Monday, September 29, 2008

Louisiana Part 2

So maybe you won't cry unless you're laughing too hard at my misfortune.

So a recap... We left my home at 12:30 am 9/11 in 45 degree northern Ohio weather. I had my jeans, t shirt, boots, and sweatshirt on. It was chilly. We drive to Cincinnati for our 6 am meeting with all of the other squads to leave for Alexandria,La and we have to be there by 11pm that night. It is approximately another 14 hours per our navigation devices. Some of us had Tom Toms others had Garmins. Did you know that each and everyone of them had a different set of directions at first? Nice. LOL. The sun was coming up as we set out. Ahhhhhh.... what a beautiful drive as you can see...

It's still not fall in Ohio yet...

I love the rocks along the Kentucky highway.

Oh yeah don't forget the time changes in Kentucky so lets all synchronize our watches now. My partner forgot about this and looked at our cell phones and went what???? hehe we forgot we'd be in another time zone. We were laughing and joking and talking. OK so my partner is in his early twenties. How much does a 34 yo have to talk about with a 20 something male? Actually a lot... he has a baby due in November and just got married this past Friday night. Most of the time we were talking about our truck because it is a 1993 Ford ambulance that has given our department nothing but trouble for the past few years. You see it is our last out truck that hasn't been used in any way in the past 10 months. It just sat in our parking lot. Our chief was hoping it would break down and FEMA would buy us a new one. Jokingly he said please push it into the ocean when you're down there. We are replacing this truck at the end of the year because our new one is being built right now. Ahhh... the excitement is mounting we can't believe we are doing this...

Hey look we are in Tennessee after driving through the hills of Kentucky as the temperature is climbing.

It is getting very hot and humid... when did that happen I hadn't noticed. Hey partner turn on the air conditioning. So we turn on the air. As we start climbing the beautiful hills out truck starts losing momentum. We were all humming along at 80 mph and we are dropping to like 65. What the???? My partner says to me we have to turn off the air the temperature gauge is going up. again I say what???? it's hot!!!!! So the air goes off the windows go down and the vent goes on. It is blowing the most awful hot air you have ever felt never mind the floor under my feet is like 1000 degrees. So we all decide it is time to stop for fuel. All of us pull off into the gas station and we are parked waiting our turn going pee you know the usual when I look under our truck. I know that red fluid is not normal under a vehicle. Mind you I am no mechanic so I ask around to see if anyone is that is with us. A couple of the guys walk over as I am a damsel in distress. LOL. Mind you there are only 3 females in amongst all this testosterone. They of course get down and wipe there fingers in it and smell it... I was waiting for someone to taste it too. LOL. Yep... it is your transmission fluid. WHAT???? how am I gonna fix that???? By now I am sweating in places females aren't suppose to as the temp is climbing to the 90s, now my truck is breaking down, and I might have to turn around and go home, I pull my hair up into a ponytail wipe my brow and ask now what? We all decided we would add tranny fluid and just watch it. Maybe we could baby this truck all the way to La. Boy was I embarrassed for my department and chief. So we get back on the road and the end of the line because our truck also has the worst exhaust in the world. It could fog the mosquitoes out for miles. Again we knew it before we left. So we drive on... stopping to put fuel and tranny fluid in when we stopped. In the mean time the commander and I decided on the phone we would call ahead to the destination and find a Ford garage to fix the truck as soon as we got there. No problem all set up.

Well, one of the the chief's from another department decided around 8pm he needed fuel and asked if anyone else did too. We were good on fuel but wanted to check our engine so the two of us pulled off as the rest of the convoy went ahead to get to La before 11pm. At this point we are in Mississippi on I-20. This is a 8 lane highway the speed limit is 70, but again we are all going 80 or 85 to make up time. So we pull off. Ooooppppsss no diesel, but the chief got his gas. He asked if we were good on fuel. We were as we have two tanks. So back on the road we get to try to catch up with the others. By now we have lost radio contact with them and can't talk to them other than phone. No biggie... the chief and us can talk by radio. Now it is getting dark no lights over the highway to help see. We are still upset over the transmission and now we are thinking it is 9/11. I joked about what else could happen and all of a sudden we hear a loud PING and the entire truck starts shaking violently......we go from 80 to 20 in a snap. I scream at my partner he yells back to shut up. LOL. We were extremely tense. Thank goodness he was driving as he expertly gets our truck off the road without rolling it or hitting anything or anyone. We stop and I tell him to get out in case the truck is on fire. (Did I fail to mention I am the squad leader in charge?) I asked... ok yelled at him as to what we hit. As I'm getting out of the truck I'm thinking did we hit a deer, an animal, a person and is it going to come crawling out from under my truck or is it wrapped around it. My partner informs me we blew out the tire on the front driver side. It is dark now, the cars are whizzing past us at at least 80 mph, we have no idea where we are, we have no spare tire, the chief that is with us is screaming at us to get off the road and stand in front of the truck. By this point I realize what happened and start crying hysterically, shaking, and mad as heck at my chief for sending us in a bum truck that already had mechanical issues before we left, and I have not had sleep in almost 36 hours. Now the chief is telling us we might have to go home now. I did not come this far to go home now. So my poor partner who has no idea what to do with me comes up and hugs me and says it'll be ok. I scream at him no it won't it is 9/11 what else is gonna happen... oh wait I know we're gonna get hit out here on I-20 and killed that's what. He again tells me to shut up because every time I open my mouth something happens. LOL. He was joking by the way. You know me I'm a drama queen. So we call 911 a bunch of times to get a state highway patrol and tow truck out there. I have gathered myself up after calling my hubby and sobbing to him. We are standing out by the guardrail when the state patrol officer shows up. We are talking and he was a very nice man... I ask a really dumb question by most but very important to me. "Excuse me sir, but is there snakes in those woods behind us that I am hearing... Yes ma'am... first of all I'm not a ma'am don't call me that is what I'm thinking... ummm... do they come out of those woods at night and cross the highway... yes ma'am. ummm... are you allowed to shoot them it they come near me with that gun you have.... no ma'am as he is laughing from his gut. Ok now I have to worry about snakes too.... Yep I'm going die along I-20 or get bit by a rattle snake. GREAT!!!!

Finally the tow truck arrives around 10:30pm to get us. OK I know I am stereotyping, but he was a good ole boy but very nice, but just had that tow truck driver look... dirty jeans, plaid shirt with cut off sleeves and chew in his mouth. Where ya'll want this towed too??? Uhhhh hello I'm from Ohio I have no idea. So we decided a place called ODIE's in Clinton would get our business after he so kindly advised us of the shop. One of us was to ride with the driver and I pulled rank and made my partner ride with him while I rode with the chief to the shop. Are you kidding??? Me get into a tow truck with a man I didn't know NOT a chance!!!! Anyway the chief had a chance to refocus me Chief to Captain (yeah that's my title) and straightened me up. We all got a hotel room for the night and decided to go to the shop by 8 am to get it fixed. It doesn't take much to excite my partner and I as we don't stay in motels much can you tell...

Yes we took pics of the granite surround tub... LOL

Our towels were even folded nicely. As this would be the last good nights sleep and shower we would have before we got to our destination, which by this point had been changed by FEMA. We would now have to head to Zachary, La in the morning. So my partner headed over to the chief's room to plan the route and I fell fast asleep. Later he would tell me that the chief thought that my partner and I were a couple. WHAT????? I'm thinking this man is delirious... we run together 3 days a week and know each other like the back of our hand. That is how we work together as we anticipate each others next step. We eat, work, talk, and joke with each other for long periods of time. I asked my partner if he set him straight. He said he had, but it's funny the chief wouldn't say a word to me about it. AHHHH the Good ole boy syndrome that women don't belong in the fire service. Now won't this be a good rest of the trip.

The other trucks had just about made it to Alexandria when they got the call from FEMA that our mission had been changed.... You need to report to Zachary, La just outside Baton Rouge.

Now for us a shower and a good nights sleep for tomorrow's events.... (story another day) Don't want this post to get too long as you'll stop reading LOL.
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Jenn said...

Ya GOTTA post more!
WHAT a story, I woulda been a baby and crawled into a hole somewhere. Vehicles, highways, 80mph and me just dont do well together! I will literally get sick just from driving with my hubby on the thruway doing 65!

This simple Life said...

I would have kept reading!

It's sounds like quite an adventure. Sham on your Chief for sending you in a bad truck.

carolyn at cranberry crossings: said...

Girl, this is like reading a good book! I want to hear the rest of the story!
I'm so sorry that so many bad things happened along the way. But so glad that you all got home safe and sound.

Leslie said...

For some reason every road trip I have been on ended up as eventful as yours! LOL Something always happens that makes a great story to tell later :)Why is that? Does the luck just follow us?

Can't wait to hear more :)

Have a great day!


Thistledew Farm said...

Great story, ready for the next installment!

Tomatoe Creek Prims said...

What an adventure! I think I would have been okay until the snake thing then I would have been on top of the car!

ohiofarmgirl said...

My goodness....I would have been frustrated too! But you do have a way of telling a story that makes it seem funny! Dianntha


wow - what an adventure! Can't wait to hear more! :)

Back in the Day said...

What a time you had! Thanks for sharing!

Farmchick said...

WOW--quite a trip! You are a great story telller!!!

Renna said...

It's bad enough you were sent off in such a rattletrap, but I am shocked they'd send you without a spare!

Keep typing, this is better than tv. ;-)

Julie said...

Yes, ma'am, you are a "ma'am"!!!
Here, in the south, you're either a "ma'am" or a "sir" -- from birth.
It's not about you being young or old -- it's about respect. So don't ever be offended at being called "ma'am"! Just smile, and say, "Thank you, sir (or ma'am)!" and pass it along! ;*)

Thanks for coming down to help -- sorry that your trip wasn't better. I hope that you can come back to visit under more pleasant conditions. Natchitoches, in December, is especially beautiful (and the weather is alot more tolerable!) People come from around the world to see the "City of Lights". We visit at least once a year!
Shreveport/Bossier has much to see and do, as well. There is so much more, to this state, than New Orleans. Come back when you can!

Many Blessings,