As predicted, we made the drive just fine, although it was more like 8 hours instead of a little less than 7. Lori had three pets, two of which made it just fine – Sweetie the iguana decided to play escape artist so we only had one MIA. I drove a six-ton Budget rental truck. I was a little nervous at first put it actually drove better than my pickup truck. With such a big load and a strong SE headwind I could only push about 60 MPH. You had to be careful to watch the road because the wind could cause you to change lanes real fast, considering the truck was 13 feet tall. So, I couldn’t watch for Mexican eagles, javalena, or chupacabras unless they were in the middle of the road. I guess sight of an obviously overloaded truck made everyone and everything get out of the way.
Packing and unloading the truck was a different matter. I’m still sore four days after those ordeals. Some real nice friends helped us cram the last of the house into the truck, saying I resembled a ghost by midnight. Well, they made me toast every room in the old house with champagne and beer so I was a little loopy by then. The bed went on last, first to come off when we hit South Padre Island. Best idea we ever had, that and the idea of packing a suitcase with some clean clothes and toothbrushes and whatnot. The realtor met us at the new house with keys and had already turned down the A/C, a true godsend.
It took two days to load the truck and about 6 hours to unload it, not including the bed. I had gravity and a giant first-floor garage, maybe about 1,100 square feet. Ninety percent of our goodies are still down there. Returning the truck was a trip … a trip to Brownsville, Texas, which is more like driving in Matamoros or East LA. The darned Budget Truck rental place didn’t have a sign so I burned another 10 bucks of diesel ($2.29 a gallon) looking for it – it turned out to be a blue shack with no sign. The clue was two little teensie, rusted trucks with the Budget logo.
Driving back to the Island put me in a better mood, after getting rid of six tons of diesel truck. I could actually look around without having traffic tunnel vision. My thoughts about Brownsville improved. The Port seemed to be real busy, with quite a few ships being unloaded and jack-up rigs being repaired. The shrimp boat fleet was all at dock, a bad sign since they should all be fishing for brown shrimp these days but the diesel is too high and the shrimp prices are too low. We drove past an incredible dust storm on the flats in between the Port and the Island; apparently the Corps of Engineers decided that draining the huge swamp was a bad idea and they’re going to flood it soon. We made it home, ate some dinner and passed out, sore and tired as heck.
Since then we’ve been on R&R. We’ve been swimming, surfing, walking, and saw the Friday night fireworks. A little shopping, some minor things like arranging for postal delivery and trash, shopping for some food, as all we’ve really done. We found out a little about how permitting works, since we wanted a small dog run installed with cyclone fencing. Gosh, how many agencies had to review this? There was only 75 feet of fence, for goodness sakes, but it had to be licensed, bonded, approved twice, stamped, sealed, and platted. You’d think I was building a restaurant in a downtown Block Island or Nantucket historical district or something! And no, I’m not putting up white Colonial picket fencing for some stinky ole mutts in the back yard.
The neighbors are great, even the old man next door who staged a fall in order to get some attention. More on Arnold later as that’s a different story. Everyone’s looking for Sweetie the iguana but I need some more kids and rewards to sweeten the deal. There are lots of realtor signs on the street. I can’t blame them, since they probably doubled their investment in five years. But we’re happy. My son is driving down my pickup truck today and it will be good to see both. Well, I’ve got to put on my makeup (lots of sunscreen) and head to the beach.