Sunday, September 14, 2008

Tulsa To Springfield In The Rain.... Or Snow

My four brothers and I keep in pretty close contact via the tubes, especially when bad weather comes a knockin'. Brother Bob keeps his Tampa home stocked for the annual hurricanes, brothers John and Ed crank up the generators and ride out the storms in Daytona Beach while the three of them try to explain to their landlocked kin how they prepare for the mighty wind.

My brother Tom and his wife spent the weekend in Tulsa at a miniature horse show. Driving back home, Tom related this tale, via email, to my brothers and myself:

Left Tulsa at 12;30 AM Sunday morning after getting to watch the 2 and 4 horse hitch classes and visit with some old friends. Heavy rain and wind all the way home. 60 to 65 on the turnpike was it, otherwise you just hydroplaned (and that is with a front wheel drive Taurus), longest trip from Tulsa I've had in a long time. Hurts when you go by a 75 MPH speed limit sign and you are doing 55 cause of the weather. Got home and finally in the house around 4 AM, up again and now I get to relax and read the paper. Have had probably 6-7 inches here at the farm, everything is water soaked.Wind was big factor. Jim how did the city fare???? tom

Bob's comment on Tom's email:
Sun is shining, temp in low 90's, sitting poolside writing this, waiting for John and Ed to show up. Of course, it will be a long wait because I forgot to invite them over. Tom, drove from Tulsa one time to Mom and Dad's when they lived in Republic in same type of weather. I felt as if I was flying a plane in high wind. Had the steering wheel turned to left and we were going straight. It was awful............. Be safe.........Bob

Ed's comment on Tom's email:
Oh and that road from Tulsa to the Mo border.....Cheryl, her sister Shirley, and I made the same type of drive one night after visiting Bob in OKC....wicked weather and the car spent more time going sideways than forward.....a white knuckler for sure.....never have been so glad to see a Welcome to Missouri sign

See a pattern developing here? Us Lee boys don't like to drive that road in the rain. John hasn't weighed in yet to give us his account of the Tulsa to Springfield drive in the rain yet. I present my tale of a drive from Tulsa to Springfield in the rain:

This happened when in the summer of 2003. I was casual driving for a friend of mine, an owner/operator (O/O), out of Springfield, MO to California every other week, making about $1500 per turn. I would leave Springfield late Friday with a load and reach LA on Sunday night. Unload early Monday morning, reload and, if everything went as it was supposed to go, I'd be back in Springfield late Wendesday night. I-44 to OKC and I-40 to the sunny side and flip it for the reverse. O/O trucks were governed at 75mph vs 68 mph for company trucks.

The speed limit on the turnpike was 75. Heading east out of Tulsa, running out of hours on my log book, and so close to home I could taste it, I get a call from the dispatcher wanting to know when my eta was. I told him I was three hours out and about out of hours. He suggested I do the best I can as I had a hot load. When a dispatcher says to 'do the best you can', he means bring it home.

I had stopped for diesel at the Love's on the east side of OKC so I had plenty of fuel and Tulsa was three hours from Springfield, I was gonna make it. I was governed out in the Montfort lane passing everything in sight when it started raining. I was going the limit and was driving a quarter of a mile in front of me. My rooster tale was a fifty yards wide and twice as long. I was motivated, running jakes and my wipers and heater were turned up high.

Somewhere east of the Tulsa, about halfway to the MO stateline, I don't remember where, a couple of largecars came up fast behind me. Remember I was 75 mph governed and doing it. These two guys came out of nowhere, fell in behind me so fast and tailgated me. It was raining for all get out. The longcar behind started flicking his lights for me to move over.
I was passing a long line of cars and couldn't do it. Finally, I passed all the cars and put my right blinker on and moved over into the slow lane, but I never lifted.

The first truck passed me and the second one was right behind him. The back of the trailer of the first truck was even with my cab front fender. The second truck's cab was even with my trailer. We kept this up for several miles when I drifted over to the right side and hit the rumble strip. That decided for me that this was too dang intense in the rain. I lifted and let the Jake brakes slow me down.

The two largecars rumbled past me just as I caught in my headlights an old Ford pickup running in the rain in front of me without taillights. I was going slow enough that I was able to move into the left lane and pass him. If I hadn't hit those rumble strips, I believe that, going as fast as we three trucks were, I would have plowed into the back of the old pickup without tail lights.

And that, my friends, is my tale of the turnpike in the rain.

Hey bros--remember when Dad used to edit "The Wheel" for Teamsters Local 600 out of St. Louis? He wrote a story about a Yellow fellow who drove the motherroad from St. Louis to Tulsa. I used to have a copy of it somewhere. The title of the story was "400 miles to Tulsa".

PS Longrooffan, brother John in Daytona Beach, gives us an accounting of a trip on I-44 in the snow.


tom said...

This type of story makes me long for the wide open road again.

Anonymous said...