May 29, 1999
We left our home at 288 Diamond Ledge Rd. in Stafford Springs with Ken leading in the 25ft. long bed truck (a yellow Penske) truck with trailer attached, towing his Lexus. KenŐs jeep was inside the truck. I followed with Samson and Zeus in my jeep. We proceeded with our caravan into the hills of Pennsylvania. Throughout this travel, I would at times be in front of Ken and at times retreat to the rear. About 400 miles into the journey I was travelling ahead of him. He was preceding rather slowly up one of the hills and I thought I would go ahead a bit further and wait for him.
Well it was at this point that he had a problem with the truck. It just died! It was a computer problem. Ken called Penske and was advised he would have to be towed 200 miles to have the truck services. He advised that was not possible due to the fact that he had a truck full and was towing a vehicle. So the service representative searched for another possible solution and came back to Ken advising that since this truck was brand new, it was probably a problem with the computer. He gave Ken the proper procedure to reset the computer. It worked and Ken was on the road again.
Meanwhile, I did not know he had broken down. I thought he had stopped for gas and I pulled off at two exits from where I saw him last figuring that by the time I got gas, took the dogs out for their pit stop and my own we would catch up to each other. This never happened until June 1st in Boulder at the realtorŐs office.
At this point in the tale I should mention that I only had approximately $30 in my wallet, a credit card and two dogs. Ken had given his cell phone # to friends and relatives, but not me. It tried to get this from Bell Atlantic and was denied it. I even pleaded that if I contacted the police and they spoke to Bell Atlantic would they give them the phone number and this was also a negative. Also, Ken had all the maps and directions. Well, when you have to be in Boulder June 1st for the closing of your home, what to do. You just proceed to your destination. I knew I had to travel on I-80 west for approximately 1600 miles, so I just left the odometer run. When it passed 999 and reset, I knew I had approximately another 999 to go.
The first night I spent in the car with the dogs in a roadside truck stop. Probably slept about 1 hour, got some coffee and proceeded toward Chicago. I stopped about an hour later again in another road stop area and tried to sleep for about 40 minutes. Sleep never came, so I took the dogs out again and proceeded on wanting to get through Chicago before traffic.
I should also mention that Samson has a problem with his back legs in that he has lost muscle control and is handicapped to a great degree. It took some time to figure out the best way to load him back into the jeep. Zeus who is all muscle but somewhat mentally handicapped also requires assistance to get into the jeep. So every time we stopped and I let them out, the two dogs would come barreling out like gangbusters with Samson collapsing to the ground because his back legs were not functioning.
May 30, 1999
We traveled at about 55 miles an hour most of the day. I was hoping Ken would catch up to me and every time I saw a yellow Penske truck I would hope it was him and would be tearful when I realized it was not. In Des Moines, Iowa I pulled off I-80 West into a Best Western. I asked the proprietor if they accepted pets. They did and I pulled out my credit card and we had a place to stay for the night. It was a little after 4 pm. I took a shower, feed the dogs and rested on the bed. At 8:00p.m. I turned the TV off and went to sleep. I was so tired that I did not have the energy to go out for dinner.
May 31, 1999
I woke at 5:00 a.m. again fed the dogs, packed the car and pulled just across the street to a local restaurant. They had a wonderful buffet and I also bought a sandwich for lunch, charging it all (the bill was about $12), ever onward. At a road stop in Iowa I picked up an Iowa map. Iowa and Nebraska are very large states. It took forever to travel through Iowa. Once in Nebraska I picked up a Nebraska state map. I knew at the end of this state I had to head for Denver. Once in Colorado I stopped at an information stop area and picked up a Colorado map. Around 5:00 p.m. I was in Loveland. Thought I would find a motel to stay the night, but no one accepted pets. (There was no room at the inn for us.)
Well off we went to Longmont. At this point we encountered one god-awful hailstorm. I have never driven in anything the likes of it. At one point I thought the hail would come through the roof of the car. (After meeting up with Ken and describing the storm I was in, he advised that he was settled in a motel at this point an had the news on and heard them say that the hail storm in places had hail the size of golf balls.) Well, we got through the hailstorm and got into Longmont. I tried to find a motel in Longmont and found two that would accept pets, but you had to enter through a main hallway and this I knew I would not be able to manage with both dogs at the same time, luggage, dog dishes, etc. If I left one dog in the room, I was afraid they would scratch the door because they would be spooked at being left in a room in a strange place by themselves. (By the way, they were really spooked over this long journey. They felt their safety was in their vehicle – which they obviously considered their home.)
So, at this point I thought I would find our new home and perhaps feed the dogs there. It took me quite a while to find our location. In the interim, I asked several people for directions and was always helped in a very helpful friendly manner, even thought Zeus barked ferociously at them. While at our new home, Samson found the spring pool and went swimming. Now I had a wet and muddy dog. What next? I had a few dollars remaining and went to KFC for some dinner. After this we headed off to Boulder to find shelter for the night.
I donŐt know how many motels I approached only to find they did not accept pets. I must make mention that these were not the top rated motels and were a bit seedy looking. At 10:30 p.m. I was at the Econoline Motel and was given the same info that they did not accept pets. At this point I asked the fellow at the desk if he knew of a parking lot I could spend the night in and not be arrested for vagrancy. I also made a phone call to the realtorŐs office and left a voice message. When I finished, the fellow was on the phone evidently with the owner. He hung up and advised that we could spend the night but did not want the dogs to do any of their business on his property. (I had come equipped with trowel, plastic bags, etc to clean up after any occasion.). We were given most probably the worst room. However the sheets were clean and we could rest for the night.
June 1, 1999
I woke at 4:15 a.m., fed the dogs, did my Tai Chi exercises and we were out of there by 5:00 a.m. In the morning I saw the debris around the courtyard of this motel. It was quite a mess and I wondered at the particular concern of the owner about the mess my dogs would have made to his property. (I would have cleaned up any mess.) Well, I found the realtorŐs office and then found a breakfast place on the same street where evidently all the local residents headed. I again explained my plight to the waitresses. They helped me with phone directories, and numbers and asked that I return to tell them how things turned out.
At 8:00 a.m. I was in the parking lot of Wright-Kingdom Realty. At 8:10 a.m. Ande Rice, our realtor and friend, came in. It was wonderful to see a person you knew. She had been in contact with Ken and he was fine. We were both concerned over each other. Ande had KenŐs cell phone number. We finally got in touch by phone and at about 9:30 am had a tearful reunion in front of the realtorŐs office. It was so good to be together again.
We decided to go to our new home to see if the owner would allow us to unload our plants. We did so and headed off to the closing in my jeep with two dogs. I was quite filthy and full of dog hair. Great impression at a closing! Meet all the important players, your attorney, title company agent for a loan, etc. At the end of the closing I needed to pick up a bit of food from a local supermarket. Ande gave me directions and I got to the supermarket with no problem.
Trying to find my way back home proved to be quite challenging. At this point, the dogs had not been out of the car for a few hours and one of them had to poop. So now I am lost and have this horrible mess and smell in the car. I had a mat in the back and rolled it up a bit and crying, lost and frustrated, finally found my way to our new home. Exhausted and tired upon arrival, Ken said he would bring something in for us to eat for supper. We fell into bed exhausted and got some rest to meet the new day.
June 2, 1999
I unboxed my plants and placed them outdoors, some were placed indoors and I had to plant the perennials that I had brought from Connecticut. From this point on one day seems to blend into all the others. You work as hard and long as you possible can to the point that when Ken asked what would you like for supper, you did not even care what you ate, just anything would do.
The movers arrived on June 3rd. They could not bring their 18-wheeler down our single lane dirt road with irrigation ditches on both sides and had to shuttle the contents from their truck into our Penske truck. It took almost 3 days. During this time, you were up and down stairs, in and out of the house directing where things should go and unpacking boxes in the spare moments you had.
When we arrived in Colorado after that hailstorm, the weather was beautiful, sunny, and warm and the lawn needed water. Ken turned on the irrigation system. The pump was located in the basement. Well, of course, it became defective and we had a bit of a flood in the basement. Tons of boxes of belongings were soaked and the need to unpack became even more hurried and frantic. Since this episode, Ken has moved the irrigation pump outdoors, which is the proper place for it. He has repaired it and has it running. However, it seems everything needs some additional help or repair. For instance, the vacuum needs repair also.
During the time we have been here we have met more neighbors and people than we ever did in Connecticut. It is truly quite amazing to find consistently open, friendly people. Not that we donŐt have friendly people back in Connecticut, but I think you can relate to the generally cautious approach New Englanders have.
One neighbor owns the horse farm in back of us. They are a nice couple and we will head over to visit one day to get a tour of their property and see StevenŐs greenhouse and his gardening efforts. Since the gardening will be much different than in Connecticut, he will have valuable input and I can learn from him.
A few days ago Ken got the hot tub working. What heaven that is! This aching body needs the pounding jets and warm water to sooth all the aching muscles.
It is now June 13th, a Sunday. My computer is still on a truck, as all of our household contents could not be placed on the rig that delivered the bulk of our belongings. I should have this on Tuesday. This is the first opportunity for me to use KenŐs computer. I knew my message would be lengthy and I did not want to take away from his time on the computer during working hours.
This past week I brought Samson into the Longs Peak Animal Hospital. It is quite a nice setup with multiple doctors. We saw Dr. Mike, a tall, calm, likeable person with a deep voice, who pulled up a stool and spoke to Samson in a calming manner, taking time to allow Samson to accept him before Dr. Mike examined him. His diagnosis was that Samson has a debilitating disease called Myelopathy akin to the human Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and advised that there is no medicine or cure for it. The disease follows different progressions of degradation. So we have been keeping Samson and Zeus in the walk out basement in my arts/craft room, which is carpeted. I spend time with them down there and bring Zeus upstairs occasionally. It bothers me that they cannot sleep in our bedroom with me at night. Ken went on a short business trip and I slept in the basement on the couch in their art room while he was away.
The views out the window as I write this adventure tale are spectacular. I know when the house is more in order and I have more of a normal life style I will be able to take more pleasure at just drinking in the beauty this place offers.
Diane and Ken