The Big Move to Virginia
On July 27th, 2002 we loaded up a U-Haul truck and moved to Virginia. Our final destination was the beautiful, sunny, ocean front city of Virginia Beach. Ever since our first vacation there in the summer of 1995 I've known that this is where I was destined to live. It took seven years, but my dream is finally a reality.
This was going to be a busy day. Jeff was going to come over at 10am and we were going to start unloading the house. U-Haul called me at about 9am and said the truck wouldn't be available until 4pm. I called Jeff and told him not to hurry over. I spent the rest f the morning doing last minute packing. The biggest problem with this late truck pick-up was that Mark and Angela were going to be moving into the house the same day we moved out. Jeff arrived about 1pm and we started unloading things into the garage. Then it started raining. So we sat around for a couple hours watching TV. At 3:30pm we went to pick up the truck. We got back to the house just before 5pm and started loading. Within a few minutes Mark, one of his friends from work, and Ken showed up with their moving truck. The 5 of us got our truck packed in just about 3 hours. (I cannot thank everyone who helped enough for the assist) By this time the house was over-run with friends, family, and children everywhere. Mark started moving his stuff in, and after Holly said her "hour of goodbye's", we finally got on the road about 9pm. Our little walkie-talkies were powered up and ready for the drive. Holly took "The Bandit" position in the lead and I followed behind in the truck as "The Snowman." We drove until we got to Toledo. At this point "The Snowman" was too tired to go any further so we got a hotel room.
At 10am we left Toledo and "The Snowman" followed "The Bandit" onto the Ohio Turnpike. We resisted the impulse to stop for the day at Cedar Point, and continued to the end of that turnpike. We then crossed over in to Pennsylvania and started the most terrifying part of the journey.
Before July 27th, the biggest truck I had ever driven was one of those really big pick-up trucks with 4 wheels in the back. The U-Haul truck we rented was 32 feet long and 12 feet tall. Maximum speed uphill fully laden was about 52mph. The Pennsylvania Turnpike is hilly, twisting, and under heavy construction. There are portions of the road that are partitioned with cement barriers that are exactly one lane wide. I had to steer this huge truck through this obstacle course for 184 miles. A vehicle this size doesn't drive straight just by holding the wheel steady either, you have to constantly be making small adjustments just to stay on course. By the time we pulled into Breezewood at the end of turnpike my shirt was soaked with sweat, there were veins popping out of my head, and every muscle in my arms, back and neck were throbbing. The good news was..... we were 1/2 way to Virginia Beach.
We ate dinner in Breezewood and started the second half of the drive.
Right before midnight we crossed over into Virginia and missed the interchange to Richmond. We had been driving for 14 hours. We stopped at a gas station in Alexandria to get directions and met a nice lady who said we could follow her to the highway. I jumped in the truck, turned the key, and nothing..... the battery was dead. I called U-Haul roadside service and they said the fastest they could get someone out to fix us was 4am. They offered to pay for a hotel and we investigated this and considered it for about 30 minutes. We decided a hotel would throw us off schedule since we planned to drive all the way to Virginia Beach that night, stay in a hotel we had reserved by the apartment, and be at the apartment office by 9:30am. I called U-haul again at about 1am and told them we'd wait for the repair guy. We grabbed some pillows out of the truck and prepared to take a nap until he got there. About 30 minutes later he showed up, switched the battery, and by 2am we were back on the road. Half way to Richmond we got stuck in a huge 3am traffic jam and realized we were too tired to continue. We stopped at a Hotel and slept for 3 hours. We got up at 6am and finished the drive to Virginia Beach.
My friend Bendy had driven down from Maryland the day before and was taking the day off work to help me unload the truck. He still had to drive back to Maryland that night and go to work the next morning. We got to the rental office about 30 minutes later than we planned, but not too far behind schedule. We walked in to sign the lease and do all the paperwork. The woman at the office was somewhat confused by our arrival and explained that the paperwork had us scheduled to move in on August 5th, the following Monday. The apartment was not ready. This was of course a huge infuriating surprise to me since we had called to confirm everything 2 days earlier before we left. After about an hour of apologies and phone calls they told us there was another apartment available today with the exact floor plan but facing a different direction in the complex. At this point I could care less where we lived so we signed the lease.
I had been driving for 21 hours since Sunday morning with 3 hours of sleep and now it was 1pm Monday and time for Bendy and I to unload, by ourselves, the truck that had taken 5 people to load. Additionally, at 1pm on Monday, the weather in Virginia Beach was 98 degrees with a heat index of 115 degrees and all news stations were warning people to stay indoors and not to go out unless it was absolutely necessary.
We unloaded about half the truck by 6pm. At this point I couldn't go on. Bendy took his daughter and her friend to the mall for an hour and I took a nap until about 7:30pm. We unloaded another quarter of the truck and quit at 9pm. Broken and injured from the day's work, Bendy limped to his car drenched in sweat and drove back to Maryland. I will never be able to thank him enough for his help and patience. I crawled to the bed and fell asleep for about 14 hours until late Tuesday morning.
I finished unloading the truck the next morning with the help of my new neighbor Eric. Holly and I returned the truck, went back home and took a big nap.
July 31 - August ?
We're pretty much unpacked now. Just trying to decide what stuff will go into storage and what stuff we can't live without. We went to the beach on Saturday and I was quickly reminded of how perfect it is here. The water was warm the sun was shining and the day couldn't have been any more perfect. We already ate at our favorite all you-can-eat seafood buffet (which, unless you've ever been to one down here, you can't possibly understand how sublime it is.) We ate Zero's subs which are my favorite subs in the whole world! We went to one of the 30-40 movie theatres in town and saw the new Austin Powers film.
I started working this week and that's going well. It's fun to work from home and I actually think I'm getting more done than I did when I was in the office. The commute from the bedroom to the computer room is usually clear of traffic unless Holly or Mishka gets in my way.
The horror of moving weekend is behind me now and I forget about it a little more each day. And honestly, the first time I set up my chair on the beach and ran down into the waves the whole endeavor seemed well worth it. We should have come here years ago. :)