Oh hey guys. Sarah here. Sorry it’s been a while, but things have been pretty crazy with the move back to the Midwest. If you’re thinking to yourself, how crazy can it be just loading your life into a truck and driving it 16 hours? Well, if you want to go ahead and grab yourself a 5 hour energy and a Red Bull, I’ll tell you. And don’t skimp on the good stuff. No amount of coffee will be enough for this ride.
Let’s start back at the end of August. The sun was shining and a yet-to-be named yet storm system was gaining strength out in the Gulf just in time for us to pick up our first Penske truck from the local dealer in Sarasota.
And then, as if Sarasota was showing it’s emotion at our leaving, the rain started to fall. Hard.
As Matt waited for the truck to arrive in the rain, I headed back towards the house to meet the movers, pausing briefly as I drove through an already flooded road just outside the Penske lot.
Timestamp: 7:30 a.m. on Wednesday, August 31, 2016.
Per the advice of Brock at the Sarasota Penkse (let’s go ahead and name each one by location for future clarification purposes), we waited to pick up the car hauler until after the truck was loaded. That meant 3-4 more hours of rain before we had to drive a moving truck and a CR-V back through the flooded road, which was now a full-on river.
Should we have seen the signs we were set for an adventure when we were blocked by floodwaters at the only road that would lead us to Penske?
Or perhaps when they told us the trailer we rented wouldn’t fit on a 22-foot truck and we’d need to swap it out for a different one before we even left? Perhaps. But we documented our exit from the Sarasota Penkse with a hopeful smile as the weather guy reported that I-9 was now a Tropical Storm projected to make landfall as Hurricane Hermine near the panhandle of Florida by Thursday.
We’ll be on our way to Tennessee by that time, we optimistically thought.
We were just north of Ocala when this happened.
And if you’re asking yourself, well how far did you make it before the first truck broke down?
A mere two hours in the rain to a truck stop just north of Ocala.
And unfortunately that’s as far as we’d make it for a few hours. Lisa’s husband, or brother or ex-husband informed us that we were not going to make it far with this particular sounds like its going to die, floor boards are melting my feet, jerking, shaking, AC and radio shorting out truck that is currently packed to the very edge with all of our belongings.
Now the good news is we were just 10 miles away from the Ocala Penske where they informed us that they had another truck of the same size waiting for us. We could spend the night in Ocala or they could call another set of movers to come over that night and ‘swap the load.’ We opted for the latter to try stay ahead of the storm, still hoping to make our reservation in Atlanta that evening.
Here’s a snapchat snapshot of what followed:
So they swapped the load and we set off for Atlanta Wednesday night but only made it as far as Valdosta to sleep for the night. The truck seemed better but as we set out Thursday morning, we ran into similar problems around Macon. After a brief stop at the Macon Penske dealership we were told nothing was wrong with Truck #2 and on we went.
By this point I was googling Penske dealers out ahead of our drive and basically calling them to tell them we were coming. Just before the mountains on Thursday afternoon, we made a call into the Dalton, GA Penske and told them we were bringing our second truck in for service as there was no way we were going to make it through the mountains with it.
I’ll never forget the look on the lead mechanics face when he came into the break room and gave us the news as if we were getting a terminal diagnosis from a physician.
Unfortunately we’ve seen this issue on a lot of these trucks before guys and it’s not good. It looks like this truck was just serviced for the same issue a few months ago and they didn’t fix it. It’s not good guys. It’s at least a 4-day job. But you came to the right place. We are the place all of the other dealers bring their trucks because our technicians are diamond certified.
And then he said the words that became oh-so-familiar to us so quickly.
Guys, we’re going to have to swap the load.
Why don’t you go enjoy a nice dinner on us while we see about getting the movers here.
And then he said the words that would save us for the rest of the trip.
We’re not going to give you another 22-foot truck. We’re going to tow a new 26-foot truck down from Chatanooga. It has air brakes and less than 17,000 miles on it and should be a more comfortable ride for the remainder of your trip.
So we went and enjoyed a nice dinner at Chilis and tried to find humor in the last two day’s events.
Timestamp: 9:00 p.m., Thursday, September 1, 2016
Timestamp: 8:00 a.m., Friday, September 2, 2016
Our new truck was amazing and we finally made it to St. Louis Friday evening, just a few days later (and a few more swapped loads) than we originally planned.
I’ll be back for part two where we unpacked boxes and found out how much of our stuff broke in the aforementioned load swapping.
And if you are wondering whether we would ever use Penske again after three trucks and as many days of moving, the answer is maybe. I don’t plan on ever moving ourselves again so that shouldn’t be a problem, but I will say their roadside and customer service made up for the crappy line of 22-foot trucks they acquired.
Until next time!