Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Driving a 26-Foot UHaul across the State

Nothing will test your resolve like driving a 26-foot U-Haul across the state. That or getting someone’s name tattooed to your backside. And believe me, if I could have tattooed the word U-Haul to my booty in 26-point font to avoid actually driving the thing, I would have. Here’s how it all went down.

After the near brain implosion I mentioned in my last column, I was able to pull myself together long enough to pack the majority of our belongings and schedule a U-Haul. My BFF volunteered to follow me through the whole ordeal, to literally trail behind the UHaul in my minivan. And anyone who has ever seen my bumperless, rear view mirror-less, sour-milk smelling Dodge Caravan, knows there’s no truer act of friendship than that.

Together we picked up the behemoth moving van that’s about as long as two fireworks stands stacked end to end. The 26-footer is apparently the largest vehicle you can drive without a CDL which means that it’s the biggest vehicle they’ll allow any old fool (aka me) to drive unaccompanied on public roads.

Before we go any further, let me remind you that my nickname is Worst-Case Scenario Mama for a reason. If something can go wrong, I can imagine at least 14 alternate scenarios in which it does. So when the nice U-Haul man handed me the keys, the first thing I imagined was a cartoon-like sequence in which the big moving van (did I mention it was big?) skids around a corner, skips three times and lands flat on its side. I nearly hyperventilated at the U-Haul transit office.

First, I drove the U-Haul to my house. When I wasn’t thinking about how impossible it seemed for the truck to actually fit inside a lane, it was quite an empowering experience, for all of 5 minutes. Then I realized that each bump and pothole felt as if it was launching the UHaul about 2 and a half feet from the road.

We loaded the van in a number of hours and were ready to hit the road. Let me just say that apparently the universal advice people give those driving big moving vans is this: “Take corners wide.” Really? That’s all you got? There should be a book, or at least a pamphlet, loaded with helpful advice—accompanied, perhaps, by a CD with soothing nature sounds.

It would take too long, really, to detail the 10 -hour drive in that UHaul. Worth mentioning, however, is a 50-mile stretch of road work between here and Boise that made me feel like the UHaul was doing the Rock Lobster. There were also over 200 miles of winding roads with steep drop-offs into churning white water that we won’t discuss. And finally, there was that time that I nearly destroyed my relationship with my BFF because I couldn’t her calling my cell, begging for a potty break. In my defense, I was singing along with Beyonce and all the single ladies (take corners wide? No, turn the radio way up! That’s my first piece of advice).

Finally, after two long days, a bag of Cajun trail mix and 96 ounces of Diet Coke, we arrived to unload the UHaul and head back in my minivan. Never before have I been so happy to walk away from a vehicle. That, my friends, is freedom. Sweet freedom. Now would anyone care to tattoo that to my backside?


Karmen said...

Seriously, the picture of you infront of the UHAUL is awesome. I would never have enough guts to drive one so KUDOS to you.
And btw, I love your blog and hope you keep us posted on life in Washington. I am up in BC, so if you come this way, let me know! I live close to the new temple here and actually only about an hour from the US border. Not that I ever get there (to the border that is)... Take care and well wishes on your new adventure.

Steadie said...

There is a famous saying in Japan, "mother is strong" and that's who you are. I guess she is because she has to be. People avoid most of scary things, heavy responsibilities, pain, and any other ordeals, but being a mother comes up with all of the above and more. I am totally jealous because you are strongest when you are cornered with loved ones behind. Who is BFF? Such a great friend!!

shauna said...

Karmen, I'll be sure to let you know if we swing by--it would be great to see you and your family! (And thanks for reading).

Steadie, you post the nicest comments. My BFF's name is Ashley and she's fabulous--it's going to be hard to move away from her. But I am excited to start our new life in Clarkston. I am mama, hear me roar! :)

GustoBones said...

I have missed reading your posts so much! I suddenly realized that if you had a blog that you were writing on, you might have it on facebook. Genius me, right? glad to hear you made the drive ok. Welcome to Washington. You're not by any chance in the southwest part of the state are you?

shauna said...

Totally missed your comment, GustoGirl. Thanks for reading my post. I need to get your blog addy again so that I can look at yours--I've been so out of it for awhile. I'm in Southeastern WA. Why do you ask?

Jennifer Staten said...

You're brave and hilarious! I'm getting ready to trek across the country in one of these beasts on my own and found your blog...via looking for.."I can actually do this!" Thanks for the morning humor! I think may opt for the 20' instead though