Does It Help?

Sometimes I prefer the east coast. Always on edge, never on cruise control. You ever try to get across the George Washington Bridge at rush hour?

West of the Mississippi, though, big, long expanses. Cruise-control country. Corn field after corn field after I-don’t-know-what-they’re-growing field. Then climbing the Continental Divide. Though I admit the adrenaline gets going heading down again.

But like most truckers, there’s an oasis. Not a whorehouse, though I guess some head to one when in Nevada. Or in one of the “secret” places to the east. No, it’s a 24/7 poker game. Actually there are more than one. My favorite is off I-70, about halfway between Kansas City and Topeka. Exit 204 on the Kansas Turnpike, and north about three miles. If you want precise directions, just ask at any truckstop nearby. Everyone knows it. And the cops leave it be.

Now truth be told I’m quite a bit down there. We play Texas Hold’em usually, and sometimes it’s like sitting in a barber shop—and there is one next door, where I sometimes go when I need a trim—and it’s worth the price to hob and to nob with the others before heading out for another stretch heading west or heading back east.

Does it help? Yeah. It breaks the monotony of the long, straight roads and the drivers too dumb to use their turn signals. Some folks at the table kid me since word got around that I listen to classical music in my cab. But that doesn’t bother me, since it’s just kidding. I’ll take Mozart over Muskogee any day of the week.

An hour or two later and a few hundred lighter, it’s back into my Kenworth and off to Denver or Seattle or wherever I’m due in a couple of days.