Saturday, November 06, 2010

Going the distance without backing up

I know we live in a mobile society. Trains, airplanes, automobiles, and motorcycles all make it easy to move from point A to point B.

Moving from Wisconsin to Tennessee and from Tennessee to Arizona were huge transitions for me. I was excited to start over in new communities with my daughters. Lucky me, my employers paid for the packing, moving truck, and transportation to my new home.

Earlier this week I discovered I was not immune to moving jitters. My oldest daughter left Arizona a week ago for a new job and apartment in Palm Springs. I promised I would help to move her furniture.

For the first time in my life I planned to drove a ten foot U-Haul truck ( The truck was not entirely the scary part, even though it was Halloween. The drive to Palm Springs is about 294 miles give or take, and a one way rental offered the most reasonable price. I didn't want to fly back so I decided to tow my car on an auto transport...a trailer adding another twelve feet behind the ten foot truck I had never driven before.

To say I was apprehensive or nervous didn't do my feelings justice. It was at most a four or five hour drive, but what nagged at me was: Could I drive the distance without backing up? I distracted myself until I could pick up the truck by reading the latest Nicholas Sparks book. It gave me some comfort.

As I read Safe Haven (, my mind relaxed a bit. I began to remember my other moves and I wondered. How could I be nervous about a small trip like this when my ancestors bravely boarded trains and ships to a country they had never seen? I suddenly felt somewhat spoiled and embarrassed to be so nervous.

Caution is one thing, undue anxiety is another. As I thought about my great grandparents, I checked my passenger lists and realized this year was the one hundred and tenth anniversary of their journey from Reinwald, Russia to Ellis Island. And the conditions on board the ship Astoria were not nearly as comfortable as an air-conditioned ten foot truck. The more I thought about it, the more grateful I was for the opportunity to drive a truck.

I picked up the ten footer at U-Haul and with the help of a friend, the truck was quickly packed. It was fully loaded when I drove back to U-Haul to have the auto trailer attached. Then I slowly and carefully began my drive. First, back to the house for Halloween, then on the road at 3 a.m. the next morning.

The drive went smoothly. The weather was sunny and warm in Palm Springs, well over 90 degrees. With three people to unload the truck, we moved everything to her new place in under an hour. By 1 p.m. Monday, we were exhausted and ready to sit in her air conditioned apartment.

We enjoyed our time in Palm Springs. We visited the Book Exchange, Revival, Thai Smile (, the Ace Hotel ( and made time to shop for finishing touches for her apartment.

Best of all, I never had to back up. And I am certainly grateful my ancestors never did.