The first of at least three American Freedom Convoy copycats headed to D.C. on Wednesday, but the protest seems to be over before it ever really began. Along with a few dozen pickup trucks and passenger cars only one big rig showed up, and it belonged to protest organizer and trucking company owner Bob Bolus. As of Wednesday night, Bolus was reportedly lost on his way to D.C. and ready to go home.
The protest started off rough, when the entire roadtrip was delayed by two flat tires on Bolus’ big rig. The aims of shutting down Beltway traffic were also immediately backtracked by Bolus, according to the Daily Beast:
At first, ardently MAGA trucker Bob Bolus vowed that his makeshift “freedom convoy” making a beeline from Scranton, Pennsylvania to D.C. this week would “choke” the nation’s capital like a boa constrictor in protest of vaccine mandates.
But on Wednesday, when his overhyped convoy turned out to be a piddly procession of one, Bolus backtracked, telling The Daily Beast that his plans have changed and he will not attempt to interfere with traffic.
“We’re not putting a chokehold on D.C. today,” the Pennsylvania-based trucker, who in 2012 served prison time for insurance fraud, told The Daily Beast by phone shortly after noon. But he said he still has hopes of one day disrupting Beltway traffic: “Not to say that it wouldn’t happen in the very near future. It’s just going to be an idea of what’s to come.”
Several journalists were following along with Bolus Wednesday when he set out for D.C. (or the area around D.C. — it was unclear), and their eyewitness description of the convoy was not nearly as impressive as what we saw in Ottawa, according to Reuters producer Julio-César Chávez:
Daily Beast reporter Zachary Petrizzo checked in with Bolus later in the day to find he was giving up and going home after no other truckers showed and he spent the afternoon driving in circles:
Getting lost in a major metropolitan area is pretty hilarious, considering the phones Bolus and his scant followers were using to record and post the convoy’s actions all come with preprogramed map apps. Also, wouldn’t a professional trucker have a professional GPS system? He’s probably not the most technically minded guy, however. He didn’t even use spellcheck before getting his giant freedom slogans printed out and slapping them on his truck. How is Bolus supposed to fight tyranny when he can’t even spell it?
Of course, Bolus’ attempt isn’t the only protest trying to gain momentum across the country right now. The People’s Convoy began its 11-day trek to D.C. on Wednesday with some two dozen semi trucks and 50 or so recreational vehicles and pickup trucks, according to Reuters. The American Truckers’ Freedom Convoy have plans to set out later in March. Other copycat groups have popped up with names like Truckers United For Freedom.
With so many different convoy movements, it seems unlikely that a single one will gain enough critical mass to be as annoying as the Ottawa siege. The Ottawa Convoy organizers claimed their convoy reached 50,000 trucks, which is a mathematical impossibility, but American convoys are still short of the 1,000 to 2,000 trucks estimated by Ottawa police.
I’ve long suspected that an American trucking convoy protest would fizzle out for multiple reasons, but now I’m more convinced than ever. If they even make it to D.C., perhaps they all will be foiled by the clusterfuck of the freeways snaking across the Northeast megalopolis made up of notoriously difficult-to-drive-in cities like Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington D.C. People in those areas are pros at sitting in traffic, I can assure you.