20131121-194206.jpgNICK’S HOUSE

After several extensions of our one-month servitude under Nicholas the Slavedriver, we finally left for home on Wednesday morning. Nick and I got the waterproof fabric on half the roof and he’s going to hire someone to finish the uncompleted section of roof. He had to go back to his day job and we had to get back to our unwinterized home in Chelan. Despite failing to get the entire roof finished as we had hoped we gave ourselves a hearty patting on the back for what we did accomplish in six weeks.

Turns out a polar airmass started south about the same time we started west and the two of us are due to collide tomorrow morning near Davenport, Iowa. Freezing rain and a little snow forecasted to fall tonight. Fingers crossed. I don’t look forward to driving on icy roads pulling this gargantuan trailer. If we can safely negotiate our way to Sioux Falls we have cold, dry weather all the way to Washington.

Last night Mary and I stopped in the West Virginia hills at a roadside truckstop for diesel just as darkness fell. The temp was low thirties but a brisk wind made for a penetrating cold. I stopped at the green-handled pump because that’s the diesel – right? Not at this place. No diesel at the pumps out front so I turned to re-enter the truck to drive around back. Mary, who had also exited the cab, shouted “Hey, open the door. You locked it.”

I hadn’t locked it. I had left my key in the cab. But sure enough, the doors were locked. – !!!!!!!!! We looked at each other as panic coursed through our blood. We were locked out of our truck at a remote truck stop miles from any town. How had this happened? Those electronic keys are supposed to make it impossible to lock yourself out. You have to have the key to lock the door but there was the key on the console, inside the cab, half buried under the Rand McNally Atlas. Apparently, Mary had set the atlas on the key while the door was still open and the weight of the atlas had tripped the lock button.

As I mentioned earlier, that wind was piercingly cold and I was wearing only a light sweater. The gravity of our situation was getting worse with every second as we considered what might well lie ahead for us: a very uncomfortable evening with no warm clothes and no place to eat or sleep until we could somehow open the truck door.

Visions of smashing out the truck window to gain access were reeling through my mind. I was determined not to freeze to death standing beside our truck. Mary had another idea. She went in the truck stop and asked to use their phone (our phones were locked inside the cab) to call a locksmith. I had little faith that one could be summoned to this remote spot but it was worth a try.

This was where our bad luck turned to good luck. A locksmith had stopped by that very afternoon and left his business cards. The clerk called him and he arrived in about thirty minutes, slim-jimmed the door open and held out his hand for $150 – which we gladly paid. Funny how one’s perspective changes when conditions change. We could have spent the night hanging out on the truck stop benches like a couple of bums. Instead we pulled in to a Walmart parking lot and slept comfy in our down-comforter clad bed.