Originally published in the Prairie Times, "Wish Granted", November 11, 2009
Ask. There’s an olde saying: “Be careful what you ask for.” Oh how I know that’s true!
My primary occupation is driving. As varied as my resume’ is, I can almost say “I’ve done it all!” with a few exceptions. I’ve gone from hauling rocks to being the truck driver for a CART Racing Team. They’re the ones that had the races in downtown Denver.
A few years ago I got tired of driving, and started praying to get out of trucking. An incident at a company granted me my wish. Not wanting to be unemployed for very long, I went looking for another driving job, to no avail. Soon enough I found a job working at a gravel pit. I wasn’t driving, and I wasn’t happy. It was a job, but it didn’t pay the bills. I got my wish.
That job tanked and I got on with a construction company, switching between driving the dump truck and hauling all the heavy equipment, or Tonka Toys. It was a good job, almost paid the bills, but the boss was not too keen on safety or maintenance. After a year of his testing my patience, the Good Lord saw fit to send a new position my way.
I now drive a fuel tanker and have been with this company for over five years. What I do is load the fuel at the refinery or pipelines and haul to gas stations and truck stops in Colorado, with the majority of my deliveries in the mountains. I even deliver to the station in Elizabeth.
When the weather is nice, it’s a great job. When Mother Nature decides to throw her worst at us, one cannot help but ask one’s self “What in tarnation were you thinking?” There have been times going over Loveland Pass that the only way I could tell I was still on the road, was to lean out the driver’s side window and watch for the little white dotted line! Just this past winter one driver got disoriented and literally drove off the side of the mountain. He survived, thank you for asking.
This past winter (’08 – ’09) was brutal in many respects, especially in the high country. Because of it, once again I got to praying for God to put me into a job that would challenge me and pay the bills. I have to admit, I was tired of playing in the snow.
Then one night after a storm had passed through, the moon was full, the mountains were clear, snow was still hanging in the trees, and the road was in rather good shape, that it hit me: this was it! This is what I had been praying for.
At first I didn’t comprehend, then slowly the realization sunk in. Driving a fuel tanker in the mountains was the ultimate challenge! I drive an 80,000# guided missile, loaded with upwards of 8,000 gallons of highly flammable liquid sitting not more than five feet behind me. I deal with mountain roads, snow, ice, whiteout conditions, and crazy drivers, every day as a routine part of my occupation. Mentally and physically, it is a daily test of skill, patience, timing, and by the Grace of God, luck.
I started asking some of the Olde Timers why they have hauled fuel for so many years. They all stated that the pay is good, camaraderie is the best, and they like the autonomy. But the one outstanding point that all of them made is: The Challenge.
I’ve got what I asked for!