Date April 7, 2011
I was drifting along in my run from San Diego to Northern California. I made really good time, make that great time, for the first 93 miles. And then, not so much. From 80 to ---- 5MPH. If that. I saw a couple of straight sitting, pristine uniformed LA motorcycle cops thread their way forward. I skipped getting off at Washington, where I have been stopping so I can stop every 100 miles. Easier on the old bladder. Better for the circulation. And helps with the back-aches and that crippled hobble you do if you don't stop every 60-100 miles. 484 miles is hard on the old system.
This means that, I was exhausted and weary by the time I ran into the Lake Hughes exit. This is just pre-Grapevine run. 150 miles from the house in San Diego.
As I slid, after fighting traffic for over 3 hours, off the freeway, I looked up - and the on-ramp to get back onto the freeway - was closed. Being resurfaced.
This did not go over very well, but it looked like they had a detour marked. At least at the turn.
So I went to McDonalds, the rest room, and then a large decaf, and asked. "How do I get back on the freeway?"
Seems I have to go SOUTH to the prison, and then exit and do the go-arounds - there are more than one and they are a confusing, hateful mess I have been stuck in once before. UGH! And I had literally gone around, and around again.
But there were trucks hauling ass out of McDonald's so I got on their tails, and hung there, to the freeway South, and then off and through the go-arounds, and still managed to nearly miss and also hit someone as my lane vanished from under me. I bulled-my way to the North-bound lane anyway. Never take on a frantic woman in a Tacoma.
Happy I was North-bound again, I raced up the Grapevine, trying to stay under 90, and down to the valley floor. I made a stop at Buttonwillow, where I often stop, and then hauled out of that McDonald's and back on the freeway. The next stop is Harris Ranch. Buttonwillow is 240 miles into the trip, Harris is 320. Or 170 miles from home. One other stop would be Westly, 60 miles from home.
I was 35 miles South of Harris and wailing along (still trying to stay under 90 - 75-80 is my preferred range). I was in sunlight. I was watching the speedometer, the traffic and the CHPs. I saw a cute one last time. (I passed one sitting in the shade doing 80, he didn't blink. On sunny days, fast-moving traffic is best left alone. Unless there's that idiot that passes ALL of us at over 100MPH. HIM you can tag, please!)
To my shock and horror, on one of my glances, my GAS EMPTY light was on.
The immediate reaction is, OMG! What's wrong with my truck!
The second, split-second fast, reaction was. YOU IDIOT! In tailing the 18-wheeler out of Lake Hughes, you managed to FORGET TO GET GAS THERE! Drove right past the MOBIL! And didn't even check the gas gauge at Buttonwillow! I NEVER drive under 1/2 tank full!!!
I grabbed the cell phone (plugged in and charging - lately it is always dead), went over the fact I do have AAA (but it's hot and I have 4 animals in the truck), and made a note of the passing exit number so I could say where the hell I was, in the middle of cows and fields. I pulled to the slow lane, cut back to 70, and started trying to remember if there was gas anywhere along this desolate strip.
Emotionally, I was a wreck. My insides were in a twist, clenched tight. My jaw was about to crack my crowns. I was hysterical. Not crying, but wailing out loud. "DAMN. DAMN. DAMN!" Along with exhortations to the traffic to get the hell out of my way. I saw a sign, 1 1/2 miles to 41 - and food and gas. Chevron. McDonald's. Starbuck's. Oh good. Now I know where another Starbuck's is.
I drove off the freeway, waiting at every moment for the engine to DIE, and made the uTurn into the Chevron, and made the pump. To say I was a little wired, no kidding! (I had also grabbed a Double Shot and had a sip.)
I was literally holding myself together as I pumped gas, the adrenalin racing around my system. I was a shaken mess! My blood pressure we will ignore. Prob up there over 160. No wonder! I pumped 16.3 gallons. Truck holds 17.
I made it back to the freeway and made Harris Rabch. I called, or tried to call my son. I needed a human voice. It's been a horrific 10 days, starting with the puppies and their escape the previous Saturday.
No answer, so I went in to the Harris Ranch Deli/Gift Shop for restroom, and a chocolate filled croissant. (Bad choice, it was stale.) Chuck calledwhile I was out of the car - he will call and call and call until I call back. I did. He said I could have made Harris. No - not 35 miles on 0.7 gallon. And I have no idea how long the light was on before I managed to actually SEE it. Maybe a BIGGER indicator?? The light in the truck is BRIGHT driving up the I5 in the blue-sky I had. Toyota tells you that you are empty before you are really empty. Well, I was as close as I ever want to get!
I walked the puppies in the Harris Ranch dog park by the little airport and behind the Shell Station (no - I didn;t need gas). The puppies LOVE the dog park area of Harris. And then I ran home. (I did stop at Westly. For more decaf.)
At home, I had 2 veggies patties and a glass of OJ laced with Bourbon. My crowns may still crack.
Oh yeah, my DSL/land line went dead. Which means, after downloading 105 emails, I was suddenly unable to answer any.
NOT the modem. I traced the phone line with a land-line handset Ð no dial tone. My line has been going up and down for a couple of weeks. I thought it was the rain. Maybe not. This area has Squirrels. [It was down for two hours.]
My life refuses to be normal.