One might think the second day of driving would be easier. But one would be just a teeny bit wrong. Not to say that there was as much traffic as the first day, not by a long shot, but we’d planned the trip to have drive times of 8 hours, 10 hours, 8, 10, 10, 8 so there could be a little breathing room. So any extra traffic kind of shot a big pointy arrow through the heart of our best laid plans. Things worked out a little closer to 12, 12, 8, 11, 11, 10.
Road weary would be an extreme understatement.
The bright side though is that I pretty much could tell you the cleanest rest areas from Boston to Phoenix because with all the water I had to drink to avoid the swelling of extremities from sitting in a pleather bucket seat for a week, I pretty much had to pee every 10 minutes.
As opposed to usual when I only have to pee every 15 of course.
We rolled into the Days Inn Cookeville at about 10:00 PM and upon check in learned there was only one truck spot open. It was all the way at the back of the hotel which was fine because it was right outside our door pretty much. The thing was there was no pull through so no matter what we were going to have to figure out how to back up with the trailer attached to the truck. We both decided that would best happen in the morning after a good short night’s sleep and a big old cup of coffee.
That was one of the best decisions we’d made to date.
It was slightly raining the next morning and the raucous thunderstorm actually woke me up at about 5:00. The construction vehicles that were supposed to be gone to work were still firmly planted in their spots. So we walked out the measurements of the truck and parking lot to see how we could make the turn.
Matt walked the truck and got 44. I walked the lot and got 43. Oh.
With much debate we decided that since we had a lot of room at the end of the lot we could make it even if it was a 600 point turn. Of course a trailer does exactly opposite of what you want it to do. Or rather, a trailer does exactly opposite of what the truck does. With one foot to play with we held our breath and Matt started to make the turn.
You know how traumatic experiences can be blocked in one’s mind and sink deep into the subconscious? Yeah, well the next 30 minutes of my life after that moment are not like that. I remember every detail with such vivid clarity that even now that I’m sitting on my freshly shampooed Berber carpet in Arizona I start to physically shake a little even thinking about it.
There was one moment when I said, through the streaming tears on my cheeks, that clearly we’d be moving into the Cookeville, Tennessee Days Inn for the rest of our lives. On the tight turns the cross bars of the trailer were closer to the step up into the back of the truck than we really wanted but it never touched so we just kept going. And going, and going. Going until I was shaking with fear that the truck was going to get trapped crossways in the lot and then we’d really be stuck.
The 200 foot drop down into the hazardous water river (oh yes it was clearly marked with signs that said as much but I wasn’t exactly in my right mind to be taking photos of the type of stuff I usually would – stuff like that) wasn’t really what I had in mind when we said we could just drop the car off the trailer.
We both lit another cigarette. Until that exact moment we had both managed to get through the move without even a hint of pissing each other off. This was a step that I noted deep inside because every other move prior we’d have already been hating each other. See the thing is we’re both highly logical people its just that sometimes Matt’s logic is just wrong.
And I can say that all I want because this is my blog and there’s no one to tell me it isn’t true (go ahead and try to comment babe and watch as I hit the delete button before anyone gets to read just how very wrong I am).
With my own logic and a caffeine/nicotine/adrenaline induced panic attack firmly under way I paced the parking lot sobbing while Matt got out of the truck for the 800th time to put his hand on his chin in that ‘I just stare at the trailer, but it looks like I’m thinking’ squinty-eyed look on his face.
We both talked out what to do. Okay in all fairness, we both warbled exactly what to do because nothing coherent was coming out of either of our mouths. I think at one point I actually considered suggesting that we could probably pick up and turn the trailer with the car still on it just from the sheer adrenaline coursing through our veins. Luckily in a moment of clarity I did not utter this suggestion out loud.
He got back behind the wheel and said ‘tell me if that trailer cross bar gets any closer to the back of the truck, I have a plan’. Cringing at the thought of all bad things starting with the phrase ‘here, hold my beer for a second and check this out…’ I was just happy we were drinking coffee. I kept my mouth shut and continued to flag him on because that bar couldn’t really have gotten any closer than it already was.
Matt kept putting it in reverse. Then drive. Then reverse. Then drive until he finally got back out and surveyed the front of the truck. Somewhere neither of us had been in about 3 hours since we’d started this catastrophe of a turn around. We both walked up there and looked.
I knew in an instant he had enough room to make the turn. I knew it wouldn’t put the bar any closer. I knew the trailer was going to turn, nothing was going to snap and we were going to actually leave Cookeville, Tennessee.
He got back behind the wheel and I used the finger motion of ‘yup, just keep ‘er commin’ until he had cleared the concrete barrier at the end of the parking spaces. I know it was by some miracle of fate (as if the gods were somehow shining down on us and moved the concrete block at the end of the parking spot) that Matt managed to make the turn.
We were free!
Faster than you could say ‘ see ya’ll later’ we were out and on the road to Mississippi!