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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Moving Continued

So, I am going to condense this story a wee-bit.
We were able to leave Tacoma on the scheduled day. However not the scheduled time of 10:00 AM. Dan had forgotten to sign out on leave the day prior so we had to stop at Fort Lewis and sign out. Conveniently, the Holiday Party for the 14th Engineers was at that very location. We grabbed some food, said goodbye yet again and headed out! It was 6:00 PM!
Thankfully, I-5 had re-opened, although HWY 101 through Washington State our desired route was still closed. We made it to Vancouver, WA and stopped for gas. This is the last town before you enter Oregon. Oregon has the law that you cannot pump your own gas and we wanted to see if we could boycott fueling up for the duration of that state. We stopped at a very cute resort called the Shamrock Lodgettes. It was voted as a top weekend get away by Sunset Magazine.
From there we traveled down the Pacific Coast Highway sight seeing at the Heceta Head Lighthouse and the Sea Lion caves. We were so excited to reach the California state line before the low-fuel light came on! We had succeed in our challenge. However, that was short lived, as we pulled into the gas in Northern California, we saw that the gas prices had shot up by nearly a dollar a gallon! Gulp!

Monday, January 14, 2008

Our Moving Adventure Part I

We are starting this blog with the hopes of keeping our friends and family up-to-date with our adventures. Dan and I spent the entire month of December moving from Tacoma, Washington to Waynesville, Missouri. It was quite the trip. In the end we came to the conclusion that even newly weds cannot survive in the car together for more than a month without crankiness infringing.

So here is the story of our travels:

Background: So one of the benefits of being in the army is getting to see the world, right? Dan spent three years with the 14th Engineers at Fort Lewis, Washington. It is an absolutely amazingly beautiful part of the country and provided much recreational entertainment. Three years is the typical amount of time people spend in any one particular duty station...so, it was time for us to keep pursuing career goals and move on. In order for Dan to keep progressing within the Army and take have a company command he needed to attend the Captain's Career Course at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. This course is 6-months long and can be done in accordance with a MS at Missouri University of Science and Technology taking an additional 6-months. Fort Leonard Wood is a training post a therefore does not meet the typical guidelines for assignment length. However it is considered a PCS, a permanent change of station, so we had to move all of our belongs across the country for 2008. One of the benefits of being in the Army is that they coordinate and foot the bill for moving. Although, they don't move personal vehicles...which is where our story begins.

December 2nd: Dan and I had seriously considered and pretty much decided to ship one of our vehicles to Missouri for the move. We were moving during December, had a laundry list of things we wanted to do and thought that it would be the most idyllic solution. However with 6 days left before our departure in the mid-afternoon of December 2nd Dan thought that it would be better to drive his F150 straight to Fort Leonard Wood from Tacoma, WA. What he failed to realize is that HE didn't have the option of doing this and only I had the flexibility to do so. Yippee Skippy!

Fort Leonard Wood (FLW) is 2125 miles away and takes about 31 hours to drive to.

That meant that Monday I would start driving and magically get to FLW by Wednesday miraculously find a place to store the truck until the beginning of January and make it back to Seattle by dinner. That wasn't going to happen! I agreed to drive the truck to Denver and store it at my parent's house. Then we could drive in separate vehicles from Denver to FLW after Christmas. This was the plan.

We spent most of the night packing to items that movers with not move, getting the truck weighed empty and full. The Army doesn't pay for fuel expenses to move privately owned vehicles but with pay about $1.40 per pound moved. So, we carefully figured out how much weight we needed to break even and set this plan in motion.

December 3rd: Driving Day! Before I could leave WA for CO we had to attend a going away luncheon at noon. From there I would drive down I-5 through Olympia to Portland across Oregon, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming and into Colorado. This route adds a few miles but cuts out a big mountain pass in Washington State that can be hazardous which was closed that day due to an avalanche.
We were behind schedule...it was raining...we missed the lunch. I started driving. I went about 30 miles and came to a stop on I-5. Major flooding! Major, MAJOR flooding. 20+ miles of highway was under more than 10 feet of water. I was stuck there for nearly 4 hours before I could go 1 mile and turn around to head back home.

So, that night we reevaluated. It looked as though we'd have to not only drive two cars on our "fun" road trip but we'd also have to delay our trip all together because the flooding was so severe that they highway was not scheduled to re-open for several days.

December 4th & 5th: I woke up a decided to check the possibility of taking Snoqualmie pass. Luckily they had worked all night to clear the avalanche (since it was the only route from Seattle to Portland that was even remotely passable). I decided that I would try it! Drive straight through to Denver...I changed to my flight from Denver to Seattle to a later time on Wednesday. The entire time line was incredibly dependent of weather. (March of 2007 I was stuck in Wyoming for 3 days because I-80 was closed due to blizzard conditions). However, I did it...
I made it to Denver drove straight to the airport where I met my mother and sister. Mom jumped in the truck, dropped me off, I checked in with 5 minutes to spare before the cut-off. I made it back to Seattle in time for a very important dinner date.

December 6th & 7th: This was moving day! The movers arrived just after 9 AM and after some complaining about how we had too much junk and they were understaffed they began working. It is a great privilege to have the Army move you from one location to the next. However, you will find that the government has contracts with hundreds of moving companies and not all are to the caliber you would require or that the military requires. We were stuck with a company that should have their contract revoked. They ate our food then wrapped up half consumed items and trash and packed them in moving boxes. They forgot about a closet and refused to pack it because was a Friday and pay day and that I should either move it myself or throw it away. They even sprayed grease (lots of it) through out the entire living room as they moved our grill. On the inventory sheets they marked all of our "new" furniture as extremely damaged and soiled. However, anything that they didn't pack they offered to take home themselves.