This is the first article of my Trip Report. I don’t know how many will be in the series, I’m just going to start describing things and see what it takes.
The Flight Out:
Florida Friend went with me to help pack and drive back. We flew out of Tampa and that was fairly nice. The airport is a bit more cozy than Orlando, but big enough that you still have amenities like a bar ;-)
Unfortunately, the bar / food shack has gone to some kind of electronic “order from your table” with a QR Code thing you are supposed to shoot with your phone and then some kind of enter your order on your phone. Since “I don’t do that”, we got to sit for a fairly long time waiting for the “server” to recognize that we needed service. (Instead she was busy being janitor of the seating area). After standing, waving, and starting to walk around looking curious, we were asked if we needed service (and then she took a moment to put away the broom…) Eventually we got our order, though my “Scotch & Soda” turned into “Bourbon on the Rocks” between order and delivery… I’m no fan of Bourbon… but whiskey is whisky… sometimes.
For most of the time we were at the table the “server’ was busy talking to the checkout clerk. The movement to “electronic ordering at the table” looks to me like it just kills the service mentality and customer awareness.
We arrived about an hour earlier than expected. Then we discovered that our first flight was going to arrive at the “hub” airport a bit late, giving us only 20 minutes to change planes… so the airline re-routed us to another flight. OK… We now had an hour later departure, but our arrival time at the other end was only about 30 minutes later. The only big change was that our “Plane change” in Chicago? turned into a change in some other city. Salt Lake I think… You reach a point where plane change cities are all the same…
Landing in San Jose, we took Light Rail to where I had the Subaru waiting at The Mechanic. Walking from the Light Rail to The Mechanic, we passed by a “Hampton Inn” by Hilton. Having nothing planned, we asked for a room. I’m pretty sure we were told it would be $134 / night, but at check out it was $154… PLUS a $15 / night “occupancy tax” plus a few cents of “tourism tax” – way to go California…
So “note to self”: Avoid staying in hotels in California and add at least 12% to whatever price you think you will be paying. The Hotel was very nice, included an OK Breakfast Bar (the “typical” canned foam egg dishes with OK bulk breakfast meats and various high starch options like DIY waffles and cold cereals).
We did pick up the Subaru and had wheels for the week. Nice that.
Tasks at that end included re-upping the registration on the Subaru & the 240 D (that is basically non-op at The Mechanic for a fix up); plus a run to the P.O. Box that was set up when we sold the house, but didn’t have a new place yet. That all got done over a couple of days.
I had 2 storage units full of “our stuff”. One goal was to close out one of them. The one that was the target was an “odd shape” at the end of a row of 10 x 10 foot units. It had a wedge shape on the end to accommodate an emergency exit and turn of a hallway. I originally took it as I was only charged for a 10 x 10 but this was more like a 10 x 14 volume, but oddly shaped on one end. The point? I had more than a 10 x 10 worth of stuff in it… The other unit is about 10 x 20 ish.
Long story short, we were able to empty it into the Truck in about a day. More on this later, but first, about that Truck…
A few months ago I’d priced a UHaul rental truck, 20 foot box and 26 foot box. They were running about $5k and $7k for a coast to coast run. In the Hotel, I went to book a truck and found out prices were now more like $7k and $10k. WT? OK… ought to have checked it again before booking the flight out.
Next surprise was availability. None in San Jose, and spiraling out from there, none in Santa Clara, Sunnyvale, Gilroy, Milpitas, Palo Alto… I decided to jump the search “way out” and checked places in the Central Valley and up into the Sierra Nevada. Reno, Nevada had a truck, and it was about $600 less too. But that’s a 200+ mile run up the Sierra Nevada mountains to get it. Moving closer, there was ONE truck available in Lodi (from Tio’s Tires…) and another in Stockton (at a gas station). OK… Stockton is only 1 1/2 hour drive away, so we booked it.
Next day we drove over and picked up the truck. After about 20 minutes on the phone with The Bank they allowed me to spend the money I’d deposited in my Debit Card account… They were “protecting” me, you see… I’d opted for the 20 foot box for 2 reasons. 1) We were going to be weight limited so the added volume was pointless. The available specs for weight said 10k lbs each truck, though some places seem to say that the 26 footer might be 12 k lbs. Maybe. At about $2k more, or $1 / lb of “maybe”, that wasn’t compelling. 2) Nobody had a 26 footer anyway.
I also learned that Uhaul has “local” trucks with their locks on them (and master keys for a region), and they have “long haul” trucks with BYOLock. The two groups do not share trucks… so a site may have a lot of trucks, but none for “1 way” out of area.
Upon paying, the $7200 quoted price turned into $8000 on the card. WT? Seems that California has a “Sales Tax” on a truck rental. So $800 kick in the pants on your way out of State. OK, had I realized that, I’d have likely sunk the $800 into fixing the ML. OTOH, I had stuff I wanted to get moved NOW, so… The general observation is that California has put Sales Tax on rentals of stuff, be it hotel rooms or trucks. Maybe it was always that way and I just didn’t notice as sizes were smaller. But the “end of the day” I was out about $1000 more than expected due to “rental taxes”.
For future runs (no more than 2 I think), I’ll plan to NOT rent trucks nor rooms if at all possible. Camping is my friend, I think.
In retrospect, it would have been better to have flown into Reno (who had a truck), rent it there for about $600 less, and likely have also had a much lower sales tax hit too. Then driven down to San Jose, picked up my stuff, and headed to Florida. Being almost all down hill, gas to get down the hill is nearly none. About 10 gallons would likely do it. Also, gas in Nevada is cheaper…
California traffic has gotten worse in the last year. From Stockton to San Jose we were in “slow and go” until about 10:30 AM and about 30 miles from goal. That means the roads are only “open” from about 11 to 2 pm. Jammed up until 10 and after 3 for sure. So we’re down to a 3 hour window of clear driving mid day, and some in the dead of night. OK, so planned to leave town during that window.
We’d checked out of the Santa Clara hotel to pick up the truck.
We took about 7 hours to load that first storage unit into the Truck. Partly that involved packing 3 book cases of books into boxes. Also taking down a shelving unit or two. This was largely just a “load and go” without any selection nor dumping things like Old Monitors. Why? Because they have no garbage facilities available to you at storage places… So since “everything must go” to close the unit, we just loaded it all into the truck.
Given the final weight after shuffling stuff at the 2nd unit, and that more weight came out than went in… my best guess is we put about 12,000 lbs into a 10,000 lb truck. LOTS of books, heavy old tube monitors, wood furniture, boxes of goods.
We then headed south to the next storage unit. I’d put that stuff just at the south border of San Jose to avoid the need to deal with City Traffic to get to it when coming from Florida. It was stuff I’d just rapidly emptied from the house when it was in escrow. Not a lot of sorting, just stuff in a box and haul… Being dead tired, we checked into a “much cheaper” hotel.
That Hotel was a no-name older place. It was “only” $120 / night (with AAA discount…) Hotels in California look to have about doubled in price over just a few years ago. In future I’m not going to be staying in hotels in California. Costs are just too high. I’ll sleep in the car / cab or back of the truck / trailer if not loaded full yet. I’ll also plan things to have minimal time in California (much easier now that the misc. tasks are done and I don’t need to do anything but “load and go”.
Storage Unit #2:
We got to unload about 1/2 of the truck, unload about the same volume of the 2nd unit, and then shuffle stuff around. Why? Take the trash stuff out of the truck and put them in unit #2 (for a future run to the garbage dump) and load the truck with stuff we actually wanted to take to Florida. All told, likely moved another 9,000 lbs of “stuff”, with 5,000 out and 4,000 in.
I did manage to find a lot of the heat sensitive stuff (photos, seed archives,…) that I wanted to get moved, along with a load of books I care about, and a few boxes of Kitchen Goods so I can do some more interesting cooking ;-) Plus some various odds and ends. We now have a proper dining table & chairs. One card table is now folded and stored. The Florida room has a nice dinette set in it too. Some boxes of files are moved too. I’ve got a few boxes of clothes. Spouse got her book collection. Oh, and we now have dressers in the bedroom. So all in all a decent value add from this trip / load. (there’s other stuff too, this is just the highlights)
A quick run to a nearby truck scale showed we were about 700 lbs over GVWR. Not enough to really matter, but enough to give me grief at a weigh station. As most of the very heavy stuff was in front of all the tables, chairs, wall hanging photos and posters, and other furniture: To lower the weight by 700 lbs would require unloading about 1/2 the volume, taking out some heavy bits, and then putting that 1/2 a truck back in. Being Dead Tired, and not wanting to spend another $150 / day on lodging and food, I decided to just keep it loaded ‘as is’ and plot a course out that stayed away from scales.
That is both “not as hard as you think” since several states, like Texas that is 1/3 of the trip, just don’t care about anything small; and “harder than you think” as each State is different, some are a PITA, and those include both California & Florida that make up another 1/3 of the trip. Then there’s the “issue” of Arizona and Colorado making a bit of a wall of PITA. (More on that in Part 2, as nominally Colorado doesn’t care under 26,000 lbs. but on entry to the State I saw a sign saying anything over 10k lbs or towing a trailer had to stop. Lucky for me the weigh station was closed. But it lead to a bit of unplanned “adventure” as I changed routing on the fly…) In Part 2 we’ll cover the trip; that was significantly impacted by the decision to dodge being weighed.
Next Trip I’m planning as more “sort and dump” before a “load and go”. It doesn’t matter if it is a rental truck or “arrive with tow vehicle and trailer”: I want to take a day or two to sort out “stuff to dispose” and take it to the dump / give away. I’d intended to do this prior to selling the house (to avoid moving it at all) but the sale went fast, so it was just “load everything and store it” to exit the house. I’ve got 3 file cabinets full of papers to sort through, looking for those papers that need keeping out of the bulk that do not. Then there’s the “go through old electronics and figure out what’s to keep, or not”. Do I have enough to read my old media, but no more? Which parts work? Etc. I’ll get as much of that done and dumped as possible in the time available, then.
Left to move? Probably about one more truck load, maybe two. Several book cases. A lot more books in boxes. More kitchen stuff like my Kitchen Aid mixer… My Office Equipment (after I decide just which Old PCs & Such to dump along with old monitors…). More clothes and things like my fishing gear. Some boxes of food (just tossed canned goods and such into boxes to get out of the house fast – may give some of it away…). Lots of camping gear. A desk and a couple of more chairs. 3 or 4 more tool boxes (general purpose, plumbing, other specialty…) Basically all that stuff of life that is in a normal house.
Due to the price hikes / cost explosion: Next trip will largely be a “toss whatever isn’t worth moving” and a “move what you really want to keep and is worth it” load of the moving appliance. Then there will be a “Sit and stare at what is left, if anything, and decide”. IF there is stuff that I really want to keep, but no room in the truck / trailer: Then it will get moved into a smaller storage unit for picking up “someday”. By definition the first 2 loads will have moved most of what we care about that has any time sensitivity to it. IF, as a random example, I’ve got $2000 worth of various camping and survival gear that I do want to keep, but don’t need in Florida Right Now: It can sit in a small storage space until some time I’m in California to visit family & friends and then can come back with me in a Station Wagon or trailer then. We’ll see what, if anything, is left after the Garbage Run and Run #2.
The Rest & Visit:
We then went over to the Central Valley and spent the night with Florida Friend’s Brother. Long shower and finally clean for the day. Had a wonderful Salmon dinner. A nice long sleep.
Next morning I headed out with the Truck. Florida Friend spent another day or two visiting, then headed out with the Subaru (loaded with camping / survival gear as that is its role). I was going slow to save gas, and needed to bypass weigh stations so taking a longer route. Meaning he would pass by me on about day 3 or 4 in any case.
The next installment will be “on the road again!” ;-0 but in a big truck.