Not long ago I was in Pennsylvania where my driving career started. A memory of the first time I got lost came to mind. Back then I drove a rather small Dodge D500 refrigerated body straight truck plying my trade in the food service industry. The time of year was shortly before Thanksgiving which made people in the food service industry incredible busy. Throughout the year my primary commodity to deliver was fresh iced chickens in waxed cardboard boxes.

Being right before Thanksgiving chicken was supplanted by fresh turkeys. This unfortunate run where became lost came about because the warehouse had ran out of turkeys and I was sent to Koch’s Turkey farms. I was sent to Koch’s Turkey Farm in Tamaqua, PA which is just off of Highway 209 in Pennsylvania. I was sent out with directions which told me to turn at a white mobile home past another landmark I do not remember and go straight back that road to the turkey farm.

I set out on my journey with very little money in my pocket and no fuel card as the Dodge was always filled at the yard and this was a relatively local route to pick up. The directions did not have the road name only the old white mobile home where I needed to make a right. I continued looking for the mobile home till I saw the sighs that I was nearing Centralia, PA which I knew was past where I needed to be. Another area of concern was that this little Dodge D500 powered by 318 c.i.d. gasoline powered engine. More concern was it relatively small 20-gallon fuel tank was approaching the ½ way mark this combined with only a few dollars in my pocket that indeed I was truly lost.

Setting the stage further was this was long before cell phones or GPS, my options were minimal. I found a small store with a pay phone out front and called back to the office. This is an area we often do not realize how far we have come with cell phones and other ways to communicate. I placed my call which was long distance taking up most of my change and at this time much-needed gas money. This truck was only fueled at the yard as it was used locally. The weather was in the low thirties, drizzling rain, and I was miserable waiting for them to call me back on the pay phone. When the phone finally rang, I had found out there was a good reason for missing the road with no name and old white mobile home on the corner. The old white mobile home had been relocated.

Next, I left the gas station armed with an actual road name of Valley Rd off of highway 209. I had a few dollars with me to buy lunch but decided not to use my money for lunch as I needed gas. There were two reasons for this low fuel and once loaded the little Dodge D500 would be consuming more fuel. Seeing my fuel gauge at the ½ way mark on its 20-gallon behind the seat fuel tank added to this decision to go hungry.

Lessons learned from this day:

• Never leave home without enough money for emergencies

• Get the correct street names not just landmarks

Looking back on that fateful day I am appreciative of:

• Cell Phones

• Google Maps

• Debit Cards

For friends that know me know that I do not consider myself lost as long as I have fuel and on this day, I was truly feeling as if I was close to being lost.



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Henry Albert

Henry Albert is the owner of Albert Transport, Inc., based in Statesville, NC. Before participating in the "Slice of Life" program, Albert drove a 2001 Freightliner Century Class S/Tâ„¢, and will use his Cascadia for general freight and a dry van trailer. Albert, who has been a trucker since 1983, was recognized by Overdrive as its 2007 Trucker of the Year.

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