Wednesday, August 17, 2005


Well, we successfully made the voyage from Albuquerque to Tacoma, though it was the epitome of the Trip From Hell. The good thing is that we arrived all in one piece with no major accidents though we had our fair share of minor inconveniences.

I should have known we were doomed from the start when, before we even got out of our house in Albuquerque, B scraped a neighbor’s car while trying to turn around the 26’ Penske truck we rented. Fortunately, again, no one was hurt. The neighbor, who had been planning to sell the car, got $2500 from the insurance company and since the insurance in effect totaled the car, got to keep the car and the cash too (it was really only a scrape down the side of the car). Worked out fine for him though we will have to deal with the increase in insurance rates for the next three years. Crap.

In addition to the 26’ truck, we also had to rent a 6’x12’ U-Haul trailer to tow behind the van and a car carrier to tow the piece-of-crap T-Bird since no amount of coercion on my part could convince B to part with that huge piece of garbage.

We finished packing and cleaning up the house and left at about 10:30PM (we had been working since ~6:00AM…this will be important later). As soon as we got out on the freeway, I realized that there was a problem. Anytime I tried to go faster than ~60 miles per hour, the trailer I was towing began swaying back and forth like a drunken sailor. I had visions of me, E, and the animals being thrown about, flying objects decapitating us and winding up upside down in a ditch somewhere. Obviously the trailer was packed incorrectly with too much weight toward the back of the trailer. A very dangerous situation, but one that would probably set us two days behind to try to correct. Guess I will not exceed 60 MPH.

I was following B down the freeway and we had gotten about 2-1/2 hours west of Albuquerque when suddenly there was a loud CRASH! and smoke began billowing up from in front of me. Is that my car? Or something wrong with B? Very quickly I realized the problem was with B as he struggled to get his truck-car carrier combination off onto the shoulder. He walked back, looking at the car carrier then suddenly started running back to the van yelling, ‘the wheel is on fire! Call 911!’

Guess it wasn’t such a stupid decision to get a cell phone.

Two police cars responded very quickly to my 911 emergency call and used their fire extinguishers to put out the fire on the car carrier. Fortunately the fire was not too bad and confined only to the tires on the car carrier (did not spread or catch our car on fire…that would have been nasty).

Then came the U-Haul Disaster. After the immediate emergency was over, I got on the phone with U-Haul.

“We are on I-40 Westbound, 2 miles east of Cubero.”

“Is this an accident or a mechanical problem?”

“Well, there was no accident. There was a fire and now we have two flat tires on the carrier.”

“We consider that to be an accident.”

“Oh.” Whatever. “Can we just get a new carrier delivered?”

“We will send a tow truck out to get you. It won’t be until tomorrow that we can get a new carrier for you.”

“Oh.” Great. “What do we do tonight?” It was 2AM.

“Just get a hotel room, save the receipt and you will be reimbursed when you return the vehicle at your destination.”

“Oh.” Wonderful.

“The tow truck will be no more than 90 minutes. Probably, hopefully, much less than that.”


Ninety minutes later, the tow truck arrives. It is now 3:30AM. I am tired. B is tired. E is in the back crying and saying, “Go night-night!” Great. We go about six miles up the road and check into a hotel. They don’t take pets. We smuggle Ellie and Gemma into the room and fall into bed. It is 4:30AM. We have been up for 22-1/2 hours.

At 8:00 the next morning I get a call from a local U-Haul saying, ‘I am 10 minutes from you. Can you meet me outside the hotel?”

“Mmmphff?” I groggily mutter something unintelligible that he evidently takes for a “Yes, sure, with bells on.”

B goes out to meet the guy, attach the carrier to the Penske truck and go back to where we had left the car on the freeway while I try to get everything packed up in the hotel room, get E dressed and smuggle the animals back out to the van.

B comes back from picking up the car saying, “The guy is balking at putting a U-Haul trailer on a Penske truck. We need to follow him to his U-Haul place and talk with the owner.” Great.

I get the last of the things packed up and out to the car. I carry Ellie (wrapped in E’s Pooh blanket) out to the car. B comes back to the room. “What’s taking so long? The guy is starting to get pissed.”

“I can’t find Gemma.” B pulls all the blankets off the bed. We look on the floor, under the beds, behind the doors. No cat.

“I will ask the maids if anyone has seen a cat. If not, we will just have to leave without her”

Sniff. My little baby kitty. Sure she is 15 years old, but she is my little baby. Holding E’s hand I slowly walk out of the room thinking of all of the horrible scenarios for poor little Gemma. B comes back and says no one has seen her.


I get out to the van. B is not behind me. A few minutes later here he comes with a furry bundle in his arms. Gemma! He has just won the hero award from me.

We follow the U-Haul guy another 15 miles up the road to the U-Haul place in Grants, NM. We mill around for a while. The owner is visiting his wife in the hospital. Great. Is there anyone here who can make a decision? The U-Haul dealership we originally rented the carrier from had no qualms about attaching it to a Penske truck. The contract we have very clearly says “yellow Penske truck” on it. Finally they give us a new contract and we get on the road again.

It is now after noon. We wasted a half a day with these clowns. I just want to get out of freakin’ New Mexico before another day passes.

1 comment:

dallin331ashlynn said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.