It was a year ago today we watched the moving company pack our belongings on their truck, bound for California. It is never an easy decision to make. Picking up roots and moving 3,000 miles is hard if it is just one person, it is nearly impossible if you are a family.
So pack up we did.
We said goodbye to friendships we had formed over the 6 years as Joisey transplants in No. Va. We gave away tons of “keeping up with the Joneses” items to charity, and put the “For Sale” sign on the front lawn.
Have you ever tried to pack enough stuff to clothe 2 adults & 1 tween for 7 days, a mid-sized dog with their bed, food & bowls, plus the things you just have to have to live in an empty house for 2 days until a moving company arrives with your stuff, into a mid-sized 4-door sedan? It is possible.
If it wasn’t, no one sent me the memo, so I tried anyway.
We spent that last day in the old house with dear friends who had come to say goodbye and make leaving easier. They stayed and watched with us as movers took items one by one and loaded them on the truck. They stayed and had lunch with us while we still watched them take items, one by one, and load them on the truck.
By 1 pm, the novelty had worn off. It was time to hug and get buns in cars and get on the road. The moving company used a different stopwatch. Finally at 2 o’clock we were all able to get on the road.
Stressed as to how to make it well into Ohio before nightfall already started in my head. Why? When you have a dog that gets car sick and you are taking off on a 3,000 mile journey, you must have a plan. Say what? Yes, I was getting in a car for a cross-country trip with an ADHD tween and a dog that gets car sick. God help me.
Thankfully, I had an old and dear friend volunteer to take the drive. She and I had been discussing how the better half had offered to fly back from his first month in California in his newly acquired job that was taking us across country. I told her of our differing opinions on how long a cross-country trip should take and the likelihood of divorce by Chicago.
Never one to shy away from a challenge or possibly good adventure, the friend offered to be the 2nd adult for the trip. Bless her soul! Here was someone as kooky as me. Someone, who would also love to stop and see that giant ball of twine just 2 miles ahead at exit 357.
So off we 4 go on the road to California. Full tank of gas, last bathroom trips, one last look around the house we had loved for 6 years, and we were gonzo. One last drive by the elementary school up the street that had housed friends, acquaintances, and a great sledding hill out back.
Traveling up the Virginia By-Way system through Loudon, and over the rickety bridge into Maryland, we are on our way. Being easily distracted, we stop at the first Dunkin Donuts we see in Maryland for iced coffee. This is a must for east coasters, and little did we realize something not widely available past Chicago.
This part of Maryland is beautiful driving. Finally crossing the border into Pennsylvania, we stop and let the dog out for a quick stretch and bathroom break. Pulling out my listing of dog-friendly hotels on Rt. 80 we start calling ones in the Youngstown vicinity.
We figure that we can make it that far before it gets too late and leaves us enough time to walk the dog, feed the dog, walk the dog again, and make sure all food is digested prior to hitting the road again in the morning. Did I mention I have a dog that gets car sick?
Evidently, Youngstown, Ohio is the center of some convention of who knows what this time of year, and it takes several calls to find one with a vacancy. Whew! Now, to get there.
We see our first night’s sunset over the Pennsylvania turnpike, and finally pull in to Youngstown at 10pm. Driving down a service road next to Rt. 80, we finally see our hotel, right across from a truck stop/motel/strip joint.
Now, packing up the trunk of the car was like putting together a giant jigsaw puzzle. I got it all to fit perfectly and the lid to close without fear of it flying open at highway speeds. Trying to get out just the bags we needed for the night in the dark of the hotel parking lot? Near impossible. Repacking it? That is fodder for day 2.