Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Oh, Yeah!

What were we thinking?  I mean, seriously, what WERE we thinking?  On paper it seemed so "doable."  We would fly out to California on one way tickets, rent a 16 foot box truck, load up a couple of tons of "stuff" and drive back to VA.  Our trip would span more than three weeks, but the first two weeks of that time would be devoted to my work.  On paper, then, we had ten days to pick up the truck, load her up, make the drive 3000 miles across the country, unload the load and return the truck.  And that sounded completely OK to us.


Now, there were some additional constraints that potentially could make our goal a little tougher to reach.  For instance, even though we did have the truck for 10 days, I had to be back at work two days before the truck was due back.  And, since we rarely get to see family and friends in CA, while there, we had to incorporate a couple of get-togethers, setting us back further from our originally intended start date for truck loading.

So it was that we were really NOT prepared when we picked up the reserved truck, and we spent the next two and a half days loading her up.  (Our plan had been to "stage" everything on pallets so that when we picked up the truck, we could load her straight up in a matter of 12 hours or less... Oh, well.  And then we were on our way....two days after our intended departure, and three days after picking up the truck.

We literally moved that truck along the highways and byways as quickly as was realistically possible, with bad weather chasing us, catching us,  -- playing with us all along the route.  We stopped twice for sleep, and stopped five additional times to eat meals.  And, having left the Yosemite area of CA at 2:15 AM on Thursday, we arrived back at the old farmhouse here in the Gloucester area of VA at 12:30 PM on Monday.  Of course, we still had loads of chores to do, but we napped first and then completed our chores, finally calling it a night around 2 AM Tuesday morning.

The plan for Tuesday was for me to work during the day while Joe caught up on much needed sleep and then to work together in the late afternoon to unload the cargo from the box truck into the semi trailer we are using for storage here at the farmhouse.  It was a decent plan and rather well executed... at least until we started the unloading process.

In life there are many ways to accomplish one's goals... some require preparation, some allow for "seat of the pants" executions.  Since this was a rented truck, and the ground was "spongy" from recent heavy rains, and the access area to the semi trailer was iffy at best, we opted for the "preparation" model approach.  We started the preparation at 4:30 PM.

Semi Trailer, Swept and Ready to Receive Load

By 8:00 PM we had managed to sweep out the semi trailer to allow for storing the cargo in as clean an environment as possible and had managed to create a new driveway from the current driveway to the semi trailer, laying first road dirt and then a light sprinkling of gravel to reduce the possibility of getting the heavy box truck stuck in the wet ground.

Joe, making temporary road

Next we'd tried backing up to the deck leading to the semi trailer, using the ramp on the box truck to make a gangway to the semi trailer... that did not work. So, eventually, and through much careful maneuvering by Joe, we manged to get the truck backed up to another deck onto which we would make our ramp into the semi trailer.

Load to Unload

Ready to Unload

And then we decided to take a break, come inside and have some supper, and then try complete the job.  I also had a report I needed to complete for work...

At 10:30, with our appetites sated, I completed my work assignment while Joe returned to the work site to continue preparations.  By 1 AM, when I sent off my completed work assignment and return to the work site, Joe had successfully hung additional lights in the semi trailer and the back of the cargo truck, and created the ramp to get the boxes from the truck to the semi trailer.

Extra Lights Hung in Semi Trailer

For the next three hours we worked like crazy to get everything offloaded, our desire to complete the task fueled not only by the countdown of days to the required return of the truck, but by the weather predictions of more torrential rain, tornado watches, and generally bad weather approaching.

Halfway through -- Semi Trailer
Halfway through Truck
Wrapping up the Offloading

We finished unloading at just after 4 AM this morning.  The air felt very suggestive of rain and, though we'd originally planned to wait until morning to move the truck out of her unloading location, Joe became nervous that heavy rains would result in a truck stuck in the new, temporary driveway... so, despite the early/late hour, and the amount of work required to actually MOVE that truck, we decided to finish the job.

Sweeping up
Road Dirt Pile

In the final backing of the truck into the unloading location, the front wheels had pushed through a pile of the unused road dirt.  Joe was reluctant to try to drive back through that pile, so decided it made better sense to move the dirt.  He fired up the tractor at about 4:30  AM, thankful that our neighbors are not within earshot!  Thirty minutes later, with dirt moved, temporary driveway widened further and gravel sprinkled on top to aid in driving the truck over the fresh dirt, Joe was successful in getting her out and onto more "terra firma."

Early Morning Tractor Work
Joe Raking the new Temporary Road
Adding a Sprinkling of Gravel
Inspecting the Clearance to Get the Truck Out
We're in a Tight Spot (Oh Brother, Where Art Thou)

Safely Back on Solid Ground

Then it was just the cleanup of the tools and such, closing of doors, turning off of lights, and by 5:30 AM, we were finally able to go to bed.  I DID set my alarm, something I rarely do, concerned that I might oversleep my 7:00 AM "must be up" time.... I'm glad I did.  I was still tired when I arose, making my way to my office to start, once again, my work day.  I am very thankful my office is only about ten feet from my bedroom!  I would NOT have wanted to drive in that tired condition.

So, tomorrow we will return the rental truck on time, and without any damages during our use.  And with that, we will have completed the move of more than two tons of "stuff" from the west coast to the east coast of these United States....  I am still scratching my head and wondering, "What WERE we THINKING???"

Out next cross-continental trip will be a relaxed one, without hard deadlines, and without huge cargo hauls.... maybe even with good weather the whole way??? Well, I can dream, can't I?

Crossing the Bridge at West Point, VA
From the next Bridge, West Point, VA
Following the Fall Colors Home


Peggy Montano & Paintings said...

I'm exhausted...

~Kim at Golden Pines~ said...

Hi Judy! While I didn't leave any comments, I did check in every couple of days to see how your trip was going--I'm glad you've made it back safely!! That was quite a trip to say the least!! I don't know where or how you and your husband found all that energy!!! I hope you're able to take a break at some point!! ~~Welcome back to VA!!~~

mixednut555 said...

Ditto what Peggy said!
WV: blemoled

Judy's Corner said...

LOL Peggy!

It was worth all of the work. The experience was fun and the stuff is here now, instead of 3000 miles away!

Judy's Corner said...

Hey Kim,

Thanks for reading. We are happy to be back home in VA, but the trip was a lot of fun!

Judy's Corner said...


LOL at the WV... those words are

Sharon said...

Have done crazy stuff like this, takes a special type of energy to get through it with a smile!
I believe you dragged that awful storm along with you, LOL!