Sunday, December 13, 2015
Sunday, November 02, 2014
As we neared Little Rock, it occurred to me that there might be some difficulty getting our loads up Cantrell hill on Highway 10 so I called Monda and asked for a recommended alternate approach. The absolute last thing I wanted to do was get us stuck half way up Cantrell hill just at the end of our arduous day of driving, sheesh. She suggested the 440 loop over to pick up 630 and north on University. Well, I know the trucks use that 440 loop and boy do they ever, but it was a rough ride that night as we neared our destination.
We were bumping around, seemingly shaking our loads, making our way around the southern side of the city on the little rock. I noticed all the landmarks from the signs on 630, saw the city lights, all to be explored and discovered in our new home city, but I just wanted to get us to the little house waiting on North Hughes Street. Pulling up in front of Monda's that night, I felt the full load of relief, as I stopped that truck and set that parking brake. I was done, spent, and there was Will and Monda headed across the lawn to greet us. I must have looked crazy with my head bowed down on that steering wheel, thanking the good Lord for His clearing our path and delivering us safely, cause I had done all that I could do. They let me step down out of the truck, someone may have actually assisted me, and then maybe someone moved it and disconnected a car hauler or something of that sort, but I was done. It was a long day, in May...10.23.14
The plan was to drive up to Tupelo and then cut over to Oxford, and cross the Mississippi at West Helena, thus avoiding Memphis and the traffic. I had driven this route back from Arkansas in April after participating in the MS Walk, and it seemed doable and much less traffic for someone with my limited experience of driving a big truck and pulling a vehicle. I had not considered that we might be driving that road at night, in the dark, and just so you know, the high beams didn't help much, very little difference really. Well, so you know. In fairness, we didn't know that Prince Charles and Prince Harry were actually in Memphis that weekend at some event, so the traffic in Memphis might have been even more challenging than my imagination had dreamed up, but anyway, I digress.
It began to get dark as we headed across the bottoms of Mississippi toward the river. The road was narrower and there were no shoulders, at least nothing wide enough to park a truck on. As we drove, it seemed like forever across those roads. I was driving the lead and knew the route; when the phone rang with Bruce asking how far we were from an interstate and if this was going to last much longer, and that the dog was whimpering to take a break. There was just no good answer. We were still a fair piece from a place to pull over, and it was pitch black outside with no street lights, faded paint lines on the road, the road seemed much bumpier in the truck, and very few other vehicles. Crossing railroad tracks out in the middle of nowhere is never a good sign and we weren't lost but we might as well have been because it was dark and we were tired.
Eventually we neared a casino and a gas station with a driveway big enough for a couple of big trucks and we pulled off to walk the dog. I felt tired about then but it was good to walk the dog and just stretch a minute even though I knew it would be a while longer before we made our way across Arkansas and back to the interstate 40 at Brinkley I think it was. The road was better on the Arkansas side but still, it was a relief when we pulled back on to the interstate. Traffic didn't seem so bad after all the isolation in the dark. Strange how that is. It seems I came away from that stretch with a better understanding of that whole pray without ceasing passage, the practice of which had eluded me over the years, but understand better after my dark night of driving. There was no light of the moon that night, only the invisible hand of God clearing our way, for I prayed for that because much of the time, I could not see the way.
Eugene and Tammy came by on Friday to help us finish the last minutes, cause there just seem to always be last minutes. We swept, ran the vacumn, wiped down counters, lemon fresh-ed toilets, and tried to leave things ready for the eventual new owners. I hope it felt welcoming a month later when the new family arrived.
It was closer to noon than we had wanted before we had things ready to lock down and pull out of the cove. We said our goodbyes to Tammy and Eugene, tried to keep the tears to a minimum, but it is always hard leaving good friends, forever friends.
Up till this point the cats had been secured in the laundry room, away from the coming and goings of their world as they knew it. We loaded them in their carriers, put the dog on her leash, double checked the locks, and climbed into the truck cabs. I would drive the lead truck with two cats and a litter box, pulling the Civic on a car hauler. Bruce would follow, with the dog, pulling the CR-V, with a 17' canoe on top. We were a sight pulling out of Windwood, no doubt. And just like that, we drove away.
We hadn't hardly pulled onto Interstate 20 before one cat managed to dislodge her carrier from the seat, turned gate side down into the floor, right onto the litter box. At least it was fresh litter. I phoned Bruce to share the predicament and she just had to stay there until we could pull over in Lincoln at the truck stop to secure her back in the seat. There were no plans for backing these loads up, so everything was about being able to drive forward. It took that cat about an hour of meowing before she settled down and rode quiet. It was the first chapter in our moving story but we were on our way.
Driving the truck was not a problem. The truck rode steady and traffic wasn't bad. I like sitting up a little higher on the road and could see very well. It was a clear blue sky day, Friday of Talladega Race Week, and the best look I have ever had of the speedway from the interstate, as we drove by, and gave it a wave.
Saturday, November 01, 2014
When I say "just like that," I mean, wow, I would put my vehicle up on the car hauler and I would for the first time, drive a 26 foot U-Haul truck pulling a car down the road through Anniston and to the house in Oxford, at dusk. Well, I was going to have to drive it eventually, and well, this was our eventually. It turned out to be a good exercise in getting used to the feel of the truck and how it drove pulling just the extra weight of the hauler and the vehicle. We arrived and parked the trucks at our Oakhurst house, knowing that the time had really come, no turning back now. We learned to attach the haulers to the trucks and drive the cars up onto the platform, strap it down, and unhook it all so that the trucks could be loaded on Thursday.
I should mention that our son, Will, offered to fly in and drive the second truck for me, but it just seemed to me to be too much to ask, at that point in the plan. I mean, really, how hard could it be to drive a truck pulling a hauler and car across the country.
Our Unity crew arrived ready to load the trucks and they systematically loaded, turned and stacked our furniture, cardboard boxes, mattresses and every imaginable piece of property that we had accumulated into those two trucks. The first truck was packed tight and high. The second truck had the challenge of carrying more of the misfit sized, lawn equipment, dog house, tiller, tools, and last minute additions to the load, plants. I don't really know how they did it, but they did, and I'm glad it was them doing it.
We grabbed a last meal out with our neighbors, Edith and DC. We talked of good memories and how we'd miss having each other next door. We'd grown very close, enjoying Thanksgiving meals together for several years, and Will's holiday pilgrimages home at the holiday seasons, one part of our Alabama family. Edith also fixed us a hot breakfast the next morning to help send us out with full bellies. We can never say thank you enough. Always good memories.
Some things are a blur. At one point we learned that our buyers were not going to be ready to close on our assigned closing day, waiting for IRS to send lender a letter. It was coming we were assured but stood a good chance of not making the original closing. We learned that it would indeed not get there for the closing and the contract had to be amended to give the buyer more time for it's arrival and we actually went moving week and signed papers and power of attorney, in downtown Anniston at the attorney's office, so that closing could occur with our realtor, Alison Landers, to sign for us, (an angel sent from heaven and other angel Donna Saunders, always ready to assuage our fears and further our education in all things property.) Lending and closing work a bit differently than our previous move eleven years earlier, so it was good working with these outstanding professionals. Never doubt me, they got us through this. ERA King is where you find them, or ask me, I recommend without reservation. As I recall, closing was a month later, yes, a month. And well, we went ahead with the move as originally scheduled. I mean really, it was boxed and ready, our loaders were reserved, and our trucks were reserved, and we had a rental house to move to, so we moved.
Our plan was to wrap it Wednesday, load it Thursday, drive it Friday and unload it Saturday, in Little Rock. We pretty much had to have everything packed up and ready by Wednesday morning. I should have taken a box count, but I didn't so I don't know how many there were, but they fit in two twenty six foot long UHaul trucks, a Honda CRV, and a Honda Civic, and they were packed.
We also planned to pick up our trucks and car haulers on Thursday morning. As it turned out, we found out that we had one truck coming to Jacksonville and one truck coming to Alexandria pickup locations. We called to see if we could pick up the Jacksonville truck and hauler on Wednesday afternoon so that one truck could be onsite for loading to begin early Thursday morning. So, after a long day of wrapping and prep, Bruce and I headed to Jacksonville. Sure enough, they graciously put together our paperwork, keys and such like. When I mentioned to them that we would be picking up another truck and hauler the next morning at Alexandria, he offered to make arrangements for us to take his second truck and hauler, rather than come back out to Alexandria the next day. And just like that, we were set to drive both trucks and haulers back to the house that evening...part 3
We needed to decide if we would rent U-Haul or Ryder trucks for the move. We needed to know where to buy the abundance of boxes we would need to box every other thing we owned to make the trek to Arkansas. We needed to know if we could afford to get someone to help us load the trucks, and found that this was doable. We hired Robert Weiss and his crew from United Moving of Oxford, Alabama for this purpose, and I don't think I could overstate how much this helped us accomplish the moving. Four strong, healthy backs to help wrap furniture, and stage and load it and all the boxes onto trucks was the way to go, just saying. Furthermore, let me just state that everything arrived in pristine shape, no breaks. Frankly, that's almost unheard of and I heard stories from several people of just that.
We did some online research on U-Haul and Ryder, asked some opinions on Facebook, and decided to visit U-Haul in person in Oxford out on Hwy 78. We were able to get the CRV filled with boxes, well actually it took 2 trips that day, and a link up with another outlet over on Hwy 202 for some more wardrobe boxes. Back to standing at the counter of the U-Haul in Oxford. Perfectly nice people, let me just say. However, we did not realize that day that while we could reserve our trucks and car dollies at this location, it did not mean that this would be the location where we would pick up said equipment on moving day. It's a very big detail that I personally think would be better to know about going in, rather than surprised about on the day before pickup for the loading. Maybe that just me, but now you know. Like I say, this would be a detail we would find out about later.
On that day we reserved two 26 foot long trucks and two car hauling dollies, plus 96 blankets for wrapping, and bought boxes, tape, boxes of paper, and a box of bubble wrap. Let me insert here that bubble wrap is so worth it, so worth it, and we would buy more of it as we progressed with the packing, as well as many more boxes. Before I forget to mention, while I was standing at that counter, my cell phone rang, and who would it be but Ryder to ask me about my online inquiry. Timely I thought and told them that they could call me back in about an hour and I'd be glad to hear what they could offer me as it was supposed to be a better deal than what I'd seen online, as I was actually standing at a U-Haul counter at that very moment. Unfortunately, that call didn't come until maybe a couple weeks later, and well, that was too late. By the way, the reason we went with U-Haul was because I asked Unity and they mentioned that it was easier to load and unload the U-Haul trucks as they sit lower to the ground. I'd say that was good advice as we would be a bit less experienced on the unloading than they were on the loading of the trucks...part 2