I Fought the (storm) System, and It Won

It took two years and two months, but for the first time ever I’m shut down due to weather.

Since my trailer was empty I drove carefully the last 20 miles into Ardmore this morning. The freeway and ramps were slick, though there wasn’t much accumulation at the time. The guards at the Circuit City DC were a bit amazed anyone was showing up to haul their stuff today, but I grinned my way through the cavity check and exchanged trailers anyway.

After getting everything configured and my log updated, I drove next door to use the restroom and snapped some pics:

Unfortunately, it went downhill from there.

Heading north from Ardmore is one of the few hills worth mentioning in the state of Oklahoma. It isn’t particularly steep or twisty, but toss in a heapin’ helpin’ of frozen rain, ice, a smidge of sand and a generous dollop of snow and it is a real humdinger, pard!

Though you can’t tell it in the pictures, the trailer I picked up is one of the few in our fleet with super single tires so for only the second time at Hill Bros all my tires except for the steers are super singles. For non truckers, this means that instead of having two tires at the end of each axle, you have one larger one:

I personally like running this type of tire. They weigh considerably less than a pair smaller tires (and the pair of rims that go along with them), they last a very long time if you treat them right and they are about 4-5% more efficient going down the road, due to much thicker and stiffer sidewalls which reduce the amount of flex that heavy loads cause. Some drivers complain that they don’t handle rain, snow and ice as well but I’ve not found that to be the case.

Anyway, after what passes as hills in Oklahoma the weather got much worse. There was so much freezing rain packed down onto the road bed it formed “ribs”, like expansion joints in concrete, and the ride went to hell quickly. More snow and ice was falling and there was little or no plowing being done so there quickly became tall furrows of ice and snow between the lanes making lane changes dicey. Drivers in cars and SUVs (“four wheelers”, in trucker parlance) became a real menace, moving out in front of you with little notice or concern about your momentum.

I passed the time as I wrestled my truck down the road listening to the CB. Drivers heading down from the north reported it only got worse up to the Tulsa, Oklahoma and Salina, Kansas areas so once I reached my fuel stop at the Flying J on the east side of OKC I called it a day.

For the first time ever, the weather beat me.

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