Jun 18, 2013


Not gentry, but I have landed in Missouri.

I have an apartment in a town a bit east of the new job.

I have the dog with me.

I have all my guns and most of my ammo with me.

I do not have my wife with me... and that is very tough.

The drive was awful. I can't think of any better way to describe it.

I rented a 6x12 tandem-axle trailer from Uhaul, and it was as expected: Heavy. It did, however, fit most of the important stuff. The truck is rated for 5,000lb towing - and I suspect I was well over that when all was said and done. It survived the trip, averaging somewhere around 14.5mpg over 1,155 miles and a lot of hills. Now that the trailer is gone, it feels like a sports car.

Day 1:
I left the house at 7:15am, and drove through the hills of western NY at a stately 55-60mph, occasionally less. I got my teeth rattled out on the washboard of I86 in the Seneca Nation, then on into PA and free air. I tried to grab a picture of the "Welcome to Pennsylvania" sign, but the camera wasn't quick enough as I went by.

I stopped around 2 at Pediem's place for a bathroom, drink, and to stretch legs for a bit. Dixie appreciated the stop... By 2:30 I was back on the road west. On to Columbus, where we picked up I70 and smoother (flatter) roads. Traffic picked up some around there, but not too bad. I chugged across western Ohio and into Indiana, stopping for gas every 120-150 miles or so. Note: if you're going west on 70 in Indiana, there are some truly horrible potholes in the right lane in the first ten or fifteen miles. They have signs well before them, that say "ROUGH ROAD, USE EXTREME CAUTION". The signs should say "HEY STUPID MOVE TO THE LEFT LANE OR YOU MIGHT LOSE AN AXLE OR VOLKSWAGEN". I managed to get BOTH of the potholes with truck and trailer; if I'd been going any faster it might have been interesting.

I'd been intending to have dinner with Brigid, BRM, Wing, and Barkley - but timing was not going to allow it.  I was doing OK to meet for a drink and chat, until I70 came to a complete standstill at mile 110. As in, "shut off the truck and get out to stretch while you sit for 20-25 minutes" standstill. Once we were finally rolling again, it was far too late for dinner and bordering on too late to visit - but Brigid was again the gracious hostess and stayed up a little late, put a plate of food in front of me, scritched Dixie a few times, and let me babble at her, BRM, and Wing before I made my apologies and headed to my hotel for bed. (Side note to those present: sorry I wasn't more of a conversationalist. Totally wiped.) I checked in and crashed shortly after 11pm. Yes, sixteen hours on the road, to go 650 miles.

Day 2: Up early again, I was on the road by 7:15 once more, and just kept chugging. The drive across the remainder of IN and IL was uneventful. I stopped in St Louis for coffee with a dear friend, then continued west. I picked up a follower in the form of BabyBrother and his wife around Marshall, and they followed me to New Place to help me unload. We got here around 4:00 or so and had the trailer empty by 6:30.

I am still surrounded by boxes and chaos, but things are slowly getting organized. I'm learning where things are, I've met many of my neighbors, my new landlord seems like a nice guy...

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little bit homesick. The first 36 hours here were VERY tough. There may have been some overactive lacrimal glands once or twice. I went through Walmart to get a few essentials, and zoned out while standing in the cereal aisle trying to decide. The woman stocking boxes broke my reverie by asking me if I was OK or if I needed help finding something. ... When the Walmart lady is wondering if you're OK, there might be a problem.

There's a beautiful city park about a half-mile walk away, which Dixie and I have done both mornings since arriving. I've chatted with the other half of our duplex over a beer, and with the landlord over a beer - he lives three houses away. There are several firefighters and at least one cop living within a block or two. It's a pretty quiet neighborhood - very working-class, very good people, who have been nothing but welcoming to a stranger.

This has not been an easy process - in any way. Nor has it been cheap. My fun money will be zero until the house in NY is sold and MrsZ is out here and hopefully working some... but you know what?

I'm free.

You can't take the sky from me.


doubletrouble said...

Sounds like a rough ride, but there you are, & in one piece!
Good goin', & good luck.

Ruth said...

Glad to hear you made it ok!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on making a successful exodus. I am a little envious of you from here in MA. Hopefully all the loose ends settle into place in no time at all.

Wally said...

+1 Good on you my man.

Brigid said...

We all enjoyed the chat, even as tired as you were. (though Barkley sulked big time after Dixie left)

Glad you made it and are somewhat settled. I know it will be hard to be separated from your wife, but the time will pass quickly, and your new life will be more than you left.

Jennifer said...

Welcome to freedom

Old NFO said...

Congratulations, and glad you made it in one piece. Hopefully things will stabilize QUICKLY! and yes, welcome to freedom!!!

Wilson said...

Congratulations and welcome to the free zone.

Jay G said...

Gonna miss you in August, my friend.

But you're free. That means a hell of a lot.

Will catch you next time I'm in St. Louis.

And you know there's always a spare room deep in enemy territory for you if you need/want to come back this way.