So after our delivery near Mankato on Monday morning we were offered a DOD load picking up in Wisconsin and going to Alabama. But the load wasn’t to pick up until Tuesday morning and it delivered Thursday morning. That would pretty much be our week if we accepted the load.
We did accept the load after much thought and then started our drive to Wisconsin. We thought we might as well get there and get some food prepared, shower and then be ready the next morning, so that is what we did.
A DOD load is a military load and we were to haul 1 piece at a hundred pounds. It was a load that would be monitored by satellite the whole way, very secure.
So we got all settled in and took care of all that we wanted to do and then settled in to relax and enjoy the evening.
We got up the next morning and drove to the military base. Just as we reached the gate our company sent us a message informing us that our load had cancelled. Wow, just like that. So here we were in the middle of nowhere and had already wasted a day with no pay. We were compensated a little for our cancellation.
So we drove back to a truckstop and waited for another load. Pops lay down to take a nap in case he would have to drive all night and after a while I got tired and tried to close my eyes too. Then Fedex started to negotiate with us about a load picking up in St.Louis and going to Vancouver, British Columbia. After going back and forth several times we finally agreed on an amount.
Oh, Boy, we were going west over the rockies, in February!!! But on the other hand, I would pick up some if not all of the states that we hadn’t yet gotten to.
So we left for St. Louis, it was 307 miles away. We got there after dark, around 8:30pm. It was right downtown along the river. The arch was lit up and so were many of the buildings. It looked really pretty as we crossed the Mississippi River coming into the city. Sometimes I wonder if I may be related to Demas. Just kidding.
We were picking up a hazardous materials load and it was food flavorings. Now before you scratch your heads about that, let me explain. We were hauling vanilla and hazelnut flavoring for Starbucks and it is a flammable liquid. Can you believe what some people put in their stomachs?
So we loaded up, faxed in our Canadian paperwork, called in our company to double check all our hazardous precautions and were given some reroutes because of our hazmat load.
So we were heading out route 70 across Missouri, through Kansas City and then began our L. O. N. G. trip across the state of Kansas.
I shouldn’t feel that way but seriously it is nothing but corn or wheat fields that go on for 400 miles; Although we passed a town called Flagler which claimed to be the boyhood home of the author, Hal Borland. He wrote a really good book called, When legends die. It is about a young Indian boy and what happens to him when both his parents die while he is still very young. It is geared toward young people, but I believe any age person would enjoy reading this book.
I began to drive while we were yet in Kansas. I talked to Starla on my Bluetooth trying to pass the time and the miles. And then finally I could see Pike’s Peak off in the distance. I continued to drive and before long I could see the mountain range with Denver in the foreground.
I drove through Denver and tried to look around as much as I could while driving. It was nearing 3:30pm here and traffic was a little heavy already. And then we were out the other side and began our climb up the mountains.
After a while I noticed that Pops was sitting up on the bed. And about the same time I noticed that hazmat carriers were to exit and take route 6, Loveland pass instead of staying on route 70. I asked Pops about that because he hadn’t mentioned any reroutes to me before I started to drive and he said, “No, stay on 70.” But then I pointed out the road sign to him and he said, “Ok, we better go that way.”
So I turned off the interstate and proceeded on route 6. Within the first mile we knew that we were in for a ride! We drove under a ski lift with a net across the road to keep their belongings from falling on the traffic and then we started to ascend. Up, up, up we went and just as we reached the top, (or I thought it was the top) there was a plowed out pull off so you could pull over and take pictures or whatever. It sure was beautiful, but it looked straight down at a very steep mountainside and there were no guard rails and the plowed out areas looked a little slippery. No thanks, so we did a hairpin turn only to see that we still had further up to go. This part of the roadway looked down and back over the part that we had just climbed and also the very steep mountainside. We continued to climb in that fashion for many miles.
It truly could have been the most beautiful place in the world but honestly I couldn’t tell you. I was scared. And scared doesn’t seem powerful enough of a word.
By this time Pops was in the front seat with his seat belt on. He was scared too. Although he admitted later that I handled the drive very well and it wasn’t my driving that scared him.
So finally we reached the top. Not we had to descend! It was the same type of thing down the backside. Most of these turns did not have guardrails and the sheer drops just turned your blood cold, even though I was sweating wet with fear. No kidding.
Lest you think I am reduced to making all this up, I assure you that I can’t imagine that well. You can go to google on your computer and type in Loveland Pass route 6, you will see for yourself. And while there you can find a youtube link for Loveland Pass. If you dare, watch that link.
Pops says we will NEVER, EVER drive on that road again. And when we talked to our friend, Ralph, (who also drives truck) later he said that he drove that road once and it was “the scaredest I ever been in my life.”