At some point, most of us have probably pumped a fist out of a vehicle’s window, hoping for a long honk, or even a friendly toot, from the truck or train driver beside us. But if you’re like me, you may have caught yourself wondering about these people and their long, lonely journeys across the country. Who are these mysterious travellers, so often hidden from view? What have they seen from those elevated perches behind the wheel?
We already know from hitchhikers who choose to ride with truckers that the highway can be a lawless place full of drugs and dark nights. Given how many extra miles a long-haul driver endures, it stands to reason they encounter even more deadly conditions, drug-smuggling weirdos, and of course “projectile shitting.”
That theory checks out, as shown by the stories below, which feature exhibitionists, drag queens, roadside butcheries and a variety of unexpected cargo: coke, a kitten. (Don’t worry, the kitten is not at all connected to the roadside butchery.)
This job will kill ya
As a driver, you have to learn about bathroom breaks and how to train your body not get the runs on the road and stuff. It’s really a big issue. So this one time I’m waking up at a truck stop, getting out of my sleeper, rubbing my eyes, and having a cigarette. Then in my rearview mirror I see this truck parked behind me. So, picture this: there are two steps leading to the entrance of the truck, and this guy is on the bottom step, pants around his ankles with one hand holding onto the mirror and the other grasping a handle. And he is projectile shitting—like three or four feet away from him! It looks like pure coffee coming out of his ass. I was mortified. It was a life-changer for me.
I’ve seen so many ridiculous things, though. Once, this couple drove by me, honking and trying to get my attention. I looked down and it was pretty obvious that...well, fellatio was being performed. I pulled over afterwards to see if they’d been honking to warn me of a defective load or something. But everything with the truck was OK. I can only assume they were getting my attention for their own thrill.
Then up in Yellowknife, I drove by what looked like a big moose that was a road kill victim. But surrounding it was a group of people and they were just carving it up, tearing out pieces. It was a bloody scene and pretty shocking, to be honest. Everyone had tools for carving and sheathing, and they were in a hurry, likely just taking the useful pieces and getting the hell out of dodge. Because I believe it’s illegal to do that.
This winter has been really eye opening for me, though, because I’ve seen some of the most horrific accidents of my 15-year career. It makes a guy’s testicles recede. For example I had an accident where I rolled my truck with a full load—90,000 pounds of lumber pushing me into the ditch. It was a life changer for me. I also saw a truck go off the cliff of the Coquihalla highway, like right over the edge and he was gone. I never heard if he made it or if he died, but two days later when I drove by the same accident scene, the truck was still there, about three stories below and on its roof.
I also had a little pick-up truck slip on the ice some distance in front of me and get thrown into the air like a toy. He landed on his roof in the middle of the highway. The exact middle. It was icy, I had a full load, and it was nighttime so not only could I not stop, but I also couldn’t see him clearly. I missed him by inches and narrowly avoided killing him. Thankfully I didn’t hit him but it could have been fucking catastrophic for many people. Then, after I passed him I still wasn’t able to stop—fully loaded on an icy hill. Finally, at the top of the hill I got cell phone reception and was able to call 911 and say, look, I wasn’t even able to stop and see if he was still alive.
Truck driving is in the top 10 most dangerous jobs in the world—depending on cargo, of course. In my career I’ve probably driven half a million miles and I think I’ve hit the ceiling. Recently I’ve been driving through these horrid winter conditions up in the BC mountains and in the Yukon, and I’ve questioned whether I’m going to make it home dozens of times. So I’m done. I’m aging far too quickly in this career. Especially since the accident, I’m sure I’m suffering from some kind of post-traumatic stress disorder, or whatever they want to call it. — Aaron, 37
Drive-by Drag Queen
I was a freight conductor for the railway so I used to drive trains up the Fraser canyon. Up near Cheamview there’s this tunnel on a corner, and when I’d come around that corner and out of the tunnel at night, I often saw this person dressed in big, sparkly wigs and fancy outfits. Like huge ball gowns and 50s-style dresses—that super girly stuff you associate with crossdressing. And they’d be dancing away, caught in the lights of the train as it whizzed by. Didn’t matter if it was raining or if there was a storm. There they’d be, putting on a show.
This person was a die-hard. Every person that worked the Fraser Canyon knew them. Sometimes they’d even change outfits over the course of a night, which I knew because drivers behind me would describe completely different outfits from what I’d seen. I guess it must have been their kink or fetish? Anyhow, they did it for at least three years. It never bothered me—I got quite a kick out of it, actually—but I heard they were busted by the cops eventually. I think for trespassing on railway property. — Rob, 27
Shootin’ guns, smuggling drugs
I was hauling oversized equipment for a company out of Saskatchewan. I met this guy who was telling me that back in the day truckers would fill their sleepers up with a bunch of whiskey and cigarettes and carry it over the border, and they’d make a lot more money. I was kind of interested, but I was only 20 years old. Then he said, “Well, you’re gonna be by the border in Thunder Bay in a couple weeks so how about we set something up?” I said, “Well, I’m not going over the fuckin’ border.” And he said I wouldn’t have to because there would be a guy waiting for me on the other side.
So I decided to do it, and eventually met this guy who was driving what looked like an unmarked delivery van. The guy hops out and opens up the back and there are hundreds and hundreds of bottles of whiskey and cigarette boxes. Then we spend about two hours on this random grit road in Ontario playing Tetris and trying to fit all this stuff in my bunk in the back. Finally we get it all in there just as his buddy comes up to drive the van away. So he hops in with me and tells me where we are headed, which is this very remote location in Manitoba where he’s going to get paid cash for dropping off all the stuff.
A little while later we’re heading down this grit road and he asks me if I want a little bit of blow to keep me going. We do a couple bumps and then he starts asking me what guns I like and if I’ve ever shot a handgun. I’m like, “No, I’ve never shot a handgun. Do you have a handgun?” And he says, “You’re fucking right I’ve got a handgun. Want to shoot it?” And I say, “Well yeah, but I don’t think it’s a great idea, you know, we’ve got all this shit in the back and we’re high on coke.” He tells me not to worry cause we’re in the middle of nowhere, so we pull over and start firing this gun off the side of the road and it’s pitch black out, and as we’re doing this I realize there’s a good chance that we’re not just carrying whiskey and cigarettes given that this man is toting two handguns and has a lot of cocaine on his person.
I ask him if we’re carrying more than just Marlboros and Jack Daniels, and he says, “Alex* didn’t tell ya? Oh yeah, there’s a lot of cocaine back there.” So I ask if he’ll give me five grand instead of three. He says, “How about four and a half?” I say, “Sounds good, man.”
I’d only done cocaine like once before, and later realized that I’d done about the equivalent of a gram. So I’m really feeling my blood course through my veins, you know? We unload the stuff and the guy says, “Alright, thanks man.” And then I drive away in the pitch dark on a gravel road in Manitoba, high on cocaine, to finish the last leg of the 36 straight hours I’d been driving. — Alex*, 30
Attack of the Turkey
It was the one and only trip I took with my ex-wife. So she’s laying in the sleeper, up in the bunk, and it’s coming on six in the morning. The sun’s about to break and I’m doing 68 miles per hour. And then this turkey jumps out of the ditch, rolls up the hood and smash, the windshield breaks. If you’ve seen those cartoons where a person crashes into glass and then just sticks in it? It was like that. And turkey’s are, you know, 50 pounds. Anyway my ex-wife jumps out of the bunk, screaming, “What the fuck just happened?” I’ve got glass all over my face. All I can think is, don’t crank the wheel just keep ‘er still. Luckily the bird stays out, and I’m able to pull over, get him out and throw him to the side of the road. Then we just carry on to the safest place where I can get my windshield repaired.
But here’s my favourite story. At the end of one busy day, I park my truck at the mechanic’s shop. He’s standing on one side and I’m standing on the other, and he jumps. “Oh my god,” I say, “What’s that?” He goes, “it’s a cat!” Now I’m thinking it’s a cat on the engine that’s been hurt. Well I walk around and it was the smallest kitten you’ve ever seen, sitting on top of my motor and just screaming at me. And I do believe we was riding on that motor for half the day—because I hadn’t stopped. So I grab him, put him in my sweater, and take him home. Now, well, he’s still around my house today. My best friend, Diesel, that’s what I call him. — Tommy, 49
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This article originally appeared on VICE CA.
This article originally appeared on VICE CA.