Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The Adventure Begins.........The Road Hits Back...Getting By.........

The Adventure Begins

When all was said and done, I'd spent over $800 on new tires and an extra rim for my horse trailer. It was well past dark when the job was finally finished and Jesse mentioned we still have about twenty-three hours of travel left in front of us. The emotional drain of all this stuff was taking it's toll. I was beginning to wonder if I could complete this drive by myself.

I think Jesse was worried about it too although he never said. While he didn't want me to hold him up, he didn't want me to have problems either. He mentioned in passing that he might be able to stop for an hour or maybe two max so I could rest. That was all I needed to rekindle my resolve. I knew from past experience I could make Tulsa with a break......even that short.

So once again we headed down the road. Jesse in the lead and me following his trailer lights in the dark. We got onto Interstate 40 and began the long stretch to Tulsa. If I remember my MapQuest correctly, it was over a thousand miles down this interstate before we'd be anywhere near our destination of Tulsa.

I tried not to think about that fact often. I found it depressing. Instead I thought about when would be the best time to take my break. I knew if I timed it right, the rest of the drive would be manageable. With a little thought I decided the most difficult times of the night for me would be those late night hours just before dawn. If we stopped at around 2 AM and stayed until 4, I would be resting through the worst of it. Refreshed from the break, I'd be able to make it through the last hours of darkness. Once the sun rose, I would have renewed energy to get me through to Tulsa.

With this plan finally determined, I just set about following Jesse. Other than making sure we stopped when I needed fuel, staying on Jesse's tail was my major focus. As the hour got later, the traffic became more sporadic. The lights of the horse trailer in front on me danced hypnotically.

There's always been something about a well lit horse trailer against the dark night that reminds me of graceful dancers. I'm not sure why that is. I only know I've had this impression many times before. It doesn't stem from fatigue or lack of sleep. There's something about them that keeps me focused and lends reassurance as well. I just love the look of those lights running down the darkness.

The later it got, the more I focused on making it until 2 AM. I found myself in a mental game willing myself through this treacherous drive against time and dreaded sleep. Road signs with mileage got translated into terms relating to that goal. Each a manageable step in my quest to ward off the monotony courted by sleep.

When I felt I couldn't make it another mile, I told Jesse I was ready to stop. Before long he pulled off into a rest area along side the Interstate. The place was dark and filled with semi trucks already tucked in for the night. At the far end Jesse found parking spots for both of us. We pulled in and turned off our engines and out lights.

First I got my phone out to set my alarm. I wanted to no take one minute longer on this break than Jesse had been willing to give so I set the time for 3:45. That gave me a few minutes to be wide awake and put things in order for the drive. Then I quickly went through my routine setting up a place to sleep.

The horses had been feed and watered at our last stop for fuel. They stood quietly in the trailer allowing me to sleep. Before I knew it my phone was signaling it was time to get up.............

Keep in mind at this point it had now been almost seventy hours since I'd risen Saturday morning to begin this trip. During that time I had actually sleep about ten hours. Yet, I didn't groan or even set the snooze alarm when my phone woke me. My eyes no longer felt laden with the weight of much needed sleep. I actually felt ready to proceed on with the trip despite only getting about an hour and a half of sleep.

By the time I put my bedding away and my boots back on, Jesse had turned the lights on to his rig. He was ready to get back on the road. I was ready to but in the back of my mind I was trying to do the math to figure out how many miles we actually had left.

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

The Road Hits Back.......Albuquerque

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