By: Steve Irick
Snow was falling heavier by the minute. Brian had considered parking at North Platte, but knew his load was expected the next morning in Sidney. Only a hundred miles to go and he could shut down, crawl into his sleeper berth and call it a day.
The past few months he’d been pushing it hard, taking any load thrown at him. Ordinarily, Brian would’ve stayed clear of the east coast, but he wanted to end this year better than the last two. Going independent was not as easy as he thought, and Brian had decided to hang it up and pull for someone else again.
The plan was to run as many loads as possible in six weeks and then get home in time for Christmas with the family. Every run had gone smoothly, and Brian wasn’t about to allow a little weather slow him down. After all, good luck was running with him.
Brian knew this because only weeks earlier he’d been running upstate New York and was able to skirt the record snow that had shut down so many other drivers. That event made him open for a hot run that paid premium mileage and got him an on-time bonus. Brian felt confident everything would work out, and he’d make it to Sidney, even with the weather slowing him down.
He’d decided to throw iron after talking with an eastbound rig and the methodical rhythm the chains made gave him confidence he’d be ok; he just wished everyone else had done the same.
There were three vehicles following him on the snow-packed road. A 4X4 got impatient with the group’s speed and attempted to pass, only to lose it and fishtail into the median. Brian watched in his rear view as the driver managed to power it out, but in the process reroute himself in the opposite direction. The remaining vehicles allowed Brian to stay on point and continue breaking trail.
Radio traffic on the CB was picking up, and it wasn’t good. It was getting dark, and vehicles were getting stuck in both lanes on either side of the interstate. Brian was able to weave his rig around several frozen vehicles before he approached two four-wheelers, stuck, side by side. He sighed, pulled over and parked. No one was going to move until the road was cleared, and that wouldn’t be until daylight. If any of the occupants in those snowbound four-wheelers weren’t prepared, it could be an uncomfortable night.
Brian got out of his rig to check with everyone and make sure they’d be alright. A group of hunters had been following him; they approached, discussed their situation and assured him they’d be fine.
The driver of the minivan stuck in the right lane was well prepared and already setting up for the night, but Brian worried about the older couple driving the Toyota stuck in the hammer lane; they weren’t at all prepared to make it through the night.
To be continued…