Monday, March 03, 2008

The Westward Trek

Sorry it has taken so long to get caught up on our journey to Utah.
Here is the synopsis:

Day One (Saturday 1/26/08) - Loading up the Truck
We had about 15 people show up to help us load up the truck with all of our junk. We had debated back and forth several times on which size truck we should get and ended up with the 16 footer. We seriously thought we going to be leaving a lot stuff behind as the truck was filling up quickly. But we had some miracle workers packing the truck and the Jeep. The only thing that did not make it into the truck was my exercise machine and my three mountain bikes. The machine was giving away quickly which left the bikes.

Once all our helpers left I set out to try to find a bike shop that sold Yakima bike rack parts. I needed to find replacement parts since I had to use a hack saw on my Yakima rack in order to get it off of the Subaru. I needed new cross bars, a new bike tray (to replace another broken item), and solution for the third bike. An hour of driving around, and three bike shops later I made my purchases and headed back to the apartment. In the cold, Jill helped me assemble the new racks on the Jeep, load the bikes, attach the trailer to the truck, load the Jeep onto the trailer and we were off.

Our speed maxed out at about 60mph while driving to Jill's parent's house. As the speed got above 60 the trailer became unstable and started to fish tail. Not Fun! The two and half hour drive turned into four.

Day Two (Sunday 1/27/08)
- Relaxing at the Kneeland's
We returned some furniture to the Kneelands's that we did not want to take with us to Utah. It was loaded at the back of the truck but we still had to remove quite a bit of items in order to unload them. Then I had to try to secure the load since it was no longer filled from top to bottom right to the back door.

It was nice to have a day to take a breathe and prepare for the next four days of travel. We celebrated Kelly's birthday, played some games, and had great food.

Day Three (Monday 1/28/08) - Royersford, PA to Dayton, OH
After a quick breakfast, we were on the road. Once we were on the Pennsylvania Turnpike we set our sights on to the West. At our first gas fill-up I added air to two of the trailer tires. That helped the trailer stabilization problem a lot. After many hours of me driving and Jill performing her duties as the Entertainment Coordinator we finally arrived at our hotel in Dayton, OH. The weather was pretty nice all day and we made good time.

Day Four (Tuesday 1/29/08) - Dayton, OH to Des Moines, IA
We were on the road early and the first half of the day we again had good weather. For lunch we stopped at Stake and Shake and had a wonderful sit-down lunch. Unfortunately that was pretty much the end of the nice day. We drove into a strong blizzard. The wind was holding us back and keeping our average speed down and the snow was decreasing the visibility.

When we finally arrived in Des Moines, we met Nate at the Home Depot parking lot where we parked the truck. We struggled to get only the essentials we needed out of the back of the truck as the freezing wind quickly made our fingers hurt. I don't remember when I have ever been that cold so quickly.

Nate fed a great dinner while Sarah was still at her cake decorating class. When enjoyed the evening catching up and playing with Evander.

Day Five (Wednesday 1/30/08) - Des Moines, IA to Cheyenne, WY
Sara made us some great breakfast burritos then shuttled us back to our awaiting chariot. We had a pretty good day and made good time. It was cold, flat, and uneventful.

Day Six (Thursday 1/31/08) - Cheyenne, WY to South Jordan, UT
Our final day of the journey. When we left the hotel the wind was blowing quite strong which I was not too excited about.

The first part of the day was spent fighting the strong head winds which did not help our gas mileage at all. The blowing snow was fine for most of the morning but as we got into the mountains the snow started packing on the road and it quickly turned into patches of ice.

As we came over a rise, suddenly all of the semi trucks were slowing way down and then slid to a stop. It is really not a comfortable feeling to see and 18-wheeler sliding slowly across the road side-ways. We were stopped for about 15-20 minutes when a cop went by then shortly there after the traffic starting moving again. Only about 50 meters in front of us there was a semi that had spun out on the ice and was facing the wrong direction with his trailing stretched across most of the road. There was just enough space for the traffic to slowly inch their way past the trailer on the shoulder of the road.

The rest of the afternoon was spent clinching the steering wheel and averaging less then 20mph. The radio indicated that I80 was closed East bound but West bound was still open. Shortly after our scoot around the semi, there were two turned-over semis on the East bound side of the road. The loads were scattered around on the snow covered roads. The traffic was backed up for miles and miles.

As we passed Rock Springs we listened again to the radio and now I80 was closed in both directions. The semis were stacked up at all of the possible exits. We made it past the closures - so far. The road conditions continued to be mixed, but we actually got up to the mid 50s for awhile.

We stopped one last time in Evanston to fill up and start the last leg of the journey. The weather quickly turned a bit messy and the snow started falling instead of just blowing. Our average speed quickly dropped again and we were cruising along at around 35-40mph. As we entered the curving, twisting mountain sections before Park City the snow and slush on the road was getting deeper at about 5+ inches. Of course the semis were still wanting to pass even though there was only one definable lane.

At one point, a car that had been 'stuck' behind us for several miles finally got brave to make the pass. I watched in my side mirror as the car slowly moved over, increased speed then quickly began to fish-tail across both lanes. He did an amazing job of keeping the car on the road and luckily no other cars were behind him. He caught back up to us quickly but did not attempt another pass.

When we got to my parents place, we unloaded the Jeep, disconnected the trailer, and pulled the truck to the back of the house through about 10 inches of snow. We unloaded the truck and stacked everything in our new space. Unloading is always so much faster. When I went to move the truck out of the backyard, it would not budge even a little bit. It just spun on the packed ice below the tires. My dad tried hooking up his Pathfinder and pulling it out with no luck.

The following day, I spent several hours clearing the snow from around the truck and creating a path through the back yard. Luckily the sun came out to help melt the snow. After several hours of work it was pretty anti-climatic as put the truck into gear and it inched forward as if it was pavement.

Of course now the fun begins. Trying to fit into this small a place will be a challenge but I think we are up for it.

Comments on "The Westward Trek"


Blogger cami said ... (Monday, March 03, 2008 7:05:00 PM) : 

That does not sound like a fun trip. Glad you guys made it safely.


Blogger erinannie said ... (Monday, March 03, 2008 7:30:00 PM) : 

I didn't realize y'all had made it here already! Congrats!
I hope we can get together sometime.


Blogger Kerry and Dave said ... (Wednesday, March 12, 2008 6:34:00 PM) : 

I love the play by play -- sounds like quite the adventure! And what a cute picture of Jill with Evander :)


Blogger Brittany said ... (Friday, March 21, 2008 10:25:00 AM) : 

I am glad you guys made it safe and sound, but I want you to come back here now


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