Monday, May 28, 2012

Heading West

So now we really are "heading west." That's the sun rising over Oklahoma in the mirror of my rental truck. I was not singing "Oh What A Beautiful Morning" as I snapped it.

Yesterday I drove 600 flat, mostly featureless miles across prairie nicely greened up from spring showers but otherwise not much to look at. I slept last night in nondescript and probably misnamed Liberal, Kansas, and by the time the sun arrived I had been back in the truck and driving at least an hour or so, with 400 more miles to go today.

It isn't the right truck, as things have turned out.

There isn't any place in the cab for a child's car seat, so Pam and little E had to fly separately, but family isn't the only thing that had to be thrown overboard.

The rule of thumb I picked up from the online moving websites is that you need 150 cubic feet of van space for each roomful of stuff you're moving. Our little apartment was one large room divided into living and sleeping areas, plus a big terrace patio. Call it four rooms to be safe, which is 600 cubic feet. So I picked a truck with 800 cubic feet, which the rental company said was designed to move three to four rooms.

Seemed reasonable, but the professional packers who loaded us up ran out of space before we got to the terrace things, which consist of a very nice table and chairs, some side tables, a big umbrella and a collection of very large planters. We're attached to all of it, and although the ship-or-replace economics are a close call, we're having it shipped.

I've had a lot of time to think about why the truck math didn't work the way the U-Move gurus said it would. I decided we probably aren't a typical up-and-coming family moving out of a small apartment. Our place was crammed with the residue of nearly 40 acquisitive years, condensed after two downsizings from much larger homes. When we started packing, the closets busted out like clown cars.

Come to think of it, I may not be the right driver either.

There was a mid-trip stop in Des Moines, where I met Pam and Elizabeth at the home of old friends with a child graduating from high school. When I took off yesterday morning, I left behind E's stroller and my bathing suit. This morning as I aimed my iPhone at the reflected sunrise, my gas cap was sitting on the ground next to the pump about 25 miles behind me. Senior moments are becoming senior hours, days, months.

But things could be worse. On the lumpy two-lane highway from Vaughn NM to Carrizozo, I saw the driver of a tractor trailer apparently fall asleep ahead of me and veer onto the slope toward a culvert. He broke several laws of physics getting his yawing rig back on the road, and I spent the next mile or two swallowing my digestive organs back into place.

Tonight I am in Ruidoso, exhausted but smelling the pine trees and trying to remember to feel lucky.


  1. Welcome home, Dave. Let me know when you are ready for visitors.

  2. Glad I was able to catch this chapter of your journey. Had some good laughs. Now I am feeling happy for you that you made it to Ruidoso!