Saturday, April 19, 2008

CB memories ... (part three) ...

Traveling with someone else is usually a 'good thing'.

I've already told you a couple of stories that were safety-related. Here are a couple more.

I was on my way to Atlanta from Houston for a national conference. I almost never made that trip without stopping to rest somewhere along the way.

My routes varied. If I was traveling up US Highway 59 northeast through Texas, then I would continue directly east at the TX/LA border towards Birmingham, AL. There was a Howard Johnson's on the north side of Birmingham that I really liked. I stayed there two or three times. I always requested a room on the highest floor looking north so I could see the tremendous cuts being made in the hills for a new Interstate. I'd have had to get a fairly early start on my trip if I was going to take that route. Birmingham is not 'just around the corner'.

If I got a REALLY early start, then I would take I-10 east to I-12 at Baton Rouge, catching I-10 again as it came back up from its southern swing through New Orleans and continuing east to Mobile, AL, where I would then go almost directly north to Atlanta. The only stops via this route would be to eat, get gas, or go to the bathroom. This was a tough trip, and I think I only did it once.

This one year, tho, I had gotten off to a much later start than normal. I decided to take I-10 east, catch I-12, and then continue northeast on I-59. I had never taken this route before, and knew that I'd have to stop somewhere along the way to rest. (I figured I could find a decent motel in Hattiesburg, MS.)

It was about 10:30 at night. I was on the I-59 leg of my trip. I was feeling pretty good. Had the CB on, some soft music playing on the car radio, when -- all of a sudden -- over the CB came the shout, "Howboutcha there, little white wagon, you gotchur ears on?"

Now, THAT got my attention!!

The 'little white wagon' referred to my Honda Civic. The 'you gotchur ears on' question -- in everyday English -- was, "Do you have your CB radio turned on?"

I immediately responded with, "Yeah, you got the 'Dodger', come on back."

"Well," he said, "I don't know how long you've been on the road, but I noticed you've been weaving a little bit. Are you tired?"

Jiminy crickets! Up until that point I hadn't felt tired at all!! However, when he asked that question I realized that I did feel just a little drowsy. I told him the reason for my trip, and that I had hoped to find a motel in Hattiesburg to rest up in before continuing on my way to Atlanta.

He responded with, "OK, I'm atchur back door."

We continued on up I-59 for a while, exchanging comments every now and then, until I realized that I wasn't going to make it to Hattiesburg! I told him that I was going to have to pull off and try to find a place to rest. He came back with the info that there was a truck stop up ahead that would be safe.

We pulled in. He parked his big rig right next to me. I flattened all the seats and "crashed".

When I woke up several hours later, I tapped on his window. (We had talked about 'catching an eyeball on' each other over a cup of coffee when we were both awake again.) There was no response. I could see that he was still sound asleep in his cab. He never had told me how long HE had been driving! I didn't want to tap too loudly. I figured he needed his sleep. I left a note under his windshield wiper. Hope he got it!

... ... (pill popper) ... ...

We hooked up over the radideo just outside of Tucson, AZ, in 1984. I was on my way back to Houston from Phoenix, and was hoping to make it all the way without stopping (except for gas, eats, and bathroom, of course!).

When I first realized that I was going to try and get back to Houston all in one fell swoop, I began broadcasting same on the CB just outside of Tucson, and there he was!

I felt really fortunate to meet up with this person. He was on his way back to Florida from California, and was planning to make the trip non-stop (except for gas, etc.) on I-10. My goodness!!

I asked him how he thought he could possibly stay awake for that period of time, and he told me that he had pills he was taking to combat fatigue. (Later, during our trip together, he disclosed that this was the second half of his non-stop trip. He had begun the trip in Florida!!!)

He had my front door by maybe a mile. I had to reset my cruise control perhaps five mph higher so that I could stay within earshot. (Also, I think he 'lowered' his a bit to try and accommodate me.)

We were now in Texas. The road was getting extremely bumpy. He started giving me information on when (using mile markers) to get into the left lane and how long to stay there. It seems that the very hot sun nearly 'buckled' the far right lanes in places.

I don't remember how late at night (or how early in the morning) it was when I told him that I didn't think I was going to be able to drive much further.

I said, "There's a rest area coming up. I think I'll pull in there."

He responded, "NO, Dodger! This one isn't safe. There's another one about fifty miles ahead. We'll talk all of the time on the radio so you can stay awake. Do you think you can make it?"

Well! Obviously, I did. I'm still here. ... ... More later.

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