By September 4, 2007

Get a move on.

I helped my friends Teach and Ninja Mary move from Richmond to Columbus, Ohio over the holiday weekend. The plan seemed simple: get picked up at 10AM, drive Teach’s car while Ninja Mary took her own car and Teach piloted the moving truck, and stay overnight at a bed and breakfast. We’d make the final three to four hour leg of the trip the next day. I would fly back on Sunday and all would be well.

That was the plan, at least. 😉

Ninja Mary picked me up at 10:30. Not bad for “Midlo time,” where everyone is kind of on a relaxed time table. The reason she was late picking me up was because there was a problem with their loading crew. Only two fellows showed up instead of three, and they were already behind schedule. To top it off, they were both elderly men who didn’t have much strength or sense. My favorite moment was when one of the men plodded along, dragging Teach’s suits behind him on the ground. Durrrr. Instead of being ready to go by ten, we wound up being ready to go at around noon — and by then there wasn’t much sense in leaving town without eating lunch. We left Richmond at about 1:45. The bed and breakfast was to cook us steaks, ready for upon our arrival at 7PM. After the late start, seven seemed like an unlikely arrival time. Unfortunately, the number to the B&B was trapped on the answering machine, which was packed up one of the boxes already loaded by the Turtle Brothers Moving Crew. We motored on anyway.

Teach’s moving truck could move along at a decent speed, but getting the truck to a decent speed was another matter entirely. As predicted, we got separated at a tool booth and I left Teach and Ninja Mary in the dust. The bright blue top of the Budget truck got smaller and smaller as I motored in the righthand lane at 55MPH (the limit was 65MPH). I have never obeyed the speed limit for such a long distance in my entire life. I have also never been given the finger by so many gray-haired women as they whipped past me at 60.

Fifty-five miles per hour turned out to be a blistering pace as we turned onto Route 33. Route 33 goes west from I-81 and almost immediately turned into the type of road I loved driving in my WRX or MINI Cooper S: twisty, banked turns, and switch-backs. It was the worst possible road for a moving truck, or if you hated driving. We happened to have both in our little caravan. While I screamed out “WHEEEEEE!!” in Teach’s full-sized Chrysler sedan, Teach and Ninja Mary white-knuckled it at nearly half my speed.
This does not seem like a fun track if you’re in a poorly-maintained rental truck full of your worldly possessions. I thought it was bad-to-the-ass.

I was a full forty-five minutes ahead of them by the time I reached the next point in our directions to the bed and breakfast. Just like in the bedroom, my quick speed was a major problem. I made a critical mistake, turning north when I should have gone south, and spent the next hour lost and out of mobile phone reception. I found a very small town on Route 119N that had a signal and phoned Teach. By now it was already getting dark, and I wasn’t looking forward to trying to find the bed and breakfast alone while navigating an unknown mountain road. “I went south,” Teach said, and I decided to give it one more try. Otherwise, I was giving up and heading to Columbus.

Well, unfortunately for me the directions had a start point twelve miles outside from where I decided they started, and after two hours of driving around a foggy mountain road I gave up. I intended to make it Columbus, but it was already eleven PM and it would be another three hours before I arrived. My cell phone was dead from going in and out of service patches, and I really needed to talk to somebody before my head exploded in frustration. Luckily I found a car charger at Wal*Mart, got a cup of coffee, and made it to nearby Clarksburg after finding out all of the hotels in Weston were full because of an arts and crafts fair. Meanwhile, Teach and Ninja Mary made it to the bed and breakfast, but there was no cell reception there and no food to be eaten. I updated them the best I could and plopped down on a nice king sized bed at a Holiday Inn. I don’t really remember closing my eyes.

Teach and Ninja Mary endured some even more off-road rally action on Route 18 and had to wake up at four AM in order to meet the unpackers at their new apartment. I was much happier when I woke up, and the drive in to Columbus was awesome, mostly because I was on major interstates the whole time. I made it to Columbus without incident, and was really enamored with Teach and Ninja Mary’s apartment. It was within easy walking distance to Ohio State University, and near a really cool stretch of shops and restaurants called High street. There was a Caribou Coffee less than ten minutes’ walk from their apartment, and I spent some quiet time alone there, watching OSU fans walk around in school colors on game day.

I am really excited for Ninja Mary to start her Ph.D program, but even more excited for the pair of them to start a new chapter of their life somewhere new. I got to thinking on the plane trip back if it was time for this rolling stone to get moving again. I have enjoyed finding “favorite places” with Lady Jaye in Richmond, and am envious that Teach and Ninja Mary are going to have that experience anew in Columbus. Good luck, you two!!

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