Chicago On 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 through its parts, I flip on the high idle. I also turn on WGN, a station I really enjoy. It's also a break from all the Christmas music I was listening to. I like the fact that they even announce school closings in Iowa!I I get back into my sleeping bag and 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. HEAT WAVE!! 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 two keys I would let the truck run while I go inside to eat. I study a map of the new I-355 that will be done in 2007. It is a 12-mile extension of I-80. Sure hope it helps eliminate some traffic off I-55 & I-294.

Back at the truck it's still warm. I start it up and head for Wheeling. I head east on I-90 to get to I-294 and go north. I get off at Willow Road exit which turns into Palatine not 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 receiver. 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 semis. That helps a lot, but I still don't know what happened to the road.


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 crosses 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 cannot make that turn - it's not wide enough for trucks. It's 6:30am and I now have to back up two 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 I-80 area. I decide to stay on I-290 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 I-80 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 keep on heading south on I-55 towards home. Some of the truckers that did not slow down in time on the south side of I-80 were pulled over by the police. I wave at them as I head south. I don't like the 55 mph 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 have no problems all the way home.


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.


Operating While Intoxicated

by Brett Aquila

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