FP Chapter 2: The Interview

Dale sat in front of his computer.  Taking his father’s advice, he had scheduled a zoom call with a real life Ice Road Trucker.  Dale’s man of primary source information on the subject was Colt Jefferies.  Colt had been an Ice Road Trucker for 30 years.  He spent that time working for the Blue Truck Company based in Fairbanks, Alaska.  He would haul anything and everything up the 500 mile stretch known as the Dalton Highway, from Fairbanks to the oil fields of Deadhorse in the far north.  He had developed a wealth of knowledge over the years that he was happy to share with Dale.

Colt suddenly appeared on the screen.  He was big and bearded, compared to Dale’s skinny, clean shaven thing he had going on.

“So, I hear you want to be an Ice Road Trucker after like three years of driving a highway truck.”  Colt said.  He looked at Dale’s appearance and laughed.  “Ice Road Trucking is not for just anyone.”

“I know that.  That’s why I’m talking to you.  Despite my appearance I can load my fair share.”  Dale said.

“You basically have to take everything you know about highway driving and throw it out the window”  Colt said.  “Ice driving is totally different.  Speeds are slower, but they seem faster anyway.  There’s any number of ways to fall to your death going through the pass or sliding off the road anywhere else.  You have to respect the road.  It may seem like the same road every day, but it’s not.  Conditions change instantaneously.  You have to memorize each turn and hill for the times you won’t be able to see.  I’ve had many friends die on this road.  That’s why you can make a year’s salary in three months.”  Colt said.

Dale sat there soaking it all in.

“You’d better know how to use your Jake brake and chains.  The foot pedal will make you slide off into oblivion.  If you ever get so lucky as to drive right on the arctic ocean that’s another completely different feel altogether.”  Colt continued, “I’m not trying to destroy your dream.  You just have to know what you’re getting yourself into.  I think you definitely should apply and go through that process.  It’s a worthwhile learning experience.  If you are picked to drive for us, there will be simulation training, an actual driving test, peeing in a cup to make sure you aren’t on drugs, and your first few runs up and down the road are supervised by one of our safety guys.”

“That all sounds really good.”  Dale said.

The two then spent the rest of the afternoon swapping stories from the road.  Dale didn’t have as many that were applicable to the situation, but Colt listened all the same.  It was good to know where Dale was coming from, especially if they ever got to run together in the future.

Suddenly it was evening.

“Well, Dale,”  Jake said.  “I think it’s time for us to call it quits for now, and have lunch or supper.  You have to keep a full stomach on the road.  It was great talking to you.”

“It was great talking to you too, Colt.  I think I will at least go through with the application process and see where that takes me.”  Dale said.

“That’s awesome.  Never hurts to try new things.”  Colt said.

The two men signed out.  Dale immediately went to the company website to begin filling out a form.  This was one of the best days off he had ever had.

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