Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Adventure Continues.........A Little Hitchcock....

The Adventure Begins

I was really struggling to keep my bearings in the Siskiyou Mountains on the California side. I had travelled that road mostly in the daylight hours. Now after dark I lost all sense of how far the next landmark I knew would be. That made this trip drag on even more.

I planned to stop once in the state of Oregon. I had myself convinced I could get that far. Then even if I didn't get much sleep. The trip to Washington and home would be manageable. I hung onto this plan when it was probably long past being a sound one.

My sense of time was also skewed in the darkness. Because of the tall forests of the mountains and the cloud cover little if any light was getting through. That darkness had my mind convinced it was much later than it really was but just the thought it was later seemed to make me feel all the more tired. I was really struggling.

There was no consistent radio reception in these mountains (nor had there been on much of my trip) so I had resorted to playing CD's. To tired to locate "good" driving music, the same Kenny Rodgers CD blasted at me to keep me awake. As often as I listened to that thing repeat itself you'd think I could remember the words now.......but I don't. All I know is Kenny was a good friend on this trip.

When I finally reached Oregon, I saw the signs for the rest stop I had used after my first blow-out. The rest stop itself was on the opposite side of the freeway. On that trip I was unclear about how the traffic heading north re-entered the freeway. Because of this confusion, I decided I would go on to the next rest stop which was on MY side of the road. It was just another forty miles down the road..........or so I thought.

That was a big mistake. I have no idea how far the rest stop I found ended up being down the road but it was way past forty miles. Maybe I missed one in the dark, I don't know.

The other mistake I made was deciding when to get fuel. I thought I had some reasonable options along the way. That turned out to be a mistake as well. When I finally did find a station with diesel, it was not on the main road. I had to back track down an even darker side road to find it.

This station was another little mom and pop. It was an old building probably built around the 1940s. It looked deserted from the outside except for one small light off in the distance. The pumps were old and didn't take credit cards. An old sign read "Pay Inside."

I had to walk through a fenced off porch area to get inside this building. I found myself looking over my shoulder to see if anyone was lurking there. I don't know if it was the darkness of the night or my lack of sleep but I felt like I was walking into an old Hitchcock movie.

Through the door, I found a small store dark, dingy and reeking of smoke. The floors were old hardwood blackened with age. Each footfall echoed eerily. The inventory seemed to be mostly cigarettes, candy and beer. I have to admit I wondered if it could possibly be fresh. Oh and toilet paper, I remember TP.

It reminded me of a little old store in Wilkeson where my grandpa lived when he was alive. The only difference was that place was always freshly painted and bulging with life. In this one there was definitely no signs of life except for noise off in the distance.

There was another door on the opposite from the entrance that led to a small cafe. Through another doorway I could see a bar but still no people. From the sounds of it threre were a few rowdy locals in there watching something on the tv. I only heard gruff men's voices. It was feeling more and more like that Hitchcock movie.

I looked on the counter in the store for a bell or something that said how to summon a clerk but found nothing. I poked my head into the cafe and there were a man and woman there. That might have made me feel just a tad better but they were dressed like they were out of one of those old movies. Still no signs of a clerk and I was really wanting NOT to have to go into the bar looking for one.

I fidgeted at the counter trying to decide what to do. If I'd had enough fuel I'd have made a run for it. That's how uncomfortable I was in this place. About the time those thoughts crossed my mind someone said, "I'll be right with you." The voice didn't sound particularly scary so I took a deep breath and waited and waited...........and waited some more.

The clerk did finally show up. He was drying his hands off on a towel. I'm thinking he must have been wearing all of the hats in this place. He seemed friendly enough but I must admit as I handed over my credit card, I wondered if it would come back to haunt me.

It took me longer to pay for my fuel than it did to pump it. When I was finally finished, I couldn't get on the road fast enough.......and did I mention my horses were perfectly still through the entire stop. Even though there was place to park my rig I didn't even consider taking a brief nap there. I desperately needed sleep but it just wasn't going to happen at this place.

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

A Little Witching Hour

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  1. That's pretty scary, I wouldn't have stayed there either.

    We had that happen to us once when we were camping when the kids were small. The only campground at around 11 at night was this spooky Hitchcock place. As we pulled in I said to my husband 'looks like a good place for a murder'. We had to stay anyway as there was no where else close. In the morning, we noticed the sign by the lake, "watch out for alligators'. We couldn't get out of there fast enough. Nice place.

    Bet you're glad you're home!

  2. AHHH!!! you are killing me ! keep telling this story ,I can't wait to hear what happened next

  3. What a story! I could not do that drive - in either direction on no sleep (or next to no sleep) like you did. You are a brave lady to try all of that on your own without maps and a GPS!!!

  4. Arlene, I know what you mean about murder. That's exactly what i was thinking. and Alligators! AWK!!!

    fernvalley01, sorry for the drama, I really wished it had been a quiet uneventful drive......but it just wasn't. And here I was thinking if I could just get home without blow outs or wrecks, I'd be good. Who knew????

    Laura, I didn't think I could do it either but I did have my map quest. It's just that parts of it made no sense to me. Even when I was following Jesse through the part that seemed confusing it just didn't click. This part on I-5 I thought would be a piece of cake. It was not knowing for sure about rest stop and fuel stop locations that did me in.

    As for GPS I'm not sure that would be much comfort. Here a weekend or two ago two different couples got lost in the mountains following their GPS. No one was badly hurt BUT things were hairy for them for a while. From the sounds of it they were travelling in the same area as so much for GPS. Can't you just see me stuck in some snow bank with a rig full of horses!

  5. Oh boy & the suspense continues!! You are a braver woman than me!!