Learning to Drive

After casting off more of our earthly possessions we set off toward the northwestern horizon and far beyond it. We certainly moved at a faster clip than the covered wagons of old but if compared to a wagon and team of oxen, our team had a limp.

We had a decent F-350 Ford van to do the pulling but with the weight that we were pulling I think a semi truck would have been more in order. We seemed to have taken care of the swaying issue but the top speed was still 55 mph. I did manage 60 mph on some stretches but I had to be very careful especially on downgrades and when a semi truck went flying past.

The first leg of the journey was through western PA on Route 80. That seemed to be one of more tense stretches because 1.) I was still learning how this rig handled, 2.) There were many hills, and 3.) there were many trucks. The speed limit was 70 mph for most of  Route 80, so you can imagine how fast those trucks barreled around me doing a measly 50-55mph. Perhaps the other motorist would have been more understanding if I  had an orange triangle on the back of the trailer and an Amish hat on my head.

I had to keep two hands on the steering wheel practically the entire trip but especially on Route 80.  Several times I was caught relaxing or reaching for another sip of my coffee. A semi would sneak up and pass me before I noticed it. I was constantly watching my mirror so as not to be caught off-guard, but in spite of my efforts I was  blown onto the shoulder of the highway several times. Something about the air turbulence of a passing semi caused our rig first to be drawn toward the passing vehicle but then as it was almost passed it pushed me away toward the right shoulder. The result of all that was me gripping the steering wheel and gritting my teeth as I sawed away on the wheel trying first to avoid a collision then next to avoid all the obstacles on the shoulder of the highway. Sometimes there was no shoulder. Those miles were even more tense.

Despite the difficulties and dangers, we kept plodding on. Our first night was spent near Cleveland, Ohio. We were completely exhausted after packing and repacking and the tense drive through western PA. We were exhausted enough to not care that the cheap motel room I found smelled like a cigar bar and the towels in it were only somewhat white. We were just praising the Lord that we made it as far as we did. Every mile seemed like a miracle.

One day down and many more to go.

The driving posture needed for the overweight rig. (Note that I am trying to smile in spite of the stress.)


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