Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Adventure Begins.........The Road Hits Back...Into the Second Day

The Adventure Begins

While I'm really too tall to be able to lay down in my truck, I managed to simulate a prone position by padding up a corner of the seat and door forming something of a ramp to lay across. My feet end up on the floor on the passenger side but that's ok. At least I can stretch out my nearly six foot frame.

I do have to pad over the seat belt holders. They make for mean lumps when one is trying to sleep. I've found my down coat and vest work pretty well at this so I use one for each of the two bothersome locations although getting them wadded just right makes a big difference.

It's something of a production getting all this stuff in place just so but once I do, even I, the lightest sleeper in the known world can actually fall asleep.
Once I am awakened, however, that's it for me. I am done with sleeping. It really doesn't matter how much I need it, or want it, sleep will not return twice in one night.

Here in this rest stop at near the top of the Siskiyou Mountains I was hoping I'd at least be able to sleep until daylight. Those tire stores wouldn't be open early on a Sunday morning. Even though they were a ways down the road, arriving anytime before noon probably wouldn't be helpful. I prayed the horses would have a peaceful I could have a sleepful night.

On this particular occasion the horses did a pretty good job of that for the first couple of hours at least. Their first rumblings only seemed to be minor and while I might have heard them on some level, they weren't enough to wake me.

As the truckers decided to get an early start, the horses decided it must be time for us to move as well. Around 4 am they began to get more serious about needing some attention. A few well placed kicks and I was wide awake despite really needing at least another three hours or more of sleep.

By the time I fed and watered the horses and stored my make shift bed it was getting close to 5:30 AM. I pulled a container of Yoplait's lite out of my cooler, grabbed a spoon and hit the road. I figured I would take it easy through the rest of the pass. Maybe I'd get lucky and pull into Redding about the time the town was waking and find a tire place along the way.

The horses settled down once the trailer began to move. I don't know if it was fresh hay in front of them or having to concentrate to stay standing throughout the twisting winding roads of the pass. I was relieved to have them finally settle in after the turmoil of the night before. I was beginning to think all of this chaos had ruined the horses sense of safety.

The first part of this drive was mostly boring. There were a couple of times my heart stopped because the truck thought it should gurgle a bit but mostly it ran just fine. I even found myself creeping up faster than that 45 MPH the mechanic had suggest but the truck seemed to just take it in stride. The temperature gauge didn't rise in the least and there were no more signs of steam.

Once the sun came up I really settled into a groove driving down the freeway. There were few people on the road at this hour so I had time to do some thinking about how I was going to deal with finding a tire place. I've never had much luck with the sixth sense that some travellers have...... just pulling off at the appropriate off ramp and finding whatever they need. Being geographically challenged I was worried about getting lost as much as finding a tire.

When the signs for Redding finally began to appear it was still too early to be looking for tires so I decided I go on to the next big town. Then it turned out I turned off heading for Jesse's before I actually reached that town. My well laid out plan was quickly falling apart and I was getting nervous about finding that tire.

I decided the next time I stopped for fuel I'd inquire about tire stores. Wouldn't you know that stop turned out to be one of those off ramps promising fuel but not really saying it's miles down the road. When I did find the station, it was rather run down and the people hanging around outside a bit scary. Looking at my fuel gauge I didn't seem to have much choice not knowing how far down the freeway the next diesel station would be. I swallowed hard and pulled in.

I can remember when I went into the little store, the floor was an old wooden thing that reminded me of the general store where my grandfather shopped when I was a kid. The air smelled about the same as that old general store too. Some of the occupants looked like they could have been from that era as well. I wondered if I'd driven into some unknown time warp.

I paid for my fuel and asked about tire stores. The clerk gave me the name of the next town but I had trouble getting it. The absence of several of her front teeth affected her pronunciation and I was embarrassed to ask her to repeat a third time. Later when I saw the signs for Vacaville I realized why I'd had such troubles understanding her. The V's and C's are hard enough without putting them together.

That clerk was right, however. Vacaville had several tire stores. The problem was most of them were not open on Sunday. With the help of an assortment of strangers I flagged down in parking lots, at bowling alleys and mall parking lots, I managed to find several tire stores. I can't even tell you how many different tire stores I tracked down nor how many wrong turns or blocks circled even finding them in the first place, only to have them closed or without tires that would work for me.

Eventually I ended up looking for Wal-Mart. Not the first place I'd think of shopping for trailer tires but by now I was desperate. It was getting close to 3 PM and I still hadn't located a spare so when the good Samaritans said Wal-Mart that's where I headed........only it felt like I spent an hour driving around the complex the store was supposed to be in before I actually found it.

When I did find the Wal-Mart, the tire department was at the very back corner. Getting to it with my truck and trailer proved to be its own challenge and, of course, the speed bumps were particularly bothersome to the horses.

By the time I pulled into the tire department's parking lot, the horses were having something of a temper tantrum. I'm pretty sure the workers wanted to run for cover. They kept telling me they couldn't change a tire on anything with livestock still inside even though I didn't need them to change a tire at all.

Once I got it through their heads what I needed was a spare, they actually began looking to see if they had a tire that would work. Since this seemed to be my last hope of getting a tire on Sunday, I crossed my fingers. I didn't know what Jesse would think of waiting for me to get a spare on Monday.

As it turned out, Wal-Mart did have a tire they said was right for my trailer. While they mounted the thing up, I went into the electronics department and found a charger for my phone. Then I went back to the tire section and waited and waited...............and waited some more.

When I realized that they were calling people who had arrived after me, I went to the counter to see what the problem was. It turned out the only problem was the kid who had mounted my tire had forgotten to complete the process in the computer. I'd been sitting there for over an hour when I didn't need to that moment I wasn't very appreciative of Wal-Mart. As it turned out, it wasn't the only time I'd be not so happy with them.

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

The Road Hits Back......The Second Night

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