Saturday, December 6, 2008

King of the Road

Has it really been that long? It has been a long time since there was this much time between blog entries. I've been intending to write for some time, but every time I've had the opportunity, I was too tired or too busy doing other things. Such is life on the road.

Currently. Just like last time I wrote, I am in Dallas, Texas, staying in the hotel Schneider uses. And, just like last time, our truck has been in the shop for maintenance. Seems to be a pretty regular occurrence, I know. But consider this: since last year when we started teaming in this truck, Terry and I have put almost 400,000 miles on it. If you had been 400,000 miles in less than two years, you'd probably need maintenance, too.

Terry is visiting his family for a couple of days, and will be here in Dallas tomorrow. We start rolling (hopefully) on Monday.

We have been running pretty well since the last time I wrote. We haven't been out west very much, but we've been in Texas quite a bit, so we've been happy about that, of course. We haven't hit too much winter weather yet, but last week in Wyoming, we were shut down for 24 hours in Cheyenne because of snow and high winds. They had a stretch of I-80 closed for a while.

Every King needs his crown. I have written much in this blog about interesting, strange, entertaining, and crazy people I meet on the road. I have another tale to tell.

Last week, when we were coming back through Wyoming from Utah on our way to Paris, Texas, we stopped at a truck stop in Fort Bridger to get something to eat and take a short break. There was a Burger King there.

Terry and I both ordered our food. There was only one person working in the restaurant, and the poor guy was having to take orders, prepare the food (well, I don't know how much preparation was involved, but whatever there was, he was elected to do it), and serve the food. This guy walks in, orders his meal, and then, spotting several of the Burger King crowns they hand out with kid's meals, asked if he could have one.

The guy looked at him strangely for a second, then said, “What?”

Could I have one of those crowns with my order? I'll pay for it if I need to.”

Uh, sure, okay. No problem.” Then he looks around and laughs nervously as if he's on the set of a movie where a psycho killer comes in from the cold right about now.

A few minutes later, the guy's order is ready, and he gets the bag. No crown. He just stands there looking at the poor man behind the counter. The young man stands looking back.

Is there a problem? What do you need?”

My crown. I asked for a crown.”

Oh, yeah.” The guy turns around and grabs one of the crowns. “Here.”

The man with his crown walks back to the main entrance into the truck stop and puts on his crown. He has to walk through the other restaurant and the main part of the truck stop to the front door where he walks out into the cold and wind going back to his truck, careful to hold the crown so the wind doesn't blow it away.

Scores of people inside and outside stared as the man passed. But no one said anything. No one laughed.

Early the next morning, the truck the guy was driving stopped in Denver just before daybreak to have two tires replaced on his trailer. When the place opened, there was a man out front unloading tires off a truck. His back was turned to the driver as he walked up behind him wearing his crown.

Can you tell me which bay to pull into? I've got two trailer tires that need to be replaced.”

The man, startled, jumps, turns around, opens his mouth to answer, and then stops.

There is a man in a Burger King hat standing in front of him.

Finally, he collects himself, and stares down at the ground as he replies. “Just pull into the furst bay and they will take care of you in there.”

The man with the crown turns around, walks back to the truck, and pulls into the bay the man pointed out. Inside, he gets out to talk to the man who will be changing the tires to tell him which tires need to be replaced.

Strangely enough, the entire time the man with the crown is talking to him, the man in the shop avoids looking directly at him, instead focusing on the ground or on his tools beside him.

The tires were changed faster than the best NASCAR pit crew could have managed.

As the man continued to wear the crown from Colorado to Texas over the next day, similar encounters occurred.

Just call him “King of the Road.”

Until next time . . . keep the wheels rollin' . . . making choices and taking responsibility . . .



Anonymous said...

Tell Terry to take that crown off your head before you scare someone to death. Love ya

Unknown said...

Allan, the anonymity of the "King" got me until the very end. This is down right hilarious!

I wonder if it gets fire engine tires changed as efficiently! lol