We are currently sitting in our last hotel room in Oxnard, CA and will be moving into our apartment tomorrow morning! Somebody was apparently exhausted from our 600 mile journey…
It was another early morning and Mackenzie and I split up for the first time on the trip. We took the car off the trailer and dropped the trailer off at Penske so the truck was quite a bit lighter! Although after dropping the trailer I feel like I’m leaving the inner sanctum of truckers. It’s kind of sad, like we’re leaving our squad behind. No more flashes of the lights from my fellow brethren.
Mackenzie and Schmom took off around 7AM to make it to the apartment to get keys and make sure it was clean enough for us to move into. As a reminder to all of you out there, I signed the lease on this apartment without Mackenzie seeing it. This never happens. All decisions are always looked over by the boss. Needless to say I was a little nervous for her to see it for the first time. Rest assured though, she loved it and is just as excited as I am to get all of our stuff in there tomorrow. Man do I hope it all fits.
I was a couple hours behind the ladies as we had a coffee table that needed some additional sanding this morning. I finished the sanding with quite a bit of help from B-Rad and hit the road. My 87 point inspection is now down to only 5 points (given that we don’t have the trailer) so I was pulling out of the driveway in no time.
I hit the California border around 1:30 pm and was prompted by a very nice state border agent who asked if I had any plants or fruit in my truck. I answered “No” and kept going on my way. Thankfully we had limited room in the truck when we had packed it and the house plants were one of the first items to get the boot! As I got closer to LA I got the real welcome to California…gridlock.
But that didn’t last too long and I arrived in Oxnard around 7:30PM. A quick order to Pizza Man Dan’s for dinner…seriously you can’t make this stuff up!
Yes that is a man on a beach in a pepperoni pizza shirt with a pizza hat. And yes that is a corvette decked out in pepperoni pizza paint (I think Dan is also wearing a pizza necktie too). And they say New Yorkers love their pizza!
It’s going to be a long day tomorrow unloading the gigantic truck, but luckily we (aka Mackenzie) hired a couple of Australian men to help unload the truck (not sure who is going to benefit more from that).
Good evening from Tucson, AZ! After 900+ miles and 13 hours on the road we made it all the way from Parker, CO.
The morning started very early with a 5:30 AM wake-up. We ran around and made sure we had everything all set and packed for the trip. Schmom had made us the best wraps for the road and we made some ice lattes as well. B-rad took Schmom to the airport so she could make her flight to Tucson and Mackenzie and I did our 35 point inspection of the truck, trailer and car (thanks again to Pops Wildman). We needed some air for one of the trailer tires so we stopped close by and filled it up. We were hoping to grab breakfast sandwiches from the convenience store but it wasn’t open. Mackenzie was, however, offered a raspberry danish from a very kind old man who was also waiting for the store to open. She politely declined and we started our trip south.
I almost forgot to mention that we had another guest in our truck for the trip, Bandit!
Bandit did pretty well, but he is a much better flyer than he is a roadtripper. We hit some high winds, crazy rains, lightning strikes and some truly spectacular views. Apparently Penske roofs are very flimsy as high wind gusts dented the roof in and out a number of times. The first time it scared all three of us and we pulled over to a rest stop shortly down the road to see what we had hit. We quickly figured it out and then only one of us was scared every subsequent time it happened (I’ll let you guess who).
The big Penske truck made it up the Raton pass, although it did struggle a bit. We had the pedal floored and we were dropping in speed from 70 to 60 to 50 and finally to 40 where we had to throw our flashers on and practically yell to hear each other over the screaming engine. Needless to say we all breathed a sigh of relief when we reached the top and crossed the border into New Mexico. I was surprised by how green New Mexico looked, they must be getting all the rain that California needs! The rain storms we drove through were quick but severe. We could see that we were going to be driving into them from miles away and then minutes before we hit the storm, we could smell the moisture in the air. The plains were gorgeous and the line about “where the deer and the antelope play” makes a whole lot more sense now. We saw a bunch of lightning strikes close by in the plains and wondered a bit if the cows in those plains ever got struck. There isn’t much taller than they are in those fields.
We got off the highway in Hatch, NM home to the famous Hatch chilis. You could smell the chilis roasting immediately after you got off the highway. We stopped at a McDonalds a bit down the road for dinner and to wait for B-rad who had been playing catch-up all day. I went in to order. A double cheeseburger with no pickle for me, chicken nuggets for Mackenzie and B-rad, and then like a beacon shining on the menu read “Green Chili Double Cheeseburger”. Could this be real? Was this an illusion? I quickly asked if I could add that to my order. The McDonalds attendant said of course and I waited anxiously to show my spoils to Mackenzie. The burger was everything we had expected and we enjoyed every bite. B-rad joined us shortly after it was finished (that was no coincidence) and we proceeded on the final leg of the journey.
Day 4 down and we have made it to Colorado! We hit the road around 8 AM this morning and arrived at Mackenzie’s parents’ house around noon after a hit rate of 1 out of 25 truckers giving us the symbolic head-knod (at least we’re getting a better hit rate).
After a quick conversation with the friendly fireman down the road we had secured a parking spot for our rig (that’s apparently what we truckers call it). Once we had parked we opened the back of the truck very tentatively half expecting the contents to spill out onto the parking lot. We should have known that everything would be exactly as we had left it. We did after all have an expert packer. We were very pleasantly surprised.
We spent the afternoon relaxing on the porch and playing yard games. It is amazing to not be sitting in that truck, at least for the next couple days. We had a very nice dinner with some family friends the Jacobs and Barb Brown and are currently sitting around the fire enjoying some well deserved vino. We hit the road again on Sunday to head to Tucson, AZ after my Fantasy Football draft in Denver.
What a few days it has been! Before I get all reflective and tell you all how we really felt when we first sat in that truck, I have to say we are having an absolute blast!
It kind of felt like a skier staring down a double black diamond after just learning how to stop sideways on a bunny hill. OK, it wasn’t that bad, Papa Wildman had made me back-up in the truck with the empty trailer attached and I think had purposefully let me drive home from the rental place so that I would hit a curb with the empty trailer just to get it out of my system. Reminds me of the time he took me out in a full on nor’easter in Massachusetts to teach me how to drive in the snow before I had my license. I recall him saying “What better time to learn?” I have to give it to him the logic seemed sound at the time and to this day I haven’t gotten in an accident in the snow (knock on wood). Needless to say driving a truck with all your earthly posessions towing the only transportation you have is a bit nerve-racking.
Now that we are apparently truckers (Erin – I still think I should have bought the trucker hat at Laughing Man) and have 1,500 miles under the belt, the fear has subsided a bit. We are enjoying the occasional headlight flashes we get after passing trucks to signal we’ve put enough distance between us to move back into the slow lane. Also, it makes us feel that we’re part of the clan, a sort of symbolic head-nod. If we go by proportion of symbolic head-nods, we are accepted by about 1% of the trucker community. Hey, you’ve got to start somewhere.
Illinois, you were the light at the end of the tunnel of rain. We had been driving through hours and hours of it and we finally got to your welcoming state line. Like a blessing you stopped the endless seige of torrential downpour and gave us dry road.
And then you do this and completely remove any affection that I had for you as a state…
Seriously who puts olives on a Hawaiian pizza???
At least we have a delicious Santa Barbara Cab to wash down the terrible choices of a pizza parlor who shall remain unnamed.
We can only hope for no rain and no olives in our forecast tomorrow.
Ok, now that we go that out of the way, this is awesome! A quick drive through town and we were on our way down the highway. The 4 hour drive flew by, as did all the cars that passed us as we chugged along at a whopping 60 mph. We drove through our first toll booth and the over/under was set at $3. Needless to say we do not classify as a car with a trailer for the $2 toll. The over won the bet as our first toll cost us $16! I think we’re going to need more cash.
The toll brought us into beautiful Pennsylvania. Weird to think we’ve both spent almost a quarter of our lives in this state. It had rained off and on all day so there was a cool fog among all the green rolling hills.
We kept chugging and ended up stopping for gas and dinner at a truck stop called Sapp Bros and Aunt Lu’s Cafe. I feel like we fit in really well.
After a great dinner that definitely had no shortage of sodium we pulled up into the oasis that is the Holiday Inn Express of Clearfield, PA (no really, it is fantastic). We were both really excited to shower after a long day of packing in what felt like 100 degree weather, drink the bottle of only slightly overheated wine we had brought along and pass out in our king-sized bed. Until tomorrow….
The short answer was no…but we made it work anyways! A huge help from our awesome neighbor and most of the stuff left behind will be reused by her son. In terms of the packing, we are convinced not a single additional item could have fit in the back of that truck. The legend of Bill Wildman’s real life Tetris skills continues to live on.
Mackenzie, Bandit and I were ready for the day…yes that is a baby bjorn for a dog (there’s a tail hole).
Mike & Adam came by to help load the truck. Huge thanks for making the trip out! We seriously have the best moving crew around, Schmom on the break-ables, Dad on the packing and all our awesome friends who have helped over the years. I think we can safely say this will be our last self-move ever. Cheers to that!