South To Alméria


As everyone who drives a truck knows, when your top speed is 90 km/hour, the hours on the highway pass slowly. With only short stops for refueling the vehicles and their occupants, the 1,600 km to Alméria seems to stretch on and on. No radio or reclining seats for us. The cabin is loud and because we’re wearing earplugs, it’s not easy to have a conversation, so watching the highway through the windshield is like being alone in a theatre watching a film set to a soundtrack of muffled engines and the high-frequency white noise known as silence.

Even most of the toll booths are automated. Sometimes the machine doesn’t give us a ticket, and we have to call the attendant. That passes for excitement.

The passenger’s job of fighting boredom isn’t that hard, but the driver must stay focused, to keep these 14 tons on the road and in our lane when the route is winding through the mountains, in construction zones and in spots of heavy traffic.

The truck is over 4m in height, and with 6 tires and 2 tents on the roof, the center of gravity is high. You drive calmly and with anticipation. High wind gusts in southern France rock the hold. You’re always making minor corrections to the steering. It’s not difficult to turn the wheel, but the hours of constant adjustments are tiring and build up resistance in the muscles in your shoulders. The cabin sways from side to side as if it were a ferry being rocked by waves on the ocean. You wonder if you could get seasick.

When you stop for fuel, it’s a mad race for everyone to fill up the tanks, get to the WC, grab a snack and then get back on the road again as soon as possible. We can’t loose time on stops. We’re expected in Alméria on Saturday evening.