The drive through DC was nerve wracking to say the least. DC is very walkable and pedestrian-friendly and on this day, like on any given Sunday, loads of tourists flocked to the Mall to protest, pay tribute to, or gain some historical insight.
They’ didn’t give a crap about cars and buses – they damn sure didn’t give a sh*t about 18 wheelers. They walk wherever and whenever, even if that means walking in front of something big and fast. And we had to stop on a dime.
I knew to avoid 295, the BWI Parkway. Just like in NYC, parkways were scenic, for commuters and often had low clearances. So I took 50-West into downtown which turned into New York Ave. Right in front of the Carnegie Library (now the Apple store on Mount Vernon Square), I made a left onto 7th which took me through Chinatown, passing the friendship arch to my left.
Then I hung a right on Constitution. The pedestrian traffic was thick and unforgiving. Luckily there were no parades or street festivals – just your typical Sunday in the psychotic Nation’s Capital.
From Constitution, I passed the White House guarded to the brink with the Secret Service, then veered right onto Virginia Ave with Simon Bolivar the Liberator from Venezuela providing cover.
Then it was important to keep my head on a swivel because there is a low clearance of 13 feet.
When I pulled into the Kennedy Center, I was surprised that big rigs could park in front of the majestic home of the National Symphony Orchestra.
Seems to me that a venue as fancy as the Kennedy Center would have loading docks and a place to load trucks far and away from the well dressed crowd in party jackets and cocktail dresses.
When I arrived, there were already several trucks parked neatly in a row. Even though I was running 15 minutes late, I would have to wait several hours before they started loading my truck. I had plenty of time to kill. Wondered why I even rushed in the first place.
There was still another performance to show and then when the curtains were drawn we would have to wait for the audience to dissipate before we could even start the forklifts.
So what is there to do while we hurry up and wait. Not a thing except to walk back and forth and look busy. I took the liberty to walk around the theater and to meet other truckers. Truckers that worked for Clark Transport who hauled for shows full time seemed to be paid well and enjoyed it. They were getting $10/hour detention time – no one was complaining. It was their lifestyle, and they got to see many shows.
“I wouldn’t be driving trucks if I was driving freight,” said John Thomas. He was one of seven truck drivers waiting in front of the Kennedy Center Performance Arts in DC.
But still I wasn’t grumbling. At least I was in DC at the world famous Kennedy Center.
The lead trucker, Toy, was very helpful and not only gave good instructions, but kept us entertained throughout the whole operation.
When I was finally loaded and the skies had long turned dark, I made my way back to Virginia and Constitution then hung a right on 14th.
I knew I couldn’t make it to Charlotte without taking my 10 hour break. My goal was to make it past Richmond to avoid the rush hour traffic in the morning.
I was relieved to make it to Warfield at the Davis Travel Center on I-85.
I was safe now and could sleep soundly all night – or so I thought.
At 3 a.m. I was rumbled from a deep sleep from the sound of an explosion. Why are my tires popping I thought to myself.
I looked out to see a big rig on fire. I felt like I was in the middle of a Fast and Furious movie set with Dwayne Johnson as the star.