EUGENE, OR - Damn, it's been a seriously screwed up five days. My nerves are shot, yet I'm only 600 miles away from home.
Got back on the truck Thursday morning, picked up a trailer headed into the Bay Area, had to drive on a road where trucks were heavily "not advised" because of 10mph switchback turns and one-lane bridges, backed a trailer uphill and around a curve on a one-way street with cars on both sides in downtown San Francisco, sideswiped a pole and knocked my right-side mirrors off, got lost trying to get to Oakland to get that fixed, spent the night parked down the street by the Oakland Coliseum, woke up every time I heard footsteps or voices outside. At dawn I opened the curtains to a pale gray street and saw an old homeless man stumbling down the sidewalk draped in a dirty white sheet, like the last of the night's bad dreams succumbing to the sobriety of morning.
Drove up to the North Bay to get my next load, and when I got there found that one of my trailer tires was shredded. Spent five hours waiting for someone to come fix it. Delivered 30 miles away (which is bullshit - I am not supposed to be a local driver!), learned that my next load wasn't till morning. Learned that the Bay Area has basically no truck stops, which explains why Central Valley truck stops are always so packed (yo, Record peeps, I smell a story here), called the only truck-stop-ish place in the East Bay I could find, had them tell me they're closed for renovation but the cops don't bother trucks that park on the street next to the truck stop-to-be. Drove there. Passed it, since the whole place is tarped over. Found myself in a clearly unsafe area with nowhere for a big truck to turn around. Pulled over, called 911. Several times over. Kept getting busy signal. Had mini nervous breakdown. Found my way back to the highway, and then the shuttered truck stop. Parked underneath a BART overpass, prepared for another sleepless night of listening for voices outside.
Then my boyfriend came over, braving the Oakland scariness to spend the night with me in a much-appreciated show of chivalry, and I slept better that night than all the other nights in the truck combined, and wished more than ever that I hadn't gotten myself into this crazy endeavor.
But a resolution is a resolution, so I went and picked up a trailer bound for Portland on Saturday morning. Walked around and inspected the trailer, everything looked fine. Drove more than a hundred miles north, stopped for fuel, and discovered that the trailer door was not latched all the way, so the contents -- 34,000 pounds of building insulation -- was straining at the top of the right-side door, pushing the door out a good six inches. Definitely not safe or legal to drive that way.
Yes, I know it's a classic rookie mistake - check your trailers better. This mistake cost me three days, because that's how long it took Werner to find a local towing company that would come out to the truck stop with a forklift and help me re-work the cargo so the door could be properly shut.
I spent that three days convinced that I was done with this whole endeavor, that as soon as I got up to Portland I would head straight for the company terminal up there and turn in my truck. Hence the doomy Twitter updates (naturally, I got stuck at a truck stop with no Internet access). And then I had a long talk with my dad, who reminded me to think about all of this in proper perspective, and told me to relax and drink some beer and take advantage of the down time. So I did. And on Tuesday morning the towing company finally came and fixed the mutinous cargo and properly latched the door, and I drove through some very pretty mountains to Oregon. And I still have no idea what I want to do, as always. Does this matter? Of course it does, of course it doesn't. I don't know.