Stuck In Cheyenne Since Monday, Long-Haul Trucker Says “We’re Brothers In Arms”

Whenever long-haul trucker Zayy Bullard drives through Wyoming in the winter, if Interstate 80 is closed he hopes he gets as far as Little America between Green River and Evanston because it's a "small town for truckers." He didn't make it that far this time...

Wendy Corr

February 23, 20235 min read

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Zayy Bullard has been a long-haul trucker for five years and said he’s rarely experienced a storm like this.

“I have been in several storms that I have been able to carefully drive through,” Bullard, a Florida native, told Cowboy State Daily. “In the winter, however, it’s different because the roads get covered with black ice.”

Bullard, along with dozens of other truck drivers, pulled over at the Travel America truck stop in Cheyenne on Monday morning on orders from his company.

He hasn’t been back on the interstate since.

“The truck stop is pretty big and all the parking spots are filled,” he said. “There are even trucks parked along the street and along the ramp merging onto I-80.”

Fortunately, Bullard is in a comfortable rig (a 2022 Peterbilt), has access to food and a shower at the truck stop and feels a camaraderie with the other drivers in the same boat he is. Across Wyoming, hundreds of truckers are stranded along interstates and highways awaiting word they can continue on their way.

“It’s a very tightknit community, if you will,” said Bullard. “We’re different people who have different experiences, you know. Sometimes I blow my horn at other truck drivers. But at the end of the day, we’re still brothers and sisters in arms.”

From Cruise Ships To Cruising Interstates

Bullard started long-haul trucking in 2018 after a stint as a crew member on a cruise ship based out of Hawaii. But he said as soon as he turned 21, he became certified as a truck driver and has enjoyed the career move.

“I go wherever the load needs me to go,” he said. “And I’m currently supposed to be heading to Gresham, Oregon.”

Making his living on the road, Bullard said he often has to drive through inclement weather. 

“This is actually my fourth (storm) this winter season,” he said. 

And this four-day unplanned layover in Cheyenne isn’t even the longest he’s had.

“Last year in January, I was in Northern California in the Sierra mountains,” he said. “I was stuck there for a week because of the winter conditions, so I’m definitely used to it.”

But if he’s going to get stuck in Wyoming, his preference is to get at least as far as the Little America between Green River and Evanston.

“I love going there. The people there are great,” Bullard said. “I see it as a small town for truckers – they’ve got hotels, they’ve got gas stations. So anytime I get stuck in Wyoming, I always try to get there first.”

Shut Down In Cheyenne

Bullard started this particular haul in Arkansas on Feb. 18. 

“Making an early morning delivery to a Walmart DC in Arkansas from Texas,” he tweeted. “I will then be picking up a load in Arkansas today and will be going to Oregon. A little over 2,000 miles. I go on vacation in 3 weeks and it can’t come soon enough.”

On Feb. 20, Bullard tweeted that he left Nebraska around 4 in the morning and got to Cheyenne around 10 a.m. That’s when his company called and told him to shut down because of the impending winter storm.

“They value our safety over any loads that we’re hauling,” said Bullard. “So they’ll tell us ahead of time that we need to be careful if we have to drive, or any dangerous weather conditions.”

Later that day, Bullard tweeted, “We’re all waiting for the road to open back up. According to WYDOT, that’ll happen in about 9-11 hours.”

Then later, “Update: from 4:30 pm, it will now approximately be 13-17 hours until the road opens.”

That was four days ago, and the trucks are still stacked up at the TA Truck Stop.

Bullard said when the snow has melted away – and more importantly, when his company gives the OK for safety – he’ll be back on his way.

“I’m definitely ready to go,” he said.

Filling Time

Although Bullard would prefer to be out on the road, he’s not just twiddling his thumbs waiting. He’s got plenty of things to do.

“I have a gaming laptop, iPad and definitely several books I’m reading,” Bullard said, mentioning he’s tackling “an old high school favorite” Eragon and the several books in that series by fantasy author Christopher Paolini.

“I’m actually ordering several books online from one of my favorite content creators named Razorfist,” he said. “I’ll have his two books ready to read when I go on vacation in two to three weeks.”

Apparently, Bullard doesn’t count this time in Wyoming as vacation.

“When I have inspiration, I also practice music on my keyboard,” he added.

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Wendy Corr

Features Reporter