The hidden years,131, slipsliding

Door San-Daniel gepubliceerd op Tuesday 18 August 16:10


Slip sliding

We had been driving again for quite some time over the white plain and the whiteness hurt your eyes, the next stop I intended to buy a pair of sunglasses. ‘This goes easy on you,’ said Bill, ‘you just have to remember that everything reacts delayed. I had already noticed that. ‘You have eight braked wheels and an enormous weight of cargo that gives you good traction under any circumstances,’ continued Bill, ‘but you have to anticipate because if the comby pushes the weight, you’ll lose control.’  ‘What little control you have over your front wheels than does not matter any more  if you go sliding then you are at the mercy of the gods. We don’t drive here in the town of neatly trimmed streets, there is nothing wrong with ice until you start gliding. ‘ It seemed logical to me, I did what Bill had done and I looked out of habit far in front of me on the road.

‘At Fort McMurray, there is a trading post with a gas station, where we’ll have some dinner,’ announced Bill, ‘and I’ll immediately call the centre to see if there is already another load ready somewhere, or if we go back to Calgary or on for Grande Prairie. ‘ Okay, ‘I said and looked into swirling snow that arrived floating and clinging onto the windshield and had a strong hypnotic effect. ‘Driving this rig is a piece of cake,’ thought Bill, ‘you have to watch it if you're driving in urban areas, then you realize how carefully you have to maneuver.’ I could see that. ‘I'll take the wheel over after the trading post and bring the comby safely to Fort McMurray, and into the unloading area. As we worked our way forward through what was now more than swirling snow, it became more and more like a snowstorm. The flakes condense and visibility was limited, I adjusted my speed and gradually slowed the  comby down .All of the sudden a wolf  appeared out of nowhere, who stared at us half dazed and instinctively I slammed on the brakes and felt the combination of 18 meters with a cargo of 40 tonne imposing its  will and  come alife. We were slipping! The steering seemed to be a toy steering wheel and did not change the direction at all that the lorry chose to follow. Slowly the lorry began to move sideways and I saw before the eye of my mind how we would end up, on the side lying in an abyss.

My right hand now sought feverishly for the two gear pokes and forced the high gear into a lower slot, meanwhile I fought with one hand on the steering wheel. Crackling and rattling with much gnashing the acceleration dropped as the shift fell into the appropriate slot and I felt how the grip on the rear wheels was now suffering under the huge torque of the gearbox and I gave full throttle and very slowly  the lorry pulled right ..,. I drove another half mile and saw a parking port where I pulled in. I got out and started to vomit, with a bow, over my shoes and into the snow, as all the tension freed itself from me.


A heavy hand was on my shoulder, ‘that was the only way,’ Bill said whose  face saw very pale.'Why did you brake, ‘he said,’not for that crossing wolf? ‘ ‘yes,’ I said, ‘only reason’. ‘From now on,’ watch what I do and say, ‘you pull the cord of the air horn and you never hit your brakes for an animal!’ The air horn, you never use anyway in the mountains with a view to avalanche danger, is there something in what I say you did not understand? ‘. ‘I understand you completely,’ I replied. ‘Good,’ said Bill, ‘then we speak the same language, now we’ll change places and we'll go have a nice bit to eat.’

San Daniel 2015

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