I awoke to the buzz of my alarm at 6AM. I never really had a normal schedule, whatever that might be. I went to bed based on what my next day looked like. I awoke whenever I needed to for the day’s activities. On days when I had nothing to do, I woke up when I had slept enough. My sleep routine was as simple as that.
So with seven hours sleep I rushed into the bathroom to brush my teeth and get some coffee going. I took my bath just before bedtime the night before. By 6:30 AM I had vanquished the cobwebs in my head, and was petty much ready to finish my preparations for the trip.
First of all I needed to pack the 1/4 side opening duffel type bag. That really wasn’t difficult. I had three clean Russian Commando style blue strip tee shirts, so I put one on my body and one in the bag. I had two clean jungle camo tee shirts so I pack both of them. I had one dark blue tee shirts clean, so it made its way into the bag as well. I loved the red tee with the Henley collar so of course I had to carry it. I also loaded two gray sweatshirt colored tee shirts as well.
I threw a couple of sweat shirts in, just in case there was a chilly day. I packed the Nylon parka in case of rain, and to cover the .38, should I need more protection than the box opener. I also put in three pairs of jeans. I didn’t plan to go anywhere I couldn’t wear jeans. Lastly I put my tooth brush and pain killers in a clear plastic sandwich bag and threw it into the duffel. I also pulled the two blankets off the bed and rolled them up with a washcloth and towel inside.
When I finished, I had fifteen minute to wait for the 7AM departure time, so I carried my coffee cup and the duffel to the sit by the kitchen door. It had the only glass that looked out in the direction of the driveway. I had no expectation that Jerry would pull a truck into the driveway, but I could see him walking up the drive and save him a few steps.
At 6:55 A very large pickup truck pulled into the drive. There was a short bed, but it had a crew cab, which probably made it longer than an ordinary pickup. I took my bag and bed roll out to the shiny black pick up truck. Jerry got out to greet me. When I reached him I said, “Nice truck but you can’t carry much cargo in it.”
“True we will be picking up a large trailer before we leave town. I have two one is coveredt and one is open. I have to find out what I’m carrying before I decide which to pull,” he informed me.
“I see,” I said even though I had very little understanding of why he didn’t just have a truck.
“Probably not, but you should understand by the end of the week,” he said laughing. With that he navigated the truck out of my driveway and onto the narrow residential street. “Let’s see an eighteen wheeler do that,” he said.
“I will definitely give you that one,” I agreed. He negotiated the small streets easily but he didn’t have a large heavy trailer attached to the truck either. However I did not challenge him. I was in the truck passenger’s seat to break my routine, cure my cabin fever, and learn something about his business. I didn’t have any real interest, but anything I learned usually came back to help me in some way, some day.
At Hardee’s, we sat at a table with is firefighter buddies. After a breakfast of sausage and eggs, with a crunchy biscuit I was ready for anything. Anything but the waiting I had to endure. Jerry said the job posting came out at 8AM and would run the rest of the day. We could be there half an hour or half a day till he found something he felt comfortable bidding on.
He tried to explain his bidding strategy, but I barely listened. All I knew was, the start or the finish should be within two hundred miles, if at all possible. He spent half an hour placing bids before he looked up to say, “Well Sylvia we are off to pick up the trailer. We are going to take the open trailer this time.”
I didn’t care which trailer, I was just glad to get started. Jerry drove back to his mobile home. It was parked on private property in the country. There he had two 25 foot by 8 foot trailers. One was open and one enclosed which made sense, if he wanted to get the maximum use from his pickup.
“Let me help you hitch it up,” I said. “I won’t be much help with only one hand, but at least you will have three hands this time.” He just nodded his agreement.
The trailer had a built in jack on the tongue, which was a nice feature. We wrestled the trailer into position then lower it onto the ball. Jerry locked and chained it into place while I watched learning from seeing it done. Then he cranked up the tongue jack and removed the locking pin. When he was able to fold the jack against the tongue it was well above the ground. It was a very well organized system. I was sure the trailer came from the factory that way.
“Okay Sylvia if you need to pee go do it now, we have a long way to go,” he said.
“Jerry, women always have to pee,” I said. I went into the trailer home and found his bathroom. It wasn’t immaculate, but it was a pig sty either. When I went outside, he was in the truck waiting for me. I could feel the strain when he started rolling. The truck was pretty close to the top of its comfortable power band. He probably shouldn’t carry anything too heavy, I thought. Still it was none of my business. Sure I had driven trucks in the sandbox, and knew a little about them, but still it was his truck.
From the county road outside of County Seat we got onto the interstate in a different entrance than the one by the plaza. We headed south on the highway at a good 70mph clip.
“So where we headed?” I asked.
“Little town outside just north or Columbia South Carolina,” Jerry said. “I figure it will take us about three hours.”
“Cool, so what are we picking up?” I asked.
“A Nascar racer,” he replied. When he saw my skeptical look, he added, “That’s what the man said.”
During that three hour ride I learned probably everything there was to know about Jerry. He had been married, which is how he got the trailer. The ex didn’t want it after the divorce. She wanted to get as far away from the rural mountain life as possible.
“We didn’t have any kids, so when Ruby left me she took the dog. I sure do miss that old dog, Ruby not so much,” he added.
He tried to get me talking, but I avoided all the personal questions. “Do you just not trust me, or do you never talk about your past?” he asked.
“I was a deputy here, you know that, and before that I was in a community college to get an LEC, but the state pulled that for medical reasons. They don’t think the hand will ever be useful again.” I said. “So now you know all about me.”
“Well, do you like sex?” he asked.
“It always comes back to that doesn’t it. Can’t you just go slow cowboy, and see where this ends up?” I asked a little peeved.
“I wasn’t hitting on you.” he said. After he saw the look I gave him he added, “Okay I was hitting on you a little.” I did flash him a smile that said, “All is forgiven, but don’t do it again. At least don’t be so obvious about it.”
During the drive we stopped once for gas, a pee break, and a pack of crackers. Even with the stop it was only 2PM when we pulled into the garage where the shell of a Nascar racer was housed.
“Does it run,” I asked Jerry.
“I don’t think so, it’s just the body,” Jerry said. “Well it does have wheels, so we can load it without a crane.”
“Hello there, you Rex?” Jerry asked the man who came out to meet us.l
“That’s me, so you the guy whose gonna take this to the new owner?” he asked.
“Yes I am, this is Sylvia Porter, she is here as my witness. There is usually some question about condition and damage in route,” Jerry said as he walked around the car taking digital images. He did a few manipulations then sent them to the new owner. “That’s just so him know what it really looks like, before I touch it.” Jerry added. “You don’t mind do you?”
“Friend that car belongs to the new buyer. I don’t give a damn what you do it it.”
“Fair enough,” Jerry said. After the photos he lowered the tailgate on the truck and pulled a cable from the wench welded to the body of the truck. With that wench he pulled the shell of a car onto the trailer. It was as slick as could be. The car went right on and even straightened itself out with almost no help from us. The winch had a remote control so Jerry could steer the car while pulling it on the trailer.
We were back on the road thirty minutes after pulling into the parking lot. “So where are we headed now,” I asked.
“We got about fifteen hours in the truck ahead of us. We are going to a spot outside Chicago. We will stop for the night in a rest area along the way.”
“Well it isn’t the summer yet, so camping out won’t be a lot of fun, but I don’t mind, if you don’t,” I said. We drove until 7PM, which was going to leave us a 10 hour drive the next day. By driving till 7PM we also had fast food for dinner and pulled into a rest area along the highway to crash in the truck.
“It’s done all the time,” Jerry said. “We can just crash here, and then be off tomorrow early.”
“It sounds pretty uncomfortable, but it can totally be done. It would be a lot better, if I had a wireless Internet connection. I don’t suppose you do?” I asked.
“Sure, how to you think I sent those pictures. It would really make my life difficult, if I didn’t. Of course it’s tied up with my cell phone, or my own laptop. I could let you hook it up to your laptop I guess, but the time would count against me. I use it strictly for business.”
“I don’t need to use it. I just need to know there is a provider, if I ever want to go that way. I still have a dumb cell phone, and I’m very happy with it,” I informed him.
“Well it makes life easier on the rode. I can almost always find a hot spot except in camp grounds and truck stops inside a rest areas like this one,” He informed me. “So even in a spot with no WiFi, I can still do business. Sometimes that is important.”