Looking at Life from 18 Wheels: Indian Summer

36524_10200242706613215_2031204608_nBy Bob B.

Time certainly does fly when you are having fun cruising down the highways and byways of the Great Plains of the USA. I can’t believe it has been three months since my last trucking report. Now I know how John Steinbeck felt when writer’s block paralyzed his production. Well, kind of.

Summer has been amazing, and now we are in full blown Indian Summer. The magnificence of the green sea of the prairie grass gently flowing in the summer breeze from horizon to horizon is awe inspiring. I can only imagine what the pioneers and American Indians thought of what was before them as they took weeks and months to traverse terrain that I navigate in a matter of hours. You know, American Indians were the original Snow Birds. After enduring last winter in the northern plains, who in their right mind would not go south for the winter?

Indian Summer in the Midwest has been simply beautiful. At this point the trees are still full of leaves, although the leaves have started to fall. The cottonwoods which pretty much line the banks of the Platte River the entire length of Nebraska along The Interstate tower over the cornfields and prairie in a predominant brilliant yellow gold. Interspersed among the cottonwoods are brilliant reds of oak trees, various greens of cedars and pines, and a few browns and tans from other varieties. The trees stand sentry over amber waves of grain, the khaki tan of uncut corn, and patches of green grass and hay at the corners of pivot irrigation circles of cut and uncut corn.

Harvest is underway. Depending on where you are, you see fields being worked and truckloads of sugar beets and corn taking up my space on the road. Just yesterday afternoon at the elevator on the west side of Fremont, NE, on Highway 30 about 50 grain semis were lined up two abreast extending out on to the highway waiting to unload. In other areas mountains of yellow corn are being piled for storage and shipping. I wonder how many field acres it takes to create a mountain of corn 150 feet high by 200 yards wide by half a mile long, and how many of these mountains there are. There are quite a few of them. Boy, I just can’t wait to see them covered with snow…yeah.

In addition to the millions of bugs I have collided with, my truck this summer has assisted in the suicides of squirrels, rabbits, possums, swallows, sparrows, a sea gull, and near misses with several owls, coyotes, foxes, and a bald eagle determined not to surrender his hasenpfeffer lunch. The eagle ultimately was intimidated by the big red beast barreling down upon him. A couple days ago Bambi’s mother met her demise trying to dive beneath my trailer as I rolled on by. It was 2 a.m. as she was climbing out of the right side ditch. I saw her as she hesitated as I approached. Then she leaned forward as if she thought she could make it, but held back. I moved left into the other lane as I passed her and thought, “Thank Goodness, she stayed.” Then I felt a thump, thump at the rear of the trailer and sudden loss of brake air pressure. I immediately pulled over to the shoulder to see the damage. Two air lines had been sheared off near the trailer tires on the curb side, and what a gory mess underneath. All I could do was wait for repair help to arrive meaning, time for a nap. Who knew that the circle of life ended with a pair of truck tires? At least me and the truck were safe. Again, those prayers are working.

Time to go, but before I do I want you to consider what happens to a rubber band if you had laid it out in the sun all summer. It would dry out, become brittle, and crack losing its elastically. The same thing happens to your windshield wiper blades. Unless you want to be changing your blades some dark night when the wind is blowing, snow is falling, and it’s 18° outside, change your wiper blades now. Your life may depend on it, and mine too. Best wishes and be well.