Friday, January 02, 2009

A Moving Tale

I drove a UHaul Truck towing an Auto Transport trailer (AT) with my Explorer on it. I managed to reschedule the truck and the movers who loaded it for me to the one nice day between winter storms, so everything went into the truck dry. Unfortunately, the movers arrived late and took twice as long as everyone expected. Then, afterwards, when I went back to UHaul with the loaded truck to pick up the trailer and, with their help, put my car on it, the trailer wasn't ready and the snow and ice made it hard to drive the car onto the trailer. And so I wasn't able to get out of town ahead of the storm.

I packed up some things the movers had forgotten in my car the next day, in the snow, and left. One of my neighbors asked if I had a back up plan. I asked what she meant.

She explained, "What will you do, if you breakdown?"
"Call UHaul," I told her.

Did she jinx me? Within 5 minutes of leaving my house, that's just what I was doing, calling UHaul, because one of the tires was flat on the trailer.

Two and a half hours later, I finally saw this in my rear view mirror: someone arriving to help.

Breakdown on I-96

The tech changed the tire in 15 minutes flat, took another 30 to do the paperwork and then, more than 3 hours later, I was finally on my way.

When I crossed the border into Indiana, it was as if someone flipped a switch, there was so much less snow. However there was ice on the highways and even more impressive winds. The weather forecast on the radio talked of windchill factors of MINUS 30 degrees and a high of ONE. Because of the breakdown and long wait for help, I only travelled about 250 miles on the first day. I stopped about an hour short of Indy. I had one thousand miles to go.

Illinois Rest AreaThe second day was bright and sunny. It was still very cold, but the roads were dry. I set my sights on Memphis–I knew it was probably further than I could reach, but I was motivated to make up some of the time lost sitting on the side of the highway the day before. On the radio, the weather reports warned of freezing rain "tomorrow." I began to feel as if I was trying to outrun mother nature. I felt if I could travel far enough south and or west I could escape that particular weather forecast . . .

My choices on the road were driven by two things: the two cats in their kitty carriers in the cab of the truck with me (who were INCREDIBLY well-behaved) and the turning radius of the UHaul truck and the AT.

How I travelled

I know I paid more for gas because I opted for Travel Plazas. I ate fast food because that's what was available at those Travel Plazas. I ate on the run because it was too cold to leave the cats in the truck for very long–it cooled off very quickly.

But back to outrunning Mother nature, I drove and I drove and I drove that second day. I crossed the Mississippi in complete darkness. I would have missed it completely if not for the well lit sign. I made it all the way to Memphis and beyond and stopped in Arkansas for the night, but I didn't manage to outrun that weather forecast. When I woke the next day, the entire state of Arkansas was under a travel advisory and all the highways on the map were color-coded magenta for ICE. The nice folks at the Holiday Inn allowed me to stay until 1PM when the advisory was lifted for the southern half of the state and I cautiously went on my way.

I made it to my destination very late on December 23, the third day of travel. I made it through Dallas on Highway 30, but had problems finding my way to the Motel. I called a friend who figured out where I was and talked me the rest of the way there . . . where I was told that they had a room for me but no room for me to park my truck and trailer. They wanted to send me to another motel in another town. I was way too tired to think (or drive). When I called my friend to share the news, she suggested we take the truck to her apartment complex and leave it there for the night. I was very thankful for this solution since it meant one less motel move for the cats, even though they acted like this whole thing was no big deal.

Motel Cats

The next day, Christmas Eve, I took the truck and trailer to UHaul where someone took my car off the trailer and told me that "it was a miracle" that I'd arrived safely because it had not be secured to the trailer correctly, nor had the emergency braking system been connected. I called a local mover who was willing to come unload the truck for me on CHRISTMAS EVE and put my belongings into storage.

Unloading on Christmas Eve

That little squid truck was like a clown car . . . the contents seemed to fill a much larger storage space.

It was so warm and sunny that day. While these guys worked, I just wanted to stand outside and let the sunshine warm my skin.


Kate North said...

Can I just say again how glad I am you've made it...

Boo to the folks who took 2.5 hrs to get out to change your flat (whoever's fault that was) but hoorah to the movers who came on Christmas Eve.

Here's hoping the new year will be less eventful - or more precisely, that the events will be a little more mellow...

sophie said...

Someone actually stopped right away and could have replaced the tire, but neither he nor I-both of us on our phones with UHaul for quite some time-could get Uhaul to authorize him to do the work. Instead I had to wait from someone who was theoretically based in my town but whose nearest tech lived 90 minutes away . . . what a way to do business--UHaul reached me faster when I broke down in the middle of nowhere in Wyoming when I was driving from California to Michigan.

Debra Dixon said...

Welcome to Texas!

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