Home > Cuisine by Brian Schropp > Trucker Joe’s Tales of the Road

Trucker Joe’s Tales of the Road

Brian Schropp on Cuisine

Brian Schropp on Cuisine

My friend Trucker Joe loves his big rig tales. I get the impression from his countless stories that the Lankville Highway and Interstate system is a huge mangled mess that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. Being that I have no license of my own (I become a “bag of nerves” whenever I try to take the driving test) I really don’t know if his stories are totally true or slightly embellished. When I’m with my folks they don’t seem to have a problem navigating around but Joe always counters that they don’t REALLY REALLY get out there and that they stick close to the burbs (plus I usually just “zone out” in the back of the car thinking of new food adventures).

Trucker Joe

Trucker Joe

Today I spent some time with Trucker Joe at the “Deep Northern Suburban Lankville Trucker’s Pool and Spa Association” (I get in free being Joe’s “guest”). Usually it’s not a bad place especially if the pool has water and it’s somewhat clean. The truckers are pretty hesitant with “outsiders” but being with him must give me some pretty good cred. In fact Joe says that’s probably what saves me from getting my throat slashed in the shower rooms. (I like to think it has more to do with my friendly personality). After a nice dip in the pool we settled down with a few cold ones (Joe had a beer and I had a refreshing diet citrus soft drink) and the tales of the Interstates began to flow.

“Bri, you might think it’s an easy life, speeding down the road with somewhat illegal contraband, wind blowing through your hair while gazing at the light purple sky of an evening’s sunset, some rambling jam band on the radio shoving their good vibes into your soul. It’s not that peachy, I know that’s the romantic spin people like you try to put on it (I tried to tell him not really but he wasn’t listening) but there is some real danger out there. Take the roads in Western Lankville for example, it seems to be the hot bed for a lot of accidents and strange happenings these days. Not sure if it’s all metaphysical stuff but I hear the people chanting in the woods just like everybody else that passes, even seen a person or two in a robe. Does that really mean the occult? People like to dress in robes to be comfortable all the time, right? But one does have to admit the roads are just plain bad out there with a lot of twists and turns. There’s a spot called “The Devil’s Bend” off of Highway 402 where you will find an accident almost every other hour. I passed by a nasty one not too long ago, one sixteen wheeler crashed right into another. One of them was hauling frozen fish sandwiches, you know like you find in the frozen aisle at Foodville (for some reason Joe shops there) and they were scattered all over the road. I think a few cars were caught up in it as well, crumpled and burning under the bottom of both trucks. Yes, people of all sorts take that bend too fast but is it because these chanting people in robes by the woods are taking over the driver’s minds and causing this? Do they also cause the tire blow outs that send trucks spinning out of control and crashing into innocent families picnicking on the side of the road? Or do they get in the heads of the families and make them have a picnic on the side of the road because that’s one hell of a place to have one if you ask me. It’s these types of trucking questions that can tear at a man’s soul.”

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​”The Devil’s Bend” near Highway 402

I was going to mention that I had never heard of any family ever picnicking by the side of a highway and then being killed. Sadly, I was wrapped up thinking about the frozen fish sandwiches which would never be eaten. What a loss.

“Another weird area is Interstate 63 in Middle Southeast Suburban Lankville. Back in the golden heyday of trucking that was one of the finest roads to drive through. For whatever reason, they decided to put a walking lane for people to stroll down, how does that even make sense? I understand the area has fallen on hard times and the folks are poor but the merging onto it is a real pain in the ass now.”

Come on, I can believe hooded cultists causing accidents on a highway but a walking lane on the interstate? That’s a bit much.

“Joe, that sounds a little too crazy. You are either making that up or mixing something up.”

“I knew you were going to say that! Always not believing me and such. Well this time I took a picture just to prove you wrong.”

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​”The walking lane” on Interstate 63

Joe opened his trucker’s fanny pack and took out the picture. I snatched it out of his hand.

“Jeez Joe did you take this to prove a point or did you want a picture of this woman?” He had an unhealthy obsession of taking pictures of women while on the highway.

“Don’t get sore because I am right.”

I tuned out his playful taunting and studied the picture closely for a few minutes.

Who’s to say that woman’s car broke down a few miles away and she was trying to get help? Just because you see one woman walking down Interstate 63 doesn’t mean it’s a walking lane.”

He rolled his eyes like I was the biggest idiot in the world. “BECAUSE I saw other women walking down the road, up and down the road in fact.”

“Hmmmm.” I thought about it for another minute. Why would women be walking up and down that stretch of pavement unless it really was a walking lane. “Guess you’re right–this time.”

“Well the next time we go out to eat you’re buying!!”

We sat for a little awhile taking in the sun and sipping our drinks basking in the warmth of our friendship. I was quietly building up the nerve to ask him a question. This question I ask every once in awhile in hope of finally hearing some stories. “Hey Joe, can we talk about Highway 71 now?”

​The Fried Egg Hot Dog- A trucker's dream!!!

​The Fried Egg Hot Dog- A trucker’s dream!!!

This single question turns the usually joyful trucker into a very serious one. “I don’t know if you are ready Bri, those tales make places like Highway 402 look like a field day in the park.”

Highway 71, also known as the “Badlands”, is located in South South Lankville. I have always been personally obsessed with the place ever since reading books about it as a lonely teenager in the school library. The tales of the macabre, the strange and supernatural, the utter madness!! Some say it’s all the natural gas from the mountains that make people hallucinate, others say it’s a true portal to Hell. I know Joe has driven it at least a few times and each time coming back a slightly changed man. I patiently wait for the day when he is ready to open up about it.

Before wrapping this article up I just have to mention the delight of the Trucker Spa’s eatery– most notably their “Fried Egg Hot Dog”. Sure, the eatery is usually very filthy with last night’s grease still dripping off the oven and the constant smell of urine from the nearby restrooms always in the air. Sure the cook and staff are the rudest people in the world especially to me as one of the “outsiders”. And sure they make me take off my pants and cluck like a chicken for the food I want but it’s so so worth it. The way the grease melts on the egg to the hot dog then soaking into the bun making it a soggy mess. Believe me you will want to get a truckers license just to get in and try this!!

Well until next time my gentle readers, keep your mouth and mind open to new ideas. Happy Eating!!-Bri

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