Trucks at Work

The long, winding, congested, under-repair road

Put about 300 miles on the odometer last night, rolling west on I-66 and then south on I-81 to within hailing distance of the Virginia/Tennessee border.

I’m down here to visit Volvo Trucks North America’s New River Valley factory here just outside Dublin, Va., (and is there any Guinness about my friends?) but two things stood out in my mind during my late night journey: gee, is it crowded out there on the highways, and man, is there a lot of construction going on as well.

From Strasburg, Va., all the way down to Dublin, Va., road crews were out in force, working the midnight shift under the hot, blinding glare of generator fired lights, blocking off the left or the right lane for miles at a stretch.

And everywhere, everywhere, long lines of trucks heading to goodness-knows-where hauling goodness-knows-what – tankers, flatbeds, dry vans, reefers, along with plenty of LTL doubles as well.

South of Harrisonburg, Va., now lies a vast terminal of some sort with thousands upon thousands of 53-foot trailers parked in rows as far as the eye could see (which ain’t far in the wee hours, let me tell you).

Sipping steadily on a 25 ounce coffee (Sheetz’s dark blend, and boy did that have a kick) as I piloted my minivan down the long concrete and asphalt stretches, I popped in and out of violent thunderstorms rolling southeast – lightning and booming thunder slowly dissipating as the cells moved out of the Shenandoah Valley.

Yet all of it together – the road construction, the bad weather – made me appreciate the work truck drivers do every long day and night in this country. By the end of my journey, I’d only put 5 hours on the road – and as everyone knows, a trucker’s total on-duty workday is almost three times as long.

It can be a tough road to follow out there at times, hauling freight hither and yon.

Yet the job always gets done, doesn’t it?