All things must come to an end, whether
they are good or not, and our journey finished with all of us in
Leesburg, in Legacy, at our beautiful new home. But that wasn't
the end of the story, not by a long shot.
Like many folk, we had arrived with little more than the clothes in
our suitcases and (in our case) an inflatable bed. That was about
the sum total of our possessions, and we had arrived late enough (after
9pm) that we weren't sure where to go to try and supplement these.
We stopped in the corner convenience store and got gas and directions to
the nearest Wal-Mart in Leesburg, about the only thing open that late on
a Sunday night.
There we purchased a little food that wouldn't spoil in an ice chest,
some ice and, most importantly, some towels so we could take a
shower. We spent the next week or so waiting for our furniture to
arrive in a "camping out" mode -- eating out and basically
just sleeping to rest up.
The cats were relieved it was over but still spooked about the new
surroundings. In particular the echoing of the huge great room,
with its hard wood floors, made them slink across it whenever they
needed to use their box.
And the ABF truck was not there a day after we were, as we were
told. It wasn't there two days, nor three days, nor a weekend
after, nor even a week after. We got used to camping out.
Finally, over a week after they told us it would arrive, the truck
bearing our goods pulled up and we thought it was over. There was
only one slight problem: because the load had not been secured every 10
feet (see: If I Only Had a Brain) everything had shifted inside and the back of
the trailer bulged like a pregnant lady's tummy. It took a huge
crowbar and two large men to finally pry the rolling door open (at one
point the driver said "this won't be a problem for you -- just find
a forklift around here and get them to roll it up" but we convinced
him to help us anyway). But that wasn't the hardest part, not by a
long shot. Inside, the bulkhead (two pieces of heavy plywood meant
to contain your goods) was equally bulged out and impossible to
open. The two men left us (it wasn't their problem) and told us
Good luck was not something we had in abundance, and no matter of prying
could get the bulkhead open. We called ABF and basically told them
they would need to come get their trailer, as we were stumped, and they
said "you have our permission to destroy the bulkhead".
Ah -- that was easier said than done. We tried, though.
We bought a hand saw and tried cutting through (no luck). We
bought a heavy tow chain and hooked it up to the braces holding the
bulkhead in place. I had seen this in a hundred westerns -- the
horses are hooked to the bars and the whole wall comes down. Well,
even 450 of Detroit's finest horses couldn't pull that wall down -- the Durango (5000 pounds
worth) bucked and bronked like a horse but didn't budge it.
We attacked it with crowbars and made some small amount of
progress. Then it was back to the towchain again. This time
I told Annie that when it came off all of our stuff would come pouring
out like so many toys out of a toy chest. I then gunned the engine
Well, not all of the stuff came out. Only three or four things
(including a computer) went flying to the ground and smashing into
pieces. But the rest was a definite mess.
Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain
So we had another Lesson Learned -- don't leave the packing to
someone who says they know what they are doing. They don't, and
they won't be on the other end when you arrive.
We were lucky -- no one was killed or injured making these
pictures. For some odd reason I was in real panic over the fact
that 10,000 pounds of stuff would come crashing down on our heads as we
attempted to unload. Thus I proceeded cautiously in an effort to
try and unpack it.
Caution is quite difficult when the stuff looms over your head...
We might have that trailer there still if it hadn't been for our
builder, Jay Hurley (a prince among men) who happened to be driving by
as we were unloading (or at least looking at trying to figure out how to
unload). He waded in and started removing boxes left and right,
without regard to personal safety (including mine). Eventually
there was a point at which the stuff no longer was in eminent danger of
unloading itself, and we thanked him and he left.
Ten hours or so later we had nearly everything else unloaded, with
the exception of the refrigerator. Have you ever seen the original
Star Trek television series? Spock (the alien, not the baby
doctor) is half-human and the alien, Vulcan dad of his who is governed
not by any emotion but only cold, hard logic, is trying to explain why
he married the human mom, who is demonstrating emotions left and
right. He tells his son "At the time, it seemed like the
logical thing to do."
I'm trying to explain why the refrigerator (first in, last out)
didn't seem like any big deal to unload. After all, it was on
wheels, we had a furniture dolly, and it wasn't nearly as big as the
last refrigerator I had in our two story. Now, granted, I didn't
move that refrigerator up the stairs, and (equally stipulated) I was a
great deal younger then, but wasn't that what leverage was all about?
The refrigerator must have weighed 1000 pounds -- at my weight and
strength I didn't have a prayer to move it. We were at a sticking
point again and time was running out (we only had two days to unload the
truck and at this point we had only about three hours left).
Once again the wonderful folks at Legacy came to our rescue.
Dick Fitzgerald came walking by and saw we were in trouble and offered to help and was big
enough (and strong enough) to get the refrigerator moving and down the
ramp with only me to guide him. It only made me realize again how
wonderful this community truly is.
And thus the chapter closes on the Longest Trip. We all
survived, and lived to tell the tale, albeit a little later than I had