The final chapter...
Saturday, September 25:
At 7pm, ex-hub and I decided to hit the road and not wait until Sunday morning. In retrospect, it was a good decision...
As we started out on the highway (with no tail lights) we were heading south at that point. We were heading into the wind a bit and boy was it really rocking the heavy camper. Any time I ventured over 45 the truck would start to rock back and forth.... not good. And the people flying by us were mystified over the slow speed (it's 75mph there). I just tried to keep it in the middle of the lane and not be killed. Thank goodness it was still fairly light out and I wasn't worried about anyone really running into the back of us.
Then we turned West and headed for home. Eventually I got used to the way the truck felt with the heavy camper and trailer and was able to push the speed up to 55 - 60. Anytime I got over 60 though it would start to rock. So, I wisely kept it under that speed and just resigned myself to a very long drive.
Eventually it got dark, but there was a full moon that night and my trailer is white, so I figured it wasn't too bad running without tail lights. I figured if anyone ran into the back of me at that point that lights really weren't going to make a difference anyway.
In Burley, we decided to brave the ridiculous construction again because I needed a little food and my new favorite beverage... a caramel frappé from McD's. Bad I know, but just enough caffeine that it gives me a jolt without making me sick (I have an aversion to caffeine).
After getting back on the road, for the most part the drive went pretty well... but sloooow. I had no idea how slow 55mph actually was. It's slow. The big rig drivers were passing me like I was standing still and every time they did I about got pushed off the road. That's a lot of air going by you, when you think about it. The trick was not to make any sudden moves and then the truck and trailer were fine.
I tried to follow the big rig protocols and give a little flash when they had clearance to get back in my lane. Most seemed to appreciate it. Some, not so much... one tried to run me off the road. Either he was asleep at the wheel or really didn't care for my not-s0-illuminated back end. Tough to tell...
Sunday, September 26:
Eventually we got to Boise. At that point I wasn't sure what time it was, but it was damn early (or late, take your pick) and I was ready for a nap. Ex-hub lobbied to get a room, but I wanted to just grab a quick nap and hit the road again. I figured I had come this far, why not just push through all the way? And, of course, all the driving was up to me because ex-hub can't drive a stick. Yeah. Seriously. He can't...
After a quick nap it was time to get back on the road. All went well until about 30 miles out of Pendleton. There is a hill... well, a mountain actually. It's called Cabbage Hill, but it's a mountain. I was terrified of going down Cabbage Hill with that much weight on my truck. About 10 miles out from the top of the hill I started sweating. About 5 miles out I had to pull over and make a road-side pit stop.
At the top of the hill I decided that I was putting the truck in 3rd and not going any faster than 30mph down the hill (I'm sure Farmer is chuckling over this). The semis were flying past me like I was standing still... which didn't help the situation. By the time we were at the bottom of the hill I was in a full-blown sweat. And so close to Farmer's I could almost see his house.
When we rolled in it was about 6:30am. At that point I had been up for 26 hours with only 45 minutes of sleep. I went for my bed, ex-hub headed for home...
After a couple of hours I decided it was time to get up and deal with what was left... which was: take the camper off the truck, unload the trailer, pack up the camper with the boxes in the trailer and then put the furniture coming back to the coast with me in the bed of the truck. I went outside, looked at the truck and trailer and everything that still had to happen and had a melt-down. Farmer was not impressed.
He's the type of guy who sees no reason to cry about what has to be done. He just gets it done. At that point, I needed to just have a melt-down before I was able to pull it together and dig into what needed to be done. And, of course, I felt horrible that Farmer was the one stuck helping me do it all, instead of ex-hub (who by that time was home and tucked into his bed, sleeping). Farmer put on a brave face, but I could tell he had better things to do.
After a few hours we got everything where it should be... me dragging the whole way. Then it was time to grab Elmo and hit the road.
I had no problem catching Elmo, loading him was another story entirely. Once again I had to call Farmer for help (I'm sure he didn't want to answer his phone, but he's a good friend. He answered). After getting Elmo in the trailer I was finally on the road. It was around 4:30pm by that time.
As I headed into the gorge, it started raining... hard. Unfortunately I hadn't tarped up the furniture in the bed of my truck. So, I pulled down an exit ramp and began to tarp up. It was pretty wet and rainy but of course no one stopped to help even though several cars rolled by me on the exit checking out what I was doing. Typical.
Finally I think I have it tied down well enough and I head back out on the highway. I was wrong. I pulled over and began to tie it down. Yet again. With big trucks trying to kill me while I was at it. I get it tied down again and pull back out onto the road. And just as I get up to speed the windshield wiper on the off side pops off. CRAP!!
I hurridly pull over again, and am able to rescue the windshield wiper before it falls off onto the highway. I get it reattached and then attempt to get back on the road again. By this time it's about 5:45pm and the traffic has really picked up. It took me another 20 minutes to get into the flow of traffic again...
By then I was worn out and frustrated. I called bff and was lamenting to her the cost of the trip, both financially and emotionally. She asked to meet me in Wilsonville so I could drop off a pair of pants that she had left at my house the previous weekend.
We meet up on the exit and bff has a surprise for me. She had gone grocery shopping and had bought a few things for me because she knew I wouldn't do it myself. I was so grateful to her that I cried... well, I probably cried because I was so tired too, but whatever. It was an awesome gesture.
I got back on the road and finally rolled into the coast at around 10:30pm. I got Elmo unloaded and settled, got a lift home from Mower (the furniture was going into his place so no reason to drive the truck and trailer home until it got unloaded) and crawled into the shower.
For a few solid minutes the water ran brown. I needed a shower... badly. By the time I crawled out and into bed it was almost midnight.
I was never, ever so glad to be in my own bed again... and never, ever so grateful to be done with a trip...