Do you ever get the feeling things happen for a reason? Yeah, me too. This weekend is one perfect example. I thought I had my clock set for 10:15 (p. m.) Friday so we could get ready to leave home by 11. My plan was to drive all night and get us to Virginia by late Saturday night. So much for my plan. The alarm went off at 10 instead, so I got up, showered and we left 15 minutes early. No big deal, right? Wrong. It was part of the master plan.
At the beginning of the trip, I had on my game face and was ready to drive. I felt like
My Uncle Roger has been a trucker for years, so if I need driving directions, he’s my go-to person. He always gets us where we need to be. Earlier in the week he had faxed me directions with approximate distances and other details. I managed to make it to Lincoln before the second step of my plan went awry. Uncle Roger is very precise, but this time, an exit number was off, and I ended up on what I thought was the right road, but I had to make sure. (I can get lost in a paper bag!)
We narrowly missed a collision when a truck passed me on the right side. I was struggling to move into the left lane to pass a tractor trailer. It was just getting dark, and I was taking my time. The driver behind me must have been in a hurry because after nearly hitting us, the truck immediately swerved in front of me to pass the rig. The important part is that we did NOT get hit. When near misses happen, I always wonder if someone was praying for me in that very moment.
After the near miss, the rig and I ended up side by side at a red light. Wanting to reassure myself of my route, I had Ysabela roll her window down and wave to get the driver’s attention so I could ask if we were in the right place. Imagine my surprise when a LADY rolled down the window to give us an answer. AWESOME! She was coincidentally (?) heading the same way we were, and she was kind enough to let us follow her until we hit the next road we needed.
The three of us stopped for a potty break. Pam and I had a chat and exchanged travel info while Ysabela chose a snack. I discovered Pam was driving while her husband, Joseph, was sleeping until it was his turn. She also warned me that she had a mandatory 30-minute rest coming up. I asked if it was OK if we hung out and waited since she was heading to Nashville. The part that worried me most was getting around St. Louis.
By this part of the 21-hour (we thought) journey, Ysabela had entertained me by singing her favorite songs. With headphones in. While I was trying to listen to the radio. And watch road signs. After the entertainment was over, she concentrated on beating me at “Banana!” and “Punch Bug!” She took a few naps in between all the fun. While she slept, I kept count of all the yellow (banana) vehicles I saw as well as the VW bugs. (I jokingly told her I had won the banana game 500 to 25 since she slept for a few hours.)
We drove a couple hundred more miles, found a truck stop and had a great meal. Pam made me laugh a lot! The conversation between Pam and the waitress went something like this:
Waitress: What can I get for you?
Pam: (on a fact-finding mission before making a choice) Do you have pepper Jack cheese?
Waitress: No, sorry.
Pam: Do you have Pico de Gallo?
Waitress: (confused look) No, sorry.
Pam: (sigh) OK, I’ll have……(something I can’t remember)
Waitress: Would you like toast, biscuits or English muffins with that?
Pam: Do you have any scones?
Waitress: (wincing) No.
Joseph woke up to find his lovely wife and two strangers in a booth awaiting sustenance. He seemed like a very even-tempered fellow, and Pam quickly explained why Ysabela and I were tagging along. I commented that I wasn’t spending as much on gas as I had expected, and Joseph reminded me of something I should have remembered—drafting! (Don’t panic—I wasn’t glued to the bumper!) I checked my gauges, and my gas mileage was better than on any other trip I have taken.
By now, we had swapped cell numbers and email addresses. If I got lost, I could call them for help. A few hundred miles later during yet another rest stop, Joseph and Pam offered us an alternative to our original directions that would alleviate some of my stress. I could follow them to Nashville, they would offload and I could catch I-40 over to I-81 and onward.
I am a very suspicious person by nature, but this awesome couple was put in my path for a reason. (If we had left home as scheduled, we never would have met them.) I am SO glad Pam and Joseph were part of my trip.
Stay tuned for Part 2.