Driver trainee foibles and follies
I was in the first days of my training and headed for Black Mountain in Virginia. All through the classes, we had been told that we had to use the 10-point rule when we went down a mountain or we would end up a smoking heap of burning truck and frozen chicken.
It was nighttime, and my trainer and I were rolling along, him dozing in the second seat while I drove, feeling exhausted. Suddenly I saw a sign that said “7% grade.”
I checked my speed and saw that I was going about 65-70 mph, the fastest I had gone since leaving school—and was heading downhill. I remembered the 10-point thing and got into the proper gear without smoking my brakes. The bad news was that my trainer did not have a seat belt on and got a very rude awakening. After he was fully awake and done burning holes through my head with his eyes, he explained the difference between a “7% grade” sign and one that said “7% grade for the next five miles.”
Two days later, I had another long night of driving. I got up at 5 a.m. to get some coffee and went into the truck stop restroom to wash my cup when I noticed that not only was this bathroom clean, but it smelled good! A woman walked in, smiled and said, “Good morning, Sunshine,” and walked into the stall. Yup, I’d walked into the women’s restroom.
La Marque, TX
They say the road is the best instructor a truck driver will ever have. I guess you found that out just in time when you crested that hill and came face-to-face with a 7% grade.
Every trucker also needs classroom training before they even think of getting in a big rig, and it sounds like some of the lessons you learned while sitting behind a desk paid off when you got behind the wheel.
I think we’ve all had those mornings after a long, hard night of driving when it takes a few minutes to figure out where we are and which way is up. I don’t recall ever mistaking the women’s restroom for the men’s, but hey, stuff happens out here in Murphy’s World. Clearly, your nose was working better than your brain that morning, which takes us to Life Lesson No. 587: If you’re a man, and you walk into a truck stop restroom that smells good, stop and double check the word on the door.
Murphy and Lucky Dog