20 August 2015

Potato Chips

Temple at St. George, UT
In Bear River, Utah I drove into a dust storm. The wind blew down from the mountains across the valley and I felt the trailer sway with the gusts and pull the tractor with it. It was dark from the windblown dust in the air and I slowed down. On the bridges I thought the wind might take me over. I was carrying a trailer full of potato chips and headed to Bakersfield, CA. 

My truck computer navigation indicated "non freight related" stops in St. George, UT; Las Vegas and Barstow. It was explained to me that I would need to follow the stops directed in order to avoid the higher mountain passes that would explode the bags of chips. I wasn't sure exactly what it meant for me coming into St. George but instead of stopping at a truck stop I exited I-5 and began to follow the truck computer directions into the city. Perhaps I had to verify on the computer that I had stopped at the St. George final destination indicated by the computer. Perhaps there was something there. I did not know where the computer was taking me.
I knew something was wrong on the first big sweeping buttonhook turn I did at the corner of a gas station onto a narrow side street. I had to go out deep and wide and cut it back hard. Then I had to nail another buttonhook and up a hill I entered a subdivision. This was wrong, all wrong, I thought. I was taking this truck somewhere it shouldn't. I never should have followed the computer navigation.
The navigation pronounced me "Arrived" a few blocks later. I was in the middle of a subdivision of matching brown houses on a hill overlooking the southern part of St. George.
I would have to find a way out of this myself. I had seen a sign for I-5 back behind me, but I didn't dare turn onto a little side street to turn around.
In the front yard of one of the houses was a wedding party. They were Mexicans. Two older men in dark suits stood at a parked car and watched me approach.
"Caballeros, gentlemen. Perdoneme. Many pardons. I have a great need for assistance."
"Que necessita usted?"
"La autopista I-5. But it is clear this great beast cannot be turned around easily."
"Si, claro. Yes. Such is clear." These gentlemen understood the magnitude of the situation.
"We do not come from here, but I will consult the map in my car," said the one.
He had a map of the city. He studied it and then showed me that by staying on this street through the subdivision I would pass down the hill and back to a larger street that would take me back to I-5. I had only to avoid the smaller streets. I thanked the gentlemen and congratulated them on this wedding day and we wished each other much luck and I continued through the subdivision which was no doubt illegal for a big rig to pass through and then found the larger street indicated on the map and I was back onto I-5.
I left St. George in darkness the following morning. There was lightning in the distance. The road dropped steeply. I was dropping into the Virgin River Gorge a sign indicated. Lightning cracked across the gorge and illuminated the stone walls. I had the Jake on high and was braking hard. The truck wanted to take off on me. When the thunder sounded I thought I was hearing the bags of potato chips exploding. Then I hit a construction area. The road went to a narrow one lane with concrete mafia blocks set right up against the white lines on either side. The lightning lit up the road and it required great concentration not to clip the concrete blocks as the road swung down steeply to the river. I came up out of the gorge and into Arizona at dawn. I was already exhausted. I wondered about the potato chips.


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