Saturday, January 19, 2008

Everything Will Be Fine, Unless or Until It Isn't

Why don't I enjoy traveling? It's such an adventure. What's not to like? I set out for FL with Beeboo on Thurs at 3:30 a.m., filled with the manic optimism that only comes from being a cattle dog or getting 3 hours of sleep. I picked up Shelly my traveling companion at 4. Shelly is great, she manages a big boarding farm with 40 horses, she's always full of energy and laughter, and is dauntless even in the face of an arterial spray.

We went to hitch up my trailer, which was frozen to the ground, after much cursing on my part, and a smashed knuckle, we were hitched and ready to go. Dundy loaded like a perfect gentlemen, despite the fact that the last trip he was on was a grueling cross country haul from California. We were all underway by 5, hoping to be south of DC by rush hour and well ahead of the snow storm.

Traffic was heavy but moving fast as we cleared 495 and got onto 95 south and I was pretty psyched. Then I saw this big chunk of something in my lane, it was impossible to avoid in 4 lanes of rush hour traffic so I ran it over, it made a big thunk, Dundy jumped a little in the trailer, but then everything seemed fine. Until... I looked in the side view mirror to see copious sparks flying from the back of my trailer and Dundy started jumping around. Now when a 13oo pound horse starts pitching a fit in a trailer, especially a trailer that is one tire short of it's recommended number, things can go badly awry.

Fortunately, there was a truck stop a mile further and by totally destroying my wheel we were able to limp to safety. I was really pissed. Shelly said , "Well, at least it's not snowing, we can change a tire right?" So I opened up the back of the truck to discover... my tire iron is missing? Now, I used to have AAA, but John thought is was a waste of money because we never used it. Shelly, has AAA, we called, 2 1/2 hours later the guy showed up and it took him an hour to change the tire because the lug nuts were on too tight. I called John... now I have AAA again too. Shelly said, "it's just as well you didn't have the tire iron because we would have hurt ourselves trying to get those lug nuts off."

We left the Dale City truck stop at 10. And then it started to snow... really, really hard. And there was no salt on the road. By road, I mean interstate 95, a fairly large, important road. WTF, it's not like this storm was a surprise. The road got very bad, and people were sliding all over the place. I wasn't sliding, the rig is too heavy fully loaded, but we drove thru the entire state of VA at 30 mph. We were now decidedly behind schedule. Shelly said, "I love your truck, it is so nice, and isn't Dundy being a good boy!"

In NC the snow turned to sleet and the roads appeared to have been treated with the modern miracle of salt. Shelly drove for a while and things were looking up. Halfway thru SC I dumped diesel fuel all over myself and Shelly said, "Oh, don't worry that will wash out if you pretreat the stain."

The second half of SC was all road construction, with jersey barriers and no room to pass, of course that didn't stop the trucks from passing anyway and I was a raw nerve gripping the steering wheel with white knuckles and a grim expression. Shelly said," You're a great driver." In Georgia the construction stopped but it started to rain really hard. Shelly said, " I'm so glad this isn't snow."

We made it to the AG station in FL, where they check your paperwork at 9, knowing full well we had at least 2 more hours to go. Dundy was beginning to be done with the trip and threatening to get pissy. Eugene called to ask what the hell was taking so long. He asked if we could drive any faster, I told him to go to hell. Shelly said, "We're almost there."

On 10 west in the dark in the rain, we saw 2 trucks in some sort of bizarre death race in front of us, in heavy traffic, that ended with one of them running off the road, literally RIGHT in front of us. Shelly said," Jesus, this trip fucking sucks!"

After breaking Shelly's spirit and with Beeboo whining piteously and Dundy kicking the walls of the trailer to smithereens, we pulled into Eugene's just before midnight. The trip that should have taken 13 hours, took over 18, and we were all done with it.

Everything is fine now and will continue to be fine... unless or until...


John I said...

So, the dream fire ants don't seem too bad now, do they?

Hilary said...

What a trip!

Keep blogging. We miss you already.