Saturday, February 2, 2008

On the Road: First Day

Oh, this is fun!


Since all our belongings have been loaded on the truck from Allied Van Lines, we slept in the RV in our driveway. Raymond slept in the foam bed at the end of the RV; I slept on the over-the-cab bed to be near the cats for their comfort. This morning, I have more sore pressure points than I have blood pressure points! Plus the cats' litter box and food are up there for their convenience, so I had to contend with those objects at my feet. However, that keeps them out from under foot, and where Tika (our collie) can get to them.

We woke frequently, partly because we had set the thermostat too low and I only had the blue blanket Vic made for Raymond two Christmases ago. And cats are nightprowlers, so they began their plaintive "let me out" routine. Oliver even learned to use his nails on the screen on the door, which I hist at him about—and bless his heart, he didn't do again. He crawled under the covers with Raymond several times. Just walked up to Raymond's head, who lifted the covers and he'd scoot under. Raymond would wrap his arms around Oliver and scritch him. Oliver would chew on his knuckles, sleep a bit, then leave.

I got up early, since there was no reason to continue to try to sleep. Went in the house, upped the heat so it would be warm for Raymond; took a looooooooong, hot shower, knowing full well that in the winterized RV, it was going to be my last for many days. After drying my hair, I began the sorting process of those few things that were left. We had breakfast, then one last inspection of the house, and we left. I was tempted to call Raymond on the cell to say "let's go home," but I was afraid he'd think I was having second thoughts about leaving Gig Harbor!!

I called my parents just as we were getting ready to go, but it was a hard conversation. No matter what the reasons or necessity for moving, it's still hard to move away from much-beloved family. Hard to realize we're no longer "just down the road" from each other.

We had decided that in order to get across country in winter, we needed to drive two vehicles: Raymond drove his Chevy truck and towed my Honda Accord; I drove a twenty-eight foot, Class C rental RV with our collie (Tika), our two cats (Ceci and Oliver), and my angel-wing begonia, my arrowhead vine, my Christmas cactus, and my Ali-Rosemary bush. Since the RV was winterized—no running water—the shower served me well.

Tika was excited, stressed, voicing her concerns for the first 30-45 minutes, and if you don't think that's a long time, try it. The cats yowled for the first 15 or so, then quietly protested from time to time. (I think they were afraid of losing their voices.) I was fearful of losing the cats out the window of the RV when I stopped to pay the toll on the Narrows Bridge, but I guess they were too jammed in the corner of the over-the-cab bed.

Raymond stopped at the first rest stop below Olympia to check the towing rig for the Honda, but since Tika and the cats had just settled down, I called him on the cell to say I wasn't going to stop. He caught up with me down the road a bit. When I finally stopped at a rest stop to use the facilities, it was snowing!

What a lovely send off from Washington!

At each "pit stop," Raymond walks Tika, to stretch her legs and give her a chance to pee. We have to guard against cats getting loose when we open the RV door of course. That's one of the reasons we have the halter on Oliver (and would on Ceci if the packers hadn't snapped up her harness and packed it); also one of the reasons we updated Oliver's chip and had Ceci chipped. They both scan, and the HomeAgain database has our cell phone numbers and our address in North Carolina.

By noon, Oliver had crawled under the passenger front seat and refused to budge. Ceci would settle with him, then sometimes emerge and settle with Tika, who has made her home on the floor between the driver and passenger seats. Her doggie bed is there, and she lies there, her head up for the most part, although dozing. Ceci had a chance to crawl up into her ruff, do the "ecstatic kneading" in her fur, and then actually lie down next to her and go to sleep. Ceci also spent part of the day on my lap, but I had to move her off so I could drive.

The RV was cold, and no matter how high I turned up the heat, I couldn't get warm. Wonderful problem to have when going 3,000 miles in winter, yes? Found out at the end of the day that I had opened the vent above the over-the-cab bed, and it was pouring cold air down on us. Once we closed that, it got cozy quickly.

I'm tired of McDonald's. We have the RV, which means we should be able to cook, but we neglected to buy bread or a five-gallon jug of water. We stopped shy of Grant's pass to snatch a brief nap. I was getting too sleepy to be safe. So we dozed about 45 minutes.

Of course, we'll never know if we could have gotten through had we not taken our nap, but as we got on the road to Grant's Pass, there was a flashing advisory: Chains REQUIRED ... plus some other narrative we didn't catch. The RV cannot even TAKE chains—and even if we had them, CruiseAmerica forbids the use of them, since they tear up the underside of what is essentially a summer vehicle—and Raymond's truck, while he has studded tires, does not have chains. So as I write this, we're hunkered down in the rest stop before Grant's Pass (no, no internet access; just writing on my laptop for later upload). A couple of truckers were talking, so I wished them a good morning (it was dark, raining, freezing, and late evening), and we got to talking. They said the pass isn't the problem. It's Ashland, and the road past Ashland to Redding, California. Closed. So even if we had chains, they'd be no use. The road will be closed until midnight, possibly even later. So we'll call 511 on the cell phone, and get the conditions. Then get on the road tomorrow.

I dragged Oliver out from under the seat. He was so limp that I thought he had died! God, that upset me, but he was just listless. So I held him, comforted him, rocked him, stroked him. After a while, he began to purr, then stretched his paw up to my shoulder and fell asleep with the tip of his nose just a few inches from mine. When I finally had to get up, I put him in the chair, and he stayed -- it was warm from body heat. A bit later I draped the blue blanket over it, making a den for him, which is where he is now.

Ceci is on the cab-bed, in the round, green cat bed. She had been hunkering down IN THE CAT LITTER (which is clean, but even so!). She ate a bit tonight; Oliver hasn't eaten or drunk, so I am worried about him. We'll see how it goes in the morning.

It's raining, it's cold, but we're together. This time next month we shall be in North Carolina, so I'm not going to hassle where we are tonight.

No comments: