Friday, November 6, 2009

The Adventure Begins.........The Road Hits Back

The Adventure Begins

By now my normal three hour trip to Salem turned into something like six. I hadn't even finished my fight with those tarps when the road signs for Salem went whizzing by. Finally before night time fell, I pulled off into yet another state rest stop to finally fix that load and feed and water my horses.

As I struggled with those darn tarps I was approached by a man asking for help. He claimed his truck was broken down and he needed to be at the airport to pick up his parents. He'd found someone to bring him the required part but didn't have anything but a gas card which just wouldn't do. He needed about $100 in cash.

After my experience with the trucker and the pan handlers I'd encountered at nearly every rest stop along the way, I was thinking in defensive mode. While I believe in helping those who are in need, I was worried that admitting I had cash could put me in an unsafe situation. I struggled with what is really the "right" thing to do as I continued working on those tarps.

The world has changed a lot since my last trip to the US National Arabian Horse Show. Then I hadn't needed to deal with the fear of what the intentions of others might be. I guess I hadn't really thought about these issues up until this point. Now the reality of the journey I'd undertaken began to sink in with it came a sense of uneasiness. I would be glad to reach Jesse's and no longer be on my own.

It was late Saturday night before I even began my ascent into the Siskiyou Mountains still within the borders of Oregon state. I'd been having trouble reading the road signs for indications of diesel fuel as those signs seemed to fly by faster than I could read. While I wasn't sure what towns were coming next, I knew I could travel about 250 miles before needing to refuel. I just wasn't sure how many of those miles would be within the mountain range where I knew the stations would be few and far between.

Being geographically challenged and dependent on diesel fuel, I wasn't sure where or when the next time I would be able to stop might be but my instincts told me I needed to stop and do it soon. It was in the town of Ashland that I pulled over to get fuel before I continued my ascent. Little did I know the timing of that stop would turn out to be important.

I was thinking I had a few more hours of driving time left in me. I planned to get well into the mountains before I found a place to stop. Then I figured I sleep until the sun came up before I continued on my journey.

As usual things did not go as I expected or planned. I hit the steepest part of the grade going up into the Siskiyou's and a construction zone no less when I heard a loud pop. I remember that sinking feeling as I realized I'd just blown a tire. I immediately began looking for a safe place to pull my rig off the road.

Luckily I hadn't reached the "no shoulder" portion of the construction zone. I was able to get over quite quickly to get my truck and trailer onto the shoulder and out of the way of traffic. As I pulled off the road I realized that steam was rising off my engine even though my gauge read well within normal temperatures. I wasn't sure what the reason for this was but at this point I was now worried about both my blown tire and my engine.

I was relieved to find my cell phone actually had a signal in the mountains. With the high hills on both sides of me I wasn't sure that I would. I called Dave to tell him what happened and then I called 411 to get a phone number for some help. There was no way my little trailer jack would handle the weight of a loaded horse trailer on a grade like this and then there was the issue of my steaming truck.

Most of the time since I'd gone past Salem I hadn't known which town I'd left nor what was coming next. My sense of direction and distance is pretty useless most of the time. Thankfully knowing I'd just stopped in Ashland was important to finding any kind of help at least I knew which town to tell the operator for the emergency road service I needed when I dialed 411.

I don't know about the cellular service of others, but here is where mine fell short. I don't have internet coverage on my phone. Yet, the 411 service emailed the information I requested to me when I had no way to receive it. I got a message it was coming, but the actual email with the phone number and name of the company was never received.

I did get connected to the emergency road service. Luckily I got an answer and didn't need to call them back or I'd have been doing the whole process over again. Note to time you take a long trip be sure you have internet service for emergencies.

The emergency service was based in Ashland. They knew the roads well enough they had a pretty good idea where I was just by the information I had on that station where I'd refueled and how long it had been since I'd left there. Help was on the way........

To be continued.............

The Road Hits Back continues

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  1. Oh MiKael! I can't believe we aren't even at Jesse's yet and there have been so many terrifying issues, on day one.
    I know those mountains and they are not to be messed with. We got a speeding ticket up there last time through, in a Prius with 4 passengers and luggage.

  2. Oh my, oh my, oh my!!! Poor you. I think I'd be in tears by now.

  3. That's a scary situation. Glad to hear help was on the way.

  4. So what did you end up deciding to do with the guy that needed money?