In this second installment, I am on my way, the tone of the journey being set right away in Joplin, a mere 60 minutes from my starting place…
Fri August 1 at 9:08am~
Jae:: in Joplin at loves truckstop. Having food and getting ice for my neck. It’s swelling. It’s tedious already driving 45mph I feel like I’m going to CO on horseback.
Veep: but not bareback…..right?
Jae: Yes, bareback, where all the trouble is to be found.
First, i get back on the exit and take the wrong turn, winding up on an access road next to the interstate, but not actually on it. And of course there are no convenient on ramps. Just a one lane blacktop that begins to look as though it leads to nowhere. Finally, i have to try to turn around and that’s not an easy task when you’re pulling an overloaded trailer. The best turn around is always to make a complete circle. But of course there was no room to make a circle where i was. I found a “Y” in the road and maneuvered back and forth for a long time until i finally was able to circle around. That wasted a good 30 minutes of drive-time. I got back on the interstate, and endured the sensation of ice water dripping down my back from the ice pack on my neck. Now, every time i got out, my backside would be soaked. It would look like i didn’t make it to the potty. And i didn’t care. I just wanted to get this trip over with. And it had only just started…
Fri at 9:21pm~
Jae: after stop am almost to Wichita. Back on the road now.
Fri at 10:06pm~
Veep: Glad that you missed the Reverend Fred Phelps in Wichita with his “God Hates Lesbians with Cats and U-Hauls” sign…..and that after checking, all your fluids are normal…..Oh, I mean vehicle fluids that is…:-)
Jae woulda kicked his ass!
Fri at 10:05pm~
TPenny: Kansas is so boring!!!!!!! My son, Josh, the architecture student, says Wichita is the ugliest city he has ever seen! LOL! You be careful out there!!!!
Jae: Correct. It is also the city of my birth. But believe me it was nothing like it is now. I shall make haste out of mind numbing Kansas. Luya Sat at 12:18am~
Somewhere during one of my turnarounds, i got lost again, and came across this big sign that says “This is God’s Country. Where Jesus is Lord.” That explained it. It was a conspiracy against his godless one who was trekking toward a new life. I wish I’d had time to take a picture of that sign.
July 31 at 10:40pm
Veep: she’s GOING….homo
TPenny: This is strange, but I miss you as if we actually saw each other every day while you were here. You let me know you are okay.
Jae: Aw. I will. I feel like that with u too. I think we were meant to be friends, we just didn’t know until we crossed paths again. I hope you’ll come see me soon.
July 31 at 11:05pm~
TPenny: Does anyone else feel like Jae leaving Arkansas has somehow made the entire state feel emptier? I told her that I already miss her as if I saw her everyday, and, hell, I haven’t actually seen her since high school. Weird and sad. Be glad when she gets there and starts her chatter on here. It’s too quiet without her.
July 31 at 11:21pm~
Veep: She’s trying to get some sleep right now and I’m calling again in a bit to make sure she’s ok. Yeah…..I hate the Hell out of it. I’m sad. But it’s good for her…..it’s good to see her happy again, making plans, feeling energized, getting her creative juices “flowing” (I know she’s gonna make something our of that and I walked smack into it…) being somewhere that lifts her up…so even if it ain’t good for the rest of us…if you love her…you gotta listen to what it is she says she needs and support her in it…ya know?
TPenny: yeah, most definitely…it’s gonna be fun sharing her adventures vicariously on here, and, hey, we still gotta do our fear and loathing thing sometime!!!! LOL.
Veep: Oh yeah… Fear and Loathing ..The Road Trip…absolutely. We can stop and picket at Fred Phelps church with dark shades on, cigarettes on long holders…..signs that say ” God doesn’t even hate YOUR ignorant ass…..but wishes He hadn’t wasted the flesh”
TPenny: LMAO!!! That would give me such pleasure, you just don’t even know how much I would love to do that!!!! To him, and a thousand other “good Christians” like him.
Jae: ok shut my eyes for 20 min. Back on road with cats in the cubby hole behind the seats. Biscuit won’t get out of litterbox. She’s lying in it –Freak feline. I’m off.
TPenny: Or that she’s scared shitless, so it’s okay to sleep in there…
Veep: August 1 at 1:13am~ lol….yeah that!
August 1 at 12:25am~
TPenny: Really nasty line of storms around Wichita, but once that line passes, you are free and clear. Maybe just stay put for a bit. strong winds and hail are likely in that storm.
Jae: Thanks Tan! Put I’ll stay. I was about to say I might nap but this is not a gentle rain. Lightning cracked over my head and gave me palps. Whew.
August 1 at 12:40am~
TPenny: What are you doing now???? Maybe you should just get a room for the night and get out of that storm. I’ll give you my card number if you need money for one.
Jae: Wow Tan. U are so sweet. It’s calmed a bit I’m gonna see if I can go slow. If not I’ll pull over again. We have to (re) meet so I can go ahead and call u one of my best friends. Love u for being u. Keep sending weather info. I’m north of Wichita heading toward Salina on I-35 then will go west toward co Loading…
TPenny: Ok. But please don’t be a hard head. If you need to sleep, I want you to sleep somewhere safely, preferably behind a locked door. I’ve just eaten a half can of cappuccino mix, so I’m wide awake and right next to ya. LOL! The storm is moving southeast, so thankfully you should be moving in the opposite direction and out of it.
1:27am~Where are you now? Once to Salina you should have smooth sailing and out of the storms all the way in to the Denver area.
Brian Cunningham: Weather Underground says 50 to 60 percent chance of thunderstorms until 10am
Sat at 1:25am~
Jae: Great. Until the time I’m supposed to BE there. Hells bells. Thanks Tan and Bri for keeping tabs on me. Veep has Been calling me every couple hrs. I have great friends!
Stopped to change to different type of contacts, hoping it would improve the vision. At a rest stop in Wichita area. And that’s when the rainstorm began. I can tell by how it’s rocking me sitting still that it was a good thing I was pulled over. (sigh)
August 1 at 12:46am~
TPenny: Me and Veep are going to do the Fear and Loathing thing. You are going to die laughing when you open your front door and there we stand dressed like that. I’m gonna jump thru the doorway, ducking and muttering about the bats. LOL!
August 1 at 12:53am~
Jae: Lol oh where is my mega butterfly net. Or I guess that would be bat net! Love u guys!
TPenny: re Hunter S. Thompson, I want the long cigarette holder. I’d give it to you but I’m not sure your electronic cig would work right in it.
Jae: I’ll just use my long ecig. It looks that way anyway. And apparently I need to refresh myself on Thompson.
Sat at 12:22am~
TPenny: I did not know that!!!! There’s the new thing I’ve learned today. Well and some stuff about Veep too. I got her to start telling me her life story and I agree with you, she definitely should write this down. She’s evil with her chapter endings too! Stops on a cliffhanger every damn time. Please keep me posted on your whereabouts. And back at cha my sista!
BrianC: August 1 at 10:30am~ are you still in Kansas?
Jae: Dude, I was in Kansas for 40 days and 40 nights, i think. They should not …ALLOW…Kansas.
Sat at 12:20am~
Jae: ok shut my eyes for 20 min. Back on road with cats in the cubby hole behind the seats. Biscuit won’t get out of litterbox. She s lying in it Freak feline. I’m off.
Veep: Biscuit is being a pissy pussy….or trying to tell you that this road trip is a real crapper….
TPenny: Keep those eyes open!!!! August 1 at 1:05am~
TPenny: August 1 at 1:29am~You might just be the bravest woman I know. If I were out there, I’d be like Biscuit – scared shitless!
Jae: August 1 at 2:16am~Really? Maybe u know something I don’t know. U work with cops afterall. But brave? This is my life. I’m usually all on my own.
Jae: pulled over at Mcpherson. am~ sleepy now! Stress and fatigue finally catching up to me.
August 1 at 3:06am~
Tried to get into hotel to use restroom and inside door locked. Resolved myself to debasing some leaves and scandalizing squirrels. But lady comes to door lets me in. Then bitches about how she’s tired of her place being the public restroom for the area. So wait, I think. You came out & called to me & let me in but only so you could complain about having done so? You should just keep your fat ass in your chair, Scooter.
Sat at 3:38am~
Veep: i just called you. no answer. please be bcuz you are sleeping? Pissing on the leaves and the squirrels?
August 1 at 3:53am~
TPenny: All right, I’m going to bed. Hopefully you are talking to Veep. I’ll check on you when I wake up. It was a blast talking to you…but strange in that it seems that we have never stopped talking. Be careful the rest of the way and good luck. Good Night or morning or whatever the hell time of day this is!!!! Be seein ya! (hugs)
Jae: Ditto. We’ve been friends on some other level for a long time it seems. Wish we’d re-met yrs ago! But I look fwd to a fantastic lifetime friendship with you Tan. And I’ll take ur advice on you-know who. Nap time. Catch ya later sweets.
Sat at 4:45am~
TPenny: did u get thru to her? If so, tell her I found my glasses. They were on my head…..LOL!
Sat at 4:56am~
Veep: just talked to her….you goob. I couldn’t go back to sleep because I was so worried that she was hydroplaning into the abyss with all her crap in tow…..when a funnel cloud appeared with an ugly witch on a scooter laughing hysterically at her cat lying in the litter box with John Denver music in the background and midgets……everywhere…..
Jae: That was a laugh i sorely needed, Veep! Thank you!
TPenny: scooter people suck almost as badly as do circle queens!
Jae: Daily dose of pithy commentary we three peas on a pod.
Sat at 4:58am~
Jae: ok after an hour call with TPenny: I guess I should really take that nap.
Jae >>>TPenny: I LOVED talking to u. I told u we’re cosmic twins. XOXO.
Jae: Thanks, Tan.
TPenny: Goodnight you two…my brain just crashed…I’ll check on you when I wake up Jae bird, but please be careful.
Sat at 5:01am~
TPenny: “Murphy is my guardian Angel, see, with a full dance card and A.D.D”……..awesome lyrics
Kansas just never seems to end. That well-known phrase, “you’re not in Kansas anymore” is just wishful thinking or an outright LIE. Even on my GPS, in places, it looked like i was in the big middle of nowhere. In the photo>>>that really is what it looked like. That’s me, the lonely blue dot in the nothingness.
It inspired me to write a poem….
August 1 at 9:32pm~
thru the vast expanse of neverending Kansas
at speeds not quite reaching aunt myrtle
with my home in this shell, and my neck straining forward
it’s rather like being a turtle.
August 1 at 2:18am~
Jae: Thx. U know u can call me. I’m just sitting here. We should at least talk on the phone once since ur right beside me in that hotel bed. Lol
August 1 at 2:21am~
TPenny: You are so bad!!!!! calling you, standby….
I was supposed to be sleeping, but once i got on the phone with TPenny:, it was like we were never anything but close friends all our lives. It’s so strange to know that we shared such a huge portion of our younger years and then lost touch for so long, and that now, it’s as if we are in each others lives daily. Not only that, but we seem to be Cosmic Twins–kindreds. We are so much alike, it’s scary.
That conversation lasted an hour and revived me to the point i could not take a nap. Not that naps were anything i can ever do if i’m driving a long distance, tired. I get those little terrors that make you wake up and go oh my god, i fell asleep at the wheel! You lose track of reality. Your brain gets confused. So the only sleep to be had is after i reach my destination, and then it will have to be drugged sleep so i won’t keep having terrors.
August 1 at 2:13am~
Jae: Refer to status update. In parking lot of hotel. Gonna nap. Storm gone. And Thanks for your concern and especially saying that you’re right next to me in that hotel. Mmm lol
TPenny: The idea was to go inside the hotel…and, ahem, I meant next to you in the Blazer, you goober! LOL!
Jae: Ah… My bad. (your loss) hehe. I’m just talkin smack. Smack-talker. Talker of smack.
TPenny: just another thing that makes you the wonderful goober you are!
With a good four hours to go, I could not fathom trying to get a hotel.. That would have wasted valuable time, because i knew i would have to try to dig the kitty cats out, and they had burrowed under in the back and there was no way i could leave them there while i went into a hotel room. Plus, by the time i got in there to crash, it would have only been a few hours before i had to leave again.
So i knew i simply had to stay awake. Coffee, my longtime companion, was finally not enough to get the job done. I stopped and got the 8 hour energy drinks. TWO. Problem was, they didn’t work. I could not tell the difference. So much for the advertising. So i bought a Red Bull and a large Double Strength Rockstar drink. THOSE worked. I was alert. I knew i’d make it then.
Bolstered by my renewed hope, I did the math and was chagrined to find that i still might not make it on time. The night agent would only be at the apartments until ten, but i called and he needed me to be there by 9p at the latest. I was saved when i noticed the time difference between stereo clock and iPhone. I realized that that I was on Mountain time, now. I had been given an extra hour.
So I was pumped.
Shoes and Biscuit were still hiding in the cubby hole, and i used a flashlight to check on them whenever i stopped. Monkey had, by this time taken to riding behind my head on the stack, or on the console, leaning on my arm. She was very good at traveling, overall.
When i got closer to Denver, I was so relieved to just know it was up ahead that i didn’t pull over to regroup. I drove right into town, following the GPS, but I had no idea which exit i was supposed to turn on. By this time, it was nearing 8pm.
That’s when my situation became clear. I was in a big city, in big city traffic, on an interstate highway, with cars all around going mostly above the speed limit, and I was driving 45mph with an overloaded trailer behind me, 3 days on 6 hours sleep, 30 hours of drive-time, and it was getting dark.
Then my GPS went blank. I thought it was the automatic shut-off. But it wouldn’t come back on. My phone was dead.
So I’m trying to put the charger into another receptacle and still keep myself not only on the road, but between the lines. Vehicles are whizzing past me, some honking at me, while I’m checking left and right mirrors to keep the U-Haul in the lane–i had about 8 inches leeway on each side, it seemed. Meanwhile, i was trying to get my GPS back up because without it, i was drifting in foreign space. I didn’t know where i was going. I tried to read the exit signs and get some clue, recognize some name that might ring a bell in my belfry. No such luck.
That’s when i realized i was nightblind. Moreso than throughout the rest of the trip, which i thought was simply fatigue. Now i knew i could not read the signs without being right on them. And that, combined with the other issues, was a recipe for disaster. I’d come so far. How stupid and senseless it would be for me to get myself killed now.
I got off on the next ramp and circled through town, stopping in a parking lot. Trying to get my bearings. Trying to make my brain work again. Sitting there, I tried to get my iPhone back up. I knew it had been plugged into the cigarette lighter adapter the whole way. So i thought maybe the receptacle was bad. I put it in a different one and it was red-lining, but charging. It meant i couldn’t pull up the map until it had enough juice. I looked around and didn’t feel very confident that i was in a good neighborhood. Some ominous looking guys were coming my way. I pulled my pistol from the console and stuck it under my right leg. It made me feel better, but i was in no shape to engage in a shootout or hand to hand combat. So I just got back on the Interstate again. I thought if i kept moving until the GPS came back, i could figure something out without becoming a statistic. AGAIN. tried to reassure myself that that time, i didn’t have a gun and this time, i did. It didn’t make me feel much better. Though pulling a trigger required much less effort than what i was already doing.
As I continued down the highway, my iPhone came back on and i tapped over to the map. I was way off course. I got off the highway again and circled back and got back on the other way. A big rig whooshed past me and sent my trailer fishtailing and i had to fight to control it while i stayed in between the lines and braked steadily.
Feeling the stress crawling up my throat, i took the next exit and found another small lot to pull over. Then a call came through.
I spoke to her for a moment and told her what was happening– that i had no GPS sometimes. She offered her strength and comfort and then started mapping on the computer to try to help. Then my phone went dark again. It didn’t have enough juice for the phone call and the map. I had to defer to the map. A text came through from Veep with instructions, but i couldn’t look. I felt there was no way she could have understood where i was and which streets were one way, and…i just didn’t believe she could help from where she was, though maybe she could have. I was so tired…
Then the phone rang and it was her again. But i couldn’t answer. I had to concentrate. Even though i wanted nothing more than to hear a friendly voice–to have someone tell me it was okay. But it was not okay. I realized i was exhausted beyond retrieval. And no one could help me. I had to have the map.
I plugged the phone in again using a different cord i had found in my bag. The screen showed no charge and all i could do was wait and hope it came back up. I had to get my GPS back. What was I going to do now? If i had no GPS, I had no navigation. It was like being in the middle of the ocean and your life raft had deflated. And there were plenty of sharks circling. My technology had saved me many times, but this time, it was up to me. My strong, problem-solving survivor had been weakened terribly by stress and fatigue and pain. I wanted sleep. I wanted to stop driving, stop thinking. I wanted someone to just take over. Someone to hold me and tell me it was okay and the ordeal was over. Why wasn’t there someone? Why was I alone again?
And then i felt it. That thing i haven’t felt for years. That thing I thought i had conquered.
Unless you’ve had a panic attack, you cannot appreciate the power it has. My pulse was pushing at my throat, i broke out in a cold sweat, felt dizzy, and there were frissons of fear shooting through me like hot arrows. I was in a strange city, a big city. No matter how smart you are, if you’re not used to being in a big city, you can still do something dumb. There were those who would think nothing of snuffing out your life. There is always something you don’t know, that could get you killed. Something as simple as not locking your door. Or being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Or being an exhausted woman alone, and lost. Like me.
Then i went to that other horror that all women carry in the backs of their minds. A fate, sometimes worse than death. I could get raped. And my fear-saturated brain then began to provide all kinds of variations on that theme, to include a replay of the attack i had suffered for real in my first college years in the 80′s. I was feeling the same sensations, i realized, that i felt then. Knowing i was going to die. I was going to die.
I started sobbing, and just fell with my head against the wheel. Sure that i was only a speck in vast expanse of universe and I didn’t matter at all. I could be gone in a whisper of wind and no one would know. I was all alone.
Panic, panic, shaking, crying.
I can’t BREATHE.
After a few moments of this hideous lack of self-control, this mindless keening and sobbing, I took a deep breath.
My rational mind kicked in. No one could help me. I could sit there and cry and be afraid, or i could think of a solution. Force my weary brain to comply.
Instead of the interstate, i turned toward the city streets. I remembered that i needed to go the other way and so I pulled over into a warehouse area turned around, stopping at the traffic light. There were no other cars until one pulled up behind me. A Latino guy and a young woman in front, and another Latino guy in the back. I swallowed my fear and stereotypes and got out of the Blazer and walked right up to their window.
Politely, i asked for help. I told them i was horribly lost and trying to get to Ohio Avenue in Lakewood. They were all very nice. They gave me instructions how to get back to the right highway, and then to keep going until i saw Wadsworth, and take that exit. He said it was a few miles down Wadsworth. I thanked them profusely and they were gracious and understanding. The driver even smiled and said. “Welcome to Denver.” I thanked him, laughing a little, and walked back to my Blazer, with tears rolling down my face.
Next street, left, interstate. Wadsworth. Next street left, interstate, Wadsworth.
I chanted that the whole way.
When i turned onto Ohio, and saw the Parc Belmar apartments sign. I just cried tears of joy.
I called the manager and asked him how to get to where he was. The place was huge. I parked where he told me and went into the office, where i signed about 10 pages of the lease, not caring what any of it said. he hurried me through the process because he could see how exhausted i was. He even back my out of that alleyway and told me where i could park until the next morning when the movers would be there.
TPenny: I’m freaking out now. Veep told me that you just got into Denver about an hour ago. OMG I had no idea you were out there all day!!!!! I would have been on here bugging you and makin sure you stayed awake. Let me know when you get to your place.
My ordeal wasn’t quite over, But i knew that it didn’t matter. The worst was in the past. I still had to dig out the cats and get them in a box without them running away. I’m afraid i was a little rough with that process. I couldn’t deal with losing my cats, too. I had to make three trips with the dolly to get the stuff inside that i had to have for the night–airbed, airpump, blanket, sheet, pillow, change of clothes, overnight bag, catfood, litterbox…all those little things we rely on to function. I sent out a few texts letting my friends know i had made it. I took care of the cats, aired up the bed. Then i took an Elavil, and collapsed. Feeling like I i had just come home after surviving a disaster. I was alive. I was here. I had made it.
August 2 at 9:12am~
Jae: Ty so much. Tan. ur support was invaluable. Love you. Veep can fill u in on details as she knows the most about my hell night last night. I’m trying to recuperate but feel like the victim of a disaster, the next morning. I took 2 Elavil at 11:30 last night and yet still woke at 6:30. I flossed brushed & took a shower ( sans the shower curtain ) and that helped but have the shakes. I’m so hungry and have NOTHING to eat. Have to order out as I can’t drive. Or maybe there’s something within walking distance. Can’t begin to describe how squished I feel.
August 1 at 8:56pm~
Veep: Just a little thought before you rest sweetpea
Journey to the end of day,
come the firefly, come the moon;
say a prayer for God’s good grace
and sleep with love upon your face.
Don’t know who wrote it, but i like it and it fits.
I love you,
August 2 at 9:10am~
Jae: Ty so much, Veep! Don’t know how I would have made it without ur support. You were my rock. Love you for that. I’m trying to recuperate.
August 2 at 9:31am~
Veep: I am so worried about that happening to you……1) missing your regular meds can cause that….2) nervous exhaustion definitely will. 3) sleep deprivation can also. You muscles used up the “stuff” that is usually replenished when we sleep. Your short sleep pattern might contribute to some of your muscular aches for that reason, when you’re on your normal schedule. Sweetpea, you are suffering a lot of things like, translocation….we don’t relocate as well at our age. Your brain is trying to adjust to the altitude, getting its location bearing etc. so is burning more fuel than you are providing. I saw the coffee set up in the kitchen, but warn you that you need extra water right now so that your muscles get the flush out they need. Take some b6 a double daily dose….100mg. That should help with the shakes. It will take you about 3 days to get past this and you know another couple of months for your brain to have a “fix” and be operating kinda subconsciously in the area.
Eat some good protein and green leafy’s with some vitamin c. you’ll feel better quicker.
Feels like you are a million miles away……I’m sad. But I’m happy for you!! Can’t wait to visit….might move it up to November!!
Jae: Thank u for taking the time and making the effort to give me all that info. I’m usually pretty in touch with my body needs. And I am not craving coffee I am~ craving my distilled water while I make more. Also craving those green leafys And my vitamin shake and ginkgo. I will do as you say my Nurse! And I hope u will visit as soon as u can. Love.
Veep: I promise u. It will be as very soon as possible- u get the massage this time
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