At 3:19 p.m. on Wednesday, August 31, we officially became Sconnies. Or Wisconsonites, if you prefer, but Sconnies has a fun ring to it. And that’s what Jess and Joe, our friends in La Crosse, call themselves. Sconnies it is!
Up until Sunday, this move had gone amazingly well. How many people get a job, sell a house, and pack up all their belongings in the span of two weeks? It’s gotta be some kind of record. Even the garage sale from hell ended up being a big success! The worst part was all the inquiries leading up to it. And y’all were right when you said people would show up before we were ready to go. Our first customer arrived at 7:37 a.m., and Tara had to chase her away. A bunch more followed, but we were still setting up. By 7:48 there was a literal line, so we just said what the hell and let them in.
We sold half our stuff within the first hour and ended up getting rid of 90% of what we put out. It’s amazing the shit people will buy, ha. In the end, we netted about $600 and even closed down half an hour early. Not bad for a morning’s work!
Remember how I dramatically said “up until Sunday” two paragraphs ago? Yeah. That’s when we finally ran into our first hitch, and it was a doozy. After packing all morning, we took a break and were enjoying a bite to eat and a cocktail at Kelly’s Sports Lounge when Tara received a text from U-Haul. That truck we had rented for Monday morning? The one that was supposed to be at the Rapid City facility two miles from home? It wasn’t available. Instead, they booked us a truck in Alliance, Nebraska. Two and a half hours from home. And, the facility was closed on Sunday.
Guys, I’m normally the most mellow person around, but I kinda lost it there. When we went to the Rapid City U-Haul to complain, they didn’t even apologize. Instead, they said, if you read the fine print, you’re guaranteed a truck. But we don’t guarantee the location.
Seriously? That means they could conceivably reserve a truck for us in Tallahassee, Florida. WTF. Our neighbors were scheduled to help us load the truck the following morning and we were on a tight schedule anyway, so we had no choice but to drive down to Alliance Sunday afternoon. The key was in a drop box we would be able to access. We got there at 5 p.m., and luckily, the truck was there, parked outside the gate. But when we tried to access the drop box, we discovered they’d entered our reservation for 7 p.m. and we couldn’t get in.
Tara called, and they said the truck wasn’t ready. Bullshit, she replied. It’s sitting right there. So then they had to dispatch us through to the truck share service that controls the drop box, and when we dialed the number, we got an automated recording that said the wait time was 50 to 60 minutes.
Long story short, we didn’t leave Alliance until 6:30. Got home at 9 p.m., a full seven hours after we left. That seven hours we lost couldn’t be made up, so the next two days were a mad scramble. We’d originally planned on leaving Rapid City about 10 a.m. Tuesday, but didn’t get out of there until 5 p.m. Which, if you do the math, is…seven hours.
Damn you, U-Haul.
And in the end, even with the biggest truck, we couldn’t fit everything, so we ended up renting a 12×6 trailer, as well. At least we didn’t have to do a desperation purge like we did when leaving the PNW.
Not gonna lie: saying goodbye to the house was heart-wrenching. All our neighbors gathered around for a sendoff. We were forced to limit our speed to 60 mph (speed limit was 80 mph in South Dakota), so we just stuck to the slow lane and let all the semis pass us. We were unable to make it to Austin, Minnesota, as planned, but did push through to Hartford, South Dakota, arriving at 1:10 a.m.
After three hours and 42 minutes of sleep, we were up Wednesday morning for the final trek to Wisconsin. I swear, we’ve been operating on pure adrenaline for days now.
I will say, Sydney has been a real trooper. She slept the whole way, never letting out so much as a single peep. And sure, there may have been a bit of litter tracked around the motel room, but Tara left a nice tip.
The drive was uneventful, at least, and after many days of hard manual labor, it was nice to just sit down and drive.
We crossed the Mississippi River into Wisconsin at 3:19 p.m. and arrived in Fort Atkinson about three hours later. The motel we’re staying in is kind of sketchy, but the town itself seems pretty quaint. From what we saw of it, as it was already dusk. We did manage to find a potential new dive bar already.
What can I say? We’re pros.
Now, we have another labor-intensive day ahead of us. We’ve got to unload the truck and trailer and cram everything into a garage/storage unit and two-bedroom apartment. Which looks to be a tighter fit than we thought. There’s no direct access to our unit; we have to go through an outer door, down a short flight of stairs, and through another door. I don’t know how we’re going to manage getting some of our furniture in there. Wish us luck.
Needless to say, this all feels very overwhelming right now. When you’ve completely uprooted your life, that’s to be expected, I guess.
I’ll check in again once we’re a little more settled.