I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore…

So picture this:

  • the temp is 115*F (46*C)
  • my wife, our two cats, and I are in the cab of a moving truck that has a trailer behind it pulling our car
  • Las Vegas is behind us and we see signs saying the border of California is a few miles ahead
  • a vehicle flags us down trying to get our attention
  • I roll down the window and manage to hear something about a tire
  • we pull over and see this…

Let me tell you, waiting for a replacement when you’re out in the middle of nowhere on the side of a busy road, miles between any sort of civilization, you begin to question a lot of things.

Luckily our cats managed to sleep through what turned into a 5-hour affair so that was one less thing we needed to worry about.

Maybe I should back up a bit.

My wife accepted a job out in California and, after pouring through our moving options we decided to rent a truck and go out on our own. We found it was the cheapest option for us and meant that our stuff got to our new apartment at the same time that we did so we didn’t have to worry about what we would need in the interim.

There was no straight path between A and B – luckily, we aren’t either.

We broke down our driving days, marked out rough locations to spend the night (shout-out to La Quinta for letting pets stay free and having wonderful breakfasts!), and prepped bags for us and the cats so we could quickly move between truck and hotel and back. What could go wrong right?

Ralph (orange cat) sleeps on top of canvas pet carrier, squishing it down on top of his sister, Jiffy (orange and white), who is asleep inside of the carrier unaware.

Luckily my wife’s sister-in-law is a vet and recommended a pheromone spray to help calm our kitties as we transported them across the country.

Looking back, I’m just so thankful that we decided to get the insurance through the truck rental group to cover any basic damage that could incur while driving 9 states over.

Until that fateful road in Nevada, though, our trip actually went very well! Some of our most memorable times were:
  • pulling into a fast food joint after the inside had closed (our truck was too tall to go through the drive-thru) and getting permission from the employees to walk through it and get food
  • watching our cat Ralphie hurry to the window and stare out it in wonder whenever we passed another semi/large truck
  • being excited when we manage to get our truck going over 40mph when attempting to drive up the steep mountain highways in Colorado
  • alternately, making sure to drive slow enough coming down the other side so we didn’t have to use any of the runaway truck ramps if our breaks burned out
  • watching our cats explore the room we booked for the night
  • learning how to back up the truck and trailer at 11pm in the dimly lit parking lot of a La Quinta by a Canadian tourist (seriously couldn’t thank that man enough!!)

And then that day. It was around 10am on our last day of driving. We were scheduled to get in that afternoon and couldn’t wait to see our new place and let the cats get acquainted before we started to unpack our truck.

But…you know how that turned out.

Once we managed to get ahold of the representative listed for the truck’s insurance, we had to list off what tire had blown. Then started the whole fiasco as the representative listed the wrong tire despite our multiple clarifications about having a trailer instead of the dolly.

So two hours pass and the fix-it crew arrive…with the wrong wheel. They advise us to drive ahead to the next highway exit so that we can get food and drink (the trailer had two wheels on each side so it wasn’t grinding on the road) while they ran back to the north side of Las Vegas to get the correct tire. We were able to keep the truck running through the entire ordeal, for both the cat’s pleasure as well as our own, and didn’t use nearly as much gas as we feared we might.

At the five hour mark, we were finally on the road but had to find one last La Quinta as our apartment’s office had closed and we weren’t able to pick up the key until the next morning. Of course right?

Looking back, though, the only thing I would have changed about the trip was stopping at a few of the rental truck places to let them look over the truck to make sure it was staying in good working order. Sure it might have cost us some time but maybe they would have caught the tire there instead of how we did.

Have you ever had a long road trip? What are some of the crazy stories you have?

Until next time,
Sam

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