I am sitting here at my own desk in front of my own computer on Sunday morning. I know now I am finally home. The church bells down to the Congo Church just fired off. Damn, what a comforting sound.
I sit and try to sort through the madness of the past 7 days. Frantic last minute preparations before we left to the resigned acceptance of a job that needed doing but wished we could watch someone else do it. Then the trip back with more than 10 pounds of shit in the rented 5 pound bucket. So many things were crammed into the last 7 days, I am now finding it difficult to find one thing that stands out.
I guess the trip is not "officially" over. We still have to dump Lis' stuff into the storage locker and return the trailer. Anything now would be anti climatic. The child has been spanked. We made it to North Carolina and back again. And as nice as UNC, Chapel Hill was, I hope to not return for quite awhile. At this point, my memories consist of heat, grunting furniture up or down stairs, and more heat. Mixed in, some moments of quiet and humor that knocked enough of the edge off to help us remain sane.
Packed up for trip South. The green tarp hides all the suitcases, boxes, pads and other moving goodies needed for the move. Naturally, a bike had to go. Just in case a chance to ride offered itself.
From stairwell of Lis' apartment. I got the trailer in that space on the first stab. With that damn Envoy on the left crowding the space the whole time. We are now ready to load.
Almost full. Some mattresses and last minute items brought the load 2 inches from the door. My bike and Lis' bikes plus some who cares if they get wet items had to go in the back of the Ranger. In the moving biz we used to call that "overflow". I spent almost one whole summer picking up other driver's "overflows" and delivering them to finish a move.
Freighted and ready to go! Notice the definite dip in the nose of the trailer. U-Haul says to pack 60% of the weight in front of the center line of the trailer. The tongue of the trailer should dip down slightly. I seemed to have been successful in meeting these U-Haul rules. The load traveled well. No side to side whipping and the rough roads seemed no worse than usual. The V-six engine held it's own. The truck impressed me. Especially given the amount of stuff I crammed into the 6x12 trailer. After some miles of experimenting, I found that 58mph was about the ideal speed for safe efficiency. Faster made the load seem unstable. Slower did not seem to make it feel better. I averaged around 15 miles to the gallon also. Better than expected.
I did get to get out on my bike a few times in the mornings before the temps kicked in with the 100'F days we had while in North Carolina. I did not recognize this bird. It is not a Heron. It is not an Egret. I think it is a Crane of some kind. Regardless, it was a big bird. At least 3 feet tall.
Nothing more magnificent than a Magnolia tree in full bloom. They are awesome plants. This flower was on a tree over 45' high.
Unknown vine flower found when I stopped for minute to decide which way to go.
And of course a shot of my favorite riding partner. It was a pleasure for me to have Lis show me some of the nice bike paths she has had at her disposal these last 2 years.
The Welcoming Committee
My official 'Welcome Home" was by this cantankerous resident from the woods below my house. As I climbed the hill with the trailer in tow, I found him/her struggling to get across the road. Why? Who knows why a snapping turtle would want to cross the road. My guess is the marsh down the hill was the draw. Some delectable fat frogs were just waiting for this beauty to make a meal of them. And maybe laying eggs was in the plans also.
Snapper decided that having me come up on it was a good reason to stop in the middle of the road. And stay stopped. After some minutes of taking pictures and protecting it from being flattened, I decided to try and shoo it along it's way. Having none of it, Snapper here tried to take my toes out. What to do?
Ah, I figured it out. I had my two wheeler in the truck. I scooped it up and safely deposited it in the dirt next to the woods. Snapper hissed at me, looked around, and decided that this crisis was over and continued it's trek to stinkier climes.
Even though this Snapper is way smaller than the ones I used to mess with as a kid. I learned that size does not matter. A snapper will hurt you in an instant. They may be slow on their feet, but Mr. Man, do not, I repeat, do not place anything delicate and tender within a foot of the head. They will hurt you. Welcome Home Mike!