Monday, November 22, 2010
From the Beginning, Part 1
Well, as many of you already know, this has been a real journey! From the time we decided to sell the business until now (nearly Thanksgiving) has been about 8 months. In June, we closed on the house and on June 29th, packed up the moving van and headed out with all the dogs and most of the possessions, and a dear friend named Erin who worked like a slave to help us move. We left Cheboygan around 7:00 pm that night, after a false start in which Jerry tried to load the Kia van, loaded with breakables, onto the flat bed trailer that was being towed behind a 26 foot moving van, which was the biggest one that UHaul had available. We had pitched stuff, and hauled at least 6 or 7 vans full of still good junk up to Salvation Army when I finally said "enough" and continued to pitch it out but kept the nicer things that I didn't want and threw them in boxes. These will be sold at a yard sale in the spring. That van was stuffed full! But back to the story.
Jerry attempted to load up the van and the front end of the trailer popped up off the towing ball! Erin and I ran forward, yelling and waving our arms as excited primates are wont to do. All to no avail. I could only pray that the van wasn't shook up enough that anything broke. I had glassware, picture frames with glass, etc in the van, figuring that nothing would fall on it as it would in the moving van. Jerry carefullly backed off the trailer and then we spent another 20 minutes backing and forwarding the moving van to reattach the darn trailer. Finally that was done and then we tried again. He got it on, we secured the heck out of it and then everyone hit the bathroom and we loaded up the "loose" dogs into the vehicles, the crated dogs were waiting patiently. I was driving the truck with a camper shell on it with most of the dogs in the back in crates, Jasmine was loose in the back seat, her 4 week old pups were in a crate next to her and the three older ones were in the front seat of the moving van with Jerry. After a bathroom break, we were finally on our way. We hoped to get to Coldwater, MI that night at the very least, at the very best, we would drive all night, maybe sleeping a couple of hours in a rest area and working our way south steadily. We had packed all day with the help of Erin and her family, for which I am eternally grateful.
The photo below is the size of van we had. We didn't have a cool horseshoe crab on there but did have a really neat green sea turtle on ours.
We arrived in Indian River and decided since it was close to 7:30 pm that we really should stop and get a bite to eat on the way. Jerry was driving the moving van and pulling the flat bed truck with the van on it. We were tired but exhilarated, we were actually moving to Kentucky! So clutching our McDonald's burgers and cokes, we headed south on I75, where in about 30 minutes, Jerry called me on the phone. Something was wrong with the van. What now? The oil light came on and stayed on. He had thumped it, tried changing speeds, etc. but it stayed on. So we pulled off at the truck stop just north of Grayling. The sun was just getting ready to set and I had horrible visions of having to unload that huge van and reload it on another van. I was going to sue UHaul for all they were worth if we had to do that. I nearly lost heart when I thought we would have to repack everything. Jerry checked the oil and Erin and I took the opportunity to clean out the dinner trash and hit the bathroom again. He couldn't figure out what was wrong so we decided to continue on. So we did. And at 50-55 miles an hour, it takes a good while to get anywhere. Poor Jerry was exhausted, all three of us were.
At Alma, MI, Jerry called me and said "I have to pull over, I'm so tired, and need to take a nap. We got off the highway and pulled into a WalMart parking lot that was well lit. I decided to go to the bathroom but they had just closed and wouldn't let me in. I didn't have to go all that bad and so really concentrated on other things so I wouldn't obsess about having to go. Jerry put his head back and tried to nap, I was all Pepsi'ed up and figured I'd better walk the dogs. So got Jasmine out and walked her, let her nurse the babies and put them away. Erin wanted to help but I said "you nap, I can do this". So I spent about an hour walking everyone, giving everyone water. They were a little bit "panty", they had been panting and their feet had sweated a little bit and this gives the doggy smell that is sometimes noticed. Everyone was ok, and everyone emptied out and were glad of a drink. The pick up is very tall and I had to climb in and out and move crates to get to dogs in the back. But finally everyone was done. I got in the cab and tried to relax and doze but just couldn't quite do so. I turned on the radio and found a talk station and think I finally conked out for about 20 minutes.
There was a knock at the window. It was Jerry and he wanted to move on. He said he couldn't sleep and we needed to find a bed. At this point we are barely a normal three hour drive from home but it had taken us 5 hours. I thought we would never arrive at this pace.
So we got going again and I was leading, since I knew the way. Darned if I didn't miss the exit onto 127 and so over the highway we went, right onto what immediately became a narrow 2 lane asphalt road. Uh oh. No place to turn around. So Jerry went up a ways and tried and tried to back around but couldn't so he gave up and went on down the road to look for a better place. Erin and I went up and parked under a light by the over pass and waited and in about 10 min. he was back. But another 30 min. had been wasted and we were an hour north of Lansing and God only knew where we would find a hotel.
I knew there was a Red Roof in to the West of Lansing, I'd seen it but didn't know what exit it was. We got to town and took the by pass around the west side and the eternal road construction made the road really rough. With everything so torn up and the signs down, I couldn't find the sign and so we passed right by it. Finally, towards the south part of town I saw a sign for a hotel chain, I can't remember which one it was. At this point is is about 2:30 am. We've taken 7 hours to drive a normal 4 hour drive. It's becoming apparent that it will take us 4 days to get to Kentucky. Even worse, the hotel is not "just off the road", it's several miles down the way. We finally get there and go in to register. I don't mention the dogs. I can barely remember my last name and have no idea what my birthday is. I mean, we were really, really tired! Thank God that I'd walked the dogs beforehand. The charge for the night was over $100. I almost had a cow but was too tired to think and all I wanted to do was get into bed.
So Erin and I went up to bed and Jerry had to walk the three old ones. Then he brings four of them into the room to sleep with us. Nuh uh. Take them back to the truck. So he left two of them in the room and put the other two out. One was Hayley, who would have paced all night and has an old dog's bladder, and one was Justin to keep her company. I felt bad they had to camp out but peeing on the rubber floor of the moving van floor in the front seat was better than having her pee on the carpet which I knew she would do. However, they did stay dry in the truck. So Buttercup and Charlotte stayed in the room with us and of course, one of them peed on the floor in front of the bathroom door. Darn it.
We were all in bed by 3:00 am and by 8 the next morning, I was up and out taking care of everyone, feeding, walking, etc. At 9:00 we were ready to hit the road again. Today! Today would be the day we got to move into our new house! I couldn't think about the huge amount of unloading. I couldn't think about anything except getting on the road and GOING.
And the oil light was still on.
Part 2 to follow.......