It’s that time again, summer drivers, rv’ers, people moving and people just out to have a good time on those long, three day weekends. It’s called the summer driving season and it has made it’s presence know well in the Northwest! Fuel and gas prices at all time highs, record number of travelers opting to drive instead of flying and the usual weekend warriors racing to Lake Chelan or the Columbia River.
I noticed an unusual amount of traffic and accidents the past few weeks along the I90 corridor between eastern and western Washington this month. There were many DUI arrests, a few fatal accidents and numerous vehicle/RV/boat trailer fires along the highway. I mentioned the unusual amount of traffic accidents to my boss and he had a unique thought about the problem. He owns an RV and always performs a quite intensive pre-trip inspection of his fifth-wheel trailer and truck. His thought is that most summer travelers who own boats and rv’s usually only take their “toys” out once or twice a year and never bother to check brakes, air pressure in the tires or road worthiness of their RV. Good point! I think the most common cause of roadside vehicle fires is the lack of maintenance or upkeep of their “toys”.
I was reminded of this while traveling up the westbound side of Fourth of July Pass in Idaho yesterday. A pickup truck was pulling a moving style trailer coming down the hill on the east bound side. Heavy smoke was pouring out of the wheel wells of the pulled trailer. He was stopped in the emergency parking area of the grade at the bottom of the hill looking at the impressive amount of smoke coming from his trailer. I assume that his brakes were never adjusted or serviced before he started his journey in an overloaded moving trailer.
With the ever increasing amount of road construction and other hazards, it reminds us that as professional drivers, we must be patient, kind, courteous and helpful to the weekend warrior. We all know that we drive circles around most “four-wheelers” on the road, but maybe we can give that RV or boat trailer an extra yard or two when sharing the road. I don’t want to see any fellow CDL drivers in trouble or worse because we didn’t exercise a little more care around these “part-time” drivers.
Petro Spokane Update
It’s my thought that the Petro Spokane has graduated to full truck stop status. Be sure to plan your route so that you arrive early enough to get a decent parking spot. Almost every time I pass or stop at the Petro, the parking lot is full and drivers have to resort to parking on the streets surrounding the truck stop. I am still quite impressed by the level of service and friendly help at the fuel desk and restaurant. I’ve only had one issue about the Subway closing at 9PM and recently noticed they have changed their closing hours to 10PM for those late drivers.
If you have a few minutes for a good meal at the Iron Skillet, be sure to say hi to Ms. Marie who works the late shift. Last night, the help was lacking and she had to cover at least 8 tables that I counted! Without missing a beat, she was able to keep everybody happy and everything running smoothly even though there was a record crowd for that late hour, 11PM. I tipped a little extra and thanked her for her excellent service. Petro and Iron Skillet should hire more dedicated employees like her! Way to go!