American Scene: A Song of the Open Road, 1970

"The truckers cruise over the surface of the nation without being a part of it," John Steinbeck wrote in Travels with Charley. On the road they have their own language of flashed lights and hand signals. Their oases are the dull-colored, neon-lit truck stops that offer chummy waitresses and hearty food, often throwing in hot showers and cheap rooms for a quick snooze. For a look at the truckers' special world, TIME Correspondent William Friedman hitched a ride with two truckers bound from Chicago to Los Angeles. His report:

FROM Ocoya, 90 miles out...

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