The only words I have to describe my current situation are to say that I have a case of the
"winter blues." Not only do I dislike the winter but Pinky 2.0 (my truck) is not a fan either. My truck developed this "quirk" at the tail end of the winter last year but like with a lot of things, I turned a blind eye to it then it was Spring and all was well with the world again. This quirk came back again this winter, though, and I have to say it's certainly an inconvenience. Pinky 2.0 works just fine at -14 degrees Celsius, but at -15 and colder, it loses power. No one can seem to figure out why and by the time it gets to a shop, "Surprise," its warm and all is right with the world once
again. It's annoying, but yet I deal with it and sympathize because quite frankly, some days when it's colder than -15 degrees, I don't feel like working either.
Dwelling on the winter gets me to thinking of the hard lessons I had to learn about winter driving.
In my very first winter driving experience, I skidded a set of trailer tires to the point you could
stick your fist in the holes in the tires. I had never given even one moment's thought to the fact
that brakes could freeze. It was made abundantly clear to me at that very minute that I had
learned something new that day, and I wouldn't let that happen again. That was 10 years ago
, and I have not done it since.
One bad experience that I had was getting "whited out," and I ended up in the median of the
Interstate. This taught me that I don't need to be a hero and to shut it down if I don't feel
comfortable. I was scared as all get out, and thankfully for my guardian angel, no one was hurt, nor was there damage to the load or equipment. To this day, I still get that panicky feeling when
the passing lane has just enough snow on it to cause that snow cloud that surrounds me when
the wind blows in just the right direction. As I get older, and maybe a bit wiser, I feel like I'm
more apt to shut things down early when I feel it's more of a hazard for me to be on the road.
With everyone being on social media these days, I'm also afraid that if I ever go in the ditch, it
will literally be 0.5 seconds before the picture of my truck is plastered all over the internet with
many unpleasant comments following it. With Pinky 2.0 being so noticeable, I'm sure it wouldn't
take long for someone to tag me in the post. Believe me when I say that this is a definite fear of
The last hard lesson I learned was not so much about not understanding as it was just not
taking the time to be prepared. Sometimes it's not alright to just live in the moment. One must
look ahead to the days coming to see what they have to offer. I filled up with fuel in Kansas on
the way home one time, and it was a lovely day with good weather all the way back. I didn't
even think to look at the weather that was in store for that evening or the days to come. I got to
work a couple of days later and wouldn't you know it, my fuel gelled. Well darn it, was all I could
think, and I knew it was my fault for not looking ahead and either topping off with number one
diesel or at very least, adding fuel conditioner. From that point on, every day of the winter I
always look ahead to what the temperatures are going to be along the path of my trip. I do not
want to get stranded ever again due to my carelessness. Keeping in mind, it's still possible to get bad fuel even if you are diligent about your fuel and additives.
Here's a point I think many can relate to and gives us a moment to think of the things that we or
others take for granted. When you're at home, and you need to use the bathroom, I'm sure
you're not too far away, nor do you have to put on an extra layer of clothes just to use it. One
cannot explain how good that feels when you have been in a position of having to put on an
extra layer of clothes plus shoes to traipse a half-mile through a blizzard just to get to the
bathroom in the truck stop. On top of this, if the parking lot is slippery, you now have to do the
parking lot shuffle, so you don't slip and fall. This is one of my big worries because at the
moment I may be freezing to death as I walk towards the truck stop, but if I slip and fall, I'm
betting I may get warm after all when I quickly find out I don't need to finish the walk to the truck
stop to empty my bladder.
I have somewhat determined a cure for these "winter blues," and that is to run Texas all winter!
Texas is my happy place. It's where my truck runs at it's best, and it's where I keep up with my
exercises. I have mostly given up on my workouts because A) it's tough to get motivated when it's snowy, windy, icy etc. and B) it's easier to make excuses than exercise because I don't even have to go outside to generate excuses. When I run that way, I have my set places I like to stop at, and I develop a bit of a routine. Routine and long haul trucking don't often tend to go hand in hand, but on these trips, it's as close as I feel I'll ever get. Unfortunately, though, I'm not the only one who wants to break away to Texas to cure the blues, so it's often difficult to get these runs steadily. I keep telling myself once winter is over, I'll get back at my "routine," and like my truck, all will be well in the world once more.