van that was spinning but going nowhere, up the other lane, as well a white sedan that was preceded by a revolving figure eight set of tires tracks from the other lane into the ditch on our side. Nothing gets your attention like vehicles off the road.
As we made it to the bottom we prophesied our good fortune and looked forward to the next peak. Bear spring is never as bad as Colchester mountain!
We weaved trough the valley with ease, the snow seemed to let off, and the road crews had gotten ahead of us. Salt melting the roads clear. Again, as we went up, the conditions worsened. As the effect of the salt diminished, our successful ascent came into question. There was just enough salt on the road to get us to the top. Not with ease, but we got there. As we went under the blinking yellow lights warning trucks of the long steep descent ahead, my wife questioned why the auto parts truck was turning around and parking on the side of the road,
“He made it to the top, why’s he stopping now!?” As the truck had made it’s way up from where we were now headed.
Our answer lye around the first corner. Two vehicles, crunched together, in our lane! I tapped my brakes and immediately sped faster down the hill. My heart went right to the bottom of my stomach.
My wife grabbed on to the seat with her left hand and crash bar with the right, just in case.
I let off the brake and regained control, able to steer around the cars, get around the wreck and back into our lane before the plow truck, Just before!
We eased through town and to the shop. Made it, with the load in tact. We sat for a moment to catch our breath.
“Drinks on me tonight, Hon! I’ll unload in the morning.”
Might be time to find that sedan-driving day job!