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Friday, February 21, 2014

And So it Blows...

Well, we're here. Very Tired even after a couple of nights sleep on our own bed, but we are firmly here. The Guy and I are a bit worn out and frazzled, and the dogs are needy, energy filled, and wiley, but otherwise we are well, moved into the apartment and completely ready to start house hunting.

House hunting, already? Yes. We have discovered that apartment living with 4 dogs, none of them being small, is not a way to stay sane. But I digress into our current predicament, let's rewind to the previous few.

So, Saturday was wonderful. A Big HUGE Thank You to all who came over and shared in the good times, fantastic eats, and warm feelings as we prepared to depart. You all reminded me how much I am join got miss the newer parts of our family there in Wyoming. Sunday, we woke early and quickly realized that though the 20 ft U-Haul was the only truck available in Casper, it wasn't big enough to take all that we wanted to. Se, we were forced to downsize some things. No Cindy and Millie, the loom wasn't among the things left behind.

More items were taken to Goodwill, some item were given to family and friends. Then we played Tetris with the remainder and got it all shoved in the back of the truck. Scrubbed the house down while it was empty of belongings and crashed on the futon mattress on the floor with the dogs. Let me tell you, Sullivan's look of doggie horror as we packed up his couch, was hysterical though his antics in later worry were not.

Monday morning we got up bright and early, packed the dogs into the Toyota, made sure the cat was set until her new housemates could swing by and check on her and hit the road. I feel less and less guilty about her as I sit in this apartment and realize she would have HATED living in an apartment where she couldn't go outside, or come in and find a cozy quite corner to be alone in. I am assured by the memory of the new house owner picking her up and cuddling with her that she is better off there in her house, with her dishes, her 2 bags of food I made sure she had, seeing her vet and getting to know her new people. Though I look back at pictures of her and Sullivan together and feel bad all over again, I know we made the best decision for her.

So, we hit the Flying J truck stop on the way out of town, filled up and hit I-25 south, to find in less than a mile that the interstate was closed. closed due to high winds and icy conditions.
Drifting dirt roads, so much fun!
So we got off at Hat Six. hit the old highway and drove through to Glenrock were we took the little dirt county roads to... We'll, we took a wrong turn. In the end the 26ft U-Haul towing my car, that can't reverse with said tow dolly on behind it got stuck. With some creative heaving and bowing we got her unstuck to head back towards the correct turn where we found a huge mud pit in the road. Not on one side of the road, but in the middle of the road, from steep side, to steep side. There are no pictures because I was to busy thinking, "What the hell are we going to do?" to take any. And it's also better if there weren't any to share because U-Haul would want to know exactly what I did to their truck.
So, The Guy while I look on, takes the Toyota up over the steep shoulder and drives past the mud hole to the other side and comes on over the walkie talkie and says, "The side I just came over is still frozen solidly, make sure you turn wide."

And something along the lines of, "What the $@&% do you mean turn wide? If I turn wide I will high center this *&$%#". I admit, I didn't say this over the walkie talkie, but instead rammed the gas maybe screamed like a little girl when I hit the wall of sand and trundled down the shoulder and probably caught a little air coming off it in an effort not to high center or get stuck in the soft sand at it's base. Needless to say, I was shaking just a tiny wee bit and apologizing to the U-Haul and my poor car that was drug along for the fun.
See that almost empty interstate to the right? Should have been a clue.
Then we kept trundling on to find in Douglas I-25 still closed, the roads a sheet of ice and lines of 18 wheelers awaiting better conditions. Did we stop? Hell no. We knew we were running in front of a storm into Michigan. So wee took the old highway to the Orin junction, stopped at the reststop and headed east.
We soon hit dry pavement, and shortly after that the sky's opened up to blue and the snow disappeared. However, the wind chased us across Nebraska.

I knew the western side of Nebraska had beautiful bluffs and hills as it marched up into prairie from the plains towards the rockies, but I wasn't prepared for the miles and miles of rolling hills in northern Nebraska. To be honest, the flat lands were short and brief on highway 20. We hit them late in the evening as we pressed on trying to make up for the delay of going around the interstate that morning. It was already mostly dark by the time we hit them.
We crashed that night in Norfolk as planned where we had reservations, but I was a bit surprised to find it still windy, with dropping temps and ice forming on the streets. We were up again early that morning and headed out towards Freeport Illinois as planned to meet up with my Aunt Millie for our second night on the road.

Once again, I was shocked as we hit the eastern side of Nebraska and entered into Iowa. I have been through both states before but always remember them as flat land. There were beautiful hills with trees and tiered hay fields. In the early morning light it was beautiful.
All in all, although it was another long days drive, it wasn't bad. It had me looking forward to the third and last day being out shortest on the road. That is until we hit Dubuque. It's a larger town, and I wasn't enjoying town driving in the beast with the trailer. I had no further mishaps, but I wasn't having fun. To boot, it was late in the day as we hit the steep hills, crossed the skinny bridge that spans the Mississippi and entered Illinois.

So far, the country surprised me, but as I hit that bridge, a part of my old memory kicked in and said, "I remember this bridge" and as we hit the curvy roads to the East and climbed up to Galena, the temperature dropped and I started worrying about ice.

I have been to Galena before, and it is a pretty town. Elizabeth is also a pretty little town nestled between some hills as your continue eastward, but it had skinny streets and again just added to my anxiety with the big truck. Despite my anxiety we got into Freeport without incident. Settled into my aunts place and had a wonderful evening of chartings, goofing off with dogs and good Chinese food.

Alas, I am getting long winded and am making myself tired of this tale. So let's be as quick as we can.
The third day was taxing. It was still windy. Surprise! The wind mills kind of gave it away. Between the wind buffeting the truck, the increased traffic as we hit the outskirts of Chicago, I didn't get pictures. I did a lot of palm sweating, cussing at other drivers and The Guy as he changed lanes with ease and sped up easily in front of me with the Toyota as I lumbered up and down the hills and through the multiple lanes of traffic. There were no accidents. There was a tight squeeze in a roadside Shell gas station though that tested what little patience and blood sugar I had left. Then we hit Grand Rapids and I wanted to cry as we twisted and turned through it's interstate/highway exchanges. But we survived. We got to the apartment,unloaded what we would ned for a couple months and yesterday took the rest and the U-Haul to the storage facility for short term storage. As much as I hated doing that shift in the pouring rain yesterday and was full on pissed at other drivers as we went south through downtown to the storage facility, I'm glad we did it yesterday rather than today.

Today, we woke to blowing snow and howling wind. I know, didn't I say I was looking forward to not seeing this anymore? Some people never learn. It is bad here today. Cold. Windy. Wet. It sucks, even though we found the kids a dog park, took them on a longer walk than thy have had for days and hit the grocery store for soup makings. But it will pass, and it gave me time to let you all know we made it safely.

Hope you're week has been less adventure filled. And John, don't ever give me crap about not being able to do highway driving again. I managed the Honolulu freeway just fine that trip, I've driven in California rush hour traffic with 16 lanes of traffic, and though the most I saw at anyone time yesterday was my own 6 lanes going east bound (I didn't pay much attention to how many lanes west bound traffic had, they weren't my concern), I did it in a 20 foot U-Haul towing my car on a dolly. I got you beat. It wasn't fun, but I know I can do it if I have to. And God Bless that beast of a U-Haul. i pushed her hard, made her get up and move and crowded a couple cars who decided they didn't want me to change lanes though I out paced them. She did everything I asked her to do. Including off roading... never again.


  1. Holy smokes, you've had quite an adventure! Glad you made it there safely! Here's an idea: next time hire movers!! :) :) Hope you're warm, cozy and knitting right now.

  2. thanks for taking us along on your roadtrip..i love a roadtrip. :-). welcome home, hope you find a cozy home to buy soon!! happy you are all safe.

  3. Oh Q, so glad you made it safely! Man you were lucky as I am thinking of all the thing that could have gone horribly wrong with the ice and off roading you encountered!! I hope you are able to find a beautiful house that you just love quickly so that your life can get back to a sense of normal. Miss you bunches!!! D.

  4. Thanks for sharing the road trip with us. It's a good thing The Guy knew the back roads well enough that you could get over to Orin Junction and hit the interstate. But - Yowza! - what an adventure.
    The Fort Robinson/Chadron area is where my Family Reunion is held and I love the beauty of it. As for the rest of the Sand Hills...Meh. [Even though that is where a lot of my family roots originate.] Still, there is some beauty to behold as you travel through.
    Hope you find a nice home soon. Take care - Joe

  5. Thanks for all the photos and narrative, Q. I wish the trip had been a bit smoother, and I hope you find your new abode quickly!