I thought that driving a big ol’ truck cross-country was adventurous enough, but the added mini-adventures slipped their way in and made it even more fun. Bess and I laughed at most of the craziness but we got a little wide-eyed at times.
It started at the very beginning when the loading guys didn’t show up Monday morning. There we were with our 20 ft long UHaul – “Lightnin’ Bug” – that required a hoist to get me behind the wheel and, dang it, no one to load it. Bess and I were all geared up for helping in our tennies, sunglasses, and ponytails, and we just stood there checking the time on our phones. After waiting ’til 10:45am to decide “R.B.” was a no-show, we located a great set of movers who arrived within an hour, did their job really well and had fun doing it.
Through East Texas and Louisiana we stopped multiple times to stretch our legs, get iced coffee and cheezits, and take Gus for a walk. Bess would do a little jaunt around the parking lot with G on the leash, while I did important-looking calf stretches the way runners do to warm up. As we rolled through Mississippi, we found THE pet-friendly overnight spot! Drury Inn in Meridien, Mississippi.
We drove Lightnin’ Bug into the parking lot around 9:30 pm and I navigated my way into the porte-cochere, hopping the curb with my right rear tire, taking out only a little bit of the landscaping. I heard the guy sitting out front kinda let out a guffaw.
Once checked in, we circled the parking lot and eventually decided on sidling up to the curb in the well-lit side area, grabbed a cart and took in our bags with G-dawg pinning his ears back confidently and leading the way. What a nifty hotel – clean, sparkling – with smiling staffers and really comfy beds. Breakfast was a huge array of homemade tasty hot food. Great way to start our long day’s haul.
We tooled down the highway easily, passing through Alabama and heading towards Georgia. I thought this would be a singing/whistling/dancing to the radio cross-country, but I was pretty intent on managing this haul down the highway as safely as possible. So, Bess and I had a great time simply discussing every possible subject that came to mind.
Lightnin’ Bug had a cool fuel gauge. It would ding ding ding when it got to 50 miles of fuel remaining, and then would display a count-down as you drove. 49 miles of fuel left…..48….47. We would then begin watching for service stations. It took a while getting accustomed to the absence of stations at service road exits. They seem to be at every exit in Texas. So, planning ahead would (typically!) be imperative. Bess and I must have been fairly into one of our interesting conversations because the gas gauge was silently screaming to me that we had only a few miles of fuel left. 2 miles left, it said. Then 1…..0! I was announcing this to Bess who helped me worry as we coasted to the next service road and parked. Dennis, a great big guy in a great big state highway construction truck came by and said he didn’t usually give rides to strangers but agreed to this time. Turns out he had a 5 gallon full gas can which he generously emptied into Lightnin’ Bug, refusing payment, and then sent us on our way with instructions to the nearest station. I thought he was bossy with his admonitions, but I suppose we deserved it.
I promise my next post won’t be this lengthy. I just HAD to tell you about that adventure, the beginnings of my journey towards Paraguay. Won’t have to worry about running out of gas there — they’ll be issuing me a bicycle.