I wrote this as a guest blogger on gonzotrucker.com but wanted to share it here as well.
So, it’s a crisp fall day in upstate New York. I’m staring out at all the beautiful fall foliage because autumn is my favorite season. I’m supposed to be getting us the next load out, but I see a sign for Niagara Falls. Well, more than just a sign, a bill board. Niagara Falls? “Can we? Can we?” I beg.
“Call the truck stops and see if we can drop the trailer and I’ll drive ya up there,” he answers. Each one says no. I must have had the most pitiful look in the world on my face, because then he said, “well, see if you can get hold of someone in the office and find out if we can get in there with the truck and trailer.”
I must have dialed, been on hold, and then transferred a million times before I was finally told that deliveries are made to “lot one” and therefore it shouldn’t be a problem. Yeehaw, I’m going to Niagara Falls!!!
“I hope you’re right, Buttercup” he says. “If we get stuck we’ll need a helicopter to lift us out of there.” Well, secretly inside I was praying like mad that I was right and we could get in and out of there okay. One mistake in a big rig and you can kiss your retirement goodbye. We put the destination in co-pilot and we were off.
The closer we got, the more obvious it became that the delivery trucks my “office angel” had been speaking of were not semis but straight trucks that max out at maybe 24 foot for the trailer and our trailer was twice that. But like a trooper, my Big Rig Hero just kept going. I know it must have gone against every fiber of his professional being to navigate those streets leading up to “lot one” of the Niagara Falls State Park.
After we crossed the bridge over the Niagara River, the road became very narrow and the curves were so tight we could read the license plate on our own trailer. But Clint is such a professional that it was no time before we rolled up to the ticket booth, um toll booth? Not sure what it’s called, but we had to do a little chain/cone moving to maneuver the truck and trailer through the booth lane and into the parking lot. And, then, of course, we had to take up quite a few parking spaces, none of which were for trucks!!
Once we were parked, I changed into tennis shoes, we grabbed our phones and cameras and hurried out of the truck before anyone could tell us we shouldn’t be there! Luckily, and in spite of about 8 police vehicles in the parking lot, it was off season and after hours, so we weren’t really in anyone’s way.
I can’t really describe the Falls to you. It’s something you have to experience for yourself. If you’re spiritual at all, you’ll feel it the moment you hear them. There’s a certain hum or vibration you almost immediately feel. It draws you toward it. The closer you get, the louder it gets until it’s almost deafening. You step up to the rails, look over… you can’t help it. Okay, I couldn’t help it. I felt the urge to walk out in it. Bizarre, I know, but my mind kept going there. Anyhow, the majesty defies my ability to vocalize the beauty and I will say it’s only second to the Grand Canyon.
We spent some time just listening. We spent some time just mesmerized by the spray of the water. We spent some time pretending to throw each other over the edge. Then it was time to go.
Now, I’m not sure I got across on the way in just how tight and unmaneuverable the road was, but just let me say, it was way scarier getting out of there than getting in!! But he did it, of course, because he’s a professional driver and it’s his job. But he was something else that day… he was my Big Rig Hero!!