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“Travelogue: Moving Gramma and Grampa from FL to RI”

From: Seth Dillingham In Response To: 6256  Florida for a Few Days
Date Posted: Tuesday, November 11, 2008 5:57:27 PM Replies: 3
Enclosures: None.

Ellyn, Gramma, Grampa and I flew to Florida a few weeks ago to pack up G+G's house and drive all the stuff back to RI. I meant to write the whole story down at the time, but we can put that good intention in the same bucket as all the other writing I was going to do this year.

So, here's a quick recap.

(To get started: Ellyn and I got along great, there wasn't any trouble, but please color everything in the rest of this travelogue with the fact that I was traveling without Corinne and missed her quite badly. That may be the most memorable part of the trip, for me.)

The flight down (via SouthWest) was pretty uneventful, as it should be. We shepherded G+G through TSA without much difficulty. While waiting at the gate, Gramma just sat down and waited for us to tell her it was time to get in line, and Grampa kept getting in line too early. He is too easily bored. ;-)

Brad (my Dad's and Ellyn's brother) picked us up in his old clunker at the Tampa airport, took us to the grocery story and then to the house.

That right there indicates the first problem we had: we didn't rent a car. Their car was in RI already.

Brad picked us up again Thursday morning so we could get the Penske rental truck and have a little tour of his business. The truck wasn't ready yet, though, so he let us borrow his jalopy for a few hours, and we returned it when the rental was ready a few hours later.

Ellyn pointed out that I always manage to forget something. This time, it was my sneakers. Sigh. So, on the was back to swap Brad's vehicle and the Penske, we stopped at the New Balance store and I picked up a pair of size 16 New Balance 622's. I was going to get 609's (which is what I left at home), but the "fit expert" at the store got all snooty and said they only manufacture *those* for department stores and factory outlets. Well excuuuuuuuuse me! ;-)

The Penske was our only means of running errands for the rest of the day, but Thursday night I packed a lot of boxes into the truck so we couldn't drive it at all on Friday (can't move the truck until it's all packed, as things will fall and break).

Friday morning I NEEDED COFFEE so Grampa and I were going to walk to Dunkin Donuts. It was sprinkling when we left, but by the time we got to the Camelot Lakes (the community where they lived) entrance it was pouring and I felt really stupid to have my 81 year old grandfather out in the rain like that (even if it was his idea). We headed back to the house, and about halfway there JAMES Wilkinson (his emphasis) happened by and offered me a ride to Dunkin Donuts, as long as I promised not to call him Jim. Ever. Grampa continued home without me, on foot.

I'm not kidding about calling him JAMES. :-D

I was fed up with not having a ride, and we needed more supplies, so I rented a little car from Enterprise. Why Enterprise? Because "they'll pick you up!" They did. No brown paper wrapped around the car, though, so I was quite disappointed. Driver said it's easier to see without the paper. FALSE ADVERTISING.

Other than taking Grampa to the bank (an experience I'd rather forget) to get money for our homeward-bound travel expenses, the rest of the day was spent packing boxes and the truck. By Friday night almost everything was in the truck that wasn't still needed (or actually staying) in the house.

Friday evening I drove G+G to (Uncle) Brad's house for dinner, and re-met a couple of my cousins. This wasn't really our first meeting, but it's been years and they're still in high school so they didn't really remember me and they've changed a lot since I last saw them.

Dinner was spaghetti, with "home assembled" sauce by Uncle Brad. After dinner he wanted to go for a walk but Grampa wasn't up for it. He suggested some games, but Grampa just wanted to lay down. While he went to snooze in the living room in front of a game, Brad mentioned that my Dad had "schooled him" at Boggle last year when he visited. "I think I'm pretty good, but your father is much better."

Sigh. Yes, we played. I won't be too graphic on the carnage that ensued... in fact I'll just say that I, at least, had fun with that game. ;-)

After driving back to G+G's house, they went to bed and Ellyn and I did a bunch more packing (and went to the pool, and got kicked out for being there too late).

Saturday morning we finished packing the truck, said goodbye to Gramma and Grampa (they would be spending a few days with friends and then flying home on Wednesday), returned the car and hit the road!

Added later:

Oh, one more funny detail. I lost my shades at Enterprise when I returned the car. I looked all through the car and near the rental counter, but couldn't find them. An older lady wanted the car I was returning and was already sitting in it before I had even given the keys to the guy at the counter, but she assured me that she hadn't seen the shades.

I was very frustrated. These Oakley's were a gift and fit me perfectly, but after looking all over the Penske I gave up and decided they were just gone.

About 30 minutes later, I saw their reflection in the windshield. They were on the dashboard, but had fallen down so I couldn't see them. Still, they were right in front of the driver's seat, where I was sitting, so that felt a little silly.

The trip home was mostly uneventful. There was a major traffic jam in the middle of nowhere (GA), bad enough that Ellyn got out and walked far enough to be completely out of sight (trying to find out what had happened). In South Carolina we made a pit stop and I saw this ransom note right at the restaurant:

Ransom Note

We stopped at the halfway point in North Carolina and got a two-double-beds room for next to nothing. The walls were cinderblock with wallpaper (Ellyn interjects here that she's sure she saw it on CSI, the site of some grisly murder...). The hotel was called the Red Carpet Inn, but they carpet was dark green. Ellyn was more than uncomfortable, but it was somewhere to sleep.

Sunday was slightly more eventful (but only slightly). Can I just state for the record that I HATE NEW JERSEY!? What's the deal with Route 95, huh? This would be the World's Busiest Highway (if I'm not mistaken), running from northern Maine to southern Florida, right? SO WHY DOES IT END IN NJ? How can they do that?

We'd talked about this ahead of time. We both knew that we needed to get on the NJ Turnpike when it splits off of Route 95. I95 goes to Philadelphia, then swings back into NJ and abruptly ends. The NJTP goes all the way through the state and magically turns back into I95 again in NY.

Talking about it in advance didn't matter. Grampa called just as we approached NJ. Ellyn drove for just 2.5 hours for the entire trip home (she would have driven more if I had asked, don't worry), and just happened to be the one driving when Grampa called. She was just distracted enough to not notice that we were on the wrong side of the split until it was too late. (This wasn't a real big deal, it just added 20 minutes to our trip.)

I picked the George Washington Bridge instead of the Tappan Zee. Why? Because I forgot that the GW is bad on Sunday nights. That's another 90 minutes added to the trip. At some point I also made a wrong turn and we saw a bit more of NJ than we had wanted too (which is not hard to do when you don't want to be there in the first place).

Once past the bridge it was clear sailing all the way to my house (other than yet another stop for the small-bladdered-one). I parked the truck out front and grabbed my stuff, she ran into the house for a minute (ahem!) and then drove it the last 15 miles to her house.

We did it!

But That's NOT All, Folks!

That's just stage one. Next up: my parents are moving to Missouri the week of November 16th (next week). Then Gary, Ellyn, Katie, Tom, Gramma and Grampa are moving from Westerly to the new house in Bradford, at the end of November or very beginning of December (as long as there are no more problems). Finally Corinne, Shannon, Lauren, Richie (?), me, four birds and four cats are all moving to Westerly in early-to-mid December.

Oh, and Mike comes home January 10th.

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