So, we have Jenny Jamboree the RV. The closing deal took us back to Houston. It took a long time but everyone at PPL motor homes were fantastic.We organised both the insurance and breakdown cover. I can’t even imagine what I’ll do if she breaks down when I’m alone (cry I guess).
We had what’s called a ‘walk through’ with this guy called Gary where he shows you everything in the RV, thankfully. He was superb and didn’t seem to mind us asking him lots of questions. Then, he asked who was taking it for a test drive? Right at that moment, I fell into a vacuum, where all I could hear was this voice repeatedly saying, oh my God! It was my voice. All eyes (actually just Rob and Gary’s) were on me. I so badly wanted to say no. I wanted to say so many things (like, I want my Mummy) other than “yeah, go ahead, I’ll do it”. That is, however, exactly what I said.
My best mate Alice (The Band) often tells me that I’m so brave. I am always willing to give things a go but I still get totally scared and doubt myself, I just know how to hide it and quietly cry inside my brain. I knew though, that if I didn’t do this? Rob wouldn’t be able to do the run. So, I did it.
As I climbed up into the cockpit of the beast, Gary explained how I could adjust things. I moved my seat forward (by roughly 10 feet), adjusted my side mirrors and with a wave of anxiety causing me to have a hot flush on an already toasty day, I smiled and said, “let’s go”.
She moved off slowly and that was fine by me. Foot on accelerator, I gently teased her into some form of speed (A tortoise, fast asleep, would have been quicker) I could feel Gary’s slight concern. I attempted to join the other folk on the road. I believe that every car in America at this point, decided to drive down this road and I thought we were going to be sat there until Xmas, me sweating and crying, the other two dead from lack of food and water or boredom. All lanes finally clear, I gingerly sneaked out. Now, I’m not saying Jenny is fat but she certainly is big boned. I have about 6 inches either side of me to play with and the power stearing, although only a nano second, has a slight delay. This leaves you kind of ‘rocking’ along the road. It sounds fun, no! I was constantly trying to remain within the lines, check the mirrors, check my speed, listen to instructions, avoid the little wasp cars and breath. Gary told me I was doing fine, little did he know. We made it back, with out me taking out fellow drivers and with me pretending I was happy.
By 4pm we were done. All the dots crossed and well, however that saying goes. We were done. Rob at this point, got a little (lot) on my nerves. He obviously hadn’t been able to run the previous day and was keen to get back on the horse (not a real one silly), so he instructed that we should crack on an get back to where the run had left off, in Louisiana, about a 7hr drive. I adore Rob (obviously) but he has these little moments where I just Stare at him, wondering why his very intelligent brain doesn’t just think things through when involving others and not just himself. He looks back at me, thinking, why is she staring at me like that. Well, I promptly told him (don’t you worry) I was scared. I had asked him a few times if I could practice a little before starting, he told me the best way to learn is on the road. Of course it is? (he was right thoigh).To avoid further delay, aggro’ and tears, I just agreed. Telling him I’d be slow and we would likely be very late, with nothing (food and bedding) in Jenny to use. He nodded.
We went on. I pulled myself back into the cockpit, re-adjusted my seat again, breathed in some deep lung filled breaths and then told Rob I couldn’t do it. I was so scared. I put her into drive and repeated to Rob that I couldn’t do it. Once on the road, needing to move her big arse over to the left lane, with busy traffic and very little distance, I was the most scared I’ve ever been. At that moment I would have taken waking up in a room, with that clown toy on his bike from the Saw movies. I would have rather got root canal without any local. I would have rather worked 100 years down a mine, 24/7, 365 days a year. But I did it. I guestimate I aged by about 10 years but I did it. I even reversed her arse into a parking space. I stopped for petrol, I over took, I did doughnuts in the local supermarket car park (ok, not the last one) We ended up stopping around half way at a motel so we could rest up and stock up (on lots of chocolate and cake) the following day. We spent a small fortune getting her kitted out but it made her feel more like our little house on wheels.
It’s 3 days into driving Jenny Jamboree and I can say I’m getting very used to her. It’s still touch and go at this stage though. On one trip to collect Rob from his last run, I headed into the outskirts of New Orleans. I found myself in some kind of road, spaghetti hell. My Sat Nav was clearly having a laugh with me and sending me down the wrong roads (definitely not my fault). I nearly cried, I was on my own, having to make tight turns, getting beeped at (don’t beep me I’m new) and getting ridiculously stressed out. I eventually made it out of the labyrinth and collected Rob, feeling pretty rubbish. Setting off to head back to the truck stop, I (the Sat Nav) made another mistake. I pulled over and cried. I’d had enough and Rob tried desperately to comfort me but I was having none of it. I cried and informed him through tears that “this really isn’t that much fun”. After a few seconds, I had a word with myself and set off again. Making it back, perfectly fine.I Cooked dinner and sat in pure relief of it being over as my hand muscles twitched from having gripped the steering wheel so tightly. I ate some Reeses’s cups to celebrate ( I didn’t really need an excuse as I would have had them any way).
I love her though, when she’s still. When we can park up and I can sit on the sofa or cook us dinner. Right now, as I write this blog, I’m sitting in her shade, in a truck stop gazing out across a cornfield with a distant, laden cloud, holding tight to a thunderstorm. Bliss.
It’s still a love/hate relationship. I’m still always a little nervous whilst driving her and perhaps that’s a good thing. Perhaps concentrating so much and taking it nice and easy (my head song is Nice and sleazy by the Stranglers whilst driving her) I should, hopefully avoid any major catastrophes (touch wood).
Earlier, for a brief moment whilst listening to Eric Clapton, I found myself with my left arm resting on the door frame, happy and relaxed, in true trucker style.