Adventures of Trucker Joe
Before he Became Trucker Joe
As a child, Joe was no different from the average American boy. He rode bicycles around the neighborhood and played baseball at the local sandlot, but what really got him excited was watching the big trucks. On family road trips, young Joe would always gesture with his arms whenever a big rig passed, hoping to hear that blast from the air horn. Joe never gave thought to the terror that horn must have instilled in his father's mind while going down the Interstate. He only knew he wanted to hear that familiar sound.
After graduation, as his classmates headed off to college, Joe set his course for the open road. He began reading brochures from different truck driving schools, looking for that perfect school and he found one that seemed to be just what he was looking for. "Learn to drive in three weeks and pay no money until you start working" the brochure exclaimed. A few quick phone calls, a couple of meetings and Joe was on his way. He found a trucking company to sponsor him and now it was off to learn how to be a professional gear jammer.
Joe Goes to Truck Driving School
Three weeks seemed like such a long time to be away from home, but Joe knew a life as a truck driving man would mean a lot of time away from home. He made sure to bring along all he would need, clothes, toiletries and a dozen cassettes of truck driving music and began the three hour drive to the campus.
The campus was not quite what Joe was expecting, essentially just a gravel parking lot several acres in size, with a few portable classrooms scattered around. Yet when he saw those eighteen wheelers parked beside the main classroom, Joe Knew he was in the right place. Looking out at the makeshift road course that covered the campus, Joe was ready to fire up that diesel and jam some gears.
Sure Are a Lot of Rules and Regulations
To Joe's dismay, the first week of classes dealt with all the rules, regulations and laws that truck drivers must deal with. The days were spent inside a classroom and he never even seen a truck. There were log books, weight limits, speed limits and a million federal regulations to learn. Nothing at all about talking on the CB radio or dodging speed traps. It was nothing like what Joe had heard in the truck driving songs he had been listened to over the years.
Trying not to get discouraged, Joe convinced himself that it was likely during the driving portion of the training that he would learn about those things. After all, what does a classroom instructor know about driving a big rig?
Trucks Go Backwards Too?
All those years of watching big rigs rolling down the highway, Joe never stopped to consider that they had to sometimes back up. His mind was stuck on the idea of jammin gears and talking on the CB radio while waving to the children along the way. A hero of the highway.
So now Joe was sitting behind the wheel of that International tractor, instructor sitting in the passenger seat and the engine idling. "Press the clutch, slide the transmission into reverse and slowly ease up on the clutch as you give it a little gas", the instructor said and then added, "back up in a straight line".
"This will be simple" Joe thought as he began to accelerate. His hands were on the steering wheel and the truck was rolling, he was actually driving an eighteen wheeler. It was a childhood dream come true and Joe was a natural at guiding it through obstacles.
"Whoa, whoa" the instructor was shouting, "watch where you are going, you are running over the cones".
Joe quickly snapped back to reality and hit the brakes. As he looked out the windshield at the row of crushed orange traffic cones he had just run over, he pondered how the pavement he had been backing up on managed to get so far off to his right. He was certain that he was backing in a straight line and he never saw those cones in his mirrors.
What seemed like such a simple task turned into an all day affair, but after a lot of screaming from the instructor, Joe finally managed to back up in a straight line. The truck survived the ordeal intact and the cones suffered only minor tire marks.
The Wrap Up
Thus concludes the first episode of The Adventures of Trucker Joe. Be sure to watch for the second episode, where Joe takes his training out onto the road. Until we catch you on the flip-flop, we are out of here, 10-4.
© 2012 Christopher J Wood