Guest blogger: Fran … Part V


(editor’s note: as far as I know, this is the final installment of Fran’s adventures. Maybe he can provide others in September or November when I get my final weeks of vacation).

This was the beginning of a really sticky situation. I deadheaded with the White to Winterhaven for a load north, and I figured to be home somewhere in the Boston/NY area, but situations like plans are often subject to change. I got to Winterhaven no sweat, and when I pulled up into the parking area, it was loaded with rigs.

I asked the broker for a run north and he smiled a little and other drivers started giving me the old hoots and hollers. The broker told me to sit tight, but there were no runs. The growers weren’t picking fruit.  I thought maybe they were kidding me, but they weren’t … it seems that there was a steel workers strike up north, and none of the growers were picking fruit because they couldn’t get the cans for their fruit juice packing. I immediately got on the phone to Jimmy and told him about it, and told him that I was coming home dead head. He said “No, wait there a while,” that sometimes these strikes only lasted a day or so, and then we’d wind up dead heading all over the country. “Wait it out.” Yeah. That strike lasted another six days! I thought I’d go mad with that country western music, the b/s from the road drivers who talked  trucks, trucks, and trucks, and loads, and which of the waitresses in the diner were … ah … “friendly.” The endless card games, the occasional fights (never lasted long … the broker just mentioned the word cops, and they calmed down fast. Yeah, forty odd raunchy drivers and about a half dozen waitresses, many of them old enough to be their mothers.

And believe me, those girls/ladies really knew how to handle those mopes. I was going out of my mind day after day with no movement, grabbing as many newspapers as I could find, and looking for something else to read. But this too came to an end, and the old cowbell rang, and the drivers poured into that little office. I ducked under a few armpits, and yelled at the broker “I’ll take anything going northeast.”  The broker looked at me and asked, “Albany?” I yelled back at him “Hell yes.” He signed out the paper work, sent me over to the Baby Juice farm and they loaded me up with crates of oranges and grapefruit, and off I went. (So many wanted runs westerly, so I was one of the first out of there, and what a sigh of relief). I had called Jimmy and filled him in. He was a little surprised that I didn’t ask Boston or NY, but I told him I wanted to be sure I got the hell out of there, so he said OK.

The White was still the same uncomfortable dog that it had always been, but there was no time factor involved here so I could drive at my own pace. Which was verrry carefully with this rolling junk heap. I still made good time into Albany. Got there the following day late in the PM, but still got unloaded and back out, deadheading to CT.

Biggest problem that I foresaw right away was the hard packed snow and patch ice on the route south along the track of Storm King mountain, which looked down on the vast Hudson River. This was not a straight downhill run, (there were straight stretches of course, but quite a few curves and  in places entire sheets of black ice, which were worrisome, but I tried to maintain a steady and modest speed. There was also a very large and bright moon out and visibility was quite good, but the suddenness with which some curves appeared gave me the willies. I tried to brake slightly when I saw a particularly large patch of ice, and then ease off of it, thru the curve, Traffic both ways was very light. There came a point however when the roadbed itself steepened which increased my speed a bit, and I had to watch for this. I thanked God for that moon though.  Then came the jolt. That wasn’t another car. It was my trailer coming around behind me and  beginning the initial situation of a jack knife.  If I suddenly slammed on the brakes I’d jack, and the entire rig would  go over the side, toward the Hudson below. So I did my little toe dance with a tap on the brake, and then a touch of gas pedal, then a touch of the little handle on the wheel which controlled the brake for the trailer. I admit it … I was scared stiff.

Fortunately there was no traffic coming up toward me, so I tried to keep a steady pace once the roadway straightened out into a downhill drive.

Now it was still a downhill run but not as severe as it had been. As I got lower on the mountain road I saw a very large area to my right that had been plowed and apparently used as a parking area for the large steel diner deep into the lot, with a few cars parked around it. I had about had it by this time with the tension and fear, and I deserved a coffee and some food, so I sidled up to the entry to the parking area, and as it all sloped downhill toward the diner, I thought that if I drove down close I might have trouble with spinning my wheels to get back to the roadway, so I parked the rig parallel with the diner but right at the edge of the travel part of the roadway. I jumped out and started walking toward the diner and saw a guy come out and suddenly he was running toward me and waving his  hands frantically.

And yeah there it came — the rig from Hell sliding sideways down the slope of the parking area right toward the diner! I ran like a madman to the rig, jumped in and started it up to pull it away when it abruptly stopped of its own accord. Right smack in the middle of the parking area. I thought, “to hell with it, let these folks dodge around me.” I needed a break. I went in and ordered a big breakfast of eggs and bacon and pancakes, and slurped the coffee, and it was one of the best meals I ever had.

I rested and soothed my fluttering heart, and had more coffee, and just hung out there for a good half hour. Time to go and I got in, swore a few curses at the beast, and headed up slope … no problem. Got down to main highway portion and it was home free all the way back to CT.

Left the rig by the Coffee Pot, and got my own car from the alleyway where I usually kept it, went home and got a sound sleep. I didn’t hear from Jimmy til afternoon, and I went to the “office” and he asked me if I’d had any trouble along the way. I said “Nah … just routine.” (I felt like kicking him you know where.) But later on I told him that I didn’t like that tractor. He agreed, but he said that we gotta use what we got.

And so it happened that once again I had to drive that rig that I was sure was possessed, and it would be my final run for him. He was surprised that the strike had lasted as long as it did, but he complimented me on grabbing that run to Albany, because there were no closer ones.

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  1. It’s going well, thanks Julie. The weather is finally cooperating, playing outdoors today.

    Fran can write, can’t he?

  2. Thanks, Fran, for entertaining us with your stories.

    It is taking a long time to post comments this a.m. Maybe it’s my connection. I’m not even going to try for a hattie.

  3. Fran – you need to write a book, or start your own blog (i dont mean that in a “get off this blog” kind of way – but you have too many stories not to have your own dedicated blog).

  4. Yes, it’s going to be a great day ilb to get out and play some tennis!
    Fran-I just love reading your stories. You’re awesome.

  5. Good morning all! fran, if you’ve convinced me of one thing, it’s that I never want to be a truck driver!

  6. Mam

    That’s funny, because nowadays there are many lady long haul semi drivers, and that’s good because maybe it will discourage those other ladies who prowl the truck stops and proposition the drivers for a little “company”. (some drivers took advantage, but none of the wise ones did……like me.

  7. to Fran:
    If a writer knows enough about what he is writing about, he may omit things that he knows. The dignity of movement of an iceberg is due to only one ninth of it being above water.

  8. about Fran:
    His talent is as natural as the pattern that was made by the dust on a butterfly’s wings. At one time he understood it no more than the butterfly did and he did not know when it was brushed or marred.

  9. Fran, in conclusion:
    You obviously learned never to empty the well of your writing, but always to stop when there was still something there in the deep part of the well, and let it refill at night from the springs that fed it.

  10. ahaha ranger rick. i thought this was a forum for the rangers. the journalist is too lazy to think or write so he pawns off work to guest bloggers. give credit to fran. puts a lot of thought and effort into his writing. much of what we get from the so called journalist are rangers press releases

  11. On the plus side – the Haters found this blog in the doldrums of the off-season. That means this place is _that_ popular!

  12. Thanks Fran for sharing your stories! I enjoyed each of them, and hope that you will share more!

  13. I’m so glad that I ran into this blog a year or so ago, after struggling with the moronic technical
    hoops that went with the Post’s blog. There was quite a bit of the “trollerism” over there and for the most part the bloggers whom I got to know pretty well, had good control of them…but it was always wasteful space and the snotty back and forth etc. but mostly it was an enormous amount of clerical activity that went into just getting posted on the blog. I didn’t have all that much to contribute to this one at first for I was feeling my way along, but there was never any of the backbiting that went on over there. ( I still do not have a clue on how to enter that blog, and now I no longer care to. Y’all made me an apprentice bonehead, and I was treated with respect and good fellowship. I now have so many friends here who are so knowledgeable about this game that we all love, and this (sometimes) under estimated management, that I have no desire to look elsewhere. I know that you all get together now and then and have taken pictures of yourselves, ( I would love to see a good picture of the entire posse …really. I have some old pics of myself at different periods of my life from raw boot, to elderly ( like old) contributor. I’ll round up a few from different periods, and explain where they were taken and what was going on.

    I’ll try not to bore you and if it descends to that just let me know. But right now I’m hopped up about the coming season, and am eagerly waiting Traverse City. Now I know that some of you really know these kids, and I’ll be peppering you with questions about them all. If I get too pushy, just tell me. thanks much for all your kind words, and allowing me to drift back into an earlier period in my life and revive old memories. TUVM lads and ladies.

  14. Bravo, Fran.

    I’ll email you some of the pictures from this and last year’s parties. And if you are ever in NY to see the game, the tickets are on us. Just let me know when.

  15. I have never been good at lucid dreaming. Sometimes it works but then I realize and I blow it.

    Also, eat spicy food right before bed. That helps!

  16. Fran, thanks for your literary exploits. I’m with you waiting for the Traverse City games. It will be the first time I get to see them and I think you’ll have questions along with the rest of us. I don’t think you can be too pushy. Whenever I ask a question here I usually get the answer without alot of grief. I work with a spry older gentleman in the office next door. Angie and his cohort talk mostly about food which I’m sure would make Latona happy. (they were talking about different hot dog vendors). On occasion Angie will tell a tale about his past. Best one was when he bought a motorcycle during WWII and had it sent home I could just imagine him flying around 5’4″ and 140 lbs on a huge Indian motorcycle. So Fran ask all you want we will answer as long as you regale us with more stories.

  17. For lunch, “Everything But The…” Benjamin & Jerry’s Ice Cream.

    A collision of Chocolate & Vanilla Ice Cream with Heath Bar Chunks, White Chocolate Chunks, Peanut Butter Cups, and Chocolate Covered Almonds.

    Damn good! Should have had less almonds, more white chocolate chunks, and bigger heath bar chunks.

  18. Still get a lunch point, ORR.


    Didn’t Malik like tennis? ilb should play tennis with him!

  19. Sadly, ORR, you don’t get retroactive lunch points. If you had mentioned it yesterday, you would have gotten one lunch point then, and two lunch points today, one for the “Everything But The…” ice cream and another for an ice cream binge.

  20. @BBell09: I’m taking my talents to New York. Signing with the Rangers. Parade is scheduled for next week…See ESPN, CNN and Yahoo for more details

    @BBell09: Thank you for all the kind words and support over the past few days…. Really pumped for camp and pushing for a spot with NYR opening night

    Is it worth adding Brendan Bell to the Wombat?

  21. Give Barb a 10 year, $70M, full no movement, guaranteed 59 minutes of ice time a game, backloaded deal. Then make her captain.

  22. Wicky(grating PIBG)© (The she/it on our D is sofa king SOFT!!!) on

    morning ILB and all!!

    underhill is taller than MZA…almost!!

    thanks for the continued stories!! They are great!!

    Add him to the wombat—>

  23. Wicky(grating PIBG)© (The she/it on our D is sofa king SOFT!!!) on

    DefTheBlueLine DefendingTheBlueLine
    Thank you again to @Burnzie88, @stache16, Matt Hendricks, Clayton Stoner, the Penguins, and the Boogaard family for supporting the troops.

    pretty sweet!!

  24. Manny, you’d probably get slapped in the face if you asked a lady like Barb that sort of question.

  25. Rangers in a Winter Classic. So cool! In two years, it will be in NY for sure. Hopefully by then, we’ll have a true Cup contending team.

    Barb will need a trampoline to bounce over the bench during a line change.

  26. Fran you need an agent – write a book man! You just have the greatest way of telling a story. Even your comments are written that way.

    Thanks for all the stories, please keep them coming.

    RangerFan at 10:58 – The lazy writer of this blog is one of the only guys in the business to make sure to post (sometimes more than once a day) all damned summer long. Go back and read about the a Brad Richards signing again on some other blog.

  27. Besides this is the Boneheads Festivus Blog, not just the Rangers Report. People here celebrate the Rangers but also all the friendships and good times – see Fran’s comments above, or just about anything else written here. As Carp would say, Jackwagon!

  28. I was just told this by a Transcript Reporter at the Court:

    Transcript services are as follows:

    Ordinary Service: 4-6 Weeks
    14 Day: 30 Days
    Expedited: 1 Week
    Daily: 3 Days
    Hourly: 1 Day

    Doesn’t seem like that would be right?

  29. CCCP
    Yup! 6 days and no solid food. Yesterday and today I feel great. Day’s 1-3 were really tough.
    Forget juicing a steak…thats a waste lol!
    I’m looking forward to Sunday when it all ends.

  30. Of course he does Carp – that’s why he is too busy to post on here more than this once!

  31. I’m on a Benjamin & Jerry’s tear right now! Red Velvet Cake Ice Cream!!!

    This one should be better than the Blue Bunny one I had a few weeks ago. Blue Bunny had Vanilla Ice Cream, but the B&J’s version has Cake Batter flavor Ice Cream. Weee!

    I can’t wait till the season starts, so I could start having food from wherever NYR is playing. Since they’re opening in Sweden, I’ll start with Swedish Meatballs [the food, not the dangling kind]

    Don’t know what I’ll do for game two though.

  32. Nylander trying out with Flyers? Wonder if that was for old chemistry or a Jags demand…

  33. Definitely a Jagr demand, BlueBlood.

    It better, Manny! I just hope it doesn’t give me toilet points, if ya know what I mean!

    All I ate today was half of another B&J’s Ice Cream, a slice of Italian bread, some Italian dish, and now this. Not a great mix!

  34. Uh Oh Orr….that sounds like a lethal combo…..much like my night of overly spicy fish tacos and two bottles of red wine!

  35. It would be really strangest thing, if Jaro & Nylander will miraculously united and play together against Rangers…

  36. Mike Pelino must be around too, NYR. He’s like Gollum following the Fellowship Of The Ring, before Sam and Frodo capture him in The Two Towers.

    He’s probably followed Jagr back and forth from the Czech Rep, to Russia, to Vancouver, or where ever else Jagr was the last few years.

  37. Haha!! Pelino! He’s probably making a strong case to Holmgren for a job right now…

    I wonder if Renney will resign from Edmonton to join the old boys club in Philly?

    Maybe Steve Rucchin will come out of retirement?

  38. Barb = bust


    barb = monster

    and food for thought…

    Barb’s last name is underhill…in The fellowship of the ring, frodo takes the name “mr. Underhill” when he leaves the shire. Not sure what one has to do with the other….

    And I will be at the preseason game at the times union center in Albany…any other boneheads attending?

  39. Great point Joke – he does stay under the name Underhill- then he blows it and gets found out and Aragorn has to save him. Barb is a loudmouth! She travels with idiots!

  40. Barbara Baggins!!!!! LOL

    yeah, pippin accidentally blurts out the name baggins and then frodo drinks, dances and crashes to the floor with his finger slipping into the ring.

  41. Former Crapital, Bradley AKA: the guy who Voros beat up and bloodied, had some harsh words for Alex Semin.

    “I don’t mind saying Alexander Semin’s name because he’s one guy who has so much talent, he could easily be the best player in the league, and for whatever reason just doesn’t care,” Bradley said. “When you’ve got a guy like that you need him to be your best player, or one of your best players, and when he doesn’t show up, you almost get the sense that he wants to be back in Russia. That’s tough to win when you’ve got a guy like that who’s supposed to be your best player not being your best player. Or one of your best players.”

    Can’t disagree with him. Semin is just another one of those true Euro pansies. He has one of the best shots in the league, but he shows up when he wants, which is never when they need him.

    But, he had to show up against us in Game 1, didn’t he? Bastard!

  42. Carp meets Fran on the street.

    Carp: “Well well, the summer me.” Fran: “The winter me.”

  43. Semin is a cancer…Exactly, Orr…he is a true Europansy…

    Remember when he bongo’d Stawl? Bwaha!!

  44. I wouldn’t defend Semin all that much, but if Matt Bradley went missing in the playoffs, who exactly would notice?

  45. I wonder if Bradley made the same statement directly to Semin when they both were playing for Washington. He surely didn’t say anything of that sort to the media while he was playing for the Caps.
    And I am not defending Semin either, but Semin’s NHL production is 0.9 PPG. Matt Bradley’s- 0.2.

  46. I can’t stop watching that Hulk Hogan video. It’s too funny! And he mentions Donald Trump, which is so random. LOL!

    I agree aboot Bradley. I hate it when 4th line nobodies open their mouths. His opinion is irrelevant. But, he’s right, the guy disappears when he’s needed most. I’ll never understand it. If I had his shot, I’d play every game like it’s my last.

  47. Wicky(grating PIBG)© (The she/it on our D is sofa king SOFT!!!) on

    What the hell is ILB in court for??

    Say what you want about semin and his europansyness (he really doesn’t show up all the time and I would agree with bradley on that), but he bongoed the hell out of one of our “tough” d men!!

  48. Wicky(grating PIBG)© (The she/it on our D is sofa king SOFT!!!) on

    and a bag lady…now back to work!!

  49. Ria(the silent bonehead) on

    I totally agree with 3cp Carp “Doesn’t get more special than the boneheads”

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