Autobiography, Beyond Writing, Recent Experiences

The Great Move of 2017 (An Update)


This is my driving face.

In February, I broadcasted that my wife and I will be moving to Massachusetts this summer. In this blog post, I wrote ten things we needed to do before we departed. Here’s my official update!

  • Plan and ship our household goods. Planning piece is complete. Based on our estimated weight of roughly 12,000 pounds, the movers will take three days to pack and one day to load the truck. Or at least that’s what they say. They haven’t yet reached out to officially confirm our June pack and ship dates…
  • Plan and ship one of our vehicles. We have two but only one will be driven across country. Similar to our household goods, we have a date set for the Jeep to be picked up. We are waiting for their confirmation which, I hope, happens soon. I guess that means I’ll finally have to allow the dog in my car!
  • Vacate our current house. We’ve sent in our Intent to Vacate letter (including an associated text message). Our last day in Hercules, California will be Sunday, June 26, 2017.
  • Schedule a flight for my wife. She plans on flying to Massachusetts early. Scheduled. We selected Alaskan Airlines since they have a good reputation for pet transport. We also decided to send the wife and puppy in the evening. I’m not sure if you are aware but aircraft with pets in cargo cannot land on any tarmac where the local temperature exceeds or COULD exceed 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Flying at night will avoid that rare hot day in New England.
  • Schedule a flight for our dog. We plan on flying him out on the same aircraft with my wife. Alaskan charges $100.00 to fly the puppy. This is, by far, the least expensive.

Wife and puppy. I can’t help but wonder what he’s thinking…

  • Close out all our utilities. Not completed yet. However, we are securing our Internet, cable television, and “hard line” telephone on June first. From that point forward, there will be virtual silence coming from our family (although we do have a single cell phone with associated data…). I guess we’ll have plenty of game nights!
  • Submit a change of address card to the Post Office. Not yet but working on it.
  • Check out with the Coast Guard in Alameda. I’ll need to meet with all branches of our Base to ensure I’m out of the system. I have no clue when – or if – this will happen. I’ve received nothing suggesting there is a check out process so I’ll assume everyone knows? We’ll see!
  • Plan my drive across country. I initially reported I’d be driving solo. This has changed! My sister has graciously offered to fly from Buffalo, New York to meet me in San Francisco. She will drive the 8-days from Alameda to Buffalo with me. I’ll stay there a day and move on to Boston. See below for my agenda.

This is my sister. Hear her roar!

  • Figure out where I’ll stay in July for two weeks. I’ve made arrangements to stay at the Coast Guard Island barracks for the two weeks after wife and puppy fly away. That is, if there is availability! I guess the rule of thumb is that if someone else needs the room to support operations, us guests are bumped. Oh, and they charge about $20.00 a night (and I thought it would be free, silly me…).

So what’s my agenda for the trip as of today? Good question. This morning I made a whole bunch of hotel reservations that take me all across America. Here’s a rough outline:

Day 1: Alameda, California to Elko, Nevada. Most likely this will be a driving adventure only since it’s about seven and a half hours between both places. I’m wondering how long it will take my sister to fall asleep in the passenger seat…

Day 2: Elko, Nevada to West Yellowstone, Montana. This is another long drive. Then again, it’s only about six hours so you never know. There may be an opportunity to visit local potato farmers since we’ll be crossing though Idaho. Perhaps we’ll get free french fries?

Day 3: Yellowstone National Park. I’d wager that if any of my readers have been there, they’d say you can’t see it in a day. I would concur just based on the size of the park. Nevertheless, we have one solid day of seeing the sites at Yellowstone. Hopefully we’ll see Yogi Bear (wait… Yogi lives at Yellowstone, right? Or is it Jellystone…). We’ll stay north of Yellowstone that night – in Livingston, Montana.

Day 4: Livingston, Montana to Gillette, Wyoming. Aside from, what I suspect, is mountainous terrain, our big stop will be the Little Bighorn battlefield. Aside from that, it’s mostly driving between the two cities (about six hours worth not including the battlefield stop).

Day 5: Gillette, Wyoming to Rapid City, South Dakota. This part of the trip will include a quick visit to Devil’s Tower and a longer stop in Deadwood, South Dakota. Based on my (crappy) calculations, it looks like three hours total driving so we should have plenty of time to look for aliens and gunslingers.

Day 6: Rapid City, South Dakota to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Who knew South Dakota was so exciting? The plan is to visit Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Mountain Memorial (which has a fee, I believe). The distance between the two cities is pretty big so our plan on seeing the Corn Palace may fall to the wayside. On the other hand, it’s a Place made of CORN!

Day 7: Sioux Falls, South Dakota to Madison, Wisconsin. Jolly Green Giant statue. Need I say more?

Day 8: Madison, Wisconsin to Toledo, Ohio. I have nothing against those that live in Wisconsin and Ohio but, ghee-wiz, there doesn’t seem to be much to see or do along the way. I was hoping to see the World’s Largest Ball of Cheese or something. No luck.

Day 9: Toledo, Ohio to Buffalo, New York. By this time I’m guessing we’ll avoid any sightseeing and just get there, for Pete’s sake! I’m estimating it’ll take about five hours to do the drive – providing there’s no rush hour traffic in Cleveland.


Such a tiny car for such a long trip! Hey, aren’t those my keys in the door?

I’m very much looking forward to the trip and I’m hoping all goes well. I’ll be getting a complete once-over on my Kia Soul before we leave so the car should be good to go. I’ll also have to pack my camera and my journal. This might make a good story for my next book!

Until we meet again.




  1. Pingback: The Great Move: Shipping the Jeep | Families Across Time - June 30, 2017

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