In the 16 months I spent “Over the Road” there were more than a few trucks that left that road to be seen along the way. I managed to photograph only a few. A few readers have asked how I got these photos while driving. Most of them were taken while sitting still in the resulting traffic jam. A few were taken out the window with eyes on the road. I’d click off a dozen or so blind shots and pick the good one later. As you will see, sometimes there was not a “good one”.
(Please note that these photos were safely taken while stopped dead in the resulting traffic jams!)
This victim had to be in Wisconsin. I say that because of the red barn.
You see that the axles are separated singles, not tandems. That is generally to meet bridge weight limits on secondary roads.
The Crimson Cowsheds are so common in Wisconsin that I made a montage of same. You will note the renegade blue barn at lower right.
This one was on I-80, east of Cheyenne. It was probably not a blow over – unless perhaps from the afternoon before. The weather was calm when I passed – as it tends to be in the morning.
On a later trip through Wyoming, I was called from Cheyenne to swap out with another driver at Rowling. The trip started badly with the trailer being blown around with ever-increasing intensity. The wind was picking up quickly and the weather radio was talking about 45 mph gusts at Rowling. I noticed all the windmills were locked down, motionless and the programable warning signs had the message “Extreme Blow Over Risk”. I finally had to put myself and my empty trailer on weather standby when I could not maintain my lane. There was plenty of company at the parking pull-out that exists for just such occasions. It was there that I noticed that my passenger-side neighbor had a cat in his cab.
Many drivers have their “mascots” but 99% are dogs. Over-the-Road life gets surreally solitary. I could put up with it because I am a loner by nature and writing kept me sane – well…almost.
.My wife offered me the “middle cat”, Pepper, who likes to get in the car. But, I could not imagine walking a cat around a truck stop on a leash for “ablutions” – especially this particular cat.
I had the distinct feeling that this swap was with another sane driver who pulled off in Rowling with a full trailer to avoid the same windstorm. While I waited for dusk and the calm that usually comes then, the gusts increased to 65 mph. When finally I could roll – without rolling over – the swap had been cancelled. I was sent instead to Nebraska for a load that I would pull right back across Wyoming the next day.
That day the warnings were less extreme (just “Blow Over Risk” – no extremities). My full load kept me grounded, but even so, there were two rigs on their sides by the road. Neither had seals or locks on their back doors – a sure sign they were both empty.
This is the second one over by the Utah border. It had been put back on to its wheels (although still listing precipitously to the right) by a heavy duty wrecker that was just hooking up to tow it away.
Blow Over is not the only risk. In crossing Tennessee (the short way), this scene appeared
The trucks in the foreground had no doubt stopped to help. Every rig has at least one fire extinguisher. It looks like a Schneider (orange) box van on fire.
As I passed, the rise in the median intervened and little but smoke and flames were visible.
This Volvo with its flatbed was the worst accident I managed to photograph. It had apparently crossed opposing traffic and rolled completely over on its cargo. The cab was crushed and I could not see how a driver might have survived this.
This was all that was left of one of those Black Company tractors. I am not ever sure of the make. They brought it back to Purgatory to use as a visual aid in Safety Class. All the students were marched out past this and lectured by an instructor as a part of a cautionary tale.
The driver had been “facetiming” with his girlfriend when he blundered into a family in a rented motor home. Ironically, they had been taking it easy in the slow lane for safety. Both the tractor and the motor home burned to the ground. Incredibly, no one was killed or injured.
About the time of the 35th anniversary of said Company, there was a commemorative trailer painted with celebratory murals brought around to this “gathering point” (there are food trucks behind the photographer) and the poor burnt-to-a-crisp tractor was relegated to a back lot where it would not dampen the spirit.