Once more with feeling
You may have wondered if I’d forgotten how to blog. Such is not the case at all. I spent the last three days driving this 27 foot U-haul moving van and have not been able to post.
We made a decision last week to bring the rest of our belongings to Floyd so we wouldn’t have to pay another month’s rental on three storage units. A round-trip rental of a U-haul moving truck was actually cheaper than a one-way rental.
I picked up the moving van in Roanoke and managed to figure out the five-speed stick shift before I had gone too many blocks. After twenty miles of stoplights, I was up-shifting and down-shifting without having to think about it. The fact the my first leg would be driven empty made it much less stressful.
The hardest part to learn was to allow enough room when I made turns or drove into a filling station. I didn’t hit anything, but I had a few near-misses until I got used to the width of the truck and the enormous turning radius.
Finding stations that sold diesel fuel for trucks was another adventure entirely. You can’t just cruise into a station and check out the pumps when your truck is more than 30 feet long and requires 12 feet of overhead clearance.
Several times I saw Diesel signs but the pumps were set up for automobiles and small trucks only. I finally found my supply of Diesel fuel by looking for beat-up filling stations with large driveways and high canopies. Once I knew what to look for, I spotted these diesel stations on the outskirts of every industrial area I passed.
The loading and unloading of household goods went almost like clockwork. I had enlisted teams of helpers at each end of the run. It took three and a half hours to load the truck in Palmyra and three hours to unload the truck in Floyd.
Driving back with a full load of household goods revealed every quirk of the old van. It had 239,000 miles on it and the steering was not as tight as it once was. After a while I got so I could anticipate how it would handle various road conditions, so it wasn’t as wearing as it might have been.
The entire drive was done under severe wind conditions. The warnings from the weather bureau were not exaggerated from the damage I saw in the pine forests I passed. In one stand of pines, about 5 percent of the pines had been snapped off about a dozen feet above the ground while an equal amount had been blown over. The crosswinds were strong enough to sway the van so I watched my speed carefully.
The trickiest part of the entire drive was negotiating the last few miles of country lanes. Winding roads that I normally flew over in the Dodge van required careful driving to avoid severe lurching in the moving van. The country lanes follow the terrain faithfully. Every bump, hollow and swerve are duplicated in asphalt. When you drive a large truck full of fragile equipment and furnishings, the road assumes a far more menacing aspect.
My unfinished driveway presented the most formidable challenge of all. Several trenches have been dug across the drive for power, water and electricity. Every one of the trenches has collapsed to some extent because they were dug and refilled when the ground was frozen. Every subsequent thaw causes the earth to subside. Driving over these sunken trenches was the final test and fortunately nothing fell over or was broken.
As I write this, all of our worldly goods have been moved to Floyd, everything has been stored away safely, and we are sitting in front of our fire surrounded by sleeping cats. We have weeks, perhaps months, of unpacking and finish work to do, but we have essentially completed this building/moving to a new home phase of our lives that began about four months ago.
Thanks to all who have followed this adventure and have offered their best wishes and support. I hope that this narrative has been useful to those planning a similar move. We have put in a lot of hours but the results have far exceeded our expectations. We have learned a lot during this experience and hope that your moves go as well. If you have questions I have not answered, feel free to send me an email and I will do my best to get you a useful answer.
Our future projects in our new home will appear in the category Country Living.