My family got together in Lincoln City, Oregon for a memorial for my mother, a kind of reunion, and to help my cousin get hitched. To say it was an emotional rollercoaster ride for me is kind of mild.
First, I had to find a way to get there. Normally, my company would route a load there and back for a vacation, hometime, or whatever you'd like to call it. Unfornately, it was determined that even if we looked for a load, the truck would be sitting unprotected somewhere while I was with my family. As much as I disliked that I couldn't combine work and travel to where I needed to be, I understood. It's company property and I can't just leave it unattended somewhere. I envisioned a scenario where hundreds of dollars and impound lots were in my future. Nope. Not happening on my watch.
So, back to the problem. I have a dog. Dog could be boarded, but I just didn't like that option. Bus? Nope. Dog. Plane? Nope. Dog. I love my dog. A plane ride would've scared the crap out of him. After several discussions with work, it was decided that I could rent a car and drive from Denver, Colorado to Lincoln City, Oregon. They were even taking care of the arrangements and would reimburse me for the cost of the rental.
Well, it turns out they "couldn't" rent it for me. They needed me to rent it. Okay, whatever. I get to the rental agency and discover the flaw in all our planning. I don't carry car insurance anymore because I no longer own a car. You can see where this is heading. Twice the cost of the rental because I had to insure it, per day. Ugh! Fine! Fine! Whatever. I just want to go see my family! Let me go already!
I get in the car and take off! Whew! It's finally happening! I get to see my peeps! Not so fast Buck Rogers. I'm a truck driver. After driving the car to the truck to pack up the dog and my bags, I did a Pre-Trip Inspection. Okay, it's clean, nothing's obviously broken. But, hey, what's this? No washer fluid? No coolant? One tire has low air pressure? Fine. Stop and fill the tire with air. Pick up coolant and washer fluid. The washer fluid and coolant issues didn't come back up, but that tire? I had to keep putting air in it. Every day I had the car I had to air up the tire. It wasn't flat. Just slightly low.
I did get a $50 off discount on my next rental because of the issues. I probably won't rent again, but it's the thought that counts. While they're giving stuff away, can they give me back the computer battery pack that I left in the car when I returned it? Always something.
The drive was long, mostly boring, and surprisingly uncomfortable. I didn't think about the fact that truck seats are designed to be as comfortable as possible for the long hours we need to be in them. Car seats? They just aren't that comfortable for long distances. Nothing felt like it was positioned well, my feet swelled up, I had to stop frequently, and other than being able to drive anywhere at whatever speed I chose to, I really didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would. But then again, 1300 miles one way isn't cake in a truck either. Potayto potahto I guess.
I'll cover the weekend with my family in another post, as I did say I'd try to be brief.
I get back to my truck and find it covered in dust, spiderwebs, and all the leaves, branches, and dirt that any vehicle would get sitting under trees in a dirt lot for over a week and a half. First things first. Bath time!
Get back to working and it feels different somehow. Like a shoe that you haven't worn in a while, so it lost some shape or comfort level or something. I don't know how to describe it. After being back a couple of weeks, it's normal again; but that first week was just hard. I don't know if it was the vehicle switching or if it's just because of how much I loved seeing everyone and miss them all. I still miss them, but I've got the groove back.
Walked into work to thank the guys who helped make the trip happen, and found one was "no longer with the company" and the other was in the hospital. I'm hoping he comes back soon. Nobody is talking about either of them. And...more than likely, I won't be getting the reimbursement I was told I would get.
Oh, and the money I spent on vacation? I needed it for taxes. Guess who's going to get late payment dents in her checking account next month? No, I did know about the taxes and chose to use the money I'd set aside. To see my family? Totally worth it!
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