Albuquerque Strikes Back – Twice the excitement, chemical enhancement, and hot dogs than any other Albuquerque trip. I can’t decide if this picture looks more like a bad Gap ad or a pretty damn good Penske ad. Gotta dig the hard hat hair.
Many of you may remember my last Albuquerque vacation (it might help to read about the previous trip first). If these trips have taught me anything, it’s how to spell Albuquerque. I’m the best Albuquerque speller this world has ever seen. Fear me, New Mexico residents, I have conquered one of your greatest challenges – spelling your city name. I have even resisted the several hundred billboards advertising ‘real Indian trinkets’, and I defied exit 321 where even the weak fall to the tourist appeal of a Stuckey’s pecan log roll. Lo, even as you reached for your greatest weapon, the woman of ill repute, I refused her temptress ways and rolled up my window. I own you, New Mexico. Fear this trucker.
7.27.03 | 12:45pm – I’m a little late to the office to pick up my truck. As I arrive, I look over the truck, similar to the last one – yellow, ginormous, rusty, and altogether the most beautiful thing I’ve ever driven. I was going to check the payload, but my boss mentioned that this one was packed in so tight I wouldn’t be able to see anything. I didn’t interpret that as “several tons of countertops” until I tried to accelerate.
7.27.03 | 1:40pm – I haven’t even been driving for an hour yet, and I’m fatigued. Over the last two days, I got about 10 hours of sleep and so I was just waiting until I hit Flagstaff to make the Liquid X purchase. By this time, I had discovered one of two things: the truck had horrible alignment and I have trouble driving when I’m tired. Also, the police officer who pulled me over realized the same thing. At only 55 minutes into my trip, I was parked on the side of I-17 northbound with a police officer asking me questions like, “Are you tired? Have you been drinking?” Was I drinking? It’s 1:30 on a Sunday afternoon! Who gets plowed and decides to drive a huge truck several miles to make a delivery? While I should have said that, I instead replied, “No, sir”. Apparently, I had crossed the white line when I was driving. Well, of course I crossed the white line. This truck is fairly wide, and the alignment was off (see the above picture – the truck drives straight when the wheel is turned to a 45 angle). Ah, these are all excuses. For the record, I didn’t lie about being tired. I really wasn’t tired when he was asking me those questions – I was wide awake and nervous. I walked with a warning for “Lane Usage 28-729.1.”
7.27.03 | 2:20pm – This is what you would call the low point of the trip. The truck was so heavy that I drove through most of the hills outside of Flagstaff going 27 mph. 27! With the pedal to the floor! My leg was so tired (I’m not kidding). I was really pissed off from the warning and now from the lack of power. I would mumble stuff then get my aggressions out by laying on the horn. The horn sounded better suited for a pink bike with a banana seat. I waited it out as car after car passed me by.
7.27.03 | 3:05pm – I enter glorious Flagstaff, Arizona with a little less than a half tank of gas. I’m about 45 minutes behind schedule, so rather than stopping for lunch, I grab a hot dog, two cans of Liquid X, and a bag of beef jerky. I hadn’t bought a hot dog in a while, so I carefully consider the condiment choices. Many of you are familiar with the show “Ed”. Recently I watched an episode where Frankie and Ed debate over whether ketchup or mustard is the superior hot dog condiment. Ed was a ketchup man, much like myself, and Frankie was a patriot of mustard. The argument concludes with Ed trying the mustard. Much in the same way at that Circle K, I loaded the bun with a large payload of mustard. Too much in fact. I then tried something I shouldn’t have. Driving a big truck with one hand on the wheel and the other on the hotdog. About three bites in, the mustard acted as a natural lubricant for the tube steak and the wiener launched from the bun, onto my lap, onto the floor and rolled around on the floor. Mustard flew everywhere. I tried my best to stop the carnage, but I couldn’t do much aside from wipe myself off with the one napkin I finagled from Circle K. Needless to say, I had beef jerky for lunch.
Right click on the image and choose “Save Target As” to download video.
7.27.03 | 3:25pm – Around this time, I think I finished my first can of Liquid X and started into the second can. I was very happy at this point. Again, it was as if the stars aligned. Pink’s “Real Good Time” started playing on the radio. Happiness ensued. It seemed so ridiculous that the same exact thing as the last trip would happen at this same moment leaving Flagstaff. Don’t believe me? I couldn’t believe it either. I busted out the video feature on my camera to record the moment.
Many people have asked me, “What is it like to be on Liquid X?” A lot like this. Be warned, the video is somewhat disturbing.
7.27.03 | 7:25pm – Outside of Gallup, New Mexico, several storms are brewing. I’d managed to miss two storms earlier (they were north of my route), but it was inevitable – as I entered Gallup, a brown dust cloud enveloped the city. I took a picture, but it’s hard to tell what’s going on (see above). I parked at a gas station and I couldn’t even open my door. I climbed out the passenger side, fueled up, bought a Red Bull, and sipped it while waiting the storm out. Red Bull sucks. It has nothing on Liquid X. It tasted like carbonated NyQuil. While it didn’t make me happy, it did have a strange effect on the radio. (see next entry)
7.27.03 | 8:30pm – Back on the road, it took me so long to finish that Red Bull. In the end, I slammed the remainder, shivered, and belched. It has similar effects to Liquid X, but one of the most shameful was my inability to not sing feminine songs. Unfortunately, I must admit that I couldn’t resist singing Aaron Neville’s vocals in his duet with Linda Ronstadt in “I don’t know much.” After the song, things got worse when the chorus of Shakira’s “Underneath Your Clothes” resulted in my inability to avoid declaring “Underneath Your Clothes, There’s an endless story, There’s the man I chose, There’s my territory, And all the things I deserve, For being such a good girl honey.” It was when I sang “Being such a good girl honey” that I realized I’m done with Red Bull.
7.27.03 | 10:30pm to 5:00am – I pull into Howard Johnson’s (not the “Crossroads Motel”), and it’s a gem within the ghetto. The room (only $4 more than the last hotel I stayed at) has a king size bed (with three pillows of different fluffiness), a mini fridge, a floor that I can walk barefoot on, dry soap, clean towels, and a lounging area. I rip off my mustard stained clothes, chill in my pj’s and take a seat and consume my McDonald’s dinner.
I was excited about sleeping here. The Crossroads Motel was frightening. The door didn’t even lock there. Here, the door had three locks. I laid in bed, nearly asleep, but again I faced the same problem: insomnia. I don’t get it. I think I have problems sleeping in strange places. I turn on the TV and locate a channel with religious themed music and comforting pictures of leaves blowing in the wind and water in a creek. Still, I can’t sleep. Even when I located that same pastor from last week (Bob Coy) his sermons couldn’t put me to sleep. I even listened to two of them all the way through.
7.28.03 | 4:50am – The phone rings with my wake up call. I get in the shower, hose off, and sit down for breakfast: McDonald’s apple pie and beef jerky. Delicious.
7.28.03 | 5:30am – I’m a little nervous when I reach the jobsite. I opened up the truck to find about twice as many countertops as before. Unloading begins at 6:00 and goes until 9:45. About 2 hours and 45 minutes longer than we were scheduled for.
7.28.03 | 9:45am – I head out to Penske (this time with no additional damages to the truck). On the way out I check out the Crossroads Motel – same damage to the awning. I didn’t stop because I was running late, but you and I both know that someone made $32 that night.
7.28.03 | 10:50am – At the airport, I change my ticket to an 11:20am flight, and run off to security. Again, I have a checkered ticket. I can’t wait to see who will be feeling my calves today. The line for the high security checkpoint is longer than the normal line. Screwed! It takes about 20 minutes to get through. After they locate no weapons on my body (aside from my guns, heh heh), I run to the farthest gate and as I arrive, load right onto the plane. I find a window seat and cram my head back between the chair and wall and try to sleep. “What a bumpy ride,” I think. But we haven’t left. It’s the obnoxious kid behind me kicking my seat. Yes, she kicked my seat on the ground, in the air, and once again, when we landed. An hour straight. I didn’t have it in me to turn around and ask her to stop. Or I realized that if I did, I would probably have sworn and made her cry. So instead, I fumed inside. I grabbed the Sky Mall and looked at stuff I didn’t need. Except for page 62 – “Three-Horsepower Industrial Small Child Leg Cutter Offer.” Yes, we will meet again, small one. You and your pretty little shoes.
Closing thoughts – I hate Albuquerque.