Saturday, April 07, 2007

We Made It!

Well we made it. We are finally here in Spokane and all settled in. I got here a week ago and Morgan flew out with Ella a week before that to find us a place to live. She got us a great place on the south hill with 3 bedrooms and a finished basement. Plus we are only paying $650 a month so that rocks.

The journey here was a quite the adventure. First we lost a loved one about a week before Morgan left. I am said to say that the Dancing Hamster is no more.

I'll miss the little guy.

Elliott would help out by repeatedly packing herself into a box several times a day.

I don't know why she thought that we were going to ship her as freight.

I hired a couple of college guys who work down at the Rocket Inn as bartenders to pack up the truck. I'm an old man now and my back likes to go out at the most unfortunate times. They did the job for 50 bucks to split between the both of them and 32 cans of Natural Light.

The truck was the first big hurdle. When we picked it up I thought it was a little small, only 16 feet. 2 years ago I drove a 26 footer when I moved us to Toledo. When they started loading the truck I thought we were going to be okay, but as we got about half full I knew we were in trouble. I had to figure out what was going to be left behind and it really sucked. For the rest of Saturday, Sunday and the first part of Monday (the day I was supposed to leave at 9 in the morning) I was packing and re-packing the truck all while trying to clean the apartment and get it all pretty for the landlord. A lot of stuff got set out on the curb for the taking and for trash. The couch went really quick. Just a couple of hours. Same thing with Elliott's old baby stuff and the vacuum cleaner. The good thing about Toledo, is that no matter how much garbage you curb, they will take it.

Right before I was getting ready to leave I saw garbage starting to fly out of next door neighbors' garbage can. Trash would just fly up in the air and then hit the ground like in a cartoon or a cheesy horror flick with little creatures. Then after about a minute out jumped the biggest fattest squirrel I've ever seen holding half a loaf of bread. Here he is with a chunk of bread sitting on the fence.

Funny, I always thought it was raccoons getting into the neighbors trash and trowing it everywhere.

I finally got on the road at about 1pm on Monday. I took off down Interstate 80 wearing my "driving long distances in a truck" cowboy hat and my Smokey and the Bandit t-shirt.

When I stopped in Indiana to get gas, I ran into trouble. Morgan had given me my credit card (that I never use and that has a zero balance) for lodging and gas. Well it was rejected. Turns out I had the old card, the one that expired in 2005. Like I said I never use it, I have no idea were the current card is. Well I knew I was in trouble without that card. I'd given Morgan all the money in my bank account so it was empty, I had enough cash for a few days but not for the whole trip so I was not happy. Thanks to my buddy Tim from the station in Toledo everything worked out. Morgan mailed him a check and he put it in my bank account.

At least I know I wasn't the only one having a really bad day at the gas station that day.

I walked up to the guy putting the caution tape on the pump and said "Hey...uh....sombody scratched this thing". He just stared at me.

So after the gas dilemma I spent the first night in Rockford Illinois. Day two, I crashed in Mitchell South Dakota. Day three is when things went to hell.

The day started out simple enough. I hit the road early and was making great time. I even planned to make a couple of stops because Morgan told me that we probably wouldn't be able to move into our new place until Friday afternoon.

South Dakota is pretty much nothing but Billboards for attractions along Interstate 90. And they all start about 200 miles away or more from said attraction. So I had been seeing a lot of billboards telling me that I absolutely had to stop at Wall South Dakota and go to Wall Drug. They have a statue of Dinosaur at their Exit.

I wasn't particularly blown away. It just looked like a little western town that had paved roads and electricity.

The chapel for weary travelers was kind of cool though.

As I got closer to the South Dakota/Wyoming border it started to rain. When I crossed over to Wyoming I hit a few snow flurries. Then about 40 miles in the snow started to come pouring down. I shifted into a lower gear and just white knuckled the steering wheel because I was in the freakin' mountains. Lots of steep winding roads.

I was planning on trying to get to Billings Montana that night, but I decided to turn off and get a hotel room in Gillette South Dakota and just stay for the night. When I got to the exit for the motels in Gillette there were signs with flashing lights before the exit telling everyone that the freeway was closed because of snow (they have like railroad arms that come down and block the road so people can't get through) and everyone needed to get off the freeway at that exit. I later found out they closed the road about 2 hours before I got there. So every hotel room in Gillette was taken.

After I freaked out and screamed at the top of my lungs for like an hour, I got back on the freeway and started heading East. I had Morgan look up a hotel in Sundance Wyoming on the Internet, I had remembered passing one there earlier. Sundance was about 61 miles from Gillette and I was now driving in blizzard conditions on the freeway.

Yep that white sea in front of me is the interstate. I was now driving about 5mph.

Morgan called and booked the hotel for me. Good thing too because it filled up fast, with truckers and old timers on vacation going or coming back from seeing their kids.

Sundance Wyoming, population 1,180. Where the Sundance Kid got his name. I was stuck in that hotel for 3 days. Just me and the cat and hundreds of Truckers and Seniors. I watched a lot of TV.

To add another Item of suckiness to my stay was the fact that the hotel was like 2 miles out of town, and the only thing close to it was a BP gas station with a little mini mart. So since I had no way to get to town since my truck was blocked in by Semis, I ate Hot Pockets for 3 days. Also you can only by beer in grocery stores and bars in Wyoming so I couldn't even get a freakin' beer while I was stuck there.

They opened the road back up on Saturday and I drove all day to get to Spokane. I missed Ella and Morgan so much. It was driving me nuts having to hear her voice on the phone while I was stuck in that hotel room.

Well I'm here now and I really like Spokane, and so does Morgan.

We went to the park earlier this week and went up on the Radio Flyer that's there.

Here's what it looks like from a distance.

The handles a slide.

I started work on Wednesday the 4th and I really like the new station. It's huge and I have so many resources at my disposal. Plus it's not a union shop so I can actually touch all the equipment now if I want or need to .

Well, I better get back to my girls.

Later Gators,



julie said...

That's quite a trip... but they look so happy to see you when you got there! Anyhow, welcome back to the PacNW! Hope you like your new job.

Tom Bosco said...

Sweat mother of God! What a freaking trip. I heard about the first part (the credit card nightmare) but I didn't realize the trip got worse. Glad you're safe.


ChuckSuede said...

Thanks Jules and Bosco. It's undoubtedly good to be here in the PacNW.