The truck

Last night, we parked across 10 car parks out the front of our hotel. We parked up close to a dumpster but left enough room on either end to get out easily. It was a good plan.

We awoke however to find a CVR wedged on an angle between the front of the truck and dumpster. Oh oh! We were stuck! It was 6am and we really needed to get moving to make it to DC on time but I didn’t fancy our chances getting the hotel to wake up a guest so early. They needed to park somewhere too after all.

A 16-point turn ensued and eventually we made it out and hoorah, we found a Starbucks next to shopping centre so we could park. A quad (four shots of espresso) for Tim and a chai for me and we were off, heading to DC via Interstate 66.

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We arrived right on time in Alexandria to an apartment complex Tim and Jenn will call home for the next year. The removalists arrived shortly after – two ex-US army guys who are a part of a network of veterans called Moving Soldiers who now load and unload homes for a living. Thank God we had them. We would have been still unloading at 3am if not.

We have arrived!!

Before they arrived Tim and I had tried to get the trailer detached from the truck. We got the car off the trailer easy enough with me having to crawl under the car to detach the ropes. I have no idea what Tim would have done without me because there was no way his frame was wriggling under the trailer. 🙂

We hit a bit of a stumbling block when we tried to remove the trailer though. Tim is not exact handy when it comes to tasks like that and while I think I am pretty logical, I don’t have the brute strength to do much of anything when it comes to really physical work. The army dudes did it in a cinch though, jacking it up with a rock and a couple of planks of wood we found laying around.

Unloading took about four-hours with Tim helping the guys to load the service lift and me stacking the boxes once they got upstairs. I think I drew the short straw.  New carpet has just been laid in the flat and it caused a ridiculous amount of static. Every time I touched a door handle I was zapped with an electric shock so strong the hairs on my arms were standing on end. They actually hurt! Kinda like those ones you get sometimes in Vegas when you enter or exit some of the older casinos.

By about 4.30pm we were all done, and all there was left to do was return the truck. I had arranged to meet my friend Phil, who I ran the marathon with in China, for dinner. He had driven down from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to catch up. I was wanting to hurry things along so I could get home in time a shower etc but once again life had other ideas.

As the sun started to set, Tim and I attempted to get the trailer back on the tow bar. It was a simple enough exercise as I directed the truck in so the trailer just slipped on. Our problems started though when we tried to move a lever to realise the brakes on the trailer. It wouldn’t budge. We tried everything.  Rocks, wood, sticks, you name it. Nothing. Where is MacGyver when you need him? We hunted inside the truck for something but all we could come up with was a bunch of reflector lights.

Tim calls the number on the instructions. They said we needed a flathead screwdriver. We didn’t have one. By this stage it’s dark so we call the apartment complex’s maintenance guy. He’ll have one for sure. He doesn’t show up. I call Phil and delay him by 30 minutes.

We start searching Jenn’s car. Nothing. We are getting desperate. We decide to dig out the jack used for replacing spare tyres. Maybe that will work. But even that’s not easy. Tim’s Plasma TV is still sitting in the boot of car and so I have to hold it up as Tim rummages around in the dark. Seriously! Finally we find a tiny screw driver in the pouch with the jack. We wedge it in the trailer lever and it snaps. But not before relieving the lever from its position. Beauty! I might just get in that shower after all.

We are buoyed as we jump into the truck. Ok lets go. Tim tries to turn out of the car park. The truck is at about 85 degrees to the trailer but it seems easy enough to manoeuvre. I jump out just to be on the safe side. The truck will clear the cars to the left of it easily by we are concerned about the trailer. While we were rummaging around for the screwdriver we only vaguely noticed a woman who drove into the car park and parked next to the trailer. Neither of us had considered it a problem at the time since she was in a designated park but now she was blocking us in and we were once again stuck. Grrghhhh!!

Tim gets back on the phone to the complex’s reception. He gives the rego of the car and they try to locate the owner. Ten minutes passes. Tim calls back. They have founded the woman but she told them she wasn’t blocking anyone and hung up. She wasn’t, I guess. It baffles me though that someone would say that without querying it further.  I mean, if I got a call saying my car was blocking someone, even if I knew it wasn’t, my immediate reaction would be to go and check just in case they scrapped the side of my car.

The reception calls her back and she eventually wanders down. Finally we are off with me in the lead in Jenn’s car with the GPS and Tim in the truck behind. We have to go and fill up the truck on the way and so we head in the direction of a nearby Shell. I pull in first and try to direct Tim to the diesel bowser. There is none. Bugga! I jump out and run and tell Tim who’s vehicle is still half sticking out onto the three-lane arterial road we have just come from. The traffic is thick. We spot another Shell one block down on the opposite side of the street. I try to direct Tim across six lanes to do a u-turn. We get a lucky break in the traffic and I scoot out. I think he’s got room to get around but all of a sudden he pulls out of the manoeuvre and is heading in the opposite direction. I have the GPS so I hope he knows where he’s going. I head for the Shell anyway figuring he will make his way back. I can’t call him cos his phone has run out of battery. Somehow he beats me to the second Shell. It has no diesel either. Defeated, Tim just says “Bugger it! They can charge me for the extra petrol!”

Finally we make it to truck hire place and I go flying into what I think is the entry only to come within centimetres of a concrete pylon lying on the ground. The place is closed so the car park wasn’t lit. I just didn’t see it until the last second! Tim is trying to turn in after me but  I have to signal for him to go to the next entry. Why is life so hard??

We get home 10 minutes later and I have just turned on the shower when Phil calls to say he’s downstairs. I tell him to come up and get Tim to entertain him until I’m ready. Thanks Timbo!

With me still sporting dripping wet hair we head out to a trendy little area called Shirlington, where we go to a bar/restaurant called Busboys and Poets. Phil is a travel writer (check out his blog and is in the process of moving to Boston. I am completely jealous. I love Boston! We chat continuously for the next four and a bit hours as the restaurant clears out around us. I only eat half of my meal. Surprising since I missed lunch…

  1. dj says:

    Great post, I want to hear about any comments on this one