Dan and I are safely in Cleveland, despite all of West Virginia's efforts to kill us. But more on that later.
We got a late start when leaving Miami and ended up spending our first night on the road in Ormand Beach. Because do you know what its like to drive a 17-foot U-Haul that has a trailer with a car on it attached to it? Its like driving 30 feet of junk behind you, except that 30 feet of junk happens to be all of you material possessions. No pressure, or anything.
We discovered something important this first day: the U-Haul radio is possessed. No, really, it is. It won't turn off, first of all. You can turn the volume all the way down, but it will randomly decide to turn it back up again. And sometimes, when you go to turn it down again, it just gets louder and louder. And then your eardrums explode and blood leaks from all your facial cavities. Well no, not quite, but it sure feels like it sometimes.
We stayed with John and Lisa our second night on the road, and it was really, really nice to see them again. Lisa and I knitted, Dan and John oogled over ammo, and we all ate and laughed a lot.
So far so good. Right?
We left John and Lisa's and drove through the rest of North Carolina. That was fine. We got to Virginia, which at first was fine, too. Then we hit the mountains. They're not fun to drive through. Well, actually, I'm sure they can be, assuming you aren't hauling 30 feet worth of all your material possessions. But even so, while it wasn't enjoyable, it was ok. Until the Virginia/West Virginia border. We stopped to get gas in Hicksville (no, I did NOT make that up. Really.). In the station, this older man with missing teeth and a long, grizzled beard told us that a big storm was scheduled to come through shortly, and that we'd better get as far as we could go before it started. Dan and I promptly got into the U-Haul and starting driving at an impressive 40 miles per hour (Apparently 30 feet of crap makes it really hard to accelerate up a mountain -- who'd've thunk it??).
The hours after that were the scariest driving I've ever ridden through. Dan gets MAJOR admiration from me for geting us through that. You see, Hicksville (I can't help but snort when I write that) roughly marks the beginning of THE MOUNTAINS. Those things we'd seen up until then? HILLS IN COMPARISON. Really, at one point there was a sign telling us how high up we were and I freaked out. We were WELL over 3,000 feet. By that point, the air was so thin that I got a nosebleed and was getting dizzy. Because I suck like that. But Dan trucked onward, and I'm greatly in debt to him for getting us into Ohio, when the landscape slowly started to become a little more flat (but nothing like Florida. These people who told us Ohio was flat? THEY LIED.) Oh yeah, and that storm? We drove through it. There was no place to stop, so we had no other option. Because I take back anything I've ever said about Alabama. West Virginia IS the armpit of the United States. No town, few people (and all related), and just lots and lots of mountains. I'm sure its beautiful when you're driving through without a U-Haul in a horrible storm. I wouldn't know, though.
We drove that night through and got into Cleveland at 6 a.m. And then we collapsed for a couple of hours, got up, and went to go find a place to live. We're turning in a rental application today. Because no matter how nice this hotel is and how nice it is to have a bed so big and soft that I can jump up and down on my side without waking Dan up, we're not millionaires and can't live here. And I wouldn't want to; I want our own little space, with our own familiar furniture and knick-knacks. I can't believe how much I miss my old home. I want to start setting up a new one.