Sunday, March 10, 2013- Colorado Springs to Denver
Time: About 6:15 pm
Wait: Less than 20 minutes
Hitch: Man in early forties with wife, son
Profession: truck driver
On Saturday it snowed and the wind blew with a ferocity that would not let up and the mountain peaks are now covered with a white creme, and the air still has a bite to it that seeps through my pants as I wait for a ride. I wait at the Uintah merge for less than 20 minutes when a black Yukon quickly sweeps over the shoulder for the grab.
He introduces himself as Junior, sports a purple New Orleans cap. I ask him if he is from New Orleans, he says no.
We hop in the car and drive off, his son sitting beside me listening to some old school hip-hop on his Ipod, 2 Pac to be exact (Picture Me Rollin’), and his wife sits in front with Junior in the passenger seat.
“I seen your sign saying Denver and I couldn’t just pass you up”, Junior says. “You looked clean-cut, and we heading right there. I bet snobby people be passing you all the time”, he says.
That’s right, I tell him.
“That’s fucked up.”
Junior tells me that his wife and himself are both truck drivers for a trucking company (of which I unfortunately forgot the name). They have both traveled almost every nook and cranny of the United States. He tells me that most of the deliveries they have been operating lately involve transporting goods for military folk down from Denver to the bases in Colorado Springs and Fort Carson. It’s somewhat likely that they transported my brother’s belongings for him when he got stationed in Colorado Springs in the Air Force.
Junior explains that he always goes the speed limit, since if he were to get a ticket, he is actually fined more than the average driver since he carries a CDL license, but more importantly, his livelihood along with it. “I can’t risk that, so I always go the limit”, he says. “I can actually get thrown in jail for being on my cell phone, and all truckers have to use Bluetooth devices. Driving a truck, you have to be more alert because what would be a fender-bender in a car becomes a fatality in a semi-truck.”
While driving, we see two trucks from the company he works for heading south, and he points them out; the company seems to be busy. Junior puts on some music, and pretty soon all four of us are bobbing are heads to the thick grooves and old school hip-hop beats of SugarFree. His wife tries to changed the song at one point, he motions her hand away, they laugh. He looks at me in the rearview mirror and smiles. ” Don’t eva, EVA, eva-eva touch a black man’s radio”, Junior says.
The car is bumping with the pulse of the music, and there is an energy in the car that the music brings, that is, carefree and happy. I find out that Junior’s son is a drummer, and I give them a CD of my music in hopes of spawning a future jam session.
I feel really comfortable with these people, and Junior tells me that he travels from Colorado Springs to Denver every Sunday, and offers me a ride whenever I want.
Right on, I tell him. They tell me that they are from the south, originally Mississippi and Georgia to be precise; their southern hospitality shines through.
I want to take Junior up on his weekly ride offer, although part of this experiment is to meet as many different people as possible.
On the other hand, this family is so damn cool, I may have to make an exception to my rule of repeats I have set for myself.
They drop me off in Cherry Creek, somehow knowing that our paths will cross again.