Today I applied th so-called CDIFTT: Cross Desert Interstate Following Truck Technique. It proved to be successful, since I am alive and kicking right now. I indeed felt lucky having landed at home after a stressful day, which started from the morning.
I woke up at 8am after 5 hours sleep, which was short for a person who usually prefer to sleep for 9 hours. Thinking of the forthcoming 5 hours driving, I thought to myself, “I’m too old for that.” Nonetheless it was unavoidable.. I prepared myself for the trip, or that I thought so, over one cigarette, two cookies, three pieces of fruits, and four cups of coffee. Right after I set up, I found myself quite unreadily on a windy road cross desert where the wind practically blew my car from all directions and sounded scarily loud outside the windows no matter how much louder I turned on the music. The first hour was the hardest, since I was totally unprepared for such a driving condition. To make things worse, my stomach started to feel funny, and there was a kind of headache emerging from the back of my head. Eventually, I had to make an early stop when only less than one fourth of the trip was covered. I took myself to a Kentucky for a meal, and the mountaindew proved to be useful, since at that time, I was shaking from head to tail and felt fragile like a piece of glass. It was about noon and I was in the middle of an unknown highway town in New Mexico, watching the mid- day desert sunshine listening to the wind blowing outside the Kentucky. By the time I finished the two piece chicken meal, I felt much better, at least energy-wise, and kind of figured out what I should do in the rest of the trip. This was when I started the Following Truck Technique and brought myself home safely through this practice. Thinking back, I made the following list of plausibilities of the FTT:
1. On the interstates cross deserts, the highway limits are generally 75 miles per hour, while a car of my size driving at that speed already feels shaky in the wind. It is hence safer if I kept the speed around 70 miles per hour, which is exactly the speed of most trucks.
2. The trucks are very followable since they tend to keep the speed for a long while. Also in the desert area there is no heavy traffic, which makes it easier for the trucks to keep their speed.
3. It is psychologically comfortable to feel the heavy wind being partially blocked by the big thing, the truck, in front of me. What is more, having the sight of endless roads and far-away mountains blocked partially, one feels less hopelessly endless and long with the journey.
4. It is easy to follow a truck since they keep a constant speed so that I can temporarily speed up a bit till I settle down behind a truck with a comfortable distance.
The list may be extended. Today I followed some five trucks over two thirds of the trip. It might be worth mentioning that there were a few trucks that I lost since they were too fast for me to catch up with… I stopped following trucks during the last part, for about 80 miles, when getting closer to home. The end of driving was fast and easy, as always. Still, I found it hard to control the speed at a comfortable level by myself without using the FTT, which confirmed my observation that driving on a windy day, following a truck on a cross desert interstate is just the best thing that one can do!