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  The Emerald City
Retiring to Florida
The Big Picture
Selecting Legacy
Visiting Legacy
Design Studio
Red Carpet Center
The Pool
Lessons Learned
Our Finished Retirement Home
The Move: If I Only Had a Brain
The Yellow Brick Road
Fireworks, Booze and Porn, oh my!
The Emerald City
No Place Like Home
Leesburg Hospital

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.

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 and... 

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.

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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...

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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 intended.

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