I realize that lately, I’ve been in one of those “serious” modes. I’m not psychic. I don’t see the future. But, I have these “feelings” sometimes, when “things” are about to change. When I know, you’ll know, but in the meantime… The nostalgic, serious, somber side of my personality continues… ANd before I forget, I wanted to thank EVERYONE for the reponse to my last writing…
This piece I simply entitled “Sunup” comes from a series of photographs I shot one morning following a short nap near Grants Pass, Oregon. Quite honestly, I was trying to figure out a route around the truck scales in Ashland, as I was en route to Modesto California with a marginally “heavy” load. I hadn’t had the miles under my belt, to burn off enough fuel to be exactly legal weight-wise, and if I recall, my “funny book” wasn’t quite accurate either. Even though my friends knew that I ran trucks with massive horsepower and some “style” I tried to operate under the premise of “Don’t attract attention”. Especially, or primarily being noticed by the DOT. On the round that produced the photos, I’d already run from the rail yard in Chicago to the docks in Portland with what we used to call a “hot load”. The freight HAD to be on the boat… As an independent owner/operator, I often took a lot of those kinds of loads. Freight which the broker, the shipper or receiver were under the gun to have their product delivered as quickly as possible. What was that song? “A long way to go and a short time to get there…”? For several reasons, I accepted more than my share of “hot loads”. First, I invited the challenge! Again, the song, “We’re gonna do what they say can’t be done…”.
I had one customer in particular that comes to mind… A produce buyer out of Kansas City. I pulled produce for Danny. A lot of produce. Danny paid, and he paid well. Our arrangement was, that I called him mid-day Friday after I’d dropped my trailer at one of the meat houses in Omaha. The conversation was almost always the same: “Danny? I’ll be empty in Oakland on Monday 8:00 a.m. your time. Whaddya’ have for me?” “Give me a couple of hours and I’ll call you.” Danny was one of those buyers who did what he promised. His checks cleared. He always had good-paying freight for me. Two important things to an independent trucker. No more than two hours would pass before the phone rang. “Dennis? I bought a load of berries down in Santa Maria that’ll be ready before you get there… Do you want ’em?” “Put me down Danny. When do you need ’em?” “Sometime Wednesday night’s fine” he’d say. “Rate the same?” I’d ask. “Yep, barring any unforseens” he reply. “See you Wednesday” I promised.
Occasionally I’d receive a call from Danny before I was even in California with the outbound meat load. “Those berries you’re picking up?” “Yep?” “Any way you could get ’em here sooner? We have an ad in the Wednesday paper I forgot about, and we’re not going to have enough product.” “So, when do you…” And he’d cut me off… “I’ll make it worthwhile to you Dennis.” How much?” How about another $500.00?” “When?” “I have a number you can call when you get close, and we’ll meet you anytime you get in….Tuesday night if you think you can make it.” “See you Tuesday then Danny.” “Thanks Dennis, I’ll take care of ya’…”
Anyone who knows anything about the world of trucking will attest… If a guy, on Monday, unloads in Oakland California with a load that originated in Omaha Saturday afternoon, then runs roughly 250 miles down to Santa Maria to load berries Monday moring, and THEN has to run roughly 1700 miles over to Kansas City Missouri to deliver by Tuesday night…? You’d better know your way around the highways, have a big horse under you, with a lot of fuel capacity, an equally large thermos, a couple of funny-books, and a pretty decent “nap” before the journey begins.
I’ll save those stories from the road, for another time. Meanwhile I guess I can thank the guys at the Scales in Ashland Oregon for inspiring this piece, I simply call “Mountain Sunrise”.
Mountain Sunrise Card
I’m showing this work on the largest size possible, on the stretch matte canvas format. However, on the right side of the page, YOU can select a different size and printing format, to suit your tastes! Don’t want the print? It’s also available on two sizes of greeting cards!
As ALWAYS, thank you….