Adventures in moving cross country- Volume 16*: The Big Drive

I had about five more posts planned out to go over all the craziness that was getting the heck out of Dodge ,and how wonderful my friends are, and how much cleaning sucks, but I think that for now I’m going to put a pin in those and start talking about the actual move over here. We have been here for over two weeks already and I’m dying to show everyone pictures of the house! 

So instead of showing you any pictures, here’s an account of the drive out!

We got on the road with James at the helm of the Penske early Tuesday, July 19th and set off with our three faithful pets in the Prius with Jerome and myself.

It was a beautiful day to leave town.

They're already having fun!

Of course it was about an hour or two later than we planned to set out. I really wanted to leave the rental in good shape, even if the landlord had been very clear on their mistrust of our ability to get the dog smell out of the carpet and hinted that we would be lucky to get any deposit back. Still, ya gotta try.

We decided to take a more southerly route because it was the fastest. We mapped it out and over the 36 hour drive we would stop twice at hotels so we had three solid 12 hour driving days ahead of us.

I got a little misty eyed leaving Oregon; my only home these many (many, many) years. It still just felt like we were on a road trip for the most part. You know, those fun road trips where you drive all sleep deprived with your elderly dog and two cats with the eternal fear of them peeing all over the car and only eat gas station food because someone always has to stay out with the animals. So much fun!

Soon is a relative term.

A note about traveling with pets: You can plan all you want- buy a fancy rack to keep them in a designated position of the car, set out water, use the homeopathic stress relief drops, etc- in the end, you will let them figure out what’s comfortable and then re-position everything in the car to make it work. At least they let me keep the wee-wee pads down and didn’t try to cower under the brake pedal.

This was the final positioning.

We saw a lot of beautiful scenery as we crossed Idaho and made it into Utah, where we hung our caps in a decidedly gross hotel.

 This was not the cloud I told him to get a picture of.

Sometimes I like being a follower.

Boasting of “Ogden’s Biggest Indoor Swimming Pool”, the construction design of the Days Inn was less than well thought out. In a place that rates amongst the top ten cities with the driest air in the USA, our pool adjacent room was by far the muggiest hotel room I have ever slept in. Far worse than staying in Florida in August even.

We just stayed out of the poo.

When we rolled in around 11:30 at night, we also found that the phone reservation we made failed to include the pets. The pets that I asked multiple questions about when making the reservation. Fortunately, they still let us stay in a non-pet room after I assured them that they were very well behaved. This was an outright lie since my cats have never stayed anywhere but at our house and had a tendency to pee on any clothes left on the ground.

We had good fortune though as the cats were happy enough to be out of the car and chose to use the litter box we provided. Our smaller cat, Sonar, did find a fun hiding place in the torn up bottom box spring. This gave us an opportunity to see how really yucky the room was as we looked under every furniture item and found out just how much garbage had accrued. And spiders. This was a morning game, though, so we didn’t lose any of the 6 hours of sleep we had as we got back on the road.

The beauty of finishing up with Utah was able to scrub some of the ick from our minds as the first piece of driving for the day gave us some awe inspiring views.

Sure, it's the view from a rest area about half an hour from the hotel room because a cat peed on a towel and the odor was unbearable, but aren't those formations lovely?

And James thought we'd hit rain!

Jerome was great company the first day, but apparently I used up all my teenage bonding time for the trip by day 2 and he spent most of our trip blissful in slumber. There was a likelihood that the hours of conversation about a particularly interesting cloud might have earned me this.

The cats also had used up their nervous energy and spent most of the next two days under Jerome's seat, curled up together. This was amazing, since they tended to have a very tense relationship otherwise.

Good old Ned also slept for most of the trip, except when he got a little restless and tried to sit in the litter box on the floorboards.

We went through Wyoming and through most of Nebraska before we were done for the day and I got a chance to see if audio books were for me. The one I chose, The Other, by Stephen King, was narrated well, but I had to keep turning the volume up as the guy did different voices so I could hear over the blasting AC.

 Wyoming Selfie!

Judar did take advantage of a passed out Jerome lap ever so often.

Fun Fact: Cabela's headquarters is in Nebraska. Cue Star w/Rainbow.

We rolled into Lincoln, Nebraska around 12:30 am and were met with the friendliest hotel staff ever. The fellow was helpful and kind and even though they only allow two animals in the room, since I had made online reservation with a very clear “3 pets” and they never called to tell me about their policy, he did not turn us away. It was a nice clean room and a good area with a gas station and plenty of area to walk Ned and we were grateful for another 6 hours of sleep.

The thing about driving east is that we kept losing an hour each day. So as we had to wake up at a decent hour each morning to get on the road, we were losing sleep.

I blame James for jinxing us. I blame myself for these bangs.

We ran into rain on the third day, a lot of rain. Beautiful thunder storms broke up the flat Midwestern skyline as we passed all the cornfields of Nebraska and Iowa. Just when the rain was getting the worst, we pulled into a gas station and saw flash flood warnings on our phone.

It was a Kum & Go gas station. *snicker* Also, I finally feel comfortable pumping my own gas after this trip.


Just watching the storms roll by.

We made it through the blinding rain and were going through Chicago when John called. He was checking on our status and hadn’t realized how very little we valued sleep as he thought we would be rolling in the next day, not in just a few hours.

They had just poured polyurethane all over the floors in the third floor, which was generally the most habitable place in the house. The fumes would need to air out overnight, so we couldn’t drive there as planned.

We are nothing if not adaptive, so after a quick telephone conference while jammed up near a toll during rush hour in Chicago, we quickly came up with a plan to get into Michigan, get a hotel and get some good sleep. James’ mom helped us out by researching a pet friendly place and I made reservation by phone.

Just over the Michigan border- I mean so close we could just about see Indiana from our hotel in New Buffalo-we checked in. This time, I just lied at this point. I told them we had two pets, stuffed both cats into our bigger carrier and called it good.

James and I left all the animals, including the teenage variety, in the hotel room and set out into the quaint, lakeside town to get some good eats and a moment of celebration that we were at least in our new home state and most of the driving was behind us.

Little did I know this would only be the first of nearly daily burger meals. He only takes picture of about 75% of them, though.

We were finally able to get a decent amount of sleep and actually just made the checkout time as we got back on the road to first pick up Bucky from his Bubbe and then go home.

He actually wanted to stay here with the driftwood on the deck, but we made him come with us.

More about our arrival in the next exciting installation!

*Ok, so I did a little screw up with the numbering and had two "Volume 10's" but by the time I caught it, I had already come up with a good title for Volume 13, and you can't just throw that out the window. So here we are, skipping Volume 15 and back on track with Volume 16, like nothing happened. 


Popular posts from this blog

Banishing Guilt

Aspirations in the New Year

Adventures in moving cross country- Volume 20: Closing all the chapters