We went on a little mission Sunday that turned out to be quite interesting.
Chris rented two 24’ trucks and borrowed a third truck from Larry Clark. This truck was considerably smaller than the other two, but we felt it would take all three trucks and the trailer to get all the stuff from Cape G. This smaller truck also has no working lights and a broken fuel guage. But, fortunately we “knew” it had a range of 225 miles!
We had planned on leaving at 7:30 AM, but by the time we actually hit the road, it was 8:30. Couple that with Chris mistakenly thinking it was a 3-hour drive rather than 4 and we were already 2 hours behind on a 4-hour trip!
Before we left town, Steve wanted to get a breakfast sandwich somewhere. Well, we pulled into K-Mart and the speed bump made the chains on the trailer come off.
Now factor in that Chris had 3 cups of coffee and an extremely large glass of OJ from McDonald’s before we left the house, and add to that the extremely bumpy ride on the Pennyrille Parkway and we had to make a stop along the highway.
Well, when we stopped almost everyone had to make a stop. We noticed the chains were off again and took the time to try to secure them with rope.
Back on the road again things were going pretty well. We had our trip planned just right. We would stop in Paducah, approximately 175 miles into our trip and fill up the borrowed truck. Oops…the low fuel light came on at about 170 miles or so. So, we stopped early to get fuel.
At the fuel stop they only had one diesel pump and someone was already there. We pulled up in front of them since our tank was on the passenger side. They saw us waiting. Yet, the person filling the tank finished and went inside. We waited. We waited. Meanwhile the other passengers in this pickup truck just watched us…as we waited. Finally, the other side was clear so I pulled around and we began to fill up. We also noticed the right rear tire was a little low so we filled it up.
Meanwhile, a trucker wanted to pull out so Chris had to move one of the bigger trucks…the one with the trailer. While he went in to pay I kept noticing the place was so busy that I had better pull into line again to get out. (None of us wanted to back the truck that had a trailer since we couldn’t see the trailer behind us.) I did okay but wasn’t planning on driving. Oops!
As Chris jumped in the passenger’s side we decided I would go ahead. Now remember, I am the navigator for the whole caravan and no one else knows where we are going or how to operate my mapping software! Oh-oh!
We are only a few miles from our turn off in Paducah when we get started again and things are going well. Just as soon as the words “Watch for Highway 60 West Exit” leave my mouth, we went zooming past the sign. (Chris is not known for his navigational skills.)
So, when we exit I-24 to turn around and go back to Highway 60, we also switch back to Chris driving with me navigating. (Beth…don’t ever let Chris navigate.)
We finally make it onto Highway 60 West but it takes quite a while for all three of us to make our way into traffic and we got separated a little. We even had to stop once for the rear truck to catch up since Chris went through a caution light! (Beth, maybe Chris shouldn’t drive either!)
Another nature break!
Ok, we’re all together and cruising now. Then came the two bridges…the one going over the Ohio into Illinois is narrow enough, but whoa, then we get to the one crossing the Mississippi into Missouri and I thought Chris would…well you know. He said I hope we don’t meet a semi. You guessed right about that time over the crest of the bridge a semi appeared. I told him to just slow down and take it easy.
We made it across both bridges and once again we’re cruising along. Whoops, Dan calls…the little truck has a flat tire. We are about 6 miles east of Sikeston Missouri. We make a few calls and decide to head into Sikeston to see what we can find.
We got there and after several phone calls, I located the local Wal-mart Supercenter and they can sell me the tire, but they say they cannot put it on. So, we decide to unload all the packing materials into one of the bigger trucks and send those two trucks on to Cape G with everyone but me. I volunteer to stay behind and take care of the flat tire.
I finally find the Wal-mart and they inform me they are out of that tire. I borrow their phone book and finally find the tire, but they charge $50 to change it on Sunday. The guy at Wal-mart agrees to install it if I go get it.
One hundred eight dollars later, I am back at Wal-mart. The wait is 1 ½ hours! What can I do?
Right now I am sitting in Subway in Wal-mart documenting all this before I forget it and it will be 4:00 before I can possibly get to Cape G.
Well, it is now 7:42PM and we are on our way back to Owensboro. But, here is what happened with the tire business.
Wal-mart told me it would be 1 ½ hours because five others were ahead of me and 3 of them were for tires. So, I went in the store and over to the Subway. I ordered my sandwich, as you know, and waited for about an hour. I then decided to go back and see if they had started yet.
Guess what? Oh, they had started but couldn’t do the job. They didn’t have the right tools! So, I asked why they didn’t page me and the girl said they don’t page customers anymore. Then a guy came in and I asked him why they didn’t page someone who had been told 1 ½ hours and then they found they couldn’t do it? He said they did but I probably didn’t hear them. (Yeah right!)
So, I call the place I bought the tire and yes they can do it.
I drive back and they get started right away but…two of the lug bolts seized up! It took much longer than normal. Any 30 minutes and $50 later and I was on my way.
Got into Cape G and two of the guys decided they had had enough and left after one truck was loaded!
So, we started out thinking we would have 8 loaders … 1 ended up having to work and 1 was a no-show. Now, two left way before the job was over.
We ended up having to leave some rocks behind, but hey that’s they way it goes.
Well it is now 8:10PM and I’m signing off for a while.
At Sikeston MO we are supposed to go east on Hwy 55/66 etc. I helped Chris find this exit and then got busy with other stuff but I told him several times to follow highway 60 east. Unfortunately, MO has many roads that have multiple highway numbers and Highway 60 is one of them. I reminded him every few miles to follow highway 60 east and one time I looked up just in time to see him passing the exit. We then had an emergency so we turned around in an “emergency turnaround.” Scott and Joe almost didn’t make the turn since they didn’t realize what we were doing.
We stopped for fuel again in Princeton. When pulling out of the station, the drop off was too steep for clearance on the trailer hitch! Wham, we bent the jack on the trailer hitch but boy oh boy we had no idea what else happened until some time after mid-night.
After leaving Princeton we had no other incidents until reaching home.
But…now to the trailer. We stopped at Chris’ house to drop the trailer off and then to take both trucks to the new store where Robert Shields and crew were unloading the first truck. Unfortunately, the trailer would not come off. Chris said he could handle it and I went on with truck #2 to get it unloaded. (Thank you TJ, Jake, Brooke, Roger, Robert, Mitchell and anyone else I may have forgotten.)
An hour later I called Chris and found out he was unable to get the trailer off. So, he came on with the trailer. We could not get it off and we tried a bunch of things. Finally I suggested the guys start unloading without the ramp while we worked on the hitch. As it turned out we gave up and finished unloading the heaviest stuff without a ramp. What fun.
Chris and I sent everyone else home and we went to deliver the borrowed truck and the one rented truck we could deliver. I then picked Chris up in the car and drove him home. I drove home and arrived about 4:15 this morning. (Monday July 17, 2006) I took a shower and then got about 2 ½ hours sleep before having to get ready to go lead congregational singing at Sue Huffman’s funeral service.
What a trip.