20 November, 2014    #25

Crossing Bridges 2

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Continued From Trax News #24


About to experience the consequences of misrepresenting one’s self, I downshift the truck into 2nd gear.  I had no driver’s license, little driving experience and was up to my eyeballs in anxiety.  Let’s be clear, I set the stage and my nightmare was about to begin!



Navigating the traffic swarm in downtown Miami required exceptional concentration. I was fully engulfed in erratic midday traffic eager to cut me off at every chance.  After several blocks, I finally eyed the Highway 1 sign to the Keys and signaled to move into the right lane. Although my desperate intentions were being totally ignored, I began bullying the truck to the right and they seemed to get the message … yield or else!  Without fully realizing the truck’s large turning radius, the back wheel suddenly jumped the curb, dislodging a corner mailbox from its sidewalk mooring at the end of my turn.  While observing the shock of pedestrians in my right mirror, traffic instantly reacted by repelling away from the errant truck.  Pretending as if nothing had happened, I continued my wild ride towards Key West.


Once on the Keys, my anxiety had somewhat diminished and everything seemed to be under control.  However, Seven Mile Bridge was just ahead.   Little more than a narrow strip of cement across the open ocean, that passage would be the ultimate test of both nerves and driving abilities.



Arriving on the bridge, opposing traffic was minimal.  Nevertheless, I felt very apprehensive as several cars flew by, seemingly almost sideswiping the truck.  Eventually, I spied a very large vehicle approaching in the distance.   At first, it was no larger than a speck, but in anticipation of its arrival, I began positioning the truck to the far right.  As the speck’s resolution increased, it slowly morphed into a “Greyhound Bus” as panic began to set in!  While burning tire rubber against the bridge’s cement abutment, the bus shot by with a startling blast of pressure. That was the salient moment of my regretful holiday.  Exiting the bridge onto Big Pine Key, I pulled off the highway to recover, wipe sweat and regain composure. 


Pulling up in front of the Gulfstream Market, I was relieved that the ordeal was over.  Mr. Menendez came out to greet me and asked if I would back the truck down a tight alley to the loading dock.  Still suffering from bridge shock, and without any preconceived consequences of failure, I simply backed the truck via the side mirrors and perfectly positioned it at the dock on the first try.  Mike, “you really do know how to drive a truck, thank you”, said Mr. Menendez.  My holiday was finally over as I gladly returned to work!


I acquired my first valid driver’s license in 1967 at the age of 24 after purchasing my first car, a MGB.  I passed my driver’s test on the first try with no errors.  When asked who drove the car to the test, I responded: “my friend, he must be in the rest room”!



Mike Kohut, President DDMS





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