August 12th, 2006



(it would behoove you to read part one first.)

we made my delivery without a problem & had dinner at some tasty middle eastern place. returning back to the hotel, the first thing i see is chris standing besides a very packed looking truck & many loose boxes, his back bent, hands on knees in a very clear display of "i have been fucking beat by this"... but when i walked up to him all worried, he perked up & said they're almost done & it's going great. ?! he had to take apart my dining room chairs & dismantle my bicycle, a flimsy bookcase of jenna's wound up at the dump, & chris's big old CRT monitor went home with drew, but he actually got it all in. drew took a photo of the finished truck. you couldn't have fit an additional pack of toothpicks in there, but all our stuff was in. absolutely amazing. we'd find out later exactly how ridiculously overloaded the truck was.

interesting moment #3: chris & i actually found out how overloaded our truck was in mid georgia, but we didn't realize the problem WAS the overloaded-ness until later. chris took a slight turn i guess at the same time a semi passed us, & our truck started rocking back & forth in an incredibly sickening manner. i'm not talking about it weaving on the road, but actually rocking like a boat, left to right, as we drove. chris immediately slowed down & it eventually stopped, but the thoughts in your head at such a moment are "my car is going to flip the fuck off the trailer", "we are going to blow either or both sides of our tires", "the truck is going to topple over right now", it was NOT fun or good or any positive adjectives.

anyhow, we stayed at the baymont another night, then left around eleven on august 2nd. fitting jenna's stuff into the truck was one thing, but fitting jenna herself into the cab was another. see, though uhaul proudly claims "seats three!" on the side of our truck, they really mean "seats three skinny people sort of okay, or two medium people & a quadruple amputee, so best hope you're not bad bad fatties". & we sort of had four people to sit on this pseudo bench seat, because we were also travelling with my snake, braeden, in his ten gallon travel tank. this tank was about two inches too long to fit on the floor, & he couldn't have gone there anyhow after we realized how much heat the floor produced (see: heats food to toasty in less than an hour). there was a big console taking up most of the legroom of the middle seat, so we basically ended up with the driver having a clear seat, then braeden's tank placed short-width on the middle gimpy seat, then jenna or me (as driving dictated), seatbelt strapped behind the tank & sitting on half a seat with our legs in the passenger's footwell or up on the dashboard, then chris or jenna (as driving dictated) in 3/4 of the passenger's seat. it was not comfortable, but it became much less UNcomfortable when i figured out a way to brace the middle seat's seatbelt post so it wasn't directly up our asses.

it was around this time that we discovered jenna does indeed, contrary to her previous & firmly stated opinion, like johnny cash. well, she at least likes joaquin phoenix's covers of johnny cash's songs, which is good enough for me. she even invented our new catch phrase: for some unknown reason, chris responded, "yes i do. yes i do," to a question i asked, which spurred me to reply, "yes you do," & caused jenna to state matter-of-factly, "ring of fire." she claimed i spoke in the same cadence as "burn, burn, burn" from the song, but i think she was on hippie crack, peyote or something. nonetheless, it immediately became our new catch phrase to signify pleased & complete agreement. & i later created sign language for it after waking up in colorado with a dry throat, unable to say good morning to jenna: make a circle with your left hand, place that circle on the palm of your open right hand & waggle your right fingers. ring of fire.

from tennessee, we passed uneventfully through kentucky, illinois, & missouri with chris behind the wheel. around seven pm, i took over & crossed us into kansas. now, kansas seems like a nice, quiet, flat place, but it's really the fucking state from hell which hates us. it started raining & didn't let up for four hours. this wouldn't be so bad in a car, but there were several issues working against us there in kansas:

- though the 17' uhaul with a trailer is supposed to go 45mph, we were generally comfortable driving it at 60-65mph... but in the rain, this decreased to 25-30mph. so for every hour that i drove in the rain, i knew it would take a second hour just to make the distance we SHOULD have made an hour AGO. grr, frustration, lost time, lost mileage, wasted gas.

- most states have those nice bright reflective paint lines in the road, paired with lovely glowing reflectors that thump your tires when you cross over them. kansas has neither of these things. leaning completely forward over the steering wheel & squinting allowed me to BARELY make out the flat dashed white line at the left of my lane, which i hugged at 25-30mph with my hazards on for all four stupid raining kansas hours.

- poor chris could NOT sleep in the truck. he's like a dog trying to stand up in a car - they really WANT to do it, but no matter how hard they try, they just can't really manage it for more than a few seconds. chris tried to curl up in a number of different configurations, but eventually had to sit in the footwell with his head on the passenger seat in order to get any rest at all. jenna actually KEPT him asleep by rubbing his back like an infant, in the process rugburning her hand pretty badly on his shirt, heh. but chris HAD to sleep, or i'd never be able to leave the wheel, & seven hours into kansas, midway through the state, had about done me in.