Monday, December 22, 2008

Hurry up and wait

Crackers. Just delivered a trailer full of the Ritz variety and was mightily disappointed that the border guard didn't ask what we were hauling. Sometimes they ask a few daft questions like 'where are you going?' and 'where do you live?' even though they have advance electronic notice of everything except possibly what you had for breakfast; just to observe your demeanour while answering stupid questions. I would have quite liked to have had to say 'crackers' to a customs official.

We are in Georgia now, having passed through West Virginia, Virginia, and North and South Carolina in the course of a day. To a Brit, whose last memory of driving in England was taking seven hours to cover the two hundred miles from London to Blackpool, managing that sort of distance in a single working day is just bizarre. We left several feet of snow and a blizzard. Here the grass is green, the sun is out and last evening's sunset was a whole hour and a half later than the day before. Changeable weather is one thing, but a movable sunset, we've shifted a bit of the globe here. Apparently a thousand miles due south will do that. The unruffleable Dave has taught me how to drive all day; the trick is to stop for a break every 2 hours without fail, whether you're tired or not. My previous technique of stopping when I was knackered wasn't working well, but yesterday I managed ten hours at the wheel and might have had another hour left in me if required. This is the standard; what is expected of long-haul drivers, effectively my first full day's work. Thanks to Dave and his sage advice I feel a bit more as though it might be achievable on a day to day basis. Mind you, there is time left today to rip that spot of optimism to bits.

Supper and showers were taken at a slightly more normal truckstop, almost generic in its ordinariness. I ought to add though that normal for Georgia involves an odd thing called chicken-fried steak (no idea, I'll investigate and report back) and a shop that chooses to juxtapose hand-made jewellery and crossbows in the same display case. Hmm, what would Mum prefer for Christmas, dangly earring or a killing machine? Clearly a tough one.

We are divested of crackers and await instructions for returning, where to go to pick up what for bringing back over the border. This is a little frustrating as Dave has given undertakings to various people-who-must-be-obeyed that he will be home the day before Christmas Eve without fail. The longer we wait now before setting off, the more of the thousand miles home will have to be driven in the dark. This could be the hiccup that sets my new-found confidence in my ability to drive for ever back a bit. Night driving just is generally more tiring. And heading north, we'll be barrelling back into later sunsets. Ah well, hanging around with coffee and laptop and Dave's beloved dvds of Angel on the telly has its compensations as a way to be at work. Might just have a snooze while I can.

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