Through the eyes of a truck driver, most days on the road aren’t all that memorable, but every once in a while, the perfect anti-storm hits, leaving you with a near perfect day that will stick in your head for the rest of your life. I had one of those days recently.
I had just delivered a load in Boise, Idaho when my in-truck satellite dilly-whopper squawked at me. It was the information for my next load and the second I saw it I felt a sense of dread come over me. It was similar to the feeling of utter hopelessness that only comes when The Evil Overlord tells me that she requires my company at the mall all day. Yuck.
Anyway, the load would be picking up in Lewiston, ID the next day and if memory served I knew it meant that we would be traveling a lot of back roads to get to there. Yup. US95 all the way, and according to my map, part of it appeared to be restricted to commercial vehicles. I hate it when I’m right. It was getting dark and the snow was starting to fall. Still, worst of all, it was The Evil Overlord’s turn to drive and I was looking around to see if I could convince some unknowing fool to give her the joyous news. Noper. It was all on me. But as they say, it’s always darkest before the dawn.
Like a knight in shining armor, my fleet manager called and told me to wait until morning to head towards Lewiston. She said that another driver of hers had been issued a ticket on a section on US95 and that the cop had told the driver that he laid in wait for us because our company kept routing us on US95 when they could clearly see that it was restricted. Thankfully, she didn’t want me to risk it without speaking with our permit department first and they were gone for the day. Yeah! That meant that The Evil Overlord could sit up all night and goof off while I slept and prepared for the twisty road the next day. What a relief… for both of us.
The sun was at full force the next morning and by the time I was ready to roll, the roads had been cleared. The permit lady had faxed me an overlength permit which made my truck legal. Still, if I needed an overlength permit it probably meant that the roads were curvier than Marilyn Monroe. Being the ever so brave adventurer that I am, I hopped in my vessel and headed out to conquer uncharted territory filled with ferocious slime-spitting beasts covered with snake-like scales. Wow. I should really lay off the video games for a while.
What awaited me was the most beautiful day I can recall behind the wheel of a big rig. It’s not very often that you get snow-covered landscape, yet have the fortune to avoid snow-covered roads also. But I got it that day. I had one little patch of snow-packed roads all day long, and even they weren’t remotely slick. It was slow going at times but there wasn’t one road that I felt was twisty enough to warrant an overlength permit. Most of it was 65 mph. I’ve driven roads far more treacherous in Arkansas, Missouri, Kentucky, and Tennessee, just to name a few. Now those roads were so tight that you couldn’t go around a bend without either your tractor or your trailer protruding into oncoming traffic. Yet not one of those roads required any special permits. Some states are just weird like that. Are you listening California?
The view from my windshield got better as the day went on. It started with snow-covered mountains and trees, then went along the Salmon River for a good long time. I had my Flip Mino HD camera (www.theflip.com) out and I’m praying that I got some decent footage that isn’t too shakey. I managed to make some snapshots from the video and they are posted below. I really didn’t think it could get any more picturesque, but I was wrong. Now that’s more my style.
After we departed from the shipper I had more back roads. By that time, The Evil Overlord had crawled, or should I say “oozed” out of bed saying that she felt like she was trying to sleep on a rollercoaster. Furthermore, she thought that she just might have to puke. Hey, I said it was my best day, not everyones!
Our company supplied routing forced us onto US12 eastbound over to Missoula, Montana. US12 runs along the Lochsa River most of the way. Lochsa (pronounced “lock-saw”) is a Flathead Indian word meaning “rough water.” I didn’t think it looked all that rough, but it sure was purrrrty! The Evil Overlord operated the video camera on that leg of our journey (or was it a quest?) but since the roads were even curvier and bumpier, the footage didn’t come out all that whoopy. I think I still may have managed to salvage a few pics from the video though.
US12 also gave us something we had never seen before. It was so remote and there were so few houses and roads that some of the folks who lived out there had to be creative just to get home. At one point I saw what appeared to be an old green staircase facing the river. For the life of me, I couldn’t think what its purpose could be. Later on we saw a small garage with another staircase leading up to what appeared to be a run-down 4×6 shed. We couldn’t believe it when we saw that attached to the roof of that shed were two cables which lead above and across the river to a house on the far shore. So there you have it. The next time you start whining about having to carry your groceries up a flight of stairs to get in your house, get down on your knees and thank the good Lord above that you don’t have to climb a flight of stairs, take a rickety shed on a trolley line over a rushing river, and then unload your groceries.
So there’s my best day (view-wise). I got to see majestic mountains and then I got to view a rushing mountain stream for hours on end. I saw a flying shed, and to put the icing on the proverbial cake… I didn’t have to watch The Evil Overlord puke.
Double-click any picture to see a mega-huge view