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Geiger’s Counter: Breaker 1-9, I’m no trucker

Remember the CB radio? Yeah, me too.

I don’t know if truck drivers still use CB radios. With all the advancements in communications, I assume they have gone the way of the eight track tape but who knows?

I thought a lot about them last week as I spent a good deal of time behind the wheel of a U-Haul truck.

The first leg was a round trip to Athens to move the youngest, Livia Lanier’s, stuff out of her college apartment. She has earned her BBA degree in marketing and now is a UGA alum.

On that trip, I got a 15-foot truck that was a little long in the tooth with over 150,000 miles on it. It rode like a Conestoga wagon on the trip from Boston out west for the Gold Rush. I have been more comfortable on tractors harrowing rough ground.

The second leg of the trip was from Barnesville to Nashville and back in one day. I got up at 4 a.m. to hit the road early. This time I had a newer model, 20-foot truck that rode somewhat smoother but was far from comfortable. Every seam and pothole in the highway, and there are many in Tennessee, reverberated through the steering column.

My aux cord did not fit what passed for the truck’s sound system so I listened to the radio and longed for a CB.

The movie Smokey and the Bandit popularized CB radios and many people put them in their cars so they could monitor the truckers. The radios were also helpful in calling for help when broken down on long stretches of lonely highway as I-16 to Savannah used to be.

With their ability to communicate via CB, the truckers knew where all the cops, drunk drivers and accidents were. The CBers had a language all of their own, largely filled with obscenities.

The funniest exchange I ever heard was two truckers discussing weather which at that moment was in the 20s with sleet and freezing rain blown along by high winds. 

“The only thing this weather is good for is making tricycle motors,” one trucker said and no one came back on channel 19 to refute his wisdom.

After about six hours and a stop at Buc’cees (overrated!), I made it to Liv’s apartment building. It is right in the midst of the city’s Gulch area and you can see the Ryman Auditorium outside her ninth story window.

I had a little snafu backing into the building’s loading dock when I hit a pillar but the truck and the building were unscathed. 

After the unloading was done, I made the return trip, successfully crossing Monteagle where Bandit survived a brake failure once again.

The truck actually rode better empty and I was sailing along until I hit Friday afternoon traffic in Chattanooga. It was just as bad as the worst traffic jam I have ever experienced in Atlanta.

I sat there for a couple of hours wishing I had a CB radio and wincing at how much I had spent on fuel over the two legs of the trip.

But, the girl is happy and excited and I am happy and excited for her.

That’s all that matters, good buddy!

Walter Geiger is the editor and publisher of the Pike County Journal Reporter and The Herald Gazette in Barnesville. He can be reached at news@barnesville.com.

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