09/11/2004: "The Moving Saga, part 1"music: Smallville radio mix
mood: pleasantly tired
Reflecting on the past two weeks, I am amazed by how many people went out of their way and above and beyond the call of duty to help us. My Dad is amazing that way, he worked so hard to help me get ready for the move, helped us figure out how we would load the things on the trailer, the bikes on the top of the van... Richard's parents also came down to help us on Monday 30 August and of course I can't forget the help of our neighbor to load the piano on the trailer. (click on more to read more)
It took longer than we planned to leave, as it always does, and so we were quite frustrated when the electrical system went sour at 2am, pulling into Lehi for a drink stop. We determined it wasn't the battery itself, either some short in the system from the U-haul trailer hookup or the alternator, and so resolved to wait until the nearest GMC dealership opened the next morning. Richard and the children rested fairly well in the van, while I struggled to doze off after having psyched myself up for an all-night drive. We were the first ones there at the repair center in American Fork that morning, and they determined that it was indeed the alternator and that our serpentine belt was cracked and would need replacing. The ~$400 for the alternator was covered under a warranty, so we were only billed for the belt and the labor for that, about $75. Getting the parts there proved a long wait, so we were living off of the vending machines, watching PBS on their lobby TV, and the children were enjoying the exotic fish tank and toy play area. That made the near 6 hours that we were there bearable, well, that and Grandma Wendel coming down with cookies and sandwiches she made along with milk and little plastic cups for our lunch. We had a nice visit with her there, and she stayed until we were ready to go about 1:30pm. The mechanics worked on the van without taking the trailer off, which was a huge blessing not to have to worry about hooking that up fully loaded.
We were on the road again! We made ok time through the rest of Utah, given that we were a loaded van and trailer, and had a late dinner with our good friend Gary in Las Vegas. We pulled into the Phoenix area early Wednesday morning(9/1), swung by Steve & Ginger's house to grab the classified ads they had saved from the weekend for us and stuck in their rear windshield wiper, and checked into a La Quinta Inn off of the 101 and I-17 to be in a good safe central location. The very-new-to-the-job-clerk-on-duty told me that since we were checking in before noon that we would be charged as if we had checked in the night before... I was soooo tired from driving that whole way, and debated hanging out somewhere ("Hi Ginger!) for the next few hours but decided that an extra $50 was worth it for some instant gratification in the form of a nice shower and sleeping children that would stay asleep upon the transfer to the motel room. [When we checked out, it actually showed we were only charged for the two nights, rather than the three days, which was nice]
to be continued...