Thursday, June 05, 2008

Before The Locusts Come

Yesterday, we had what people call "one of those days."

The day started with Ed spending a good part of the morning tarping our load. We had begun the day fairly early as we were hauling an oversized load and were only allowed to drive during daylight hours. Time was of the essence.

As he was tarping, he noticed a hissing sound coming from one of our tires, which is not a good sound to hear when you're standing still and not letting the air out intentionally. Upon closer inspection, he noticed a bolt sticking out the tread, similar to how a nail pierces a car tire. Well, off to find a repair shop...

After sitting at the repair shop for thirty minutes, he resumed his tarping task. When done, he finally drug his sweaty, dirty self back to the truck to begin our cross country journey. We stopped about an hour into the trip to check our load and tighten the straps securing everything to the truck; it's standard procedure for us to periodically check our cargo to make sure everything is where we left it and nothing has loosened up along the way. We usually do it every time we stop, which if you know us, is often. Coffee, peeing, lunch, Starbucks break, etc.

When we made our first stop, Ed did a walk around and in the process, noticed a huge rip in our tarp. Our $600 dollar tarp! I suggested getting my heavy duty needle and thread out, but he was so convinced that wasn't going to work (as if men know anything about sewing) so rather than arguing with him in the hot sun, we moved onto Plan B. Plan B didn't involve any arguing in the hot sun but rather, patching the tarp in the hot sun. Oh, how I loved this idea.

We spread the tarp on the ground and started to brush rubber cement on the patching material. The patch was too large and it was clear the one inch brush was going to take all day, and the clock was ticking, so I just dipped my hand into the glue can and started spreading it on with my bare mitts.

Great idea, as it shortened my time in the sun. Bad idea if you consider how much time it took to peel the glue off my hands. Once I got it all peeled off though, I waited in the air-contioned truck while Ed re-tarped the load. We were off to a great start. A late, great start.

We left the rest area, me now behind the wheel, but it wasn't long before we heard the honking of horns and saw the hand signals of other drivers. Almost at that very same moment, we turned to each other and said, "Do you smell that??" It was the acrid smell of burning rubber. And it was OUR rubber.

We never keep the CB on, but when I flipped it on, other truckers were politely alerting me to the fact that I was burning up our trailer brakes. I quickly pulled over on the side of the road and flipped on my flashers as Ed jumped out to investigate. Apparently, our brake valve got stuck, which causes the brakes to slightly engage, resulting in smoke emitting from the brake drums. Thank God we caught it in time, as there was no damage, but we did have to sit there and let them cool off for a few minutes (more lost time) and as we sat, I reminisced about that summer day in my teenage years when I drove our station wagon two miles to our family restaurant with the emergency brake on. That story still follows me - almost twenty-three years later.

We didn't think the day could get any worse until we pulled into our hotel for the evening; a lovely little cottage type establishment with plenty of truck parking, which was unusual. Ed checked in, got our room key and we began the long trek to our room. No way. This is SO not gonna work, I was thinking. When we got there, we had to step over a group of six guys who spilled out of the room next door, smoking and drinking as they sat on the little front porch. I promptly called the front desk and told her I wanted another room, as close as possible to where I parked my eighteen wheeler. She probably heard the annoyance in my voice and quickly obliged.

Ed met me at the room, where we unloaded our bags. The first thing I did was run to the bathroom and pee; Ed took care of the same task moments later. After the flush, I heard him say, "Oh no." That's right. The toilet overflowed. Just pee and toilet paper, so it must have been the bad luck of the day. HOW is this possibly happening?

After that was all cleaned up, we took showers and settled into bed. There were two beds in the room, so we decided to each claim our own and spread out; something we don't do in the truck when we are sleeping curled into each other like sardines. Ahhhh, for once, I didn't have to be part of a
flame sandwich.

I settled in with my book and just as I was getting into the second paragraph, I heard a crash. I looked over and saw Ed, leaning up against the headboard, except the headboard was no longer on the wall. It had fallen off the wall, bolts and all and slid behind his pillow to the floor.

After I helped him move the headboard and got back into bed, I said, "What did you say our room number was?"

"Thirteen." he answered, "Why?"

"Well, it just sums up our whole day. The bolt in the tire, the late start, the ripped tarp, the burned up brakes, the shitty hotel room, the overflowed toilet, the near decapitation by a headboard and the unlucky thirteen as our room number. What's next, locusts?? Tomorrow has got to be better."

Tomorrow came just four hours later...and so far, has been smooth sailing. We'll see what happens at nightfall.


Michelle | Bleeding Espresso said...

Oh. My. God. "Just one of those days" really doesn't cover that one. May you *never* have another one even remotely like it!

By the way, would you be interested in writing a guest post for me sometime? No pressure! Even something from your archives would do :)

Terry said...

Hey Dahlin, Thanks for stoppin by. Yeah, I pull a flatbed with one of those fancy curtainside tarp assemblies and you are not the only amazed to see a littly bitty girl hop out of the truck :) I am amazed when I look at my Truck and realize just how huge it really is. I have been driving solo for ten years....

Happy Truckin...