Tag Archives: travel

Home at Last

We went to bed early on Friday night at the hotel. I looked at the clock when I turned out the light and it said 8:40. Rose fell asleep right away but it must have been too early for me because I just lied there trying to sleep but failing.

The clock said 9:40 the last time I looked before finally falling asleep. Not long after that Chris was on the bed making sure I was awake. He must have thought I had a concussion and spent the rest of the night making sure I didn’t get any sleep. Since it was a hotel room, I couldn’t put him out and close the door.

When I got up at 4:15, Chris decided his work was done and went to sleep. Rose commented on how great her sleep was that night. Grrrrrrrrrr.

We got on the road at about quarter after six and the gps on Rose’s iPhone put us on the highway going in the wrong direction. After about five minutes it figured out we were going in the wrong direction and told us to get off. I’ve had plenty of experience getting erroneous directions from the gps, especially in Germany where the navigation system seemed to delight in sending us in the wrong direction, that I just didn’t trust it.

It was still dark and I couldn’t tell east from west so I opened Google Maps on my phone but it could not get a gps signal so, after intense discussion, we decided to trust it and turned around. Fortunately, it was the right choice.

The rest of the trip went well. I called U-Haul when we were in Tampa to try to change the drop off location for our trailer. There is a gas station that deals in U-Hauls at the end of our neighborhood but when I picked it up that place wasn’t on his map. It took about thirty minutes to get through to someone but then they had to transfer me and hung up instead. Before that call, dealing with U-Haul had been a frustrating experience, except for when I picked it up, which was okay. After that call I felt like I would never rent from them again but they are pretty much a monopoly so what choice would I have?

We got home just before 3 p.m. I shut the cats in the Florida room with food, water and litter and opened their crates.

I then unloaded the truck and trailer in about one hour and forty five minutes. When I finished, Rose and I went to our designated drop off location. When we got there we could find no place to put the trailer and the office was closed. It was a used car lot that also handled U-Hauls and the small parking lot was jammed full of used cars and U-Hauls.

We ended up bringing the trailer back home and took Rose’s car out for mediteranian food for dinner. On the way I called U-Haul and requested a call back, which I got when I was in the restaurant. The guy on the phone said the location printed on my paperwork was not the location in his system. Big surprise there. He gave me the address of a major U-Haul location in Clearwater that was open until seven, so we raced home, got the truck, and made it there with five minutes to spare.

When we pulled in there was a sign that said “Drop Offs” so we pulled through and stopped. I got out and was met by a friendly man who immediately unhooked the trailer and said, “Ok, you’re all set.”

‘That’s it?” I said. “You don’t need my paperwork?”

“Nope,” he said. I just need to take a picture of the number and you’ll get a confirmation in your email.”

Okay, so maybe I will rent a U-Haul again, but only from that location.

Everyone seems happy to be home. The house is full of boxes now but they still seem perfectly comfortable, like we never left. They did, however, do a little exploring before settling down.

As I write this Saturday night, Frankie is napping in the dining room by the window and Chris is napping next to me on the bed. Floki was here next to Chris but he left.

Now we have to figure out what to do with all the stuff we brought back. Once we do, things should get back to normal pretty quickly.


Halfway to Florida

We got up early Friday morning and did all the last minute things that needed to be done before we could leave. After feeding the cats and giving them enough time to use the litter boxes, I actually threw out two of our four litter boxes. The other two I cleaned the night before and put litter in one for the trip.

We brought the crates downstairs the night before and Chris and Floki actually got inside of one of them.

Chris was also lying in the crate the next morning while I was packing the truck and trailer. This time he was in the correct crate and Floki was nearby, which made Rose want to grab him and put him in with Chris before it was too late and he disappeared. I disagreed because I still had a lot to do and wanted them to have access to the litter box as long as possible.

When we decided to rent our house we had to bring a lot of stuff with us so we booked a 5×8 Uhaul trailer on Monday. By Wednesday it was clear that no Uhaul location within 45 minutes would have a 5×8 trailer so we had to go with a 6×12. Apparently, it is not just rental cars that are scarce.

I picked up the trailer on Wednesday and packed most of our stuff on Thursday. I think if I had two of everything I would have had room to spare.

While I was finishing loading the trailer Friday morning, Floki got nervous and went upstairs. I chose not to worry about it until I was finished but Rose went upstairs for something and saw Floki on the bed and grabbed him by the scruff and carried him down and put him in with Chris. She actually did this without getting all cut up.

We got the cats in the truck and were ready to go at around 6:45.

The cats were relatively quiet, at least compared to the trip last year. It took longer than expected but we got there around 2:40, which left us plenty of time to unwind.

The first thing the cats did when we got to the hotel room was explore and use the litter box.

Frankie was most interested in exploring.

Chris was more interested in relaxing next to me on the bed.

Although Frankie did settle down after a while.

Floki spent a lot of time out of my view. I don’t know what he was doing but I would see him briefly from time to time so he wasn’t napping.

We are now on the road again. It will certainly be nice when it is over and we are home.

Photo Friday: Irony

I find it ironic that Chris and Floki have been spending so much time together in the very crate that they will be spending so much time together in for the next two days. If only they knew.

Today we are leaving for the long drive to West Virginia. I don’t anticipate any problems but I don’t suppose a prayer or two would hurt.

Preparing for Another Trip to West Virginia

I wrote a post last month about the many problems we encountered in planning for a trip back to West Virginia. My wife wanted me to trade my electric Nissan Leaf for a larger vehical, like a mini van. I did not want to give up my Leaf, which was my favorite car ever, but I knew we needed to do something different. I looked into renting a vehicle but since the pandemic, there is a shortage of vehicles and the rental car companies no longer rent cars for one-way trips out of state. That same shortage also caused used cars to be more expensive. I considered a new vehicle but I just didn’t want an expensive car payment.

I eventually found a 2008 Nissan Titan pickup truck with only 19,000 miles on it. I probably paid more then it was worth a year earlier but beggars can’t be choosers and it was a better price than lesser vehicles that were a few years newer. Plus, it has plenty of room for the cats and all the stuff we needed to bring.

On our last trip I bought two crates that were as big as the limits of my wife’s convertible would allow. The smaller crate was 22L x 13W x 16H and we put Frankie in that one. The bigger crate was 24L x 18W x 20H and Floki and Chris went in that one.

There is more room in the back of the truck so I decided to replace the smaller crate with a soft, collapsible crate that is 30L x 20W x 19H (Please note that Amazon links will earn me a small percentage if you make a purchase). We plan on putting Chris and Floki together again and will put Frankie in the larger, wire crate. We decide on the first trip that Chris and Floki would travel better together than either one of them with Frankie.

When the crate arrived the cats were immediately interested in it.

It was easy to put together but would have been even easier without cats in it.

Once together it seemed like it would be a good fit for Chris and Floki.

Chris decided he liked being inside of it.

Frankie decided he liked being on top of it.

Not to be outdone, Chris had to get on top of it too. I was impressed that it stood up to his weight.

After I put it together and after Chris got out of it I put the two crates in the back of the truck to make sure they both fit okay.

I then ordered a pad that was a perfect fit for the inside of it.

We will be leaving on Friday morning. I look forward to being there but I do not look forward to the trip.

Floki update: I am writing this on Tuesday evening for a Wednesday morning post. As of now Floki seems better. He had a bad reaction on Saturday morning either to the vet cleaning his ears or the flea medication we asked them to put on. He hid under the bed for three days but this morning he was out eating breakfast. He went back under the bed briefly but spent the rest of the day acting like a normal kitty.

The Many Problems of Moving Cats Today

The time is almost here for us to return to our home in West Virginia. We are planning to leave at the end of next month. We had thought that our second trip there would be much easier than the first but we were wrong. The first time we rented a truck and towed my wife’s car. That meant the trip up there had the cats stacked in the front seat between Rose and I. There was barely enough room for them and they not only impeded visibilty, they also encroached on my space which was a bit uncomfortable.

On the way back it was almost as bad. The cats’ crates barely fit into the back seat of my wife’s car and we had to put the top down to get them in and out. That created a dangerous situation if there was an emergency or an accident. Plus, Floki cried for hours back there, worse than he did in the truck.

Rose’s plan for this year was for me to trade in my car for a mini van or SUV. Then we would have plenty of room and also be able to tow a small trailer for all the stuff Rose has accumulated for the other house. I hated that idea because I love my car. The main problem with my car is it is electric and I get less than 100 miles on a charge. I figured I would wait until July to sell it.

When I started looking for a vehicle I discovered that a used vehicle that would be trustworthy enough to get us to West Virginia and back was a minimum of $20,000. Many were only slightly cheaper than a new vehicle. I thought about a new vehicle but I just didn’t want to spend that much for a new, or used, vehicle that we really only needed about four days a year.

I also considered renting a van that would be capable of towing a car but nobody will rent a van like that for anything but local travel. The only vehicles capable of towing a car or anything else are moving trucks and no moving truck has a back seat so we would have the same problem as we did before trying to fit the cats in the front seat.

We then considered putting a hitch on Rose’s car and pulling a small trailer. That would still leave us the problem of having to squeeze the cats in the backseat but at least she would be able to bring the stuff that she wanted to bring. Unfortunately, BMW says we can’t put a hitch on her car. We also can’t put a car top carrier on it because it’s a convertible. Even though it’s a hardtop convertible, that doesn’t matter.

Next we decided that we would just rent a large vehicle like a minivan or SUV. Rose would drive her car and I would follow with the cats in the rental car. Unfortunately, that was not an option either because of the problem that the rental car companies are having right now. Apparently, during the Covid lockdown, the rental car companies sold off a large portion of their inventory in order to pay the bills. Now that there is demand again for rental cars there isn’t enough cars. To make matters worse there are worldwide supply issues which are hampering the car maker’s ability to produce new cars. Because of that, rental car companies will not let you drop off a rental car in another state. It also explains why used car prices are so high.

So now we are putting most of the stuff that needs to go north into boxes for shipping. The larger items will have to wait until next year. I am looking forward to being at our other home but I am not looking forward to this trip.

Returning to Our Florida Home

The second leg of our trip back from West Virginia went pretty well except Floki cried almost the entire drive home. He would stop for brief respites and then start again. I half expected Chris to smack him and meow at him to be quiet.

We got home at about 1:00 in the afternoon. When we reached Tampa and were about a half hour from home we started joking about how surprised the cats were going to be when we put them in their old home.

30 seconds to home.

I never researched how good a cat’s memory is. I always imagined it to be similar to a human’s memory. I’d like to think that if I brought Chris back to the home we lived in when we adopted him more than eleven years ago he would remember it, or at least find it familiar.

I brought both crates inside and then opened the door. They were all so happy to be free and I could only imagine what they were thinking. What they did not do was go exploring. A new place requires exploring but this one was already known to them.

When we left for West Virginia I cleaned our three litter boxes and brought two of them with me. Before coming back I ordered from Amazon a replacement for each of the two boxes I took from there along with a couple of bags of litter. Our neighbor was kind enough to bring everything in the house for us so I was able to quickly get all the litter boxes filled with litter because I knew that would be needed right away. I wasn’t wrong about that.

One bad thing that happened in West Virginia was that Floki mostly stopped paying attention to Rose. Every morning Rose would sit on a stool at the side of the bed and check her email, Facebook, and I don’t know what else. During that time Floki would come to Rose and let her hold him for a while. While in West Virginia, he never did that. And to throw salt in the wound he would get on my lap right in front of her. The day we got home Floki let Rose pick him up and hold him again. I was very pleased to see that.

Another bad thing that happened up there was my toes almost fell off. Well, not literally, but it felt like they would. Even in Florida my hands and feet always seemed colder than they should be, but in West Virginia, there were times when I felt like I had frostbite on my toes. One evening, on Christmas Day or the day after, I spent quite a while standing in the kitchen. When we finally sat down to eat my toes on my right foot felt frozen and were throbbing with pain. When I took my socks off later I saw they were red and slightly swollen.

I looked up what might be the cause and the closest thing I could come up with was a condition called Chilblains which is defined by the Mayo Clinic as “painful inflammation of small blood vessels in your skin that occur in response to repeated exposure to cold but not freezing air.” One symptom I didn’t have was itching so I wasn’t sure. I also read it was common in very young and very old people. If I did have it, I reasoned, I must be too young.

A couple of days later it happened again so I went to the doctor and she wasn’t certain but agreed that Chilblains was probably what I had and I should go out of my way to keep my feet warm. I think we decided then that we would not be spending Christmas there anymore, even though all of our Christmas decorations are there now.

We have been home for almost two days now and the cats have gone back to their old routines like nothing ever happened. I, for one, am happy to be wearing shorts with no socks.