A Driver’s Experience, Part I.

The Volvo Workhorse of the Andes

He told me, “I have been driving heavy trucks for more than thirty years. In my great trajectory many stories have happened to me. Being a category A-3C driver has many risks, for example you could have a flat tire in a very isolated place.  You have to constantly fight being tired and the thieves who might try to steal your cargo. You have to avoid running over animal sleeping in the middle of the road.

“In these situations, a driver of this category needs to be well prepared and to have with them a helper who takes charge of watching out for the cargo. You also need basic tools and have enough knowledge of mechanics to be able to repair problems that arise with your rig in order to continue your trip. You take with you coca leaves and cigarettes to fight off sleep and altitude sickness, among other things.

The Volvo Workhorse of the Andes
The Volvo Workhorse of the Andes

“Many years ago I made a trip from the city of Arequipa to the city of Cusco. When I was in the middle of the frozen, high grasslands one of my back tires went flat and I had to stop. Fearing thieves or the carisiris that roam through those places, I asked my helper to bring the spare tire forward while I loosened the wheel nuts.

“We were able to change the tire and then realized it was almost midnight. Sleep was conquering us After driving for another half hour I decided to stop somewhere to sleep. I put the nose of my rig into a group of trees while I napped.

“My sleep became deep.  I dreamed someone was trying to hurt my helper and steal our cargo while I could do nothing. I suddenly thought about my family and in a jump awoke. My helper was sleeping heavily with no worry in the world. I woke him up, nonetheless, and we went on our way.

“My wheel went over something and I backed up. The I saw that we had parked in a cemetery. Now I knew why I had the nightmare. We chewed coca leaves and smoked cigarettes in order to continue our journey to the city of Cusco”.


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