Granny Gee’s turn to drive! Getting ready to leave Flying J Truck Stop, to enter the state of New Mexico…………………………
By Gloria Faye Brown Bates/aka Granny Gee
I loved my high heels, beautiful skirts, dresses … but, they aren’t practical on a big truck. I did enjoy wearing more casual clothes, sneakers… comfortable!
I drove three years with Skip. We traveled over the whole United States to every state. I saw many things, I know many stories from the road.
I have been in blizzards I only read about in books growing up. I never could imagine how snow could become so much, that one could become lost in it… out west, I learned fast!
We were in quite a few over the years of traveling by private vehicle, and on a big truck. We were in ‘white-outs’… the interstates would be shut down. I loved it, it was exciting… I was with Skip, and home was where we were.
I learned what a dust storm was… no, it isn’t just ‘dust’… it’s brown sand… the air turns brown, sand is blowing hard everywhere, non-stop for days! My hair would get sand in it, I would have to guard my eyes when getting in and out of the big truck.
One can see it coming…. I’ve watched as we were approaching a sand storm on the interstate… up ahead I would see ‘brown’… soon, we’d be in the storm. The wind would blow so hard, the sand blowing everywhere.
Sometimes, a ‘freak’ storm would happen ‘out of the blue’. Once I was driving (I was so innocent… had no idea!)… the sun was shining beautifully, the day was lovely… when all hell broke loose.
All of a sudden I was fighting to control the truck, I couldn’t see for the torrential rain, the wind threatening to blow the big truck off the road, lightening, hail. I would be so afraid, but… I held on to that steering wheel for dear life.. somehow, managing to make it past the storm.
I was amazed to look out anytime, over the desert floor… and actually see storms many miles away! Fascinating! I could see the rain, disturbance in the distance, lightening … it was wonderful to witness storms like that. Do you know why?
Because … I am afraid of storms! I want to look, watch.. but, I’m too afraid to. When I see violent lightening, I cringe inside, I have to look away! So, seeing storms in a distance… was perfect for me!
We used to go to a place in California to deliver. We got to know drivers there, and if we didn’t know them, we ‘knew of them.’ Oh, the stories I could tell you!
There was a woman driver who drove solo, she delivered at the place we would go to. We would get a laugh (not in an ugly way!) because she would reach her destination, which was where we were, too.
She would go into her sleeper… change into a dress, and high heels! It would be funny because… we knew what to expect next. We’d watch for the door to open… and I would watch for her foot to show beneath the door…. with a high heel shoe on!
I would be thinking ‘oh, my God! I don’t believe this woman is stepping out onto the steps to come out of a tractor-trailer. She had to do it very easy so, as not to get her heels stuck in the little holes in the steps!
I would watch, feeling as if I was going to burst out laughing… I didn’t want her to see me do that! I don’t make it a habit to make fun of people… who am I to do that!? But, I have to tell you something! Don’t think bad of me… it’s the truth, and I’m just saying….
That woman really was…. how can I say this? She was dressed in a business suit, oh… how pretty it was! So very inappropriate, just not the clothes to wear on a truck (or, I’d had my high heels, dresses on, too!).
Anyway, the clothes were pretty… but…. don’t think bad of me… it’s the truth… she was just plain out… ugly. Just not pretty at all! Maybe… she was a man… I just don’t know… but, something just didn’t ‘feel right!’
The face didn’t match the … clothes. Maybe the body … something about the body didn’t … match, either!
One night we were on Interstate 40, we had on a haz-mat load we’d picked up in Wilmington, NC. We were in Albuquerque, New Mexico… it was late at night. We pulled over to look at the map, doublecheck where we were going.
A car pulled up beside us, stopped in the lane (late at night, there wasn’t any traffic). A woman jumped out from the driver side of the car. She was very pretty, with long, blonde hair. She wore tight-fitting jeans … she was a fox, no doubt!
She jumped up on Skip’s side of the truck (he was driving), and he rolled the window down. “Hey, driver, are you lost, do you need directions… do you need ‘anything’, anything at all?” “Hey, baby, do you need a date?”
I began grinning, I stayed quiet… she hadn’t seen me just yet. I loved these times … I was ‘always the surprise’ in such instances! I sat quietly in the passenger seat, waited for the right moment… I leaned around and said sweetly….
“Oh no, he doesn’t need anything… he’s got me!” It was so much fun to watch her eyes, her face go from trying to seduce my husband… to being … startled! I loved it.
She got off the steps, walked quickly to her car, got in, sped off! Skip and I were laughing for the longest time after that. I couldn’t get mad… because that’s life out on the road… it’s going to happen whether a wife likes it or not.
It’s going to happen whether a husband likes it …or not. There are always going to be hookers/prostitutes, both women, men. It’s part of a truck driver‘s world….
They aren’t after your husband, wife… they are after a dollar. It’s how they survive, they will service you, if you have the money. Sometimes, when they’d walk up to Skip, they’d quickly tell me they’d service me, too! It’s a wild world … ‘out there!’
I am always curious, I love to know how things really are, I listen, I watch. I learned so much …. we are usually in our world, as other people are in theirs… we all pass each other… rub shoulders as we do.
If you aren’t paying close attention, you’ll never know what’s going on around you. It really can be very interesting. You wouldn’t believe… you wouldn’t believe.
When I’d drive at night time, sometimes a car would come up side by side with me. I would look down … you have to pay attention, you never know what people are going to do.
Sometimes, the interior light would come on inside the car… there would be either a man, or a woman sitting at the steering wheel. You wouldn’t believe what I’d see! I didn’t believe what I would see!
Either the man, or woman… wouldn’t have clothes on… or their underwear was ‘somewhere … when it should have been on their a__!’ They would be sitting there with their hands doing things ‘down there’…. they should have been doing in private!
Now, I’ve seen quite a few things you just wouldn’t believe. If I’d been ‘a wild girl’… there was plenty of ‘fun’ to be had ‘out there.’
I just watched, learned, listened … because on the serious side of trucking…. you can be robbed, killed if you don’t watch your back.
Anyway, I went from my high heels, beautiful dresses to drive a big truck, to experience something a lot of women don’t get to do. I learned so much about ‘that world.’
I know this much… at any moment, I wouldn’t be afraid to go out my door, drive to California, Washington, Oregon, Montana, or any state in the United States. Just give me a sound vehicle, and I’ll go … I know how to get there, I’m not afraid.
My dream has always been to do like the people I used to watch while on the road. I don’t think that can possibly happen now, as we don’t have the money we one time had. I can still wish…
My dream for us when we became older, was to have a RV again, maybe a travel trailer. I used to watch the older people travel on the interstates, we used to talk to them in rest areas, truck stops.
They went to warmer climates in the winter. Some of them would work a little job in a restaurant to make money, work at flea markets like in Quartzsite, Arizona. Now, that’s a wonderful place to go, to see.. so many people, RV’s, so much going on in the desert.
I used to imagine Skip and I, leisurely doing that ‘one day.’ Sadly, I don’t think that can happen now. Times are much harder now… and ‘one day’ has come, we weren’t prepared.
I still dream … I’ve always heard that nothing is impossible. I believe ‘most’ things are possible… I still believe. I never stop. I know during my years on this earth, I have seen some ‘impossible’ things… I wouldn’t have believed if I hadn’t seen them with my own eyes.
Anyway, this is a little about my experiences on the road when I went from high heels … to driving a big truck!
- Cross-Country in a Peterbilt for Two (merlenesmemos.com)