Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Adventure Continues.........Heading Home

The Adventure Begins

To say 4 am came early would be an understatement. When I heard the sound of my alarm, I groaned in disbelief. The urge to roll over to catch another forty winks was powerful. The thought of Jesse leaving without me crossed my mind and the discussion was over. I literally jumped to my feet to begin dressing.

The trailer was particularly cold that morning. Getting out of my warm pajamas and into my icy clothes was torture. Once I started racing the clock to get all my stuff from the horse trailer stowed away so it could resume its usual job of transporting horses my temperature warmed back up.

Before long I was in my shirt sleeves fighting with the air mattress to relinquish its last dregs of air so the thing could fit back into it's box. I gave up on rolling up the sleeping bags, just folding them to throw into the back seat of my truck. Then I headed to the barn.

I laid out the leg wraps for the horses in front of their individual stalls. Then I glanced at my watch and about had a stroke. My watch read 6:45. Jesse said we were to leave at 6. He was late but I still had gobs to do. How could that have happened? It couldn't have taken me nearly two hours to put my stuff away.

I was breaking into a sweat crawling on the stall floor applying leg wraps when it hit me. Daylight savings time had made its fall change. My phone had corrected itself so I'd arisen at the correct time but my watch was still on daylight savings time. I still had an hour and fifteen minutes before Jesse said he wanted to leave.

I kept on pushing with the leg wraps. I figured I'd have a little time once Jesse arrived because they still had their horses to prepare but I still had hay bags to fill, water buckets to empty and put away, horses to strip and their clothing to put away.

The horse trailer was on the back side of the building. So it was a jaunt to get there with all this stuff. Once I got everything loaded, I still have to load my wheelbarrow onto my truck and tie the thing down. That included those darn that wasn't an easy job either.

When Jesse did arrive it seemed like his horses were ready and loaded in no time. I was ready to load my horses by that time but Jesse had 4 horses for 3 people to load while I had just me. He was loaded and waiting for me and I still had to more horses to retrieve.

It was 6:15 when we were finally ready to pull out. Not bad, I guess but this time I had been the late one.........not my thing. I hate keeping others waiting. I was stressed and we hadn't even hit the road yet.

Jesse asked me if I needed fuel which I did because I'd not been able to locate a station selling diesel anywhere near the fairgrounds. He told me he needed to stop too so I thought we were good.

It wasn't until we hit the turnpike and we passed station after station with diesel fuel I began to worry. I checked my second tank and it was not full so I called Jesse to let him know I had didn't have a second tank to rely on. I really didn't know how much farther I could go.

Still I kept following Jesse and he kept driving down the road. The needle on my tank kept on getting lower and lower. I hadn't been pushing past that quarter mark on either tank. Now I found myself testing just how far I could go.

I flipped back to the second tank to let it run down just to see how many miles I could squeak out. It went a while before the truck sputtered. Then I flipped back to my original tank and watched the needle drop.

I was beginning to get frantic when I spied a station up overhead. There was an off ramp right there so I headed for it watching Jesse pulling away from me down the interstate. I called him on the phone, "I'm getting off here. There's diesel and I'm running on fumes!" Jesse said he'd stop at a station down the road. I assumed we met up there.

I hurried through fueling my truck. Then called Jesse as I got back onto the interstate. He hadn't reached his off ramp but he didn't want me to stop. He told me to drive on through and he would catch up. I was to watch for Interstate 40 and get just keep going. I worried about that catching up. I really had no idea what rate I would travel on my own. I asked Jesse if I should slow down and he said no.

I just kept on bombing down the road. I got onto Interstate 40 at first looking for Jesse in front of me. Then I began looking for Jesse behind me. I kept on like that until I reached the point I needed fuel again. I called Jesse to let him know thinking we could meet up. I found they had already stopped a second time without me. Again I was to just keep on driving once I had refueled. Now I was getting nervous.

The only thing I was sure of was that we would stay on I 40 for about a thousand miles. It wouldn't be until we got off that interstate that I didn't know where to go. That gave me some time to make sure I caught up with Jesse again. I sure didn't want to be travelling the rest of the way home by myself.

Somewhere around lunch time I called Jesse again. This time I asked him exactly where he was. It was as I suspected Jesse was behind me. Although I didn't know exactly where because he didn't know exactly where he was for sure. He only knew the last town he has passed. I had passed that town a ways back.......he said he would catch up.

I got to Albuquerque there was still no Jesse and I needed fuel. The construction zone that had given me problems was not there going west. I thought I was going to make it through without an issue.

I pulled off when I saw a sign saying diesel only to find myself on another freeway. As geographically challenged as I am, I was not prepared to deal with anything except I 40 so now what?? This was why I hadn't wanted to travel alone. That was the last thing I wanted.

I decided to take the first off ramp so I could get myself turned around and back onto 1 40. Instead I found myself in the middle of a mall. Trying to find my way out of there I ended up in a community full of speed bumps and little kids on bikes. Here I was.............lost in Albuquerque, NM.

Looking more closely at the neighborhood. This was NOT a good part of town. There were broken down cars, unkempt yards, even a few boarded up windows and gang graffiti. People were really starting to look at me funny and some of those people did not look friendly. I was beginning to feel a bit frantic about finding a way out...........any way out.

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

Getting to California

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  1. You didn't get too much of a later start than planned. Usually, if we traveled with a bunch of people and trailers we all helped each other load horses, so we wouldn't be on our own. They could have given you a hand, I think.

    Being lost in certain parts of Albuquerque is not a good thing. I've been there lots of times and it can be dicey. Glad you made it home safe.

  2. I drove to Long Island last summer and had a GPS on the way out but not on the way home. The GPS made all the difference, no scrambling for maps, no close calls struggling to figure out if that's my exit or not. Having the GPS took all the stress out of my drive.

    Dashboard GPS units have gotten downright cheap lately. It would be a worthwhile investment.

  3. Man, I really feel for you on that one! I used to live in ABQ and being lost in a bad part of ton there is stressful enough without horses!

  4. The Big 'I' freeway interchange system in Albuquerque really sucks, doesn't it? I live there and I still find it confusing.

  5. Geez!!! You dont want to EVER run out of fuel in a Diesel vehicle, ask me my bus did in September and after replacing fuel pump and filter it is still not running, I cant afford to spend any more money on it so it is standing!!! I was warned once before not to run out of diesel but the gauge was giving us a reading that we still had fuel, unfortunately it appears that was not working properly!