Wednesday, November 18, 2009

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

The Adventure Begins

As we pulled out of the rest stop and back onto Interstate 40, I called Jesse to thank him for taking the extra time to give me a break. I knew he didn't need to stop rotating between two drivers resting for two hours had totally been about me.

The first few miles in the early morning darkness I was wide awake. However, the monotony of the drive was hammering away at my resolve. Again I began looking for little goals I could achieve. The first obvious one was making the Arizona border and moving into New Mexico. From there Albuquerque was the next big goal. I couldn't help but wish Nationals was still held there.

In the meantime I waited and watched for any sign of sunrise. I knew myself enough to know that daylight would bring with in much need mental acuity even if I was sleep deprived. Funny how sunrise can sneak up on you even when you're watching. Before I knew it the New Mexico skys were visible and I found myself remembering those sky those fourteen years ago when I arrived in Albuquerque with Dandy.

The timing of that horse show had been the same as the Albuquerque International Balloon Festival Just the thought of all those brightly colored hot air balloon littering the Albuquerque skies made this drive a bit lighter. I knew the festival had been earlier this year. There was no chance we'd be getting a glimpse of that phenomenon again. Albuquerque had another kind of surprise in store for me.

The construction zones across the central United States had started in Arizona and continued on through New Mexico into Texas and even on into Oklahoma. There was a heck of a lot of construction. It made driving difficult. Some of the signs said it was the government stimulus package at work. How much of this construction was funded that way I don't really know.

Those construction zones were set up differently than I'm used to here in Washington. While the signs read "FINES DOUBLE IN WORK ZONES" the slower posted speed limits were much higher. Not only that but the construction workers seemed to be always flagging us through.........faster......faster. Here in Washington those flaggers are always signaling drivers to go slower............slower.

By the time we reached Albuquerque it was rush hour. The construction zone pushed us down to one lane. The rush hour drivers were dive bombing for that lane with little regard for the workers or other drivers. If you didn't keep up, the odds were you'd get run over. The frantic pace was terrifying.

As if that wasn't enough that one lane was not really a true lane. The DOT had set up their orange and white sand filled pylons inside the dotted white line that should have been the right barrier for the far left lane. That forced the traffic to maneuver through with part of each vehicle in the lane and the balance on the shoulder.

Of course, that shoulder was edged with those concrete Jersey barriers. Trying to keep my rig centered between these obstacles was a nightmare. I found myself straddling the groove outside the solid white line that's supposed to be the lane edge. You know the groove........the one that causes that noise to wake sleeping drivers. Driving along that trough made for tough steering.

At one point I hit some kind of rut and it pitched my truck drastically to the right. Suddenly I was faced with three of those heavy pylons directly in my path. I jerk the wheel swiftly to the left and avoided hitting the pylons head on, however, I took out at least one of them with the fender on my dually and another with the fender on my horse trailer. My rig seemed to bounce from the pylons off to the Jersey barriers before I was able to get it back under control.

I immediately called Jesse to let him know what I'd done. My truck seemed to be travelling ok but it was clear I needed to get out of this traffic and find a place to survey the damage to my truck and horse trailer. With Jesse in the lead we headed for the nearest off ramp out of the construction zone.

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

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  1. Rated on Blog Village :)

    Quite an adventure I must say. I doubt I could do it.

  2. Yikes. This is one crazy trip. I always hate when traffic is like that, too fast, too close. Personally, I drive a dually with a gooseneck 4 horse slant. Only semis are bigger. Anyone who wants to crowd me, I just go MY speed and to hell with everyone else. I drive like a grandma with my horses on board and no one is going to make me go faster.
    I recently rode with someone pulling a heavy dump trailer, in a F250. She drove 90 mph (seriously!), and got WAY too close to other cars. Said she'd never had an accident in her life. All I could think was, when she does, it's going to be a bad one. Once you put your face thru a windshield (as I have) you slow the hell down.
    Can't wait to read more, you've got me hooked on this story :)

  3. Awwww, I know those roads well! Aren't they bad? I hope everything was okay with your truck!

    We call those 'Texas curbs' because everything is BiG in Texas!!

    You drove past where I live, you know. Outside of Albuquerque and UPHILL to Sedillo Hill- that's my exit!@!

    Too bad you didn't see any balloons! It sure is a sight!!

  4. I'm confused, you're going to have to put up a route map, so I can figure out from which way you started and how you got there.