Monday, November 3, 2008

The Move

Well here it is ladies and gentlemen! Your first “fix” of Matt and Kaitlynn Palmer. It’s your morning cup of us! Kudos to Matt for coming up with the name! I thought of “Drizzle Scribbles” but that sounded too depressing. So go fix your morning drink just how you like it and cozy on up to your computer for the latest update from the Seattle Palmers!

We’ll start at the beginning. We rented a sixteen foot Budget rental truck and a car trailer which we then jam-packed and carted all the way from the Mexican border to the Canadian border. Matt drove the “Beast” as we affectionately referred to it at (his car was on a full trailer, adding at least another 15 feet to the back of the truck) while I followed behind in my trusty 4Runner named “Max.” We loaded up on Saturday with tremendous help from my mom and the muscles of two hired movers, and then did the shortest jaunt up to Orange County. Sunday night we had our going away party during which I got to see most of you wonderful people. Monday morning we began the long haul.

We had two-way radios (I’m still a kid and called them walkie-talkies) and got to talk to each other the whole way up—and boy we did! Getting to talk to each other definitely made the drive go a lot faster. Our first adventure was in LA (of course) when in the middle of the street there was a twisted metal HULK of…something! Neither of us had time to swerve and both of us ran over it. There were some tense moments of waiting to see if any tires had blown or if anything was majorly damaged, but our guardian angels must have been with us and everything was ok!

We made our way up the Grapevine nice and slow (35 mph slow!) but managed to avoid any overheating, and cruised our way into the San Juaquin Valley and its nice boring stretch. We stopped in a truck stop south of Los Banos and when we went to turn on Matt’s headlights for night, the backlights—including the ones on the trailer—weren’t working. We called Budget and they said change fuse 21. Simple enough, right? I mean, I don’t want to brag but I did take auto shop in High school…so I should know how to change a fuse.

Well I did…but that didn’t solve our problem. To make a very long, tiring story short we were at that truck stop for 3 hours and the Budget Company had to sent AAA and they had to tape off a light that was short circuiting everything else. However, we got to enjoy a truck stop diner and its variety of vomiting kids and chicken fried steak.

Monday night after a lot of energy drinks and stupid jokes on the walkie-talkies we rolled into Paradise (a small town near Chico, CA) at 2 am and absolutely crashed at Matt’s aunt and uncle’s house (for those of you at our wedding, Uncle Chris Reid was the man who married us).
Tuesday was our rest day, although I have to find it somewhat humorous that we still spent 3 hours in the car to go see our cousins’ apartment in Chico, drive through the park, drive to a covered bridge (which we spent 5 minutes at), and drive back to Paradise. We did have a great surprise that morning in that when I got out of the shower I heard a voice that was very familiar. I walked out and sure enough Beth—Matt’s mom—was sitting on the couch! It was a wonderful surprise!!! We had an awesome meal with all the Reids that night, and really got to enjoy them. I know I married into the right family when they make brownies and hand me a spoon to lick the bowl with.

Wednesday we make our second big trek from Paradise to Vancouver. I have to say that I’ve driven through New England in the prime of its fall colors…and Oregon may actually be a rival! We kept cutting each other off on the walkie-talkies saying “WOW! Did you see that tree? It’s so RED!” or “It’s so darn beautiful!!!”

We stopped in Ashland, home of the Shakespeare Festival, and had a marvelous lunch right by the river. We felt we were in some quaint novel of yesteryears where people still greet each other by name and return the cow when it gets out of the pen while offering a suggestion on the latest New York Times crossword puzzle.
Heading north, Oregon was absolutely beautiful and I’d love to take a weekend to go visit a bed and breakfast there. If you’re contemplating a fall drive…I’d highly recommend it!

However, we had quite the adventure that night when we pulled off near corvalis, to get gas. Matt missed the gas station exit, but there was not a good place to make a u-turn. Instead he took a highway road and then another country road to hook up with interstate 5 again, but took a road titled “tangent” road. Of course this went over the 5 but had a “school bus turnaround” sign. This meant a turn out with a ditch, with another small road opposite it. To 
make a long story short, Matt had to back the rig up across a country road onto another small driveway and avoid the surrounding ditches. So much for an easy gas stop! But it all worked out at we were on our way to Portland.

Perhaps our biggest scare was when we were in Vancouver on our way to Matt’s relatives when we came to an incredibly confusing intersection. Matt ended up turning left thinking it was one way when it wasn’t, and so we drove on the wrong side for a moment, but no cars were around so it turned out fine.

That night brought us to Matt’s Aunt Ruth and Uncle Richard’s house in Vancouver. I’d only actually met Ruth once (at our wedding!) but it was nice to see them, meet Richard, and get to know family a bit better. This morning (We’re up to Thursday now…) Richard made us a great breakfast, and it turns out he’s quite the cook and their wedding present to us was a cookbook I use ALL the time so we hit it off about recipes and cookbooks right away. They’re glad we’re up here since it will mean Dave and Beth will visit more, and we’re glad cause it I can get the recipe for that amazing lentil soup they had ready for us when we got in late at night!

Today (Thursday) we made it to Seatte! After nearly 1,300 miles from San Diego northwards, we hit our final destination in Queen Anne, Seattle. Not to say that the last part was easy! 

You try maneuvering that rig in streets that really should be one lane-ers with cars parked on both sides! First of all, we missed our exit…twice…and had to wander around construction zones and tiny streets and through downtown to our little apartment perched on the side of a hill amidst one way lanes! I have to say…I’ve been through a lot but I think that today was the most “stressed out” I’ve ever been! Breathe…I kept telling myself!

We met our realtor, saw our place, got our keys, and began the adventure of returning the trailer/dolly with Matt’s car on the back. Only thing was we needed to be going the opposite way, and making a u-turn wasn’t an option and streets there aren’t as simple as making four turns!

At one point in a tiny corner of streets we were trying to go left and got to a point where we couldn’t make it without hitting a van. Then came the humbling moment of turning off the truck, going up to the quaint, gingerbread-looking house and knocking on the door to ask them if they could move their car cause (lousy us) we couldn’t make it through. Thankfully everyone in Seattle so far has been exceedingly gracious and kind and she had no problem moving (in the rain, mind you), or telling us the best way to get to where we were going.

After many heart-palpitating turns and curves and steep hills we made it to the drop off point and unhitched the trailer (I nearly kicked it), and I got in Matt’s car and we headed back “home.” He commented on the radio, “Well, if we can make it through that without being at each other’s throats I think we can make it through anything.” And thankfully, I have to agree. We got back, unloaded my car with our basic inflatable bed and overnight necessities, and went out for dinner. “Somewhere very very close” was what we agreed on!

We ended up at the Village Pub in Magnolia, a place that despite the flat screens at every table (yes, Dad, every table) was a pretty quiet, family place. We had steamed clams, big jugs of beer, and big bowls of clam chowder for our first Seattle meals and giggled that we were actually “Seattlites.”

A stop at Albertsons for some basic necessities and we headed home, gazing at the Seattle

skyline from the Magnolia bridge and shivering at the brisk 47 degrees as we carried our groceries indoors. We lit a fire in our fireplace, poured some wine, and for the first night in nearly a week, took a deep breath and sighed that we were home.

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