We started packing the trucks on a Sunday night. We rented a 20 foot Penske moving van and hired an independent packing crew to pack our house up and load the trucks. We also had the Ford F350 1-Ton dump-truck (the 'tippy-tonka') we purchased to haul the horse trailer (and as a farm vehicle if we got there).
Now I had been packing the cabinet shop up (garage) for about three weeks prior. I bought a whole bunch of large plastic storage bins from the Home Depot which fit most of the tools, oils, waxes, rags, nuts-n-bolts, etc... that a working shop might have. There was also a bit of miscellaneous electronic stuff too. Most of this stuff loaded pretty easily in the tippy-tonka.
So, the packing started. Boxes moved rapidly into the Penske. For those of you who are not familiar with the San Fernando Valley (Reseda California) in the summer time, it was in the low 100's (102-105) degrees for about the last three weeks we we're there so packing a truck (hot box) in that kind of heat deserves a special thanks to the crew. I did most of my packing at night, when it was cool (in the high 80's which isn't too bad by Californian standards) so it wasn't awful.
Sunday night Irene and I Hitched up the horse trailer and packed it with various electronic items (DOD surplus) that I had collected earlier in life but are part of a bigger collection which was not to be part of this move. I want to move that stuff later, as a set. It is not it's time yet. Understand that this is a collection of 20+ years of weekly purchases, usually a few hundred pounds a week, of defense contractor junk mostly contained in heavy steel cabinets. There is also about 30,000-40,000 pounds of Teflon coated wire (MIL-W-16878-E) so it obviously needs a lot of space to house and as you will see that although I have the acreage I do not yet have the storage space for it. My thought is that I will wait until our permanent residence visa is approved before I move it.
Monday morning (after rush hour traffic) Irene and I took the tippy-tonka over the Sepulveda pass to the west-side (a much more pleasant climate) to drop off the surplus and to pick up some kind of monstrous cat cage.
Yes, we moved two cats as well as our house stuff. Ugh!
Ok, we got to my parents and unloaded the junk. Most of it went in its original place so it took up literally no extra space. I had promised my parents that it would be no more intrusive then the already massive hoard that they already store for me. Thank you folks!
Then we went to Shauna's mother's house to get what turned out to be the cat cage from hell. This thing was probably supposed to be a display case in some pet store. Shauna bought it many, many years ago for showing and breeding. It was wooden, had been disassembled over 20 years ago and was left in a garage attic (hot and cold, dry and humid) for over 20 years and none of the rest of us had ever seen it assembled before.
On the way home from dropping off the surplus and retrieving the cat mansion pieces the tippy-tonka had a tire blow out on the 405 freeway in afternoon traffic. The rear driver-side tire found some road shrapnel and just exploded. When we finished wrestling the truck (and horse trailer) over to the shoulder and came to a stop the tire passed us by, rolled up a few car lengths, and came to rest on the shoulder wall. We had a good laugh about that. We figured at this point that were not going to get home at a decent hour so we decided to send the packing crew home for the day. In the meantime the tire, while rolling on it's own, side-swiped a rental car driven by some Farsi women. They of course called the Highway Patrol. Now we just bought this truck from government auction and it had no registration or plates (we are planning to import it to Canada as a farm vehicle). Just a one-way pass we are going to use to get to Canada. On top of that the trailer isn't registered to us either however we own it and have the paperwork to prove it. To make it possibly worse, the person we loaned it to is a police officer so the current registration is to LAPD (PTI). When the officer arrived I explained the situation about the truck and trailer and showed him the paperwork. It was very clear that the vehicles were ours and even though the LAPD registration was not, it went unmentioned. Obvious to everyone, I guess, is that we have mutual friends. So the officer let us unhook the trailer, on the freeway shoulder, and made sure we got a decent tow. He also tried to talk the Farsi women out of filing a report (their damage was really only a car wash) but they insisted. Time wasted. Eventually the tow truck driver shows up and loads the tippy-tonka (fully loaded) onto the flatbed and off we go to the Ford TRUCK dealer only one off-ramp ahead. We get there and while I'm trying to talk to a manager the tow-driver is unloading the truck. The manager tells me that he has no rims or tires for the truck and can't get them for a few days. Some truck dealer. I'm scheduled to leave in a day! He tells me of a place around the corner that might have parts so I run over to the tow-driver who has the truck enough unloaded that the rim is digging into the Ford parking lot :) and I have to beg him to load it back up again and take it around the corner. Finally he agreed and off we went again. This place is at least a real tire place. They had the tire but didn't have a rim. However, there was this tire-dude, Marty, and he collects old tires and rims and hangs around the tire shops waiting for... Well... Me. He luckily had two old rims, with tires, holding air. I bought the pair for $150, had a new tire put on one of the rims and had that put on the truck. Remember that this whole time Irene is sitting on the 405 Freeway, at what is now full rush hour, minding the trailer. And believe it or not the patrol officer is keeping a close eye on her. With the tippy-tonka running again I got back on the freeway, hitched up the trailer and Irene and I went home.
We spent the next two days packing during the day and assembling the cat cage at night (we can only work at night because of the summer heat). When we were finished, Shauna thought it resembled it's original form.
Wednesday night we were finally finished packing which was a good thing because the real estate agent called us and informed us that escrow closed and we no longer owned the house so we fired up the trucks, rounded up the cats (which we luckily decided to put in their individual cages instead of the big cat menagerie). We cleaned up what we could in the house but when we were done it looked like someone still lived there. We left as much as we took. Remember we moved cross-country (south-to-north) and crossed an international border so we had only one chance to take some of our stuff and had no room for the rest. I had previously discussed this problem with the new owner and he was happy to take our junk. It was actually pretty good stuff (we really didn't have any junk) and the new family didn't have a lot so it worked out. I also bargained to leave the Dodge Power-Wagon truck (in the driveway) for a few extra weeks. It doesn't run and I needed time to relocate it so I could fetch it in a couple of months.
Off we went.