Stranded truckers wile away the hours along Interstate 70
SUMMIT COUNTY – Truckers hauling everything from Fed-Ex packages to restaurant creamers killed endless hours late Tuesday and all day Wednesday, chatting on cell phones, shopping at Wal-Mart and worrying about falling fuel levels and the unpaid hours that continued to pass. They, along with thousands of skiers, were stranded in Summit County Wednesday, waiting for Interstate 70 to open.
Californian Roy Peloya was headed for Madison, Wis. with a load of restaurant creamers. Because his trailer is refrigerated, Peloya had to keep his engine running and the trailer cooled, a necessity that was sapping his fuel supply.
“I’ve got to keep it 35 (degrees),” he said. “I’ve only got one-eighth of a tank of fuel. I don’t even have enough to get to Denver.”
The solution wasn’t as easy as it appeared. Local gas stations that sell diesel, he said, don’t offer enough clearance or sufficient access for a semi.
“I guess everybody got caught with their pants down on this one,” Peloya said.
Trucker Chris Dockery’s efforts to drive from California to Indiana were twice-foiled Tuesday night – once when he tried to take I-80 from Salt Lake City and discovered it had been closed and again, when he dropped down to I-70 and met with the same roadblock. Wednesday afternoon, he sat in his truck, parked behind the Frisco Safeway, feeling bored but resigned to the situation.
“I went to Wal-Mart, bought a TV, bought some movies. The TV didn’t work,” Dockery said. “I’ve been talking on the cell phone. It’s the only thing to do.”
Javier Cosnes wasn’t upset about the closure, but sitting in his truck on the shoulder of I-70 wasn’t making him any money, he said.
“We get paid by the mile,” said Cosnes, who was driving from Los Angeles to Denver. “Now, we don’t get paid anything. I’ve been running this route five years. This has never happened to me before.
“Some of (the other truckers) are mad. Some are worried about their fuel. That’s why I’m (the engine) shut down.”
“At least,” said Cosnes, pointing to the Country Kitchen just steps from his door, “I’m close to a bathroom.”
Jane Reuter can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 229, or by e-mail at email@example.com
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