We took the next couple of weeks to do a little packing and wrap up some things in Memphis. My lovely wife graciously gave me a day to go caching, which I used to find the Lichterman Nature Center caches with Hoot Owl and the cache owner, Prontopup. Having two good friends along always makes caching more fun, and these four well done caches did not disappoint. Sadly, these few days also saw the sale of my secondary cachemobile, but I just couldn’t justify the expense of the bike in light of how infrequently I got to ride it.
I had the chance to have lunch with a friend who put me on to a realtor, who happened to be his in-laws, so we listed our house with them. The day they came out to place the sign, the ground was so hard it took both of us, and a sledgehammer, to drive the sign into the ground! Although we’d packed quite a bit of stuff, the last minute packing always seems to overwhelm us. It’s amazing how much stuff you accumulate. We rented a 26 foot Penske truck, with a trailer to tow our minivan. [my now-ex-wife] had to drive my truck, which was 6 inches too wide to fit on the trailer. She was not happy, but we made do. That night, we stayed up til 2AM packing, then got up at 6AM to start again.
The day of the move arrived and we began loading the truck. Some genius at Penske decided that one-way rentals only get loading ramps, not lift-gates, so we played a balancing act with some of the items. Ever notice that your nicest furniture is also your heaviest furniture? Ben and Dee Parker were a HUGE help, and still are helping in many ways. Our neighbors, Matt and Michelle Sherrill, took turns helping throughout the day, and Stacey Berretta and her crew helped a lot with the packing. Our plan was to roll out for Aurora, MO by noon. When all was said and done, the truck was crammed full (with some stuff left we just didn’t have room for), and we pulled out at 8:30PM. We drove through the night, stopping just a couple of times for fuel and food.
Somewhere in the middle of NW Arkansas, we were stopped at a sobriety checkpoint about 2AM. [my now-ex-wife] was in front of me in the truck, and two different officers approached us at the same time. I could see the office in front interacting with [my now-ex-wife], while mine simply asked to see my license and if I’d had anything to drink. Actually, he asked if Timothy had forced me to have a drink tonight. I skipped the obvious joke about Tim driving us to drink, and the officer gave me my stuff and let us go. I noticed that [my now-ex-wife]’s officer did a double-take on my truck’s tags (which expired in May), but he let them go. Once back on the road, [my now-ex-wife] and I (via two-way radio) noted the close call, whereupon Elizabeth promptly takes credit for getting us off because upon stopping she immediately announced to the officer that we were moving to Salem, Oregon.
Once we reached Springfield, MO, it was after 3 AM and we were not safe on the road anymore. The long day, long drive, and strain of loading a truck for twelve solid hours had become too much, and we were both having a hard time staying awake, so we pulled off at a Baymont Inn. This was the first night that we faced a nightly chore: finding a place to park a truck that took up about 8 parking places! We finally got everyone settled in and asleep by about 5:30.
We got up about 9 and finished the drive to [my now-ex-wife]’s friend Kathy’s house. We spent a few hours there and tried to figure out how to get back on schedule. [my now-ex-wife]’s old boss at Best Western had allowed her to stay on the payroll for a couple of extra weeks so we got the employee rate at Best Westerns throughout the trip! The only problem was, we had reservations each night, so we really needed to make it to those places each night. One bad day, and the dominoes would start to fall. We continued on to Joplin, MO, where we met [my now-ex-wife]’s grandmother for what was supposed to be brunch, but turned out to be dinner. By 7PM, we figured out we’d never make it to IA, so we pulled off at a different Best Western in northern Missouri.
The next day was the toughest day of driving weather-wise. We drove through some strong storms, driving rain, etc. There were times when I thought I’d have to pull over because I couldn’t see to drive. The trailer on the truck was about 8 inches wider than the truck, and only about a foot narrower than the lane, so it was hard enough to keep that monster in the right lane, even when I could see! But we soldiered on and made it to Minnesota by about 9PM, back on schedule for a day of visiting family in the twin cities area.