Little did I know, after I finally arrived home, I would be grateful for missing so much.
Around 2am on April 18th, the Emergency Broadcast System fired a piercing warning in my ears. I had fallen asleep in Houston, Texas, with my earbuds in, listening to the soothing sounds of cello music, but was soon jolted awake by the threat of fifteen inches of rain and a tornado warning. Unfortunately, I was scheduled to leave only a few hours later to start a long journey back to Washington State with my truck and cargo trailer. Due to highway closures and extremely dangerous conditions, it was clear to me in the morning I would not be leaving.
This was just the first of three obstacles I would face on my way home.
A day later the skies were friendlier, so I took full advantage of this window and left early. Two days into my trip, I rewarded myself with a hotel room in Las Vegas and a much needed full night’s rest. With my battery charged and a bright morning ahead, I left the hotel and did my routine safety check on the trailer. I was shocked at what I saw. My heart sank a little as I stared at an adjuster bolt from my trailer brakes sitting next to one of my tires. It was not a good sign, rather the start to a long and expensive day of repairs. After tearing the wheel off I discovered the bearings had collapsed around the spindle, completely destroying the brake hub. Immediately, I knew I had dodged a bullet. This kind of damage frequently causes fires that can result in a complete loss of the trailer and its contents. A wave of gratefulness swept over me as I remembered how I almost didn’t stop the night before. If I hadn’t, there is no telling where in Nevada the trailer would have given up all hope. Lady Luck shined a little brighter that day as I was led to a mobile trailer repairman named Gary who fixed it up for me.
Almost $500 and 9 hours later I was back on the road headed north but not for long.
After driving for a bit, I pulled into a small gas station next to a motel and restaurant. It was the only thing around for a long distance in any direction. Standing there, with his hood up, looking confused, was Eli, a college student whose car’s radiator had just been destroyed by hitting a bunny. His VW Rabbit was killed by a rabbit, which in turn also lost its life in the misfortunate mishap. I spent the next couple of hours helping Eli and making sure he had company while waiting for the tow truck. By the time it arrived, it was approaching midnight, so I pulled over next to some idling semitrucks and quickly fell asleep.
Eventually, I made it home on Saturday, two days behind schedule. The delays were frustrating, to say the least, and cost me some opportunities at home. I had to remind myself to be at peace when things like this happen because it’s not the events I miss that make a difference, but rather the events I don’t know I missed. I made it home safe, and in the end, that’s really all that matters. Would I have made it home ok if I had left on time? Of course, there is no way of knowing that answer, but for the purpose of this article, I did a little research. I searched the Highway State Patrol records for incidents that happened during two different time periods. The first, on Highway 93, during the day of April 20th, north of Las Vegas, where I would have been if I had not been delayed by the storm in Houston. The second, at the same location, but a day later, where I would have been had my trailer brakes not failed. Three events caught my attention: a major crash near Wells, Nevada, a semitruck rollover near Filer, Idaho, and a 46 year-old woman arrested for traveling one hundred miles per hour on the wrong side of the highway.
Fortunately, I showed up late for all of these.
I’ve never subscribed to the idea that everything happens for a reason, but I firmly believe many things do. I live my life by this rule and never question when my plans get changed by circumstances out of my control. Thanks to my little research project, next time something happens, it will be easier to kick back, take a deep breath, and be thankful for all the things I’ve missed.