Chicago At Christmas 2005 Day 2

by Rhonda

BRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!! It's 3:30am and it's chilly in the truck. I start it up and after it runs enough to get the oil moving thru its parts, I flip on the high idle. I also turn on WGN, it's a station I really enjoy. It's also a break from all the Christmas music I was listening to. I also like the fact that they even announce school closings in Iowa!I get back into my sleeping bag and I bury myself to stay warm. I even use my heavy winter coat as another blanket. From the bunk, I adjust the radio controls for my comfort.

At 4am it's -4 degrees in Aurora and where I am it's 1 degree. HEATWAVE!! The announcer gives some temps in Iowa--Des Moines--Cedar Rapids--Dubuque. They all have the same temps as here. This is a big weather system. By 4:15 I have the covers off me as it is HOT in this truck.I'm so glad to have a truck with this great heat! If I had 2 keys I would let the truck run while I go inside to eat. I study a map of the new I355 that will be done in2007. It is a 12 mile extension of I80.Sure hope it helps eliminate some traffic off I55 & I294.

Back at the truck it's still warm. I start it up and head for Wheeling. I head east on I90 to get to I294 and go North. I get off at WillowRoad exit which turns into Palatinenot far down the road. Naturally, the directions given to me do not say that. But everything is going well and I am feeling good about this. Traffic is not bad and I'm just rolling along, not far from my reciever. Suddenly I find myself going from the fast speed I was traveling on the freeway, to a slow-moving business street.What the hell happened!!!??? Where did all the fast traffic go?? How can this be happening to me?? I was cruising along at a great pace like the others in front of me and suddenly they are gone and I am on a different road. I am pissed, and my blood pressure is going up - I can feel it.I keep going and I'm thankful that I'm in a business area for semi's. That helps a lot, but I still don't know what happened to the road.

peterbuilt-sunset.jpg

I drive very slow and try picking out a business that I can turn around in and head back to my starting point. As I move slowly forward thinking this through, I see the road ends ahead of me. But it cross over another road and when I get closer I'm able to see that it's the road I need to be on. I get up to the turn and see that I can not make that turn - it'snot wide enough for trucks. It's 6:30 a.m. and I now have to back up 2 entire blocks and avoid all the traffic coming up behind me arriving for work. I have my flashers on and back up with extreme caution. I stop from time to time so the 4 wheelers know that I am watching them. I keep on backing up and I see a "ramp", which is about as long as the tractor, and I take it. @#$& Chicago! What a way to start my day!

I make it to the shipper without any more problems and I get loaded in 15 minutes. Why can't this happen at every place I go? From where I am there are several options I have to get back to the I80 area. I decide to stay onI290 so I can drive fast and stay with the other traffic as this will be my only time I can "speed" in Illinois. This will help me get home faster. When I get to I80 I start slowing down as I know this is where the cops watch for trucks not staying within the 55 mph limit.I have my cruise set at 55 and I keepon heading south on I55 towards home. Some of the truckers that did not slow down in time on the south side of I80 were pulled over by the police. I wave at them as I head south. I don't like the 55mph limit but I do it to keep my perfect record of no tickets and no accidents. You have to do everything you can to keep your record clean to protect your job and your career. I keep heading south and I haveno problems all the way home.

Shipper:

The customer who is shipping the freight. This is where the driver will pick up a load and then deliver it to the receiver or consignee.

OWI:

Operating While Intoxicated

by Brett Aquila

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