Even at the time, I did not know how I could describe it. Two trucks over the top with coal loads of twenty plus tons, crawling up the mountainside in thundering competition. One was inching along at a slow walk speed. The second was at normal walking speed, and due to this minute difference, a pass was unfolding in the middle of the road. The first ones we met were on a straight section of road, so quickly diving to the wrong side and passing where there was an opening was only natural. Most of the combinations that followed were on very blind corners, each a disaster wanting to happen!
Cooper seemed to anticipate and find the opening at each pending disaster. We ducked to the right, we slid off to the left, and we went through the middle on more than one occasion. Occasionally there were a few feet to spare. On most occasions, we could easily examine the hidden dents and scrapes on the inside of the cab, along with the number of missing teeth for each occupant.
The trip out passed several wrecks. Trucks were lying crumbled at the bottom of various ravines, their loads scattered and undersides rusting. Nobody laid forever, there are too many valuable pieces waiting for someone to salvage. We talked about the risk and potential for disaster, along with the potential that we would be one of the statistics!
The proverb is true to them as well as for you and I. At anytime, “catastrophe is just around the corner for them, a total smash up, their lives ruined beyond repair.” (Proverbs 6.15)
We thought we had seen it all. On our return trip, we came up to a truck lying on its side at the end of the road. The coal was scattered across the road and the air was strangely silent. We scrambled for a photo opportunity. As the camera clicked, we collectively saw the key detail. Two crumbled bodies lay motionless in the cab.
I do not know the end to their story or ours.