It’s funny, friends and family kept worrying about us on the water, but they should have worried about us getting to the water. Boats, especially big full keel sailboats, belong on the water – not on a trailer behind a motorhome on the freeway. Every bump along the 1000 mile journey was nerve-wracking. There were some that bounced the boat in the air and shifted it two inches in the trailer only to be followed by more bumps that would bounce it right back to where it started. I wish I had a dollar for every time I asked, “Is the boat still there?”
The scariest moment of the journey, however, was when JJ suffered a bout of vertigo while driving through the Allegheny mountains of Pennsylvania just as we cleared the Allegheny tunnel and were heading down over a pass. I quickly had to jump up and take the wheel as I stood there next to him. Have I ever driven a diesel bus before? No, but this wasn’t the time worry about such minor details!
We were quite a sight heading down the freeway. A motorhome pulling a 25 foot sailboat with a very dizzy man in the driver’s seat, a scared girl standing next to him doing the driving, and a teenager in a cowboy hat standing behind him holding a bucket under his nose. I worked the steering wheel and tried to calm everyone (including myself). JJ did the braking, and Riley worked the puke bucket. This went on for a mile or two until we came to an emergency truck pull off. JJ gently tapped the break, and I steered us over to the side as confused motorists streamed past. In the moments after we came to a complete stop, Riley and I looked at each other in shock until he finally said, “Well. THAT just happened!”
Now that we were pulled over – safely for the moment – we couldn’t stay there. At the same time, JJ was in no shape to drive. So after a quick lesson in the controls, it was my turn to drive – again. At least this time I was doing the driving from the driver’s seat instead of standing next to it. This was a major improvement. After a quick prayer and a deep breath, I pulled out in to the traffic. So far so good. I didn’t hit anything or anyone, and the boat was still behind me! Whew! We might survive this after all.
Just as I was getting comfortable driving our 70 foot train down the freeway, I came upon a toll booth. For all of you car drivers out there, you have probably never realized how short and how narrow those darn toll booths are. Let’s just say I felt like I had a half an inch clearance on each side with even less on top. Somehow I made it through without scraping anything. Yes my legs were a bit like jello, and my hand rattled when I handed the lady my money. Surely after this fiasco sailing can’t be that difficult, can it?
50 miles later we stopped for the night at a rest area. When I pushed the button for the parking brake and heard that wonderful hiss of the air brake, I was sure it was all of the air going out of me also. I was done for. That was enough adrenaline for this adrenaline junky for one day.