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  The Yellow Brick Road
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

Did you ever see a movie where the balloon is heading towards a mountain top, or very high tree and the folks inside the basket are throwing stuff out as fast as they can in order to gain some height?  Well, we've lived that.

Bright and early the next morning, at o-dark hundred Annie and I got up and deflated our bed and prepared to pack up all our clothes, our five cats, and the remainder of the stuff we had decided to take with us. 

Some of the stuff we couldn't have put in the truck if we wanted to -- firearms, clothes for the week we'd be on the road and without our washer, some cleaning items, a machine to clean the rugs (for when the cats threw up in the hotels :>), our pillows and inflatable bed (to sleep on until our furniture arrived a couple of days later).  A few things were "extras": things we just hadn't quite had the time to load but would take with us in the vehicle.  And then, of course, the five cats (each in a separate cage) along with food and cat supplies such as litter and a litter box (more on this later).

We had meant to have a rehearsal on loading all of this up to make sure we knew exactly where it went.  For one thing, I had no real idea how I was going to attach our luggage to the roof rack of the Durango, so a practice was very important.  It was on our to-do list, and it kept slipping further and further along as the many other to-do things that were more urgent crowded it out until at last it was eliminated completely.

And we were on a timetable -- because all of our hotel reservations had to be made in advance in order to assure we'd end up at places that wouldn't have a heart attack when we showed up with five animals in cages, we needed to drive a certain number of miles each and every day.  There wasn't much margin for error -- I had planned on 10 hour driving days so the trip would only take four days (and three nights).  I didn't think that either the cats or us could take anymore (and I was right).

So when we awoke that morning we were pressed for time.  The mountain cliffs were coming closer, and we only had so much altitude in that balloon.  And as we started to pack everything it became crystal clear that unless we started jettisoning things we weren't going to make it.

So out they went -- out went boxes of stuff we had no time to pack in the trailer.  Out went pillows and blankets and things for which there was just no room for.  We had to leave the cleaning machine behind -- no room at the inn. 

Annie would look at me and say "we're leaving this behind?" and I'd say "well, do you have any idea where we'd put it?" and so it got left.  It was somewhat comical at the time, except that I was starting to panic that we wouldn't be able to fit the cats in either.  But we did, and that particular part worked out as well or better than I had planned. 

The cats certainly weren't happy about the situation.  Certainly they knew being in cages was a Bad Thing.  It only meant humiliation at the hands of white-coated sadists who liked to stick them and prod them in places they weren't meant to be sticked and prodded.  However, they also knew that it would come to an end, eventually.  They had no idea.

But we got away at a reasonable time, reasonable enough to expect we'd make our first stop that night.  The cats started crying, of course.  The cacophony (catcophony?) of their wails was funny.  For a while.  After 100 miles or so it became very tiresome.  The next 200 miles were the worst.  And the next 200 miles after that, that was the worst as well.  It was not looking good for the home team but then they did sort of wear themselves out and after that, for the remainder of the trip, they would cry but in a rather resigned way, as kids do when they know you aren't going to pay attention to them but they need to make the effort just to let you know they haven't quite given up.  

We had one big scare -- Jasmine rolled over on her back and acted like she was going to die.  Right then.  Right now.  She played dead as well as any dog I've ever seen, and there wasn't much we could do about it so we just kept going.  After a while she turned over again and looked at us as if to say "Well, if that didn't work I don't know what I can do about this."

Arriving each night at the hotel was a comedy of errors in and of itself.  While we had booked in "animal friendly" rooms, after the first hotel where we mentioned we had five cats and they said "well, it will be $50 per cat"  with subsequent calls we became vague about quantity.  "It's okay if we bring our cat(s)?"  So we smuggled in the five cats (are there such things as cat smugglers?  "Okay, let's see what you have there in that mewling, meowing, case with airholes!") each night.  With five cases (and 80+ pounds of cats -- no kidding!) it took at least two trips for just the cats, not to mention our two huge suitcases and pillows and cooler.  By the time we spent 30 minutes getting everything into the room we were exhausted.

If only that was the hardest part...

Next: Fireworks, etc.

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