Traveling Interstate 70 through Utah on the western side of the Rocky Mountains I noticed I was ahead of schedule. A rest area along the way had looked inviting on the trips I had made over the Rockies and this time I was reminded of an old truckers story.
As the story goes, an old truck driver and a young truck driver were headed down the road and engaging in occasional conversation. The young driver often complained about the long hours and seemingly endless miles of highway, his eyes fixed on broken white lines, miles of mile markers and black top.
“You always seem to have a smile on your face,” said the young driver to the old driver. “You don’t ever seem to be bothered by this endless highway.”
“The difference between you and me sonny,” said the old driver, “is that you look at this job as work. I look at it as a drive in the country.”
Not every mile on the road is a drive in the country. Navigating 80,000 pounds of 53 ft. truck through a city at rush hour is no drive in the country. But on that day going over the Rockies on Interstate 70 near Grand Junction when I decided to take an extended break I saw the country through the eyes of the old truck driver.
I parked the rig, locked it up and went for a hike across a field towards a river I had spotted several times on prior trips. My favorite book was in hand. I was at least two hours ahead of schedule. With my rig parked I planned to park myself along that river.
It was a wonderful two hours. I found a small grassy clearing surrounded by trees and the river just at the edge of the grassy area. If I had wanted, I could have laid back and dangled my feet over the bank of that river and waded my feet in the water.
It was early spring and while the sun washing over me was warm, that water coming off the Rockies in early spring most certainly was not. I saved the part about wading in the water for late summer when the water is running warmer. I promised I’d come back to this exact spot the next time I was ahead of schedule.
Next stop Nashville, Tennessee.