Thanks Thanks:  0
Likes Likes:  0
Results 1 to 5 of 5

Thread: Interesting situations while driving long haul big rigs.

  1. #1
    AlaskaAV's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Mission, TX
    Posts
    929
    Post Thanks / Like

    Interesting situations while driving long haul big rigs.

    Hey guys, the little old light bulb came on for a little while at least so I had better make use of it.


    Many years ago after leaving Alaska when aviation went to hell in 1986 and spending a year taking care of my Dad on his farm before he passed away, running an Elk's Club facility for a while, I went to school and got my truck driver's license so I could run big rigs coast to coast just to see the country and where I wanted to take my motor home back to and explore. I was very lucky to be able to retire at 52 at the time. Other than upstate New York and the far northeast, never again east of Ohio and southeast of Nashville. Sorry Florida. Never take a big rig or motor home into the southeast. Flying a GA aircraft there is great though and almost no one bothers you so I hear. Did I get out of that comment Florida? I enjoyed the driving of course and driving an almost brand new 73 foot long Kenworth semi with all the bells and whistles was almost the same as driving my motor home towing my convertible which was 63 foot long total. My rig had a 3/4 bed, A/C in the back and front, closet to hang my coat and tie (in case I ran into a dinner date which did happen at times), shelf for a pantry, I carried a 12 volt skillet and coffee pot, had a frig, fresh water storage and porta potty, color TV and stereo front and back, charcoal grill in the side locker, you know, all the goodies like at home. Oh yes, cruise control in 6th gear through 13th gear. It was fun to take that big rig down Broadway and through Times Square at 3 AM in New York City delivering some good midwest beef. The police dept of NYC did not want us meat haulers to even stop at a red light. If we were running our reefers on the trailer, they would not even look at us. Slow down, look both ways and run the light. Saved them paperwork for theft. Through Phili, Boston, Pitts, Chicago, St Louis, Kansas City, Minneapolis/St Paul, Denver, SFO, LAX, SEA and so many more, many times during rush hour. Worst town to drive in at rush hour? Downtown Chicago on the Interstates. Crazy drivers compared to LAX. Most surprising was going down Broadway in NYC at rush hour in the rain. The most courteous drivers were the taxi drivers. Big rigs have to always run the right lane and on Broadway which is 3 lanes each way plus the parking lane, many double park so I would have to move over one lane to the left. The first to back off and let me over were the taxis so if you are ever in NYC, give the taxi drivers a friendly wave for me, not the number one wave.

    On one trip from Calif eastbound at night on I-40 through Arizona, I noted something very strange. I kept noticing a heavy duty gray GMC or Chev suburban passing me and than would see it sitting along the side of the road and all of a sudden, it would pass me again. All the back windows were blacked out and the driver's and passenger's windows were darkened. Talk about antennas on top. I counted 5 different kinds, each a different size which meant to me 5 different types of radios. Since I had been a ham radio operator, I pretty well knew the frequency the antennas carried but than I noticed 2 other types of antennas I had never seen before which really had me stumped. Once we got near I-25, they disappeared for some reason but probably headed north. I always wondered just what was going on of course. By the way, it, or they, had government plates.

    OK, lets run it in fast forward and end up headed eastbound on I-80 through Wyoming out of Salt Lake City. Traffic was light so I had lots of time to look around and it was daylight. I noticed these same type of vans doing the jump frog maneuvers. After watching them for maybe 50 miles or so running at exactly 55 mph, I finally figured it out that there were five vehicles that looked exactly alike. Since I was one of those big rig drivers that obeyed the speed limits, I finally ended up behind the same big rig several times. Those vans were always around that rig in front of me. Finally, I decided to pull up closer to see what the rig looked like. I noticed several antennas mounted on the trailer. Best not say what they looked like. Again, being a trucker and ham operator, it finally hit me so I pulled up along side the rig where I could look in the cab. The driver gave me a friendly wave and we just rode along like that for a while I looked the cab over. Pretty soon, I had some cars pulling up behind me so I backed down and pulled over behind the other rig to let the cars go by. Than I pulled up along side again and while doing so really looked the rig over. Special tires, no markings what so ever, an 8 inch diameter satellite receiver/transmitter mounted on the cab behind the wind breaker. The windows were sealed shut, both on the side and front. It was hard to tell for sure, but they looked like they were maybe 2 inches thick but probably not. When we were side by side, I grabbed my CB mike, held it up so the driver could see it and kind of motioned him to ask if he could talk. He nodded and he held up fingers to tell me what channel. I guess I looked like a safe guy. Pretty soon, one of those special vans pulled up behind me so I speeded up and pulled in front and let it around. About ten miles down the road, there was an identical van sitting along the side of the road and at that point, another van pulled up to pass me. Come to find out, there were five of those vans working the leap frog to keep their eyes on the big rig, 10 miles in front and ten miles behind at all times. Anyway, I got on the CB and talked to the driver. Come to find out, he was on a trip out of a Federal Mint to a federal bank with a load of all new currency. I never asked how much value and he didn't offer the info but my rig carried 43,000 pounds of payload so you make a guess. After all, it was our money. Of course with all the armor he was carrying, he was a lot heaver empty. When I could look over, I could see some rather intimidating weapons being held by the guy in the right seat. I was told there was another guy in the sleeper getting his 8 hours off. I was told, and I have no reason not to believe the driver, that his tractor was really something special. Since I could see it all anyway, he seemed to be open with some of the info. Bullet proof radiator, bullet proof tires (never a flat for any reason), all 18 of them, bullet proof glass all around, no door handles, windows screwed on the window frames without the normal rubber seals. The special antennas on the trailer had their own power supply and if at any time, the trailer was detached from the tractor, a signal would be broadcast and, lets say, a satellite would watch over it. My tractor ran with 250 gal fuel tanks and I could see he carried at least 500 gal. They carried their own meals on board along with a porta potty. With a crew of three, they could run non stop from say Denver or Salt Lake City nonstop to the east coast. The jump vans would alternate for rest stops when necessary. It was really fun to talk to that driver for some 2 hours and he seemed to appreciate the conversations but just in case the leap frog vans were getting worried, I ran a little harder to let them have their fun. About that time, I met a rig westbound running at last 36 tires moving what looked like a boiler headed to Mexico so the driver told me. Talk about a heavy load. He was running like 10 mph over the bridges on the I-80 Interstate with lots and lots of escort vehicles.

    Oh yes, driving that rig was really fun but of course tiresome. Often 1,000 miles per day at 80,000 pounds but than other trips from New York to LAX in nine days with 7 stops enroute. Since my rig only had 17,000 miles on it when I was assigned to it (oh were the high seniority drivers angry at me for that but the head of maint liked my driving from some reason).

    There were many parties along the road especially when on a layover in a friendly truck stop. The best was a small place in Rochester, NY where a whole bunch of drivers chipped in for steak, baked potato and salad during a weekend layover. Three rigs carried charcoal grills, I cranked up my reefer to keep the beer cool, another driver dropped his trailer and went out and got the steak and makings. Next to me was a drop deck trailer so the grills were set up there. Several of the guys brought over some tapes which we played on my onboard stereo. There were some wifes/girlfriends and they kind of took care of the makings while several of us manly guys got the T-bones going. Talk about fun for about 12 hours. Every once in a while things like that really worked out.

    I used to haul loads for the well known Omaha Steaks for UPS from Omaha to Pittsburgh and when I got there, I would have a 24 hour layover. I always carried steaks and potatoes in the frig for that layover since there was nowhere else to eat. Many a time, I would run into another driver there that I had met before and we would share a meal. Did I mention they were always female drivers? Woops, sorry about that but we were only human. I always looked forward to those trips for sure.

    Yes, even work outside of aviation has been fun for me but what a person lives is only what they make it, right?

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    temple hills md
    Posts
    164
    Post Thanks / Like

    trucks

    erine those truck are based in oak ridge tenn and you don't want to know whats in them . and i can't say how fast they will run but i can tell you there never has been a meat hauler that could out run one. and yes the boys in the vans have well mantained large cal firearms. you will also note that when they go into the scale the van sits along side the road and waits for them to clear

  3. #3
    AlaskaAV's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Mission, TX
    Posts
    929
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: trucks

    Quote Originally Posted by leon tallman
    erine those truck are based in oak ridge tenn and you don't want to know whats in them . and i can't say how fast they will run but i can tell you there never has been a meat hauler that could out run one. and yes the boys in the vans have well mantained large cal firearms. you will also note that when they go into the scale the van sits along side the road and waits for them to clear
    I kind of figured that so was very careful how I worded my comments. I kind of got some sign language from a driver that gave me some information. Lets put it this way, Fort Knox, as some people know it, is safe with those drivers and rigs they run. I had heard about the scale thing but also heard that most were green lighted through regardless of weight.

    Thanks for the comment.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    temple hills md
    Posts
    164
    Post Thanks / Like

    big rigs

    that right on the scale thing back in the 70's we sold them the trucks

  5. #5
    AlaskaAV's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Mission, TX
    Posts
    929
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: big rigs

    Quote Originally Posted by leon tallman
    that right on the scale thing back in the 70's we sold them the trucks
    Not really having any true knowledge of weight but when you run behind a trailer like that and see how low the suspension was, a driver could get an idea. Talk about a long nose tractor. Who knows, maybe an Allison
    P-51 engine up front? A joke of course.

    I know the driver I talked to on that trip was one of the friendliest drivers I ever talked to on the road but consider his load. Having come from an aviation background and working with security and law enforcement agencies, state and federal, for years, that driver never said anything about his rig other than what I could see and I never asked more. He was just a great guy that enjoyed talking to someone that didn't want to push anything. Gets lonely on the big roads at times and it was fun running with him. Never a comment from the vans at any time though but am sure they listened to everything we said just as they should have.

    A big rig driver sees all kinds of things on the road. I will not comment on the cars (four wheelers) that pulled up behind me and than ran side by side with my cab for miles and miles.

Similar Threads

  1. Maule-Haul
    By cubscout in forum Cafe Supercub
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 09-01-2005, 09:05 AM
  2. Early years driving big rigs
    By AlaskaAV in forum Alaska Av Memories
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: 07-10-2004, 05:21 PM

Bookmarks

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •