The Petrified Forest and the Petrified Trucker
Somehow we ended up touring around America in our VW van, with one big tent, three kids and the mother-in-law. It wasn’t meant to be like that. The mother-in-law had come out to visit. Liz’s father had died and she was grieving. It seemed that a trip out to us might help.
She had her return flight booked from San Francisco. The idea was that we would drive up to Frisco first before heading off on other adventures. When it came to it she could not face going back so she came round with us.
One of our stops was the petrified forest. The fossilized trees were incredible red crystalline structures and we loved the striated colours of the badlands.
That night we pulled into a truck-stop and put up our tent. It was really a stop for long-haul truckers who needed to pull in to get some sleep and we weren’t meant to be there at all.
At midnight a huge refrigerated truck drove in and parked near us. Because it needed to keep the goods frozen it had to have the engine running. That wouldn’t have been so bad except that every minute it would rev up. It woke us up. The canvas of the tent was no barrier to noise.
‘What is he playing at?’ Liz’s mum moaned in a disgruntled manner.
Finally she could stand it no more. She got out of her sleeping bag, put her dressing gown on and went off, armed with her walking stick, to confront the trucker.
She rapped on his window with her stick and told him to switch off the motor. It was the middle of the night and he was waking everyone up.
I had a mental picture of a huge tattooed trucker peering out at a little old English lady threatening him with her walking stick. I wasn’t quite sure where this was going.
He switched the engine off and mother-in-law came back to bed. The next morning the truck was gone. I could imagine a whole consignment of frozen goods having to be dumped.
How was he going to explain that one away?