Sunday, June 7, 2009

Eastward Wanderings 2009 - Day 1: Mountains and Valleys (of the Shadow of Death)

Vital Statistics:

Miles: 580.5, Victoria to Just inside the Montana border

States/Provinces Traversed: British Columbia, Washington, Idaho, Montana

Times I ran out of gas within sight of a gas station: 1

Times our belongings were strewn across the road: 1

Times I cursed the day I thought driving our stuff across the country was a good idea: 70

Creepy trucker who followed me to the bathroom twice: 1

Times I’m joking about all of this: 0

As you can see, my first day on the road was a rather eventful one – and not in the good sense of the word. The day dawned sunny and I started out early to catch the 7am ferry off of the island. I just barely caught it which I took as a good omen. I said goodbye to the beauty of the BC oceans and took off for the U.S. border. I had been a touch worried about crossing over but after a 30 min wait and a quick inspection of the cab they waved me through (thanks to me having a bunch of extra paperwork with me [lease, acceptance letter], Thanks Matty B!)

I cruised down the interstate, waded through Seattle traffic and then disaster struck. I had been keeping an eye on the fuel gauge, not too sure how quickly I would go through a tank. It was reading ¼ full so I thought I would wait until I was through Seattle to stop and fill up. Just as I was exiting Seattle all of a sudden the needle dropped to empty and the light came on. I thought, I guess that means I should pull over for gas. I waited until the next exit, signalled, started going up the ramp and then.... nothing. I ran out of gas on the exit ramp, with the Shell in sight. No jokes. Crappy fuel gauge. Someone stopped and went to the gas station to get a jerry can so I didn’t have to leave the truck. Now I have a new jerry can. And now, as soon as the gauge reads half I stop at the next exit to fill up.

With that behind me and being a little shaken I decided to take a pit stop at beautiful Snoqualmie Falls. I stopped for lunch in town and then proceeded a mile over to go see the actual falls. They were quite stunning but then, as I was leaving the parking lot, disaster struck again (curse you Disaster and your big stick!). Somehow the back door of the truck had come loose and was open, unbeknown to me. As I turned out of the lot, the door opened and stuff came tumbling out. No joking again. The padlock was still locked on but somehow the door opened. I turned back to the dismal sight of a pile of our stuff laying there and a gaggle of strangers standing in wide-eyed shock. Thanks to the immense kindness of Connie and her 2 kids and the 3 guys in their SUV, I got most of it back in the truck (tough because everything had shifted) and only a few things were damaged beyond salvaging. Their kindness was probably the only thing that kept me from losing it and sitting beside the road and wailing.

As I resumed my trip I began to prepare for my impending death. I figured that with my day, that was the next step. The immense number of blown-out tire shreds on the side of the road seemed to suggest to me that would be my way to go: blown tire. I also at a number of stoplights ran back to check the door because I thought I heard something (I was a little spooked) But nothing so calamitous befell and I made it to my goal of Spokane. I tried to sleep in the truck but it was a freezing cold night (and my blanket was locked away in the back – there was no way I was opening that door again!) and there was the creepy trucker dude, so I drove on through the night into Montana and spent a few fitful hours in the truck there.

All in all, it was a trying day - To say the least. But it gave me an appreciation for kind strangers and for a God who made sure I was safe through it all. As for the stuff, it’s just stuff – right, honey?!


Jen said...

Yikes! Not the best start. Glad the following day was better,

Anonymous said...

wow. i'm glad you're not dead. sounds like my journal if i was ever to drive cross country! :)