Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Adventure Continues.........The Final Day......

The Adventure Begins

As I pulled out of this rest stop within a state park, I figured I would only drive as far as I thought was safe. If that meant I needed to pull into the next rest stop, that's exactly what I was going to do. I was not taking anymore risks with my life or the lives of my horses by falling asleep at the wheel.

In those two hours while I was stopped, the weather had taken a turn for the worse. A storm had moved in, where it wasn't raining miserably with high, it was a very dense fog. I had trouble finding the white line to even guide me back onto the freeway whichever way it was.

When I reached the freeway, things were not much better. Visibility was in the toilet and I don't think it was because I was sleep deprived. Under any conditions this type of driving is bad news. I adjusted my rate of speed to suit these road conditions as well as my personal conditions.

Occasionally, a vehicle would whiz by me but they were few and far between. The driving conditions soon began to take their toll on me. Before long I was fighting nodding off to sleep with everything I had. It was time for another rest stop.

Mostly the rest stops in Oregon and Washington come about forty miles apart. I imagine that's about what it was when I saw that next green sign saying there was a rest stop in a mile. I counted on that mile going by quickly and I signalled my exit as soon as I caught a glimpse of the next time.

I was hoping this rest stop was the traditional kind of stop I expect to find in Oregon. Although as I weaved my way around some more winding roads, I began to loose hope of that. The area for the trucks as not paved and I saw no evidence of rest rooms. I was thankful I hadn't been drinking caffeine on this trip. I'd have been in a world of hurt by now not being able to use a bath room since the Hitchcock rest stop in the pass.

There was little parking available because most rigs were still hunkered for the night. I crept along slowly looking for any place that might accommodate my rig. From what I could tell there really wasn't any designated layout for this place. Rigs were just parked wherever they could.

About the time I thought I would have to give up on finding a place to park, I heard a truck start up. It turned out that rig was just a ways down from me. I had to wait until that rig was warmed up and had pulled out before I could park in its place but it was better than having to get back on the road to find another place to stop.

Once again I grabbed my pillow and my blankets so I could settle down to get some sleep. Just like at the last rest stop I slept until a horse woke me up. This time I don't think I made the two hour mark. It was more like an hour and a half..........and even that might be generous. The horses were definitely feeling the results of not stopping for an overnight out of the trailer at Jesse's farm. I felt bad for them cooped up in the trailer but it sure wasn't safe to get them out to stretch.

The skies had lightened up some by the time I got ready to go this time. I feed the horses and retied my load before I even tried to go back to the freeway. I could see more of the rest area than I had when I'd arrived. It looked more like a big vacant lot than any rest stop I've ever used.........but at least I got some sleep. That's what matters I guess.....still this isn't a place I would have willing chosen. Someone more familiar with this route would have had much better options. My ignorance about travelling was taking its toll.

As I pulled back onto the freeway, I checked my fuel gauge again. It was getting near the time I would need fuel. I remembered on the trip down diesel had been difficult to locate in this part of the state. My guess is that was because it wasn't marked on the state road signs that indicated stations, not because there wasn't diesel available. I planned to stop at the first station I saw and take my chances.

Again I found myself in a situation. Coming down the off ramp I could see the station but I couldn't tell which road led to it. I ended up taking the road to the right and it turned out to be the wrong choice. I found myself driving a couple of miles down a frontage road next to the freeway before I could find a place suitable to turn around.

Even when I got back up near the station again from this new vantage point, it was still confusing trying to figure out how to actually get to the station. I ended up driving around a bit before I got to the right place to enter the station's parking lot. Once there getting lined up with the pump that had diesel wasn't easy either. It's a good think I'd had some sleep. I'm pretty sure my patience would have gone and I'd have blown a big big fuse.

In Oregon there is no such thing as "self serve" at a gas station. It's the law there. All fuel must be pumped by a paid attendant. Supposedly this law is about safety. The powers that be think normal people aren't capable of pumping gas safely.

My first trip to nationals with Dandy those fourteen years ago, an Oregon gas attendant pumped gasoline into my diesel tank. As you might imagine letting someone else pump my fuel now always makes me nervous. I waited for this attendant to grab the green diesel nozzle before I raced off to the much needed rest room.

While I was waiting for the attendant to even come to my vehicle, I'd opened all three of the horses windows. I figured at this stage of the trip they should know how to hand their heads out together. It was quite a sight coming out of that station looking at all three of my horses studying the activities of the woman pumping my fuel.

The woman didn't know what to think. She didn't know anything about horses and was a bit intimidated by them. Although it was obvious she had some curiosity about them as well. When I returned she began barraging me with questions about horses.

A little ways into our conversation she told me that she didn't think Rhet liked Gypcy. I laughed as I explained to her that Rhet liked Gypcy just fine. He just didn't want her sticking her face into his space......since he didn't have all that much space to begin with.

This stop is when I took the picture I posted the day of my return. It's the same picture I posted on the top of this blog. The sun was not up yet but it was my last stop in the dark.

I stopped at the next two rest stops sleeping for as long as the horses would allow. Well, let me be honest here. The horse causing the problem turned out to be none other than Legs.

The stallion had had it with being in the horse trailer for over forty-eight hours without getting out. He was quiet when the rig was moving..........and only allowed me one hour breaks when it was not. Then the horse would begin jumping around so dramatically that the horse trailer would actually shake the truck. It felt like an earthquake with the whole vehicle heaving back and forth. The horse never said a word...........he didn't have to, I got the point.

I did try to look in to see exactly what he was doing. The horse would stop when I got within his field of vision. I never did get to see the "picture" of his contortions but my guess is he was a real bucking bronc and pro rodeo circuit bronc would love to emulate!

From this point forward my trip was pretty much about the same. I only had to make one more stop for fuel. That was the usual station I stop at whenever I travel to Salem. The rest of the way, it was about driving and one potty stop. I pulled into my driveway just before noon on Tuesday.

I was home........but nobody else was. I ended up without any help to unload the horses. I called Dave on his cell in a conversation I cannot repeat. By the time he arrived, he was able to help me retrieve my pillow from the truck and I headed off to sleep.

The Aftermath

Visit Blog Village and vote daily for this blog Here They are now measuring the rankings by votes out, so if you find my blog on the site, please click that link too to improve my rankings. TY


  1. Oh my!

    First, I love the heads with their brightly colored hoods!! lol.

    Second, I am glad you made it home all in one piece, more or less. I hope you finally hit the hay and slept for a while!!

    Third, what an adventure!! Ready for next year? lol.

  2. Well , glad to read it ended well , but what a ride! I wouldn't want to repeat that go round ever again. Maybe Leggs thought the rest stops were creepy too. Thanks for sharing .

  3. And yes I waited up for you to post it!

  4. Welcome home! Loved the adventure!

  5. Now I can take a full breath. I'm so glad you are home safe and sound.
    Poor Dave, the guy who started this whole adventure with his winnings.

  6. I love this pic!!! Glad u got home, I can sleep tonight and not have to put up with a cliffhanger again LOL.