Pack and Load (Prelude to Travel)

For the last month, after we returned from a successful house-hunting trip to Portland, OR, we’ve been engaged in intense sorting, divesting, packing, and preparation for the big move. The work of packing was joyfully interrupted by weekend visits from family in the east, whom we were eager to see again before our departure and several calls from folks bidding us farewell.

Between trying to eat our way to the bottom of the freezer (we didn’t make it) and meals with friends and family, we both put on some pounds. It was a stressful time, too. One that called on us to be patient and gentle, which I think we managed most of the time.

By 1:00 am on Wednesday, August 10, we were ready enough for the moving van to arrive six hours later and I fell into bed for a short sleep. Up at 5:00 to finish the work, and the van arrived on schedule. Two drivers and three crew from the local Red Ball agency, Zeiglers, worked hard and 8 hours later the truck was loaded and they were driving up East Pomfret Street on their way to Richmond.

A problem for them (and possible boon for us) is that our stuff was more compact than they expected and they estimated that the weight would be less than we expected. If they are right (we do not yet have the final weight), the move will cost less than we expected. But it meant that they will have room not for three, but four, loads in the truck. They had already been dispatched to Richmond and Indianapolis for pickups heading west and were seeking a fourth load. Depending on how that works out, they expect to arrive in Portland around Friday or Saturday next week. Ours is the first load on, and thus will be the last off the truck. That’s fine because it gives us time for a more leisurely drive without pushing it too hard.

Closing our our new house in Portland is scheduled for Friday morning, August 19. We need to be in Portland by 7:30 am that day. So our planned itinerary is Carlisle –> Cleveland –> Madison –> Minneapolis –> Bismarck –> Bozeman –> Lewiston –> Portland, with two nights in Minneapolis for laundry, shopping, and respite. We’re planning to stay with friends in Cleveland and Minneapolis. The other stops are planned for motels that permit pets.

By mid-day on Thursday, we blessed the house, called the new owner to let her know we were leaving and to wish her well, left our keys on the counter, and pulled the door shut behind us for the last time. First we clipped some garden seeds — Columbine, Liatris, and Blue Cohash. They are joined by the Meyer lemon tree, starts of geraniums, spider plants, Christmas cacti, and one white orchid, all potted up, and by starts of daylilies and some daffodil bulbs for our Portland garden.

It was the call to our insurance agent asking him to cancel our tenant’s policy that was the turning point for me to realize that we are not temporarily homeless nomads. Hopefully we have everything with us that we will need on the road or in up to a week in Portland before our stuff arrives and gets unloaded.

We had final, emotional farewells with our very good friends the Cases and McDowells before we left. But when we actually got onto the Turnpike heading west, it seemed a bit anti-climactic after a full year of farewells and preparation.

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