The bird has adapted, sort of. He kind of goes into a daze while in the car, where his eyes stare at nothing in general and he crouches on his perch and hangs on for dear life. Then when there’s a bump or something disturbs him, like hunger, he begins pacing back and forth and then climbing around the cage. But in general, he’s fairly calm, and sometimes now doesn’t even react to small bumps in the road. Once we stopped at our destination, today Albuquerque, and got him settled into our cheap but actually quite pleasant motel, he was back to his usual self, munching away on his seed, checking himself out in the mirror, grooming, making pleased little sounds, and showing off his pretty feathers.
Driving interstate is interesting, because we’re supposed to stop at all the weigh stations now, as if we were truckers. They just wave us through once they note that we’re hauling just a bunch of mostly worthless personal shit. Also, on the trucker side of things, I feel more in tune with the semis that are everywhere on the roads. They all mostly respect the rules of the road, and they pass and maintain speeds just the way anyone who has driven a lot should do. It’s all those other idiots on the road that don’t get how to drive on a highway. They speed up, they slow down, they pass on the right, they ride your ass, which is a dumb thing to do when it’s a truck they’re riding. See, when a truck is cutting into your lane, it’s because they can’t just slow down easily. They’re hauling lots of weight. So when they know they are going to be passing another truck, which is all done with respect and is simply noting that “hey, you’re cruising at 70, I’m cruising at 75: I’m going to pass”, they will simply move into the next lane, and you had better let them do so, instead of speeding up and trying to box them in. They can’t get up to speed or brake very quickly, so they have to maneuver around things. Seems simple enough, but cars zip around trucks and try to cut them off constantly.
We’re driving with a Budget truck rental, which was nice and cheap, comparatively, especially with a discount, but I’ve realized since then what the difference between a Budget truck and a U-haul truck is besides the price: a V-8 engine. The U-haul truck dribbles like butter up mountain roads at 75 -80 with nary a shudder. The Budget truck lets you know when you’ve gotten above 70 by spasming like an epileptic choking. But whatever, as long as it gets us there.
Today we tried buffering Vinnie’s cage with a bunch of pillows so that he doesn’t slide around and is cushioned from all the bouncing. It seemed to help a bit, though he doesn’t ever get used to it. Poor thing is exhausted now after gorging on seeds: he’s sitting with his little foot curled into his feathers, all puffed up and falling asleep.
Well, it’s off to dinner now, and then some Top Chef watching. Tomorrow we’re shooting for OK City, but it’s a longer haul then today, and it looks like there’s some major storms a-brewing around them parts, so we may just cut off for the nearest motel whenever things get hairy. The nice thing about these one-way truck rentals is that they give you plenty of time: we’ve got 10 days to do what should be a 6-day trek. So if needs be, we can rest our laurels and ride out a tornado or flash flood. But another day is another dollar that could have been another meal in New York whilst unemployed and destitute. . .