Six States (in as many days)

Ever wonder what it’s like to drive a 16 foot moving truck (that’s been around since Jesus walked the earth) towing a car for 3,641km?

I tested it so you don’t have to.

Editor’s note: I’ve taken some time away from BRBdoingstuff since last posting about Lt. Dan’s passing, and the dust has settled enough over the past few months for me to feel excited to re-engage again. Thanks to my beautiful friends and family for all of your support during this transitional and at times challenging time, you rock.

And we’re off!

The sun began setting over my Texas chapter as I was growing increasingly homesick for Canada. I did a few scouting trips to Vancouver to assess PR opportunities in the outdoor recreation space and decided that, aside from a bogus housing rental market, it would be the perfect city to call home. I circled May 1 on the calendar as D (for drive… more on that in a moment) Day and started packing!

I have no idea why the balls it seemed like the best idea at the time, but somehow I got it in my head that the best way to move from Texas to B.C. was with a moving truck towing the car.

We all make mistakes.

Anyhow, I picked up the truck in Austin and the battery died before I left the lot. That was the moment I considered this may be a bit-off-more-than-you-can-chew type of situation, but how hard can driving a truck across the country be though, right? … right? Guys? 

A new battery put me back on the road, and in no time I was loaded up and ready to roll. Adios, Texas! And with a swift swipe of a tree I was off.

Verity, Trucker Extraordinaire

Have you heard of Into the Wild? It’s one of my all time favorite stories because, among other things, it does a magnificent job of showing how diverse landscapes across the U.S. are, The story came to life as I set out heading north through Texas hill country, following the east side of the continental divide.

At 45 miles an hour I was readily able to take in all the drive had to offer. I was also able to piss off motorists across six different states as I cruised across the road slower than the average tumbleweed. The truck / car situation was unstable at best, and we maxed out at 50 MPH. Bad looks from passing cars were more common than flashing the finger which I appreciated. 

I also discovered that there are still good people out there, particularly at rural gas stations. I made a great wide turn into the first service station of the trip, and somehow jackknifed myself around a fuel pump. I was totally distressed and instantly plunged into emergency mode. Shit. Within seconds I decided knocking it over and peeling off was my only option. Despite my ambition the plan was short lived though, as I realize I’d be an easy catch maxing out at 45 MPH in a highly conspicuous getaway vehicle. Double shit.

The gas station was in the middle of nowhere west Texas, so I did what any desperate city girl would and found the oldest, truck-driving local around to ask for help.

Me: excuse me, can you please spot me as I back up?

Farmer Fred: uh, just give me the keys.

Me: thank god, here you go.

With ‘gas’ and ‘new friend’ freshly checked off the to do list I was off again!

The long haul

I didn’t book hotels in advance because I had no idea how the drive would sort out, and I didn’t want to feel rushed or held back (ha!) The route ended up breaking down something like this:

Austin, Texas to Clovis, New Mexico — 470 miles + 11.5 hours

Clovis, New Mexico to Cortez, Colorado — 465 miles + 11 hours

Cortez, Colorado to Burley Idaho — 530 miles + 12.5 hours

Burley, Idaho to Prosser, Washington — 460 miles + 11 hours

Prosser, Washington to Vancouver, Canada — 332 miles + 9 hours

I won’t get too detailed about the drive other than to say I don’t recommend you try it at home. Road trips are fun when you plan sightseeing stops but it turns out they don’t tend to be as enjoyable when you approach them like a long-haul trucker in a hurry. In case you were wondering — yes, I did seriously consider pulling over in Utah, lighting the truck on fire and flying the rest of the way.

Below are some of my favorite photos from the drive. Looking back, it was actually a wonderful way to see the changing landscapes heading north. My favorite stop was Moab which I’m dying to return to (by plane!)

Vancouver, home sweet home

Not so fast! On the final stretch over the Cascade mountains approaching Seattle, this happened…

After waiting a few hours for roadside assistance to not assist (special thanks to Budget, you dickies!), I decided to do what I do best — put on the hazard lights, drive 25 MPH, and finish my cross-country-pissing-fellow-drivers-off tour in style.

Arriving in Vancouver felt surreal. Although I’m still slightly traumatized by the great drive-a-palooza of 2017, I couldn’t be happier to call Canada home again. It’s been a challenging few months trying to find a place to rent, bring career ambitions to life, and say goodbye to our Lt. Dan, but I’ve never felt so confident that I’m exactly where I need to be. Onward and upwards!

BRB just doing stuff for a bit k?

x V

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1 Comment

  1. Welcome home to Canada! Great to have you back home. I am sure you were so happy to drop off that truck. With all your travel experience I knew you could do it. Good luck in Vancouver.

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