June 27, 2012 by farbolino
I had pretty much given up on trying to get a ride from one of these magical beasts with 18 legs; the drivers never even seem to look down at me from their mighty beasts. My luck changed just the other day when I got a lift from Poznan direct to Berlin. I heard the toll plaza outside of Poznan was an excellent spot to hitch into Germany, but I was a little skeptical since it always seems to be girls who rave about this spot. Lets face it; you’d surely pick up a girl in a skirt before picking my ass off the side of the road.
So after a hop across a metal fence behind the police station, I was on the highway ready to get a ride. I took out my cardboard sign with ‘Berlin’ written on it, and started to eat an apple that my gracious host in Poznan had given me. I always try to time how long it takes to get a ride since I’m a numbers kind of guy. Surprisingly it took less then 10 minutes for a truck to pull over, and I ran over to open the door. Wow, these things really were tall. After I opened the door, even with me standing on the curb I couldn’t even see the floor.
I scaled the side and then introduced myself to the driver. Marcin was the name of my Polish driver who was headed to a suburb of Berlin to drop off some lighting supplies. We made some small talk in the beginning before my driver really started to get talking.
I heard that truck drivers often pick up hitchhikers because they get lonely on the road and need someone to talk to, and this was certainly the case here. Marcin loved to talk, mostly about his truck, but I was glad to hear it. I learned about just how super cool this Mercedes truck was. It had all the luxuries of a high end car, but 20x the size. I always imagined them to be like the trucks from the 1987 movie Over the Top, which despite its 4.9/10 rating on IMDB, has to be the best movie ever made about arm wrestling and truck drivers. What? It was the only movie ever made about arm wrestling and truck drivers? Touché, touché.
Not only did this thing have bluetooth so he could play music off his phone, all sorts of adjustments for his seat, a 12 speed automatic transmission, but sensors that could detect if he was moving into another lane which sent vibrations and alarms through the truck. My driver was nice enough to almost run the BMW next to us off the side of the road so I could sample these vibrations. It also had a detector for cars ahead of us and always kept an ample distance to the car in front. If we got to close, the truck would break for him. All these sensors were cool, except the one that forbid the 450 hp truck to go above 90 km/h, as it was a little frustrating watching all the little cars race past us on the smooth pavement below.
Before my driver dropped me off 1000 meters from the S bahn station outside of Berlin, I thanked him profusely for his kindness and wished him a safe trip up to Hamburg; where he was headed next. I’ll never forget my first truck driver…