Written by: Liz Blackmore
The bad thing about driving a truck is that when you are travelling the amount of miles a long hauler does, you really aren’t sure what county you are in unless you travel the same route almost constantly. When a radio announcer mentions this while giving the storm warnings, it would be a great benefit to mention the occasional town name. It would allow the driver to know how important it is to kiss himself goodbye!
The sky was looking rather ominous and the radio announcer was naming off the counties that were in immediate danger of the approaching tornado system. “Take immediate cover if you are in the ….” I started looking for road signs, hoping to see a county name, but to no avail.
I was glancing at the sky as much as I was the road. I was worried. I was hoping for just a good light show with some rain, nothing more. It is a little on the windy side, but being fully loaded I thought to myself I should be fine. The CB is light with chatter for a change. The few comments that were voiced, were weather related. It was not hard to tell that Mother Nature was trying to hold us hostage. Did we hope that quiet actions would let us go unnoticed?
Close to twenty minutes passes and the skies started spewing rain, the wind was increasing and the radio announcer was rattling off the counties again. Where was I? Not even the CB talkers were of any benefit to show location. I know I’m outside of Dallas, but what county am I in? Yammer, yammer, ramble, ramble…please mention something I can pinpoint!
Suddenly, there is a crackle on the CB. Someone is yelling, “TORNADO!”
I see everything turn into a slow motion movie.
“WHERE! WHERE!” is all you can hear screaming across the lines.
“TO THE SOUTH EAST!” “CRAP! CRAP! WHAT DO WE DO?”
“Keep ‘er on the road for as long as you can, son!” Comes the reply of a driver trying to calm the situation down. “Just keep ‘er on the road!”
It is three o’clock in the afternoon but you would swear it was midnight. The rain was relentless now. I was going to have to find a spot to pull over, but where; I can’t see a thing in front of me except for the occasional flash of tail lights. Where DID that car go that was in front of me?
I feel like I am speeding into the great unknown, but I am only going 20 miles per hour. All of a sudden, I feel a bump. What was that? Hail is starting to beat the windshield. I hope it holds out! The truck and trailer are taking a beating. There is that bump again. What IS that? I can’t feel the road any longer. Is it because of the rain or hail? God, I hope so!
BUMP! This time it is a lot louder! What is going on? I can’t feel the road again!! DAMN! I think I‘m hooked. It’s got me – It’s got me! What should I do? What can I do? BUMP! BUMP!! BUMP!! AH – MAN!! HELP ME! The hail is deafening! Where IS that car?
Bump. Bump. Bump. I think every time I hear a bump, I’m touching the highway again. How am I in the lane? If this stops and I make it, how are my wheels? Who is around me? Please don’t let me hit anyone! It sounds as though the hail is lightening up. I think I am on the highway, but I still don’t know what direction I’m in. It looks like I am OK. The CB chatter is starting up again. It sounds like we are out of the worst of it. The hail has reduced itself to rain again. The streams are still faster than the wipers can take away.
I hear thunder, well, at least I hope it’s thunder, not vehicles crashing into each other. This is not my idea of fun! I want a coffee and a smoke, together, in a peaceful setting. I think there will be a few of us pulling off at the next exit.
I can finally see the road and the traffic around me. It looks like everyone is okay! Thank God! There are a few cars pulled off to the side of the highway. The drivers look a little shaken up.
A billboard sign is stating a truck stop just two miles up the road – ya baby! I am going to jump off there! I need the bathroom is an awful way! This was on my list of worse runs! It appears the majority of vehicles are thinking the same thing.
I wonder how close the eye of that was to us. Maybe it will be on the TV news playing in the restaurant. I need a coffee. Did I mention I need a coffee?