This week I started my very first cross country drive, from Georgia to Colorado. I’d planned to drive roughly 300 miles a day for 5 days, stopping overnight at Walmart’s, Cracker Barrel restaurants or welcome centers along the highway. With temperatures hovering between 98 and 102 degrees, I found the best place to be was driving in my air conditioned truck so drove more than 300 miles per day, so had no layovers planned. And I had not passed a shopping district or welcome center for miles and miles. The closest Cracker Barrel was 50 miles behind me, the iPhone app informed me.
The truck stop was quite full when I spied it from the highway, and I liked the name of the exit “Brilliant”. A few guys ogled me from their cabs which gave me a creepy feeling. There was one other RVer there – a huge class A towing a horse trailer, so I pulled in next to them and asked if they were stopped overnight. “Nope”. Made another lap around the parking lot before deciding to park on the outside edge of the third row, primed for an easy getaway in the morning.
I’m not set up with a generator yet, and don’t have air conditioning without an electric hookup, so it was darn hot inside the trailer. If it was 89 degrees outside at night, it had to be at least 95 indoors even with the windows cracked open. I kept the screen door opens for a bit, but certainly had to close them for the evening to feel remotely secure in this no-woman’s-land.
Pretty soon 18-wheeler pulled in alongside me. Rats. Another one parked along the edge. There goes my exit strategy. All night diesel generators thrummed and spewed toxic exhaust in through one side of the trailer, so I closed half the windows. Took a shower, only to start sweating again minutes later. Decided to close my eyes, put in the earplugs and make the best of it.
Woke early the next day to find it was still 89 degrees at 7 am when I was ready to leave. I pulled forward and started turning only to find I was blocked in on both sides by staggered tractor trailers, so would have to back Gypsy up to exit. The trucker on the right side of me blasted their horn twice. Dang! I had almost steered Gypsy into the side of their truck. Pulled forward and tried to reposition her a few times, until the trucker hopped out to guide me. It was a woman my age! After a few more of my nervous attempts, she offered to back her ginormous rig up, and I was able to scoot forward and exit as originally planned. Phew!
I stopped at the gas pumps to refuel and once again heard two blasts from an air horn. Now what? My new highway friend grinned and waved as she passed by.