The tale of a water crossing
About thirty years ago, I drove an 18-wheeled truck from Farmington, New Mexico, to Page, Arizona. It was my job to deliver a load of gasoline to one of the convenience stores owned by the company I worked for. After I made the delivery and was headed back to home base, a rainstorm marched heavily across the high desert.
And, as is often the case during Arizona’s desert rainstorms, the arroyos crossing the road I was traveling began trickling with water. Some of the arroyos began to resemble small creeks. All we drivers went through them. We slowed and were cautious, yet we drove through.
The surging waters
Then, I arrived at one arroyo, which didn’t resemble a creek at all. Instead, it looked more like a raging river.
There were five vehicles ahead of mine, a police car straddling the two-lane road, and barricades set up. Two police officers serving the Navajo Nation were standing by their car waiting and watching.
Even though the rain had been reduced to a mist or at best a few sprinkles here and there, the arroyo river raged on. Many of the drivers gathered in small groups talking about – what else? – the chances we would be across that piece of the road any time soon.
Examining the water
Several of us strolled up to the police officers and visited with them for a while. Of course, we wanted to know what their police radios had told them concerning when we might be able to cross safely. They didn’t have any answers.
More vehicles piled up behind our little parade of stranded drivers. Lots of pickups, some cars, a van or two, and many 18-wheelers formed an orderly line awaiting the surrender of the hurling water.
In less than an hour, the waters did begin to subside. Through my youthful bravado and my yeah-I’m-a-girl-driving-a-truck bluster, I suggested to the cops that my vehicle was larger than the others close to the front of the line. I felt I could drive across. They said, “No!”
After another ten minutes or so and after the waters calmed down even more, I once again told the nice policemen I thought I could cross the arroyo. Their second answer resembled the first. I think the only thing they left off was the exclamation mark. They said, “No.”
Do you want to cross the water?
Not much later, perhaps another five minutes, one of the officers came to me and said, “Do you want to try to drive across?”
You bet! I want to go home. My hubby will be worried about me. Let’s get this show on the road.
Let’s cross the water
After the policemen had the drivers ahead of me maneuver their vehicles to the other lane of the road, I climbed up into my truck with gusto. I pushed down the clutch, turned the key, pulled the stick into gear, let up on the clutch, pressed the accelerator, and began driving toward the arroyo – with my heart beating ninety miles a minute.
After all, I had spent many of my growing up years in the deserts of Arizona. I knew how many crazy drivers had faced disaster after driving into flooded city underpasses and flooded desert arroyos. Why hadn’t those silly cops done the sensible thing and waited until we could see the road before allowing anyone (much less me) to try that crazy passage? What were they thinking?
Had I mentioned to them that my truck was empty of its cargo now? Did they know that the tanks I was dragging behind were filled with only gas fumes? Had they considered how easy it would be for those waters to push my vehicle aside?
Pushing through the water
Because I’m here to tell this tale, you have to know that one way or another, I survived the crossing.
As it was, my trusty 10-speed big truck rolled through the undulating water without a pause. (Good thing too, perhaps a pause would have been my undoing.)
A look in my rearview mirror revealed that truck after truck was pulling from the stranded lane to work their way to the front of the line. They were coming through. I was ecstatic!
The moral of the story
If you’ve gotten this far, you may be wondering what the moral of this story is. Why is this blog post (written for commercial construction subcontractors) filled with a story about a lady truck driver crossing a water-filled arroyo?
Because, dear reader, I liken those creek-like crossings to the crossing of the COVID – 19 streams that we’re all taking slowed down and with caution.
That raging river-like crossing is the one we will face after the reaction to the pandemic comes to hit us full-face. That is the one which will stop us in our tracks. It is the one that will have us gathering and discussing the what’s next questions, and the is it safe questions.
That raging water-filled arroyo is the one that will have our hearts pounding and our thoughts racing. Some will be able to drive through. Others will wait. Those construction company owners who have the equipment, the skill, and the know-how will cross that arroyo and get back to the astounding task of building America one project at a time.
Are you ready?
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