The day before we were supposed to leave Phoenix, U-Haul still had not called to confirm the reservation. I had The Wife call them. It's a good thing I did, they didn't have our truck. We were assured they would have a truck the next morning even if it meant they would have to upgrade us to the biggest truck. Cool. More room to move more shit.
The next morning we were sent to the west valley to pick up the truck. I was already mad for having to go 20 miles out of the way. When we got to Joe Schmucks U-Haul we were informed the truck we were supposed to pick up was not road worthy. This is where Mr. Schmuck and I had a little disagreement. I was informed that if I did not leave his shop I wouldn't get any truck at all. From there we traveled all the way back to a shop a few blocks from our house and picked up a truck that suddenly appeared out of nowhere. It was not the upgrade we were promised, but I just wanted to get out of Phoenix, so we took it.
It took a whole day to pack the truck. This was after having packed my friends J. And T's (they're brothers) truck the day before. We proceeded to J's house to finish packing. I took one of our dogs (Red) to a no kill shelter. We decided to take the other dog (Elvis) with us. It was going to cost a lot more for a pet deposit but we had gotten him for the boys for Christmas a year ago.
We spent the last night in Phoenix at J's house. The next morning while we were making the last few adjustments and picking up road supplies (chips, soda, water, ice, etc.), The Wife called me and told me Elvis got loose, ran down the off ramp on the highway and got hit by a car. Elvis had left the building. J. And I rushed back to the house and I broke the news to my boys. I've got to give them credit, they took it better than I expected.The Wife on the other hand saw the whole thing and still mourns for Elvis. She's just emotional like that.
After everything was calmed down, we loaded the car on the car hauler and loaded ourselves into various vehicles (me and Trashman Jr. in the U-Haul pulling the hauler, T. in the Ryder, The Wife and my youngest in J's truck and J. followed in the van with his dogs Kookie and Banner four hours later). I turned the key and the check engine light came on. I turned the truck off and called U-Haul, the rep said " Don't worry, you'll be O.K."
Sure I will, I'm going half way across the country in a truck with lights blinking in the dash.
After about two hours on the road with a maximum speed of 55 Trashman Jr. started complaining about the heat. I told him roll up the windows and I cranked up the air conditioner. NOTHING. I was stuck in the desert in a U-Haul with blinking warning lights and no fucking A/C. This trip was starting to look better.
J. caught up with us in New Mexico somewhere. We got a motel for the night and got some much needed rest.
The next day we were back on the road headed for the promised land. That's Texas for all ya'll less fortunate types that were not graced by God with being born in The Great State. We passed through the border check in New Mexico with only a minimal amount of fanfare. The guard banged on my truck yelling at me to stop (he scared the shit out of me). Turns out the rolling stairs they use to look on top of trucks were careening across the road due to high winds.
We got caught in a rain storm in El Paso. This was not your ordinary rain storm. This was a hail stones as big as golf balls, sheets of water, wrath of God type of rain storm. Outside of El Paso J. drove up by me signaling me to call him. For some reason I could call him but he could not call me. The Wife had called him, seems we lost her somewhere in El Paso. We pulled over hoping she would call him again, about that time she pulled up behind us. Turns out she only thought she was lost.
We headed out again. Another hour down the road J. pulled the van over because he was having some issues with it. We decided to try to make it to the next town. Fifteen minutes later we were taking the Tracker off the car hauler and trying to squeeze the van on. The transmission was shot and the van was two inches too wide for the trailer. We managed to get it on with only a small amount of bending in the trailer. The van stuck off the back of the hauler by two feet, so we transferred The Wife into the Tracker, my youngest into the Ryder with T., and J. and his two dogs into the pick up. Maximum speed now 45 mph.
On the road again. Fuck you Willie, I don't ever want to be on the road again. In Ozona we pulled off the interstate to fuel up (the trucks and ourselves). T. Caught the rear bumper of the Ryder in the asphalt pulling into the station. It was stuck. The Wife locked the keys in the Tracker, thank God the back window unzips. We tried every way we could to unstick that damn truck, it wasn't moving. The police showed up and called a wrecker (that's going to cost us) . Some guy showed up and asked if we needed help. He said he could pull us out. We told him to go ahead and try. We weren't too sure he could do it, he only had a Dodge Ram and we had already tried the mighty U-Haul. You only need to know one thing son. Can you say HEMI? He pulled that Ryder out like it was sliding on ice. Thank you to the Dodge brothers and the kind stranger in Ozona. After he unhooked the chain he jumped back into the Dodge and drove off into the night(no cost). Who was that masked man?
We pulled into a parking lot for a couple hours of sleep and headed out when the sun came up. A few hours later we had finally reached The Patch, we unloaded J. And T's truck. I dropped my kids off at my Moms and called my dear friend Jack.
Me, The Wife, Jack, J. And T. Drove for two hours to our new home. After I broke a few dozen branches off the tree backing into the driveway, we were there. One last truck to unload. Jack did most of the work, I've never seen anyone move like he did that night. When I called him he had just got home from working all night and without hesitation he drove for two hours to help me unload a truck. It took about two hours to unload and then he had a two hour drive home. He is a wildman, while the rest of us were dragging ass (me being the worst offender), he was running up and down the ramp, carrying load after load. He did take a long enough break to dance in my front yard with a skull carved on the end of a big stick. We were finally there.
This was the absolute worst trip of my life and I've had a few. I would do it all over again and again. Because no matter how bad the trip was, at the end, I've got my friend Jack.