“Never take stool softeners before you go on a long road trip.”
Solid advice. Pun intended. Thought certainly not what I was expecting to hear as I stopped at a rest area for a quick bathroom break.
The man was tall and rail thin. He had a bushy salt and pepper mustache and was wearing a worn denim jacket over a messy shirt, and worn jeans. His clothes looked worn, and he looked worn. “I just got out of the VA hospital, I had ear surgery and they gave me stool softeners and, man, they really do you in.”
I didn’t ask where he was going, I should have. But I’m sure that if that is what the conversation was at a brief encounter at rest stop sinks, I can’t imagine what thousand tales he would tell if anyone had asked. I should have asked.
But, the freight must flow. No time for chit-chat, friend, I got an appointment to keep.
Tonight I’m at a small truck stop in Orland, California. They advertise 75 spaces for overnight parking, it looks more like 12. I was lucky to get in. The nice thing about the small space is that it sounds pretty quiet. Last night I was at a huge truck stop just outside Bakersfield, the place looked like they had a thousand spaces. It was so loud, everyone was running their engines. I hardly slept. I’m looking forward to a good night, for a change.
I also had a shower tonight, first one in three days. The shower at this stop would rival a five-star hotel, probably one of the top ten best showers I’ve ever had in my life. Hot water, almost boiling hot, and water pressure that will tear your skin right off. Clean, spacious, well appointed, everything I want in a shower. Well, not everything, but this is a family friendly blog so let’s just leave that thought by the front door, agreed?
Living on the road, you certainly garner a greater appreciation for normal things like daily showers. When I was home this last weekend, it was nice to get up from bed and go to the bathroom without having to get dressed and walk the length of a football field.
They have me running the I-5 corridor, from the Inland Empire in Southern California to the Sacramento Area in Northern California, and back again. Up and back. Suits me. Familiar roads, long straight runs. Not too much traffic, only at the beginning and end. I departed from Pico Rivera, near Los Angeles, at late afternoon and was stuck in the parking lot of L.A. freeways for an irrational amount of time. I love L.A., it’s my hometown and will always hold a special place in my heart, but it can take that traffic and suck it. I don’t miss that at all.
I’ve been watching trucks pull in, circle around and leave. I am lucky. And blessed. I’m off to bed now, good thoughts to end the day on.