Thursday, November 27
Ice Road Trucking
Driving up to Milan this week, I realized it's been a long while since I’ve had the pedal to the metal. Only problem is, with cameras set up almost every Roman mile along the way, you seriously can no longer put the pedal to the metal. Between the inclement weather and the pit stops for Trevor, I made it up to Milan via the coastal road in well over 7 hours.
Stopping at the various Autogrills along the way, one can still sometimes find local food, or use the self-service cafeterias – Italian-style – that does not have anything to do with American versions. The food is not only edible, it actually tastes pretty good – and, it’s good for you.
But, incredibly, you can still order alcoholic drinks to go along with your meal and to ease the pain of your grueling drive. In fact, at 10am it is not uncommon to see Eastern European truckers downing a beer (or two), or asking for a vodka along with their espresso before taking off on the highway from hell.
And while it is now prohibited to sell stiff drinks to minors or anyone after 10pm (on the roads), the liquor freely flows during the day. So much so that I wonder if, buried deep in the annals of Italy’s ‘Science by Superstition’ it is written that you can only get drunk at night. Even still, that wouldn’t prevent Polish Trucker #10433 from filling up and getting loaded promptly at 9:45pm.
But, as someone pointed out in an Automobile Club blog, a trucker tipped him one day onto Italy’s national pastime, getting around the rules: just tuck the whole bottle under your arm and you can nip all night long -- an 18-wheeler version of Nip&Tuck. After all, for every rule made, there are thousands waiting to break it.
It really makes you look forward to the trip that, with the snow and ice of this week, combined with the probable levels of alcohol in drivers' blood streams, makes you feel like an extra on Ice Road Truckers. Perhaps it’s best to take the train after all.