My move from Georgia to California at the turn of the millenium.

Posted In Best of,Family,General by haltse Sunday November 26, 2000

I’ve not yet gone back to fix the pictures. One day ..

Cross Country Jaunt

This is an account of my journey from Rome in North West Georgia to California in the last days of the 20th Century. I’ve since been divorced , from my then wife Laura, and have moved state again to Arizona. I should write about California and the people I met there but it saddens me that politically the state’ s a joke and that their short sightedness re the power supply and high fees for everything made it impossible to stay there.. anyway.. onto the trip.

DAY -2

After a sad “tearful” farewell I left Work, Universal Tax Systems which has since been sold, on Thursday ? to embark on the next phase of my world tour. After all if my goal is to insult all of you by the year 2040, I have either got to learn a shit load of languages or I think it may be easier to go with hand gestures. (

There are never enough boxes when moving. Even though Laura had been collecting boxes from many people, we still had too many items that would have to take their chances in the truck. The Truck ,a 25ft box van from Penske, had an auto gearbox. ( If you can’t work a manual gearbox I would suggest you have no need to be driving one of these ) One of the features of the truck, apart from looking large and yellow, is a turning radius that crosses time zones. To make things just a little more interesting, throw a 15ft trailer on the back. After picking up the truck, the 1st problem encountered was trying to turn into the drive. We had a small stream at the bottom of the yard and a bridge about 8 or 9 feet across. (i.e. There is no way to take the truck straight over. You have to get the front wheels over and then steer so the back wheels hit the same area. In the meantime, the truck body is hanging over the drop.

Having a person to navigate you through this maneuver is advised.

Having Laura do it is another matter altogether.

Laura and Leela ( a quick Futurama diversion )

For those of you that don’t get to see Futurama ( I pity you ) Leela is a one eyed alien, apart from that she’s a babe ( it’s a cartoon ok animated series ). However, she has poor depth perception. Maybe one of the reasons Laura thinks I am so great is she can’t tell feet from inches? The bridge requires almost hanging one of the rear wheels over the edge. Laura decided to become a philosopher , (i.e. a truck can’t fall over the edge if she is not watching it happen.) She was hopping about like a light sensitive penguin with hemorrhoids standing on broken glass. Eventually after much shouting and attempts at reassurance I managed to get it in by moving the truck 1 foot at a time, getting out, in out and so on…. About 30 minutes later with “impeccable” timing RJ appeared with a bottle of Jack Daniels. He was in time to assist with moving the car trailer onto the grass. Usual packing stuff followed. We attended Laura’s parents for Xmas dinner and lunch and moved items into the truck. We had to make an emergency box run to RJ’s, (whose TV had the good sense to bug out a day before) and provide a large box which the PC lived in across country. A large furniture box also helped move the kitchen. It also split the seam due to the Pine Sol Incident …

DAY- 1

Xmas gifts received include otter fabric, books about otters, Southpark DVD, an otter monitor sculpture, Dogma promo material and a small otter figure, books on Zen, spirituality and grammar. Laura is trying to force an improvement. I bought her fairy books, figures, cd’s and have yet to get her a B-Day gift. Cats got nothing… After taking up $500 each in deposits they had better be good bird catchers to wipe that debt out ?

MOVING DAY 1

Plan leave at 0800, reality 1230…. The in-laws assisted us with the house cleaning and loading the truck, land lord came by and we actually got over half our deposit back (a first.) We also sold him the fridge (we got screwed on that one. Then again, I was not in the mood to remove the door of the fridge and the house to get the bugger out again. After tying everything up with the 200ft of rope we had bought, it was door shutting time. Getting the truck out the drive was easy, even with Laura watching :-). Then, attach a trailer and drive the truck on it. Fasten down truck, and gently pull out. The truck is governed to do 65 miles an hour max. Strangely, on the journey, I would be doing 65 and still be passed by Penske trucks with car trailers. 1st part was the easy one, I75 to Chattanooga, then I24 to Memphis. After that, I40 was nearly 2000 miles long. We soon found out that even though this country has monster RV’s, gas stations are not fun to navigate with a large truck. (The truck should have been diesel ). Neither is it fun watching a 45 gallon tank show empty after 300 miles. This, at the moment, is not a problem. You can barely go 20 miles without services being available. Not a lot happened today. The hill climb in TN was awful (30 miles per hour, auto gearbox kept jumping from 2nd to 3rd in a fit of misplaced optimism.)

Radio Ga Ga…. I had purchased 2 C.B handhelds before the trip. They had an effective range of under 100 ft when Laura was directly behind me. If we wanted to speak, Laura had to pull up beside me or pass. This sorry situation continues until day 3, when I bought a mag mount and firestick. This arrangement extended the range behind truck to now 200 – 300ft.We stopped for food and we drove on through TN. (Not a lot to say.) It looks like GA with hills. Radio acceptable to listen to.
On a side note, the truck needed to stop in all these nice weigh stations on the road.( Most of which thankfully were shut.) Different states have different regulations and New Mexico seems to be the only state that required a stop. All the others said commercial vehicles only had to stop. They asked if I was carrying any drugs, illegals, dead people or fruit. Luckily I wasn’t carrying an overdosed Tijuana hooker with a pineapple up her ass so they let me through

This takes us to Arkansas , (or as I like to refer to it as the state where the sister loving hicks can’t surface a fucking road.) I think it’s a ploy by the shock absorbers manufacturing association. I fear this is just a test state and that shitty roads will be implemented over the next 10 years starting with the Southern states.
About 15 seconds after crossing the state line, the truck started shaking like a virgin on her wedding night to Mr Ed( ok, maybe the seats in buffalo’s are not stable. This was one bouncy mother. They seem to build the roads in 3-4 feet horizontal strips, which are no fun to drive across in a car. A truck at 50 starts to vibrate, then resonate with the road. Speeding up isn’t an option, and slowing down until 30 isn’t an option , so it’s a case of hang on and hope the packing was well done. This state should be avoided by all motorcyclists other than lesbians with hardtail Harley’s. No one else could possible gain any enjoyment from these roads. On a serious note trying to ride a real motorbike ( i.e. Not Harley ) would result in hideous tankslappers and several hours of underwear cleaning. ( for all the non bikers a tank slapper is when the handle bars thrash from side to side violently due to the road surface. It’s scary as hell and when it occurs there’s not a lot you can do but hang on.

We stopped in a cheap motel after trying to drive the truck down a dead end. It took 20 minutes to unstick myself, unload the meowing cats, and fall over.

Would we get a good nights rest? and breakfast what of that….

DAY 2
You would think that a country that is built on roads and fast food, (especially fast food by roads) would be able to make an edible breakfast ? Failing that, supply real orange juice. The only hotel we have ever stayed in that managed to make a good breakfast was the Marriott in Chattanooga. ( it also cost about $100 a night. ) Everyone else thinks that cereal from dump bins, OJ from concentrate and biscuit like objects you can bounce are acceptable.

    Oklahoma passed by, A state so unremarkable, from the road at least, that I had managed to erase it from the first few drafts of this page. Sorry if you live there, really I am truly sorry:-)

So we drove some more, stopped, drove, ate, hiked underwear from butt cracks and then drove some more. We then stopped in Amarillo TX, where we managed to get a remote with this hotel room, before cats were released and we fell over.

DAY 3

Woke up, chased cats out of the bed and drugged the little bastards again. They are getting wise and by day 4, they are getting tricky. Breakfast bit…. Then we had to deal with the truck and the car park. I had in my way a choice between going through a string of flags 3 feet under the truck height or a going through a shitty reverse job under Laura navigation. Amazingly, I made it… TX was not that great and it wasn’t until we got into NM that the scenery started to look more like the America I had viewed in the movies , (or at least the ones I like.) Quick digression…the Hitcher…Why would anyone pick up a hitcher? Hell, anything for the excitement! Next, throughout the mile after mile of straight road , I listened to Jesus freaks on the radio dispensing advice on marriage, technology, best ways not to have sex before marriage and how God doesn’t want you to be poor. e.g. Don’t buy technology to have sex before marriage. He demonstrates his concern for your poverty by asking you to send money to the radio preacher. Talk about mysterious ways 🙂 . Ok,so I didn’t pick up Rutger. No room. So we end up stopping at a seriously good truck stop. The Mexican food was as good as Los Portales, although the service was slower . The fuel though was a $1.70 (OK, now laugh at the poor fucks in the U.K 🙂 Still it bites to fill 40 gallons at that price. ( in 2005 we’re bitching about $3.00…)

We drove onto a stop at Winslow AZ. If you’re a Tori Amos fan (or Eagles for the older one) you should have heard of the place. About 20 minutes before arriving, my charge gauge started to drop, before it ticked upwards a few times and resumed normalcy… We then stopped at holiday inn. This one had no external access to each room ( ok smart asses, the rooms like many motels are did not have a direct entrance from the car park ,) and Laura decided to be less than truthful about the presence of the kitties. So, we had to sneak them in, and of course this would be the night they wanted to talk (meow loudly) , so sleep , wake up, and then…
And then, Go I bet the suspense is killing you …

DAY 4

breakfast sucked…

We drove 25 miles. Then, the charge indicator started to drop, and this time stayed down. The alternator had left town. So I called rescue. They suggested I try getting it back to the garage in Winslow. I did this. No fan, nothing. It’s December, but the sun still heats the hell out of the cab. Into the truck garage, the mechanics confirmed that the alternator had shuffled off it’s mortal coil (people that aren’t into even the most basic mechanics should realise that is funny)

Problem 1 was, they don’t have a replacement…. Problem 2 was that unless we wished to wait another day to get it, we had to drive 45 miles away to Flagstaff AZ. Problem 3 was except that they gave us incorrect directions, so we got lost and shot through it. After pulling off at the next services, luck would have it that we arrived at a truck repair depot, so we go eat , call Penske, take truck in , and rest. 3-4 hours later we get back on the road… this time with a Magmount firestick ( it’s a cb radio aerial) for the truck so we can talk to each other with less difficulty.. Headed out, shiny new alternator charging away.. We lost over ½ a day to this shit and paid an extra night in a hotel, which we are claiming this back from them. Well we hope so. We drove through the remaining AZ into California.

There are Guard posts at all the main entrances into CA. I had to open up the truck, and because they saw a lack of dead immigrants carrying fruit in their pockets they let us go through. The entry into CA is hellish, up hill all the damn way. (35 mile climb…. Plus the earlier point about gas stations being everywhere does not apply to the last 500 miles of the journey, 50-60 miles between stops.) We nearly came to grief , because how far do you think a 1 gallon can adds in distance to the yellow monster ? It vapored it in to the next stop ..which naturally was at the end of a 10 mile hill climb 🙂 We stopped at a Holiday Inn. They wanted $110 and we wanted to tell them to play hide and go fuck themselves, because across the road,looking almost as pretty, the Quality Inn was only $59, and they have the same amount of letters in their name.This didn’t prevent me from leaving the truck in the Holiday inn car park 🙂 Went out for dinner at Denny’s, (a Waffle House that looks clean) Why? Well all the delivery places shut down at 9p,m , WTF? So back to lie down…


DAY 5

The cats know. They have huddled, hatched plans and found the one piece of furniture that would be a major hassle to move HUT!. We had been fortunate because up to this point, all the beds had been cat proofed. HUT! This time the unit the TV stood on was kitty fortress central…. Calley was easy to grab, (she is an amateur at this shit.) FUMBLE Ashley (ever the pro) moved between the two ends. This required lifting the whole thing away from the wall. She started the plaintive meows, which were silenced by booting her over the uprights 🙂 ok forced admin of kitty drugs . This process , in a very shortened retelling is akin to this….insert, then spit, then place back in and repeat… into the boxes .. yeah kittens lose to John in OT … So last day we travelled through Mojave, on the way we passed a semi graveyard for planes. They looked more like a 2nd hand plane lot than the out to pasture graveyards I have seen on TV and which I hope to get back and photograph soon.
On the hill overlooking Mojave is a wind farm. This was the 1st time I have seen more than 3 or 4 generators. Yes nice hills, truck appreciated them 🙂 we decided that the computer maps decision to go down through the top of LA and then up highway one was seriously flawed! We bounced through some seriously underserved areas ( gas wise) and then Laura took a wrong turn, yes we have radios 🙂 this lost us 45 mins and finally we got back together after 20-30 min split. We drove through a large gas field, more nodding donkeys than the House of Lords. We bounced into Highway 101 and finally reached the destination. Hoo Fucking Ray …. But………

We, ok Laura led me up a cul-de-sac, with a cop at the end 🙂 oh yes I love this ” Well sir looks like you are in a predicament? ( cops read Reader’s Digest too :- ) ” wished for answer ” Wow you should be a fucking detective rather than in uniform. ” real answer, “Yes sir, a large miscalculation on my part.” Finally I got the thing out, and found the entrance…….to our new home. ( in retrospect it was shelter)

We still had to get in the apartment, 1st we got screwed , only one guaranteed parking spot, truck has to fight for one, health club is free , except the access card costs $100 , I suggested that they only cost $4 each 🙂 which they do. Plus the gate opener is another $40 for the 2nd car…… we fell inside, the Trailer that the F-uck ( F ord tr UCK) was carried on jammed, another call to Penske, some crowbar action ensued and I managed to park it. We bought a blanket a pillow and then fell asleep.

Lifting Shit up the stairs day
Last day of 1999

Oh yes, the pine sol incident .. An entire gallon container of cleaning fluid spilled and stunk up the rear ¼ of the truck. We begin to smell like Mr. and Mrs. Magic Tree. This spill also led to a loss of adhesion on the ramp which with heavy objects does not fun make 🙂 Lifting our gear up the stairs took most of the day. As neighbors poddled by, they occasionally stopped to lift a piece and then go about their day. At this point, the phone still doesn’t work properly. The landlords insists that they are right, Pac-bell insist they are … at stake $120 charge, which we are not going to be paying…. Luckily Laura got it all resolved .

We finally get it all in and the truck back at 8pm. We had no TV antenna and the cable isn’t coming until 27th jan. We could have had it on the 4th, but they wanted to charge us for installation. If we wait for digital cable we get free install and free 1st month. Maybe we won’t miss TV and we can tell them to get bent 🙂 So I made an antenna out of a fork, old vcr lead and a coat hanger, and then watched some millennium TV. what was the fuss about again? It seemed like over hyped bullshit, but I’m just cynical 🙂 and correct
So, we are here. I would say that America is better driven than walked and better flown than driven, The real moral is
DO NOT RELOCATE UNLESS AN EMPLOYER PAYS FOR IT

Or the sea mammals are too cute to resist

Or you marry a flake that saw moving to CA in her dreams and you just helped that along…

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