My Eleven Days of Hell - Chapter 1

Aug 18, 2005 at 8:03 PM
Well, I promised to post about my trip. I moved from the Tampa Bay area to the Coos Bay Area. Never heard of Coos bay? Well, neither had I. It's just about as far west as it's possible to go in the US (that's LEFT to those of you only travle with maps), and it's very pretty.

Anyway, that was about 3500 miles of traveling. 3718 including detours and accidental wrong turns.

I rented a U-Haul trailer, which I was planning to tow behind my Ford Taurus. The guy at the U-Haul store told me it'd been inspected, and I asked if there was another one available, because that one looked awfully old. He said no, because it was a holiday weekend and everyone moves on holiday weekends.

[Note to self: Never, ever - even if the world starts falling apart around me - move on a holiday weekend again.]

I packed it full of my stuff, and took of on the road with my best-friend. She had flown out to come with me on the trip. We left on Saturday at 11:20 AM. Happy, bright eyed, singing. And with my two kids in the back seat, excited to be on their very first long trip. The dog was in the hatch-area in the back, all set up with a bed and food. He was excited too.

First, we wondered why the car was pulling right. Then about 300 miles out on by trip, in the middle of actual no where, we broke down completely. Smoke coming out of my hood, smoke pouring out the tailpipe. It looked bad...

We spent about 4 hours in the sun, near an orange grove of some kind.

The only towing company that was open on the holiday weekend within the three nearest counties came out. First they looked at my car and said it was my transmission (they were also mechanics, I guess), and then they hauled bother me and my trailer over to the nearest hotel in the nearest "big" town.

Whie they were loading and unloading my trailer, they made sure to point out to me that U-Haul had rented me a completely broken trailer -- the axle spring was broken in two and the axle had been loose, causing friction and wear, and it was too much for my tranny to take. I took a look, and I saw it - totally rusted out, and obviously had been for quite some time. This was not new damage.

Turns out "Perry" as it was called, is also pretty small, and there were no open U-Haul offices. I called U-Haul's phone system. After calling, getting put on endless hold, hanging up, calling, getting put on hold, hanging up, calling back, getting disconnected, etc (for four hours straight), I found out that U-Haul had no open offices in my part of Florida until Tuesday.

Again, this brings up: Why would they all close when so many people were in the middle of moving???

I stayed in my car, on the side of the road in that tiny little town in Florida for TWO DAYS.

Then, I was towed (at my own expense of $150.00) to another little town in Florida, where they had gotten someone with a shop to drag himself in to get me a replacement system for moving.

Let me just wander off track for a second and say that the part of Florida I was in bore no resemblance to the part I was from. No one was wearing a full set of clothing, no one brushed their hair, nearly everyone - male or female - was spitting out tobacco wads every few minutes into empty plastic pepsi bottles... or the floor. I busied myself trying not to notice and trying to get back on the road.

The town I was in was so small it couldn't decide what to call itself. The map had one name, but the locals used another. Orange-something.

I didn't care. I was just trying to track down a U-Haul dealer who was not closed and I would have gone to Ghaza to get one. You'd think, if everyone moves on holiday weekends that U-Haul would stay open... but, NO. Apparently, their busiest moving day does not warrant actually coming in to the office.

By Monday night, I was travelling in a 14 foot truck with a car trailer behind it. My dead useless car was not gonna come off the trailer until the trip was done and the dog was happy in it - windows rolled down. Me, my best friend and my two kids all cramped up into the front seat.

Did I mention that we were so sunburned that a total stranger actually asked me whether I needed to go to the hospital?

But, the trip had begun. Finally. Then I noticed that there was something wrong with the overdrive on U-Haul truck. Oh well.

Around this time, my best friend and I wrote a song about U-Haul that I dare not repeat.

Days 1-3 covered. Next time, I'll talk about Fort Sh-thole, Texas.