Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Weight of My World

One of the things that has been weighing heavily on me about my plans to hit the open road has been the strain and stress on my car - I'm worried I'm going to kill her hauling the tearbaby and all my stuff.  I really like my car - "Tawanda" (Ford Focus Wagon) - she is sleek, comfortable and easy to drive, has a large cargo area that is easy for a shortie like me to load / unload and even access the roof.  She's not too big, not too small.  She's just about right - the Goldilocks of cars.  All very important things for my physical, mental and financial well-being!  Except when it comes to being a tow vehicle.

One of the many reasons I wanted the teardrop that I got was for it's weight.  Egon knows how to build not only a GORGEOUS trailer, but a light weight one too - about 650 lbs. - light enough for my car's 1000 lbs towing capacity.  Since I was going to be towing the teardrop constantly, I really needed a light weight trailer. Yes, I knew I would be adding weight to the tearbaby when I started packing her, but thought I could easily keep it right around the 1000 lbs.  Easier said then done.  Sometimes you don't realize how much something weighs or how fast the weight adds up (Oh, how I can relate!).

In preparation for a trip north to visit family and friends (introduce them to the tearbaby and haul some things to be stored), I needed to know what the trailer weighed so I would know how much I could pack in it and the car (I had my new mattress and a few other things added).  It was time for a trip to the CAT Scales!

I had called ahead the week before to the Pilot Travel Center to ask about using the CAT scales.  I got a very nice and helpful young man who graciously answered my questions.  "Was I allowed to use the scales for my little trailer and car?" - "YES!"  "Could I get a weight for both vehicles individually?" - "YES!"  "How did the scales work?" - "You just pull up onto the scales, making sure each vehicle is on a separate scale, then push the CALL button and give them your tractor number and come inside to get your printout!"  Seemed easy enough.  (I really should know better by now).

I get to the rather busy exit, about 25 - 30 miles from my house, turn left and head to the Pilot Travel Center.  I pull in, but don't see a sign for the scales - I am in the "car" refueling area.  I drive through to the other side and then see way in the back behind the building the sign for the CAT Scales.  I wait for traffic to clear for what seems like forever and pull back out and head down the access road.  By now I am a bit frazzled by all the traffic at the travel center so am glad to get to the Big Rig section where everything moves much slower.  I find the scales (have to go around to approach from the other side), and pull forward onto them.  I open my door to check to see if I have each vehicle on a separate section - not quite - so I pull forward about another foot and that does it.  I hop out of my car and start looking around for the CALL button I was told to push.  It's not there.

Who took the CALL button????

Now really, how far could a CALL button go?  I look and look, and then the light in my brain goes on - I look UP.  Way up high in the clouds above me is a big yellow and black box on a pole with instructions and the CALL BUTTON!

Not my car nor my picture - I forgot to get a picture of my car on the scales, but you get the idea.

You've GOT to be kidding me!  Yeah RIGHT!

How the heck am I ever going to reach it?  I think for a few moments then go digging in my car and come up with my crumbling 18 year old compact umbrella.  I climb up on the concrete piling that the sign post is bolted to, then tippy-toe up onto the giant bolts, and holding onto the post I stretch as far as I can and just barely touch the CALL button with the end of my umbrella and push.

Did it push?  I can't be sure.  I wait.  

Just as I was about to push it again a young woman's voice comes over the speaker asking for my tractor number.  I give her a made up number (like the young man from the week before told me to do) and she then tells me to come inside to get my printout.

Now, I would have LOVED to know how many truckers were doubled over laughing at me through this whole CAT scale "initiation".  Of course no one came over with an offer to help - how could they, it was probably all they could do to keep from peeing their pants laughing at me.  But I was happy to do my part and provide some lunchtime entertainment to those fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to view the "show".

Oh, I did get the weights (minus me - remember I was up on the pole!  Thank the "Powers That Be" for small miracles!).  The tearbaby came in at 740 lbs. nearly empty!  Yikes!



  1. Hi Jordan, camped next to you in Indiana last year. Checking on you and your travels. Hope all is going as planned. - Kristi H.

  2. Hi Jordan, camped next to you in Indiana last year. Just checking in on you and your travels.

  3. Hi Kristi. So great to hear from you. I'm doing O.K. Have had some major things happen in my life (to be in a new post very soon) that have held up my plans of getting on the road, but I'm hoping that I will be off & rolling in September. How have you been? Are you getting out camping lots this summer? I hope we can meet up again sometime. Thanks for tracking me down and checking in. Wishing you well.
    - Jordan