It was a great first full day of driving. Clearly I was green to start. I was not only driving and learning how to guide this big box down the road, but I was observing how OTHER drivers of big and small rigs were reacting to me.
The first time being passed on either side by cars, then large freight haulers (tractor-trailors) was locked into my short-term memory with a big adrenaline rush. Then again when I passed other rigs in various formations – the most edgy being passing a big rig around a bend.
But after 9 hours of my first day of driving, I surprised myself and was ready to retire. We stopped for fuel and considered sleeping at the truck stop among the big rigs for a while. I still don’t know the social stigma of commercial truckers vs casual RVers. So I decided to drive on a bit.
Then Julie quickly found and called a Cracker Barrel restaurant which is apparently friendly to RVers – and they welcomed us to stay overnight. They have 4 RV parking lanes near the rear but when we pulled in, an RV with a tow was already there and blocking so I didn’t want to do the same. We circled around and found a nice quiet spot in the same general area. The trick was to pull-in in such a way that we could open one of our two slideouts to expand the interior space with that slideout hung over into the grass. (Never ever open a slideout into traffic/road space.)
So we did that. I wrote my first travel article (poor editing – note to self, don’t wind down after a long drive by writing if you value grammar and spelling. 😉 )
And then I tried to settle down. I had envisioned many scenarios over the past 7 weeks. I’ve heard stories of managers or security knocking on RV doors to alert, check with or just move RVs.
But I’m a hyper aware person. I envisioned the less than peaceful possibilities too. I research RV gun ownership. If you want to know my choice, sneak up and surprise us one night. 😮
So we turned on the television – found an over-the-air HD station called ME-TV showing 70s shows including one of the kids’ favorites “Welcome Back Kotter!”
We watched. We laughed. I calmed and settled down. I chose to sleep near the door so I could be alert. When it happened. A knock on the door and a scenario that my overactive mind had NOT processed.
After looking out the window and on guard, I opened the door to find a middle-aged man in what could have been a panic. It also could have been drunkenness. He looked easy enough to handle but still I gained some leverage on the door handle and the step handle – up on my toes for a swift throat/face kick if needed. Note, I’m not a paranoid person, but good luck catching me unaware and off-guard.
He wasn’t a manager. He wasn’t security. He was talking fast and maybe with a slur. There was also a southern drawl to his words and dammit, I had nearly fallen asleep so I was really struggling to understand him. After a couple of repeats, I gathered that he and his wife (or somebody) had run out of fuel and needed cash to get home.
Wow – I didn’t see that coming. I was a bit alarmed by the nerve to wake up an RVer at midnight to ask for cash. In a true crisis, I don’t think I would do that. I would try the hotel across the parking lot. I don’t know if I’d want to alarm an unsuspected and possibly loaded RVer in the middle of the night.
So I told him quite honestly, that we don’t carry cash and recommended he try the hotel. Then I moved to the back bedroom where Julie could see a pickup truck and some people sitting outside it – on the other side of the parking lot.
And we watched a while before he arrived back to them and one of them started the engine and took off. The other two walked off.
It took a while, but finally we were sound asleep. One interesting night behind us and more lessons learned, observations made.