21 Jul 2002
After six weeks of moving madness, we’ve finally reached our final night in Oregon and tomorrow we depart for Washington, DC. At some points along the way it seems like everything was conspiring to thwart us - it would’ve been simpler and easier to stay put and rent in Oregon.
The moving company (who’ll remain nameless) turned out to have lost the useful attribute of competence since we last used them 5 years ago. Granted, our move was a little more complicated than most (a two part affair – first into storage, and then on to a destination and continent to be named later). Our contact seemed to believe it was much simpler to guess the answers to our questions, and then state them as fact, rather than go to the extra effort of finding out. This caused massive confusion and frustration all round, and by the time the moving guys turned up, we just looking to find that last straw. Still, the guys doing the heavy lifting redeemed themselves (and the company) nicely, and Lynn and I spent the day lounging out in the back yard, enjoying our last sunny Oregonian day, while they did all the hard work.
Our last month in Oregon has been punctuated by numerous lists-of-things-to-do, that included seemingly innocuous, but incredibly time consuming tasks, such as ‘find apartment in DC’, ‘ship cat to DC’, ‘ship cars to DC’, etc. In hindsight, there is a great business opportunity for someone to start a “we’ll get you from A-to-B and handle all the details” company (although the name could use some work). It’s all very well signing up the moving company, but there are a thousand other things that need to be taken care of and all take a lot longer than you expect.
Take for example shipping cars. Where I come from (England) this is a very simple affair – you simply drove them to the nearest large train station and put them on the back of a train. A few hours later, they’re at their destination. You can even take the same train yourself to get there. Granted, this country is a little larger, but I assumed that the process would be similar, if somewhat longer, over here. Simply drop them off at the nearest Amtrak station and pick them up at the other end two or three days later, right?
Wrong. Amazingly, Amtrak don’t transport cars and the only way of getting them there is to drive them yourself or pay an auto-hauler the sum of $1,000 plus per car to drive them there on the back of a car transporter. Considering the dozens of auto-transport companies out there, all of whom are charging basically the same rate, this appears to be a massive missed opportunity for our friends in the choo-choo department. And you wonder why Amtrak is always on the verge of bankruptcy.
While all this list-mania was going on, I was studying furiously towards my private pilots license. I wanted to wrap this up and get though the FAA check-ride before we moved - the Washington DC airspace isn’t the most student pilot friendly place in the country. With a week to spare I’m happy to report that I made it, and can now claim to be a fully fledged, if somewhat novice, private pilot. Once we get to DC I’m looking forward to flying a few circles around the white house (just kidding!).
So, here we are, our last night in Oregon. Even though our house is bare, we decided to ‘camp out’ here rather than spend it in a hotel. The cat’s freaked out (but just wait till tomorrow), there’s nothing to eat or sit on, but it’s still an adventure.