We were expecting a long but easy last leg to our journey from Sacramento to Tucson today. As it turned out, that was a pipe dream. It first started out with us running into 10 miles of freeway construction. It pinched our side of the road down to 1 very narrow lane with no shoulder and miles and miles of orange safety cones placed way into our lane. Ugh, it took lots of concentration to keep LeuC within the narrow lane and not knock over any of the cones.
Once we were through that mess, we watched with horror as two trucks right in front of us almost knocked into each other as they passed each other going 65 mph. The truck that was in our lane swerved unexpectedly into the passing lane while another truck was passing him. Fortunately, the passing truck driver was very alert and swerved onto the shoulder to avoid an accident.
While that was stressful enough, our hellacious day was just beginning. As we approached Phoenix, we decided to stop at a Pilot truck stop and fill up our fuel tank and empty our grey and black water tanks. All of the fuel pumps were full, so we got behind one of the trucks to wait our turn. We waited, waited and waited some more while all of the trucks in the lanes around us came, filled up, and then left. We could not move to one of the opened lanes because as soon as a lane opened, a new truck would pull in and take it. Also, we really cannot back up because our tow bar would push down on the Fiat’s front wheels and raise up her back wheels. Thus, we just had to wait…sigh. After about 30 minutes of waiting, the truck in front of us finally, finally, pulled out.
We filled up our diesel and DEF tanks and then drove to where the cashier told me the sewer dump was located. Unfortunately, she was wrong. We weaved in and out of the truck stop’s large, mostly filled parking lot, trying to find the dumb place. That doesn’t sound too difficult but remember we were driving a 40 foot bus and towing a 13 foot long car. Also, the other vehicles we were negotiating around were all 53 foot long truck trailers and the gaps between them were very narrow and the turns were very sharp. Double ugh!
Finally, I just stopped LeuC, parked her and return to the cashier. This time I talked to a cashier who really knew where the dump was located, and I then walked to where it was, just to make sure. Its location was in a horrible spot as we would be very close to the entrance to the truck stop and would be impacting trucks who would be entering to get fuel.
Since we really needed to empty our tanks, we decided to give it a go. Soon we were hooked up to the sewer and then the fun began. One truck after another started to come in to the truck stop and pulled up to the pumps and then the waiting lanes. In one time we were totally blocked in and wedged up next to two large concrete pillars. Mary Margaret had to go out and talk to some of the truckers to let us get out.
When one of the trucks pulled out from the pump lane next to us, I edged LeuC’s nose right up to the cab of the truck waiting in line so I could then make a hard cut to the left to get around the concrete pillars. Mary Margaret guided me slowly around the pillars, with LeuC coming just two inches from scraping against them. It was a nightmarish situation as visons of a long gashing down LeuC’s side danced in my head.
Fortunately, with Mary Margaret’s expert guidance, we were able to just barely squeeze through the maze of concrete pillars, trucks and fuel pumps. Whew!
Once we escaped from that nightmare, we immediately drove into another one. This nightmare was called Friday afternoon Phoenix Traffic. We thought LA traffic was bad, but this was much worse and we watched with horror as little cars zipped in and out of lanes around and in front of us, trying to claw their way through traffic. One car jumped right into our lane, missing LeuC by just inches and then had to slam on his brakes to avoid hitting the car in front of him. It was Ugly, with a capital U.
An hour later, after much cursing and even more disbelief of the antics these crazy drivers pulled, we finally escaped Phoenix and continued down the freeway. 6.5 hours after we started out this morning, our 250 mile leg came to an end.
We are now safe and snug at our boondockers host site in Tucson. Richard, our host, was not home when we arrived but he had told us to just plug in and setup. We had stayed with him for almost three weeks last September, when we had just started out after buying LeuC, so we felt comfortable doing this. We are looking forward to seeing him again and enjoying his wonderful hospitality for the next two weeks.