Saturday, January 28, 2017

When You Lose Your Follow Car

Last night we nestled between some big rigs to have a noisy night's sleep at a truck stop.  It's kind of necessary in Texas, where there is no BLM to camp free on.  We left and headed to our next stopping point, an abandoned Chevron off the highway where hopefully we can stay without a visit from a cop.  And there's a lot of cops in Texas.

Driving through El Paso was stressful.  So much traffic.  So much construction.  I find myself driving the RV with a barrier on one side and a big rig walling me on the other.  My knuckles are white as I squeeze the steering wheel desperate not to veer too many inches to the left or right.  Then lanes end and you have to merge at a moment's notice--this means merging with enough space and notice to make sure my mom gets in behind me too.  I watched in the rearview as a big rig almost ate her and slammed on my horn.  Driving through big cities is a nightmare.

We made it to the truck stop and finished out the day.  We decided not to get gas there, but to get the heck out of El Paso where traffic would be thinner.  Thirty miles away I stopped at another truck stop by highway ten and filled up. 

As I'm pulling out the RV a truck comes behind me blocking my mom.  I told her we were getting back on 10 east through the walkie talkie.  She says wait because traffic won't let her out of the gas station.  So I wait on the ramp to the highway.  And I see her drive past the ramp in my rearview.

I tell her she passed me on the walkie talkie.  She's panicking saying she missed the turn.  I say turn around and come back.  I'll wait here.

I thought she was going to turn around at the end of the road and come back to get on the ramp.  I look in the rearview.  She's gone.  I realize she got on the westbound ramp.

Holy crap. 

She's out of walkie talkie range.   I wait on a steep ramp trying to get over in the dirt as far as I can to keep the trucks from hitting me.

So, I assume she's going to go west until she can turn around and go east.  Right?  She doesn't think we're going west, right?

Ten minutes pass.

Twenty minutes pass.

Oh my God--where is my mother?  I keep trying the walkie talkie hoping she came back in range.  I see a silver SUV and start screaming, 'Mom is that you?  Is that you mom?'  It's not.

Now I'm praying.  It's been 30 minutes.  What if she got lost?  What if she got in an accident?  Did she pull over and is waiting for me to get her?  I'm sending psychic messages for her to get to a phone and call me.  If she's lost she can give me an address and I can go back and find her.  (We only have one cell phone because I don't use one enough to pay for it.)

I don't know what to do except wait.  I know if I move I'm going to make things more difficult.  I'm tearing the skin off my cuticles until they bleed and my heart is racing.

And I think:  I don't want to do this anymore.  I don't want to travel.  I don't want to watch trucks almost eat her in my side mirror.  I don't want to risk losing her and facing catastrophe.  THIS IS NOT FUN.

A little silver SUV appears on the highway below me.  "Yamila!  Where are you!"  Holy crap, it's her!  "I'm on the exit ramp waiting for you."  I see her and I know she's safe and my heart attack stops building.  I turn the RV back on, take off the emergency break, and head onto the highway. 


And please never let me go through this horror again.

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