Jan 222023

It’s taken longer to get internet service at our new place in Alabama than we expected, but we finally did, and I wanted to post a blog to let you all know we are still alive and kicking, even if barely. I say barely because Terry and I have both come down with nasty colds that are kicking our butts. But the good news is, we’re here and we are slowly getting settled in.

In my last blog post, from a week ago today, I said that I would be driving the 26-foot U-Haul truck pulling a car hauler with my Mustang on it and that Terry would be driving our Ram pickup pulling the 14-foot cargo trailer. In that blog I said we would probably stop in Dothan, Alabama for the night and go on to Gordo the next day, but that didn’t happen.

I have ridden in Army tanks that offered a better ride than that U-Haul, and it about shook my teeth loose every mile of the trip. We stopped at the Flying J in Saint Augustine to fill the fuel tanks on both trucks, which turned out to be a pain because the guy at one of the RV fuel islands that accommodate larger vehicles was inside and hung around there for a long time before he finally came out with some food that he apparently ordered and put it inside his pickup. Then he began to fill his tank. I was in the opposite lane and was able to fill the U-Haul and then pulled to the other side of the parking lot to wait for Terry, who was stuck behind him.

Flying J has several lanes that are specified for RV parking and they were pretty busy, but I found one open spot. There would have been more except for the clowns in this RV, who parked their car next to their motorhome so nobody could get into the space next to them. I think they probably didn’t want somebody to hit their slide-out, but if they had faced the opposite direction, they would have been over a small island and somebody else could have used the space next to them. I call people like this OPOPs because they seem to think that they are the only people on the planet.

Once Terry was finally able to fill the truck, she found a parking spot and we went inside for a pit stop, then got back on the road. About 25 miles north I suddenly saw her behind me, flashing the headlights off and on. I pulled onto the shoulder of Interstate 95, wondering what was wrong, and she came to me shaking and said that somehow she had left her phone in the bathroom at the truck stop. Terry never does things like that, but with the trip ahead of us and then having to wait so long at the fuel island, she was flustered. I called Terry’s phone and a Flying J employee answered and said it had been turned in and was at the front counter. Fortunately, there was an exit just ahead of us and we took it, crossed over the highway and backtracked to Flying J to get Terry’s phone. We lost a little bit of time, but it’s all just part of the adventure, right? I kept telling Terry I wasn’t mad at her, but it didn’t matter, because she was mad enough at herself.

The U-Haul was a dog, and it was all I could do to keep it on the road at 55 mph. Between that and the time lost going back to Flying J for the phone, we didn’t make it to Dothan as planned. Instead, we stopped at the Hampton Inn in Quincy, Florida for the night. It was right off the Interstate, and they had a large grass parking lot next to the hotel where we could park both rigs.

There were no restaurants open close by, and we did not want to unhook the cargo trailer to go find one, so we settled for frozen dinners from the hotel. Not exactly fine dining, but it kept us going. Terry more so than me, as she was up several times during the night.

We were back on the road bright and early the next morning, crossing into the Central Time Zone, and then entering Alabama on US Highway 231. We followed it north through Dothan and Troy to the Montgomery area, where we eventually got onto 82 and followed it west to Tuscaloosa. We arrived at our house in Gordo sometime mid-afternoon, and I sure was happy to climb out of that damn U-Haul!

Our son Travis and his wife Geli greeted us with lots of hugs, and then they got busy helping unload the cargo trailer. We managed to get it about three-quarters emptied before darkness fell.

That was our 25th anniversary, but since there’s not much of anything in the way of restaurants in Gordo, and even fewer choices after 6 PM, we settled for Subway sandwiches. What a way to celebrate our big day! But as somebody said, it’s not about the meal, it’s about the person sitting across the table from you, and I am so much in love with this lady who’s been sitting across from me all these years, through good times and bad.

The kids were back early Tuesday morning to help us, and then a bunch of folks showed up around lunch time – friends of Manara Payne, our real estate agent, and people who go to her church, some young people from the local high school, and some neighbors. I will tell you something; I’ve moved around a lot in my life and have lived all over this great land of ours, and I have never experienced a reception like we got here. Talk about small-town southern hospitality, we experienced it firsthand! By the time it was all said and done, it only took a few hours to get everything unloaded and into the house, with boxes stacked up in every room. Thank you, everybody. We appreciate you all so much.

Actually, we didn’t get everything inside the house. It had been raining for a couple of days, and with so many people going back and forth across our yard, it had become a sea of mud. We managed to get my gun safe out of the U-Haul and into the garage, but at 675 pounds, there was no way it was going to make it through that mud to the front porch, even with the help of our heavy-duty appliance dolly. So it will sit in the garage for a few days while we recover from the trip and our colds, and then we’ll figure out how we’re going to get it where it needs to be in the house.

We have a lot more going on than I have room to tell you about today, but I’ll be back tomorrow with more to share with you.

Thought For The Day – A stranger is just a friend you haven’t met yet.

Nick Russell

World-Famous, New York Times Best Selling Author, and All-Around Nice Guy!

  16 Responses to “Still Alive And (Barely) Kicking”

  1. Jim Tidball Glad to see you made it to your new home. Enjoy the adventure.

  2. Welcome to Alabama
    Roll Tide!

  3. You & Miss Terri get to feeling better. Congratulations on your move. Happy Belated 25th Anniversary ❤️

  4. I love reading your adventures 🙂 feel better soon!

  5. That was harrowing for an adventure! Always good to arrive safely at your destination and to especially get a warm, helpful welcome.
    Vitamin D3 to help with the colds, as well as black currant juice if you can get it.
    Hats off to you both for driving such long vehicles, even if you’re used to an RV.
    Happy Home Coming!

  6. Nick, glad you made it safely to your new home. I used to rent U-Haul trucks but the last time I did I had a similar experience to your experience. The last time I needed to rent a truck I rented a Penske truck, I am now a fan of Penske, night and day difference. Penske seems to maintain their trucks a lot better than their competition.
    Hope everything goes well there.

    Ray Herron

  7. Welcome home! I do hope you find a Chinese buffet place not too far away. 😉

  8. Maybe you shouldn’t have mentioned you gun safe in the garage. It is an invitation for someone to just have a look late at night or when you guys are out. I am sure your neighbors are all trustworthy but not everyone is. At least you got out of Florida safely.

  9. Slow down and take care of yourselves, the rest will fall in place in due time. You never know what karma might have done for you with leaving the phone behind. That might have kept you from being in the right place at the wrong time. Stay safe.

  10. Terry is right about about your anniversary. I’m glad you found each other. Happy 25th Anniversary to you both!

  11. Glad to hear you made it to your new home particularly the weather in the Southeast. Also, watch your health issues. The stress of the packing, loading, moving, and changes in this weather is not good. That strain of cold, whatever it is, has been hard on a lot of us and seems to spread easily and quickly. Keeping you both in our thoughts.

  12. Congrats on completing your u-haul journey from hell! We know because we’ve done it ourselves. Seven years ago we loaded up a 26-foot truck and an unplanned 16-foot cargo trailer hooked on behind, both definitely overloaded.and departed Rochester NY (near Lake Ontario) heading to Tallahassee FL. We pounded in that beast for two and a half days with our every possession packed in it, traveling at the same top speed you mentioned. We pounded so hard that my husband’s otherwise quiet kidney stones began roaming about causing considerable discomfort as he drove the entire trip! We, like you, prevailed however and arrived safely at our new home to the welcoming arms of our son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter which of course made it all worth while. But to this day, we cannot see a U-Haul rig like ours (and yours) without cringing! Never again!! Hope you enjoy your new home as much as we have, and don’t worry, everything will find its place…….eventually.

  13. So glad you and Terry made it to AL in one piece! What a journey! Hope you can just be kind to yourselves for a few days at least and get rid of the colds.
    Congratulations on your 25th!

  14. I’m glad you survived the trip. Take as long as it takes to unpack and settle in.

    I second Penske. Our daughter had a U-Haul trick reserved but when it came time to pick it up they said she had requested rather than reserved and all they had was one 50 miles away in the opposite direction. Penske found us one in the right direction and we headed out. Brought it back after they were closed with instructions to park it outside the gate and leave the keys in a specific place. We will never again use U-Haul.

    Happy anniversary!

  15. So glad to see your blog. I was starting to worry that you’d had an even worse trip! Thanks for letting us know you are (relatively) fine! We moved a thousand miles from the midwest to the middle of Florida 4 years ago at age 83, and remember what an exhausting time it was! It was our (and hopefully your) last move! Happy for you to be close to family. Looking forward to reading more blogs and am currently reading your latest Big Lake book! Love the series…….. so much fun amid the mayhem!
    (Signed) One of your biggest fans!

  16. You two take your time getting things right. You don’t want to overdue it and make yourself sick. Moving is a pain in the butt ! But in the end it is a wonderful rainbow of beautiful things happening and a new world ahead. Take care and keep us all posted on how your doing! It’s about time. Kathy & Rick

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