So, unlike the other posts that are popping up on the blog this one is actually being written in a semi-current fashion. Right now its about 10:30pm and I’ve had a little bit of sake (did not like, beer remains king) so who knows how this will turn out (wurse gramer dan normal i no rite?). By the time its actually posted though it will probably be around 5pm tomorrow since I like posting blogs around 5pm for some odd reason.
Anyways, when we last met in the post linked at the top of this one we had gotten our truck (Lillian) almost entirely packed. Well, we ended up getting everything in there though it was a bit of a last minute rush, which is pretty typical as far as stuff like that goes for us. It didn’t matter in the end since our landlord forgot she had even scheduled an inspection (of course she didn’t say that, but it was pretty obvious, plus she was incompetent and a liar anyways). But we got everything loaded up. For reference, this is what we were working with, the photo was obviously taken prior to filling Lilly up with our life.
There were a couple of things Penske did not tell us about, like the clearance for the door itself and the fuel tank entry being raised above the floor (we did know about the wheel wells). In spite of that my calculations, which were part based on a computer part based on my OCP, worked out nicely. Subsequently we hit the road a little earlier than we intended. It took a bit to get used to driving the truck, but since it was only around 19-20ft in total length it wasn’t a huge issue. The biggest thing was getting used to having such a limited field of vision. The nice thing was that Lilly only had around 10,400 miles when we picked her up. Which ironically meant that a moving truck is now the newest and nicest vehicle that I have ever driven in my life.
After getting used to the bells and whistles of the truck, the tiredness began to set in. SB and I had slept on the floor the previous night and on top of that we had been up late finishing things up, needless to say I was tired going on about 5 hours of floor sleep. Fortunately the day was nice and the traffic wasn’t bad. In fact we didn’t even hit and major traffic (with the minor exception of some crazy a$$ drivers in Ft. Wayne, or possible the poisonous water-starved zombies of Toledo) until Cleveland.
Ok, I know there is pretty much no traffic in that photo, but the traffic came a bit later. After that it was pretty much smooth sailing until our day 1 destination of Eerie, Pennsylvania. Eerie, obviously named after the lake right above it, seemed like a touristy kind of place. Not in the cheesy, Pigeon Forge kind of way, but almost. There were water parks and climbing things, and yadda yadda. We stayed at the Econolodge. Not really because it was in Eerie, PA, but rather because I picked a random spot on Google Maps that looked like a good spot to stop for the first day and Eerie was pretty much that spot. The Econolodge was right off the interstate too, which was even more enticing. No 30 mile journey into the backwoods of Pennsylvania to inevitable Deliverance for us. The hotel was actually fairly nice as far as side of the road Econolodges go, my guess is that this was because of the location.
There was an indoor pool, hot-tub, sauna, complimentary breakfast, Wi-fi and color TV. Of course the pool wasn’t heated, the hot-tub was more of a warm-tub, the sauna was WAY too hot, the Wi-Fi was being broadcast from Nigeria, but at least the color TV worked. It really wasn’t bad though, especially for the price and as tired as I was the back of the truck would have worked. We got some Crackerbarrel, swam a bit, I drank a beer (one of a variety pack of Samuel Adams FIL had bought me) and was out like a light.
The next morning we were up early for a breakfast at the hotel (which was pretty decent really) and on the road. It was raining, but it didn’t last long The 2nd day was around 115 more miles than the first, but we had better sleep and got started earlier. The biggest portion of the 2nd day was actually New York (not city, the state, yes they have a state too). Which meant that we entered Toll-Hell. We had incurred a few minor tolls back in Ohio, where the friendly Midwesterner working the toll only half looked like they wanted to kill you and your family. Once we got deeper into New York the tolls skyrocketed, with one toll being 30$ (of many). The scenery improved in tandem though, so I can’t complain a whole lot. We went through quite a few large gorges and across a lot of really cool looking bridges. SB failed spectacularly to take pictures of several of these things, probably because she was sleeping. But she did get a photo of one of the larger bridges we crossed.
I have no idea what that bridge was called, I was more concerned with passing a semi so we could actually see the valley below us, this may or may not have involved speeding, we’ll go with not. Speaking of not speeding, the truck was holding up very nicely, no problems at all. Penske had slated that we could expect around 10mpg but I was hovering more around 15-16mpg, even with the occasional instances of definitely not speeding, nope. Eventually we came to the outskirts of our new home.
I will give SB credit on this one, she really got her phone out and snapped that picture really quick-like. Tristen and Valentino were also enjoying the scenery that MA had to offer.
Before too long, or rather, in a period of time that felt much shorter than the 3000 miles of toll road in NY we had arrived in the day two destination of Framingham, MA. We stayed in Red Rood Inn here and it was more in line with what one would expect of a roadside hotel than was the Econolodge. It was also in a slightly sketchy area, but it could easily have been one of those parts of town that looked much worse than it actually was. Either way, we had no issues and Lillian was not raided in the middle of the night. We actually got in about 2 hours earlier than I had planned (we were very good about saving time on the road, probably because I was in charge of the itinerary). This was a little odd, since our apartment was technically only about 20 miles away. So we just got a bite to eat, picked up some brochures and had a couple of beers. The only real downside to the hotel since we didn’t get highway-robbed was that it was “Pet Friendly” which translates to your room smelling like old crazy cat lady.
The next morning we walked the 30 seconds to the Dunkin Donuts for breakfast. It was packed, but seriously Dunkin Donuts are EVERYWHERE out here (Probably because they are originally from Quincy). Then we began the final leg of our trip to pick up the keys to our apartment. This actually turned out to be the most harrowing part of the entire trip. It all started with lovely ole’ Google Maps. Sweet, naive, precious i-will-you Google Maps. The trip was supposed to take about 35 minutes, el-oh-el. Maybe at 3am after a nuclear holocaust on a Sunday. The fun started when we had to get on a toll road for all of 2 miles. The interesting thing about Boston is that you pay tolls to get near it, then they let you off those toll roads, just to make you pay a toll again to get into the city. The photo below shows an entry toll booth that is literally 500ft from an exit toll booth.
We were stuck in sardine-like traffic on an overpass at that point, which if nothing else gave us a good picture of the tollbooth below us. After we finally got the tolls settled, I got a Masshole 101 driving lesson which basically translated into “No.” Its important to keep in mind, this was morning rush hour, so people had places to go. Of course so did I, and I also understand the physics of Box Truck + Prius, they did too. Between the traffic, which at time was mere inchs apart (no I am not exaggerating) and the GPS deciding at the last minute that we should have turned on that street we just passed, things were pretty stressful. Matters were made worse by the bicyclists who seemed to live inside of Lilly’s blind spots. SB snapped a photo at one point, this is actually after it had calmed down, for reference.
Long story short, we got to our key pick up. It took a few crazy maneuvers and by the time it was over I feel like I blended well into the psychotic horde, aside from the bright yellow truck of course.
In fact, the most nerve-racking thing turned out not to be the traffic, but hoping we didn’t get stuck in a tunnel. The area has a few tunnels and underpasses that get a bit low. The good news is that they warn you with those hanging “Low Clearance” signs. The bad news is that the signs (at least the one we went under) did not tell you what the clearance was, at all. So we had a brief moment where we curled our toes waiting to see if the sign drug along the top of the truck, but it did not and all was well. I actually later was told that during freshman move in time (September 1st, or “Allston Christmas”) 2-3 moving trucks get stuck in the tunnels each year.
Anyways, the fun thing about the key pickup is that there is no parking for that. Yep, no parking at all to pick up the keys to your home. Fortunately, two things happened. First, we found out that SB could pick up the keys which meant she didn’t need to drive the truck (she had had nightmares about it, can’t say I fault her). Second, I found a moving van location. Now this is the cool thing about the parking wasteland that is Cambridge. For 25$ you can actually reserve a spot on the street for a moving van, and I do mean reserve. They actually come and tie off that part of the street for you and they seem to really be on top of it and furthermore (perhaps more importantly) people actually seem to not park in these areas. Its the best 25$ I have spent in a long time. Anyways, the key pickup is actually at another property owned by the same landlord. Since its moving season, someone else had reserved a spot at that property to move their stuff in (or out). So, while SB was inside I “borrowed” their spot for about 10 minutes. I was hoping they wouldn’t come along and drive right past their spot thinking it was mine, but they didn’t, or if they did they were a FedEx driver going the wrong way down the one-way street, so karma remains neutral.
After getting the keys it was one more crazy drive over to our home, where we found our spot reserved (along with literally 7 other expired reserved signs, as I said, moving season). We got pulled up and prepared for what would be one of those worst things I have ever done in my life, seriously. But we were still blissfully unaware of what was yet to come. About five minutes after us a U-Haul (just a van) pulled up behind us, as there were some people moving out (later on a larger U-Haul pulled up for a bit as well). So it was a busy day for our apartment, but ours was just getting started.
The good news was that Lillian had performed without a single issue (aside from eating so many bugs on her windshield that it defied logic) and we arrived safely. While traffic was really bad in a few spots and the GPS sent us through Timbuktu a few times, we had no major issues. All in all, a successful trip that had a non-abnormal amount of stress considering that our entire existence was pretty much behind that steering wheel. I also learned that I would not be a good truck driver, 1000 miles is good for me, thank you.
So, for now I’m going to wrap this up. As I mentioned this will be a three part post. The first was a short post about final preparations, this was a post about the trip itself, and the last post will be about actually moving in, which turned out to be the worst part of the entire trip by a landslide (even when compared to rush hour Boston traffic). I’ll also discuss returning Lillian, which since I am so damn lucky just happened to be in afternoon rush hour traffic.
In closing here is a random photo of some countryside on our way through NY that I thought was pretty.
Until next time,