27 August 2015

Interstate 8

After Yuma, Arizona Interstate 8 crossed the desert along the border with Baja, Mexico.  Then the highway cut through a long field of dunes called the Algodones. The winds blew the dune sand across the highway and it seemed the road would be retaken by the desert.

Crossing into California, Interstate 8 went up into the mountains and I stopped for the night at the Golden Acorn Casino. The casino was built in 2001 by what remained of the once mighty Kumeyaay tribe. For many miles there had been signs advertising the casino's $7.77 prime rib and its many gaming merits, but most important were the signs welcoming truck drivers and promising parking.

I parked in the large truck lot behind the casino and went inside to the restaurant and ordered the $7.77 prime rib special and a cold beer. At the tables were young Mexican families and old obese gringo couples who traveled on motorized carts sucking oxygen through tubes. 

Inspired by the prime rib and a second pint of beer I was feeling both virtuous and lucky. I went to a slot machine, fed into it a $5 bill, pulled, and won $6. I cashed out, receiving a printed card for $11 and found a casino attendant who exchanged the card for cash and I returned to my truck, intending to safeguard my virtue and conserve whatever luck might remain.

In the morning I continued west towards San Diego. The highway passed through mountains made of giant piled boulders. These great boulder piles were the result of the erosion of granitic bedrock and rose up high from the desert scrub.  

Then the I-8 came down from the mountains and into San Diego. I had a live unload at the Convention Center and followed the navigation through rush hour traffic into the center of the city. The computer pronounced me "arrived" along the harbor in front of the convention center. I didn't see any signs for trucks. I must not turn somewhere and get this thing stuck, I thought. I figured the unloads must happen behind the building and I continued until I found a street that went back behind it. There I saw the other trucks and knew I was correct. 

The docks were in a covered area inside the building with very little room to maneuver the truck. I had to cut the trailer hard but be very careful not to swing the front end out and hit something.  It was my most difficult backing yet and I took a long time to get it in. I was either cutting it too hard or not enough, or I was going to run the front end into the parked forklifts and cases of water along the wall.  When I finally got it in I was sweating heavily. The unload lasted a couple of hours.


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