Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Wyoming Roads

Well, my plan was to park somewhere in far western Wyoming on Sunday night. Or maybe even in Utah. I had to be fairly close to Salt Lake City, because I needed to be there at 8 am and I don't much like getting up early - the closer I parked the later I could get up and still make it on time.

I stopped at the Flying J in Cheyenne, WY to squeeze in as much fuel as I could, since it costs a bit less there than farther west, and I never even went in the building. I hopped right back on the highway, the entire stop probably took me less than fifteen minutes from the time I exited - and that might be some kind of record.

I knew I was going to run into a little bit of snow, partly because I'd looked up the weather report online and saw some pockets of snow here and there, but mostly because a lot of trucks coming from the other direction were covered with ice and muck - I think I even saw a little yuck on a few of them.

As I got close to Laramie the CB started making noises like this:

'Well, is 30 open? 30 would take us right around.'

'Where did you say it was closed?'

'What about 287? doesn't that go around the mountain?'

Those are the kind of noises that usually mean one thing: Your plans are about to change.

So, it's Tuesday afternoon, and I'm sitting parked on a residential street in Laramie, WY, waiting for the road to open.

Why on a residential street?

Why on a residential street? Well, Sunday, when the signs kicked us off the highway, I was able to snag one of the last few spots at the Petro, and it turned out my Flying J Wifi Internet Access even worked off and on. That was lucky! Then on Monday morning they opened the road. Knowing how things tend to happen right after they open the road, I waited a couple hours before leaving. But of course, They closed the road just as I left the Petro. Luckily, I was able to turn around at the truck stop exit and even get my old spot back!

I figured they'd clean up whatever happened and open the road again later that evening, so I went to get something to eat. I overheard a driver tell another that he had been about 60 miles down the road when they made them turn around - due to a pretty horrific crash, apparently - and he decided to come all the way back. I did the math and realized that in order to make that turn around in sloppy weather in a company truck, it's pretty likely he was one of the first drivers to leave when they opened the road. Since he still didn't get through, I had definitely made the right decision by waiting.

But they never did open the road that night. They put a recording on the 511 line that said it would be closed until sometime in the morning on April first - that turned out to be true, by the way, it was closed until every point of this morning, and still is. But - I had been watching the Internet road information, and at 10:07 this morning Wyoming's web site said the road had opened... but still no one was leaving the truck stop! This seemed like a perfect opportunity to get out ahead of the rush, and therefore avoid the dangers of driving in the big pack. This turned out to be a mistake.

First, there was a huge line of trucks and other traffic waiting on the shoulder of the road for when it opens - and they all would have been either in front of me or right with me. Second, the road was still closed! Yep, it said it was open on Wyoming's own web site - still does, as a matter of fact - but the signs, barriers, and state vehicles parked in the way of the ramp are pretty strong evidence that it's not true. What does that mean to me? Well, it means I gave up my cozy little spot with Internet access, proximity to food, and most importantly, proximity to a bathroom. I doubt anyone else had taken my spot, but it was very difficult to get out of in the first place because of the overflow of trucks, and it would be nearly impossible to get back in it.

So here I sit on this residential street, typing this using Windows Live Writer and knowing that I'll get to post it - eventually. I know the Wyoming web site still says the road is open because Lisa checked for me - but the 511 phone message now says "will be closed until sometime today" instead of "until sometime this morning".

The hold up has already cost me any chance at getting paid this week (this'll be two in a row due to Easter) - and if I don't get to go deliver pretty soon it will actually lower the amount by a week's worth of expenses, because I'll get paid a week later but not have any more loads finished that I can turn in.

But, after all that, the only thing that really gets me down at all, is that if I weren't going to be working anyway, it sure would have been nice to spend this time with Lisa and the kids. I'm very glad I got to see them (and Mom!) last week, or this would be unbearable.


- Trevor


Laramie, WY

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