Submitted by Aaron Riley
She said it would be a fun trip. She said we would have a great time on the road driving through places I had never been before. The only catch was that it was behind the wheel of a large moving truck carrying various memento items to her son and my close friend in another country. What could go wrong?
Well, a lot can go wrong and do, though it was not a complete disaster trip. Afterward, I can honestly say the new experience of traveling through new terrain and seeing sites I had never witnessed was memorable. I have also garnered a new found respect for professional movers on long haul trips.
I had known her and her son since second grade and he had recently moved, married, and had a daughter in our wonderful neighbors to the North, Canada to be exact. Winnipeg, Manitoba was where we would travel from our home south of Atlanta, two-day ordeal. I had flown there before but never had the chance to view firsthand the Great Plains and Appalachian Plateau regions of the Midwest we would cross on the road. So why not help this darling sixty-year-old mother of my long time good friend and in return see more of this great beautiful nation of ours? Worth it, you bet. Do it again on such terms entailing moving furniture and such with someone generations apart from me, probably never again. Don’t get me wrong. I respect the older generations, but when you add a moving truck, a timetable, and twenty-four-hour presence with that person, things will get testy.
And yes, lessons were learned about the moving process. Something of this nature I also had never done before. So if I were to do it again on my own terms, I would be more prepared. With that in mind, I think it best to impart some of these lessons to others who might venture to carry out such a task as long trip moving. Learn these tips ahead of time and the workload and stress levels will dramatically reduce. So without further ado, I give you some basic ground rules when moving items on a long haul.
Rule number one: Make yourself aware of the game plan and prepare for any contingency situations. I decided to go through this ordeal leaving everything in her supposed capable hands. I assumed my role of driving half the miles would be all I should expect on this two-day adventure. Of course, forgetting rule number one and assuming, as I did, will get you in heaps of trouble along the way. Break rule one and you’ll be floundering the rest of the way, breaking all the other rules to come.
Rule number two: Get a lay of the land before venturing out into the great blue yonder. By land, in this case, I mean the moving truck and contents being moved. If I had done that, I may have better prepared her for the couple near disasters to be had with the contents being transported. What contents may you ask? Oh not much, except for a couple chairs, cabinets, a heavy treasure chest loaded with smaller mementos, and a large six-foot mirror. Things like these can obviously be fragile, especially in our case as some were antiques. So if you hear a big bang in the cargo space behind you while taking a curve, you can be sure something back there may come out of the truck with a new dent. Yeah, this leads me to the next rule.
Rule number three: Strap things down! I was not made aware of the fact that she had just nonchalantly had these items in the truck just sitting there with no lashing straps or even rope tying anything down. Nor was anything positioned well enough to ease the possibility of things moving back there violently from sharps curves or bumpy terrain. Not to mention a little cushion will go a long way with things like that six-foot mirror involved. Barely over an hour in the ride and the first hard collision came as we passed through the beautiful mountainous area of Chattanooga. Thankfully, nothing had been really beaten up and we positioned the objects better after our first pit stop. Needless to say, anytime from that point on that we heard any sound from behind us our blood flow got a little faster. Speaking of speeds, that brings me to the next rule.
Rule number four: No matter how rushed you may be to get somewhere, follow the laws of the road. It wasn’t until we reached Wisconsin that law enforcement finally caught up with us on this rule. Speeding around fifteen miles over the speed limit and in a large vehicle no less did not go over well with our local highway patrol there. Between driving on the flat straight road and the mind and body numbing experience of driving we let our focus slip away some. So make sure you are aware at all times of your surroundings and try to stay alert. Difficult to do though in a vehicle like this, which brings me to the next two rules that I will explain together.
Rules number five and six: Be prepared for what the seating is like in the vehicle and find common ground on how to enjoy yourselves on the ride. These moving trucks do not have much when it comes to comfort. They are built predominantly around one task and that is moving stuff. So a few hours sitting on the hard surfaces they call car seats without extra padding can be torture. Also, listening to folk music and comedy for about two days of driving can be torture in its own right. Her idea, not mine. It is always a good idea if you are transporting items to another individual to assist that there are agreements made on listening material and conversation. If not, may I suggest a nice pair of headphones?
Last rule and this one hinges a great deal following rule number one: When crossing international borders, do a little research, no a lot of research, on what is and is not allowed crossing borders as well as what it may cost to move it across. Some may assume crossing into our most friendly neighbors to the North is a cinch when doing anything. Oh contrary. Once the moving truck was inspected and our interviews had been completed, she had to pay $680 in duty taxes on top of the taxes she expected to pay, which was zero dollars. Luckily, we were allowed everything in the truck to cross with, but never assume anything you move across borders are allowed unless that country’s officials say so.
In the end, good times and scenery were enjoyed, but preparation for what to do when transporting items is a must if you are to embark on such a long trip. When traveling with another person, finding common ground is essential to not pulling each other’s hair out. Follow all rules of the road so that additional troubles do not surely creep up on you. If you lay out a good game plan ahead of time for the traveling and transporting, the scenery will be that much more beautiful, the adventures that much more fun, and the time spent with others that much more memorable. So if you decide to transport those items yourself may not be in you or the item’s best interest, may I suggest hiring a moving company to do the hard work. And if it happens to be a vehicle you plan on transporting, may I also suggest A-1 Auto Transport. I hear they got it on lock when it comes to the vehicle transport business.
Submitted by Aaron Riley
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