A pickup truck pulling an open trailer crosses into my lane, hitting the left front of my van. We are both traveling at 70 mph through the vast darkness of the Arizona desert.

“I can’t believe this is happening!”

The year was 2009. I quit my job at the Porsche race shop. My townhouse had a renter and I needed a place to go. My grandpa recently had surgery on his shoulder and needed someone to help out; the timing was perfect. Winter in Chicago is no fun, so why not enjoy the warmth of Arizona? This would be my second time living out there and I was very excited to go back.

Now, how am I going to get my stuff out there?

Considering I didn’t have a job anymore and was low on cash, I had to get creative. I love to drive, so a moving company was out of the question. A one-way U-Haul truck would easily fit everything, including the Ducati motorcycle. But there was a problem. $1,200 for a one-way from Chicago to Arizona. That’s not going to work.

There has to be a cheaper option. Thankfully, there was.

Enterprise Rental Car. After a bit of playing around with the days on their website, I was able to lock in a 5 day “Weekend Rate” for about $300 bucks. The vehicle was a white cargo van. Unlimited mileage included. Talk about a deal! A rental van, gas and one-way plane ticket was half the price of a U-Haul. Time to load it up, drive the 1,900 miles to Arizona, unload, turnaround and make it back before the 5 days ended. If you’ve done this drive yourself, you know it’s a good 30 hours, or 3 long days each way.

I’ll need everything I’ve got to pull this one off.

Everything was going great, the van was driving smooth. Then, it happened. “It’s dark, I’m in the middle of the desert and very tired. Now I have to pull over and deal with this accident? This can’t be happening. It’s got to be a dream. Come on, I have to wake up!” Just then, I did wake up. “What a relief!” I felt a wave of relaxation go through me. There was complete silence and darkness.

“Wait, where am I? The last thing I remember was driving down the highway.”

Panic came rushing back through me. “Am I in a ditch on the side of the road? Why am I stopped?” Then my eyes finally opened. I was staring up through the windshield. This strange feeling lasted for what felt like a good 5-10 seconds before I realized where I was. Thankfully, at an Arizona rest area. I had pulled over to take a nap around 2 AM and completely forgot about it.

The rest of the trip went perfect. I made the drop and got back to Enterprise in time to return the van, now with about 4,000 more miles on it! A few days later, the plane landed safely in Phoenix. I made it.