National Geographic : 1974 Feb
to Topeka more than any other stretch in the U. S. There ain't nothin' out there. No towns or nothin' to go through. Just straight drivin' from one state line to the other. It seems to take forever." We roared past a trucker working on his broken-down rig, and John said, "If you break down out there on the road, nine times out of ten another trucker will just whoosh!-keep on goin'! You never know if it's some gang fakin' a breakdown to lure you into a trap and hijack your cargo." We crossed the Kansas-Missouri border at Kansas City, and the Mississippi River at St. Louis. To Crandall, crossing the Mississippi is like entering a foreign country. Born and raised in Montana, he has a definite Western bias and a distrust of anything Eastern. "When you cross the Mississippi, you go into a new world," he said. "People are altogether different-their actions, their ways of livin', everything." Then, while we rolled across the bridge, almost as if to prove his point, a cloud covered the sun. "You see, the sun ain't even shinin' on this side." Crandall stopped the rig at a sparkling truck stop at Effingham, Illinois. Here, way off the beaten track for tourists, sits a million dollar monument to the care of trucks and truck drivers. This gleaming two-story build ing, constructed in a "highway-modern" style, is all glass, brick, and steel, congealed in con crete and bathed in music. Inside, Crandall and John filled out their logs together while waiting for their food order. The U. S. Department of Transporta tion requires a driver to log every minute of his trip, showing time, distance, location, and hours on or off as driver. Federal law allows a trucker to drive ten hours following eight hours of rest, but team drivers favor shorter spells at the wheel. Because these stringent regulations are sometimes unavoidably bent, truckers hate logging. "Keeping one of these here logs will make a liar out of a preacher," John told me. Dad steadies the bike, while Scott waits for the starter's signal in a race over a corkscrew course at the Indian Dunes dirt track. Scott learned to ride on a three-horsepower machine and now wheels a 75-horse power motorbike in the weekend races. The Talkington boys have won five first places in na tional competition. Nearly 200 other cycling trophies jam the shelves of their parents' and grandparents' recreation rooms.