The trip that Murphy took

In honor of my upcoming move, I thought I’d post the story I wrote years ago of one of my most eventful moves. I’ve edited it, but haven’t changed any of the details. This move marked my 20th move (counting the small ones) or my 11th “big” one, but who’s counting? =) It certainly wasn’t my last – there have been MANY since and there will be at least three more.

Just before Labor Day weekend, Summer 2003: 

It was quite an adventure from Binghamton, NY to San Antonio, TX, especially considering Murphy decided he REALLY wanted to go on this trip with me. Much to my disagreement, he snuck his way into the cabin and settled in for the 2100+ mile trip. Dispite my missing dial for the hot/cold switch, a non-functional fan (no air unless I was moving at least 30mph, generally not a problem until I got to Houston during rush hour traffic… that was a fun hour and a half at 95+ degree heat with 90+ percent humidity), non-functional tail and signal light on the driver’s side, and a “service engine soon” light on the dash that came on 5 miles into the trip, it was a GREAT trip! (I’m actually serious, it was certainly something worth living through and experiencing… I might even say I had fun?)

Day 1 – I picked up the 14′ Uhaul and shortly afterward discovered a broken off dial for the hot/cold adjustment. I was also told by Michelle, a friend who will forever be known as “The 10 percent”, of a non-functional signal/brake light on tail driver’s side (which means the corresponding auto transport (AT) lights my car was on didn’t work either). We finished loading the Uhaul around 645pm and my dad and I went to pick up the auto transport. The AT was hooked up to Uhaul, I drove my car onto it, only to discover a flat tire on the AT. After all that was already wrong I was too frustrated to deal with the lack of safety checks on Uhaul’s part, so I gave my dad the car keys and he tries to take the car off the AT to discover that the manager of Uhaul had disconnected the hitch of the AT from the truck. So, physics won and the AT hitch goes up in the air, dad stopped the car on it and pulled forward – now the AT hitch is on ground. Oh, and I had just bought the car earlier that month – my first new car. FUN! I backed up the Uhaul truck onto the AT hitch after it was “put” back into the air (picture hydraulic lifts at this point). Long story short, we sorted all that out and made arrangements for Uhaul to fix the non-functional signal/brake lights the next morning in Harrisburg. We left Binghamton around 10pm and headed to Middletown, PA where my parents live and after stopping for some food we finally arrived at “home” around 1am? Something like that. 

Day 2 – Uhaul never calls at the promised 930am deadline. I called Uhaul after oversleeping until 10am. The seem to think I’m still in NY… wow. I make arrangements for a different shop to come to the house in PA. The repair guy shows up around 1pm to fix the tail light. In the process of doing so, he switches the relay system from the fuel pump to something else, not allowing the truck to start. What idiots contract with Uhaul? My dad suggests, ‘you better go tell him you need to leave so he doesn’t break the truck.’ So, that gets put back in order, the signal and brake light still don’t work, and I’m on my merry way around 2pm. I go through PA, MD, and into VA flailing my left arm out the window when I need to pass or make left turns and eventually make it to have dinner in Hopewell, VA with “The Gray’s”, my uncle, aunt, and cousin, for about an hour and a half, maybe a little more. After dark I held a glow stick scuba divers use to stay together out the window while flailing my left arm so that cars and trucks could see me trying to get over. What a riot! I was cracking myself up! I stopped that evening just a half hour shy of Charolette, NC. I pulled into a parking lot thinking I could loop around the hotel, which makes leaving easier in the morning. Well, that was only to find out that I must BACK my way out of a parking lot once I noticed I was getting closer to a loading dock. If you’ve never backed up something towing something else, you might not fully appreciate my efforts. I’d never had to do this at such a grand scale before (14 foot truck, plus my car completely off the ground on an auto transport)… I figured it out and got that darn-rootin-tootin Uhaul package all turned around and then parallel parked. Pretty impressive if I do say so myself. =) It was about 1130pm.

Day 3 – Rise and SHINE! 6am… Traffic wasn’t too bad in Charlotte. This was a pretty uneventful day in terms of driving. Though I did manage to make it through NC, SC, Georgia, and Alabama, to my brother and sister-in-law’s by 4pm… yes, that’s from 25mi North of Charlotte to FL’s panhandle in 10 hours… I even ate lunch and stopped for gas! I had a great visit with “The Gray’s” in the panhandle of FL and got to visit with my niece and nephew… always a wonderful pleasure.

Day 4 – Up and at’em again at 6am. I stopped at a rest stop for a nap around 820am and got back on the road about 20-30 minutes later. I drove through Alabama, Misssissippi, Loisianna, and finally crossed the border into Texas during daylight. Well, needless to say, Texas is a BIG state… I made it to Houston around 6pm, just in time to miss rush hour… um, no. I guess there are invisible traffic lights on the highway that us Yankees can’t see, because traffic seemed to stop for no apparent reason: no merging traffic, no accidents, just stopped traffic. Remember, the truck fan doesn’t work, therefore AC is useless. I finally got out of that traffic drenched in my own sweat around 7 or 730pm. No glow stick that night; I dared the trafficless wilderness of Middle-of-nowhere, TX without one, which could have become a challange once I got off the highway into the suburbs of San Antonio. I arrived just outside of San Antonio at my destination around 11pm. LONG DAY!

The remaining days – Within the first four days of my stay I found an apartment, moved in (with A LOT of muscular help!), met the people in the TRIO office, got my keys to the office, became somewhat familiar with the many roads/highways of San Antonio, and got a new cell phone…oh, and I ditched Murphy!

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