This weekend was our last long trip, venture out picking trip before our Spring sales. Our new merchandise was all in except for a few stragglers and our projects that we wanted to finish up before the sale were spread out...all over the barn. We felt that we needed some more cool items to interject some pizzaz into where there were holes. So where did we go??? We headed to some of our favorite haunts in Virginia and Maryland. I am sure that most of you think this is all fun and games. Well let me tell you, we give "fun and games" a whole different meaning.
We learned the hard way on our first trip down here, that the open trailer that I usually use to haul stuff in would not cut it. To maximize the drive down here, we planned on making it a two day trip. After excitedly packing up the trailer the first day, we drove into the hotel parking lot and realized that aside from sleeping in the Suburban pulling the trailer or in the open trailer itself, how we were we to keep the fabulous finds stationary in the trailer while we were sleeping in the warm beds in the hotel? Have you ever seen the looks you get from the hotel front desk clerks when you ask if you could please have a room that overlooked the parking lot out back...near the garbage area? After a fitfull night spent mostly dozing off at the window looking down upon the parking lot, (I mean really, what were we going to do, should someone walk up to the trailer and start to unload the goodies we just bought? Bang on the window and make faces and point fingers at them as we silently mouthed epitaphs at them? I bet that would have really scared them off!) Anyway we pulled blearily out of the parking lot at the crack of dawn with everything still intact in the trailer. Whew...but that experience from then on caused us to rethink things and fork over the $100 to rent a U Haul once down there and drop if off once back near home. Worked swimmingly well the first time we did it. This trip brought the fun and games.
The whole trip started off on a different footing when I called the U Haul place we received confirmation from to make sure we could pick up the trailer early on Saturday morning. From the other end of the receiver I heard the question, "You have a man with you?" after I verified the information. I wasn't sure I heard the gentleman who was speaking in a delightful southern drawl so I asked him, "Pardon?" Upon his repetition of his question, I understood it and replied, "Why no, I will not have a man with me, but I have driven these before." He said," No, I ain't worried about a lady driving it but I'll need some help lifting it onto your hitch." I assured him that I was quite strong and had helped the last gentleman lift the trailer on with my able bodied partner in crime. By the end of the conversation he was calling me honey and all was well...so I thought. What he did not tell me and what we vaguely remembered reading in the fine print was that if the trailer you book online is not available at the location you chose online, they reserve it for you at the nearest location to your so thought reserved location. Hold onto that thought because it will come into play later.
We headed out somewhat bright and early the next day after being delayed by a few odds and ends like packing the bungee chords, the blankets, finding both the hitch and the electrical hook up for the lights etc. All things I should have done the night before but I had a little run in with a 24 hour bug of some sort the night and day before and had been feeling a little foggy so...I had put it off until the morning of.
After we solved most of the world's problems and our own... (there is nothing like a 3 plus hour car ride with a great friend) we pulled into the field of our first outing. We had decided to get the trailer after we found out if we were going to strike it big on our first stop. The best stuff always goes first and what was a 2 mile drive to get the trailer?
Some of our goodies
We hit it big time and after gathering up our loot from the buildings we visited we decide that we do not need the trailer just yet, for my husband had left the roof rack on from our Canada trip! We had more than enough room! With the help of two burly young men, we load the goods and then move to the tents where we have a beautiful trunk to pick up. One thing I really pride myself on is packing a car or a tailer. I goofed on this one as well as my partner and I soon realize, that the beautiful trunk will not fit into the car unless we unpack it and do it again or we go get the trailer. My trusty techy partner loads the address into her phone to get the directions to get the trailer and comes up with a location that is TWENTY miles away...not TWO. We pull out the confirmation that was emailed to us to double check and lo and behold, the location 2 miles away did not have the size we had reserved so they reserved one for us at the nearest location....TWENTY miles away, that was the closest??? I am NOT driving TWENTY miles to get that U Haul and then TWENTY back to pick up a trunk and two piddly...but beautifully piddly chairs! Out the window flies the money we had given to the boys as a tip and we decide to repack.
We use the best methods in town to eye ball weather or not more things will fit up top.
We unpack repack, unpack and repack again utilizing the large pieces that we had bought like pieces in a puzzle and get it all in with the help finally, of I think. a rather dumbstruck man who watched the whole procedure. Boy did we impress him!! I am sure he was muttering, "dumb broads," as we left him in the dust
To the field we go to load up the two adorable small chairs that we had purchased earlier in the day, along with of course, some books. We take a few things out that we thought we could reconfigure to fit the chairs and finally I have to make the decision, do I leave my partner Chris behind? or the chairs? After deciding that both are quite valuable, we find a place for Chris in the back seat and the chairs in the front.
We put the address in into the GPS to realize that it has taken us entirely to long to repack the car 15 times and now we have to haul it the TWENTY miles to the U-haul, (they weren't kidding when they named that)... place to get there before it closes at 4:00. Anticipated arrival time is 4:03. We call to let the kind gentleman know that the ladies will be arriving a bit tardy to pick up their U Haul so please do not close the doors on us. We are sweating profusely and at this point in the day our enthusiasm for the days adventure is wearing thin. He says, "Okay," which could mean many things and as we pull into the parking lot of what looks like an abandoned building. A little door opens with a smallish U Haul sign on the front and there stands a large-ish man. Chris unfolds herself from the back of the car after taking the heavy metal wash tub off of her head and the large-ish man grins, which breaks the ice. After filling out the paperwork, crossing an empty lot whilst talking to the man who happens to be wearing a Steelers shirt, and backing the Suburban up to the trailer, he picks up the trailer all by his lonesome and hitches it up for us. Being a southern gentleman, he even offers us to follow him out so he can guide us to the best way to the highway pulling the trailer in the heavy winds...did I forget to mention it was a SUPER windy day?
We high five our way out onto the highway as we narrowly averted a situation that would have resulted in a huge waste of gas, a hefty penalty for not picking up the trailer on the allotted day and a scramble to find another hotel near the U Haul place which by the looks of things, would have been quite difficult.
On the road again, I just can't wait to get on the road again...
We only have an hour left until we reach our next destination.
While traveling at a brisk speed, sounds come from the top of the car. Top of the car...top of the car, I repeat in my head. The roof rack!!!
I quickly pull over on the highway to look up and see the roof rack OPEN. As I climb up, on the side of the traffic mind you, I realize that I had left the key in the rack with it not locked all the way. It was such a struggle to get it locked the first time and then get the key out that I had left the key in after we had repacked numerous times in case we had to shove something else up there. What I then remembered as well, (My timing for remembering things at times can be quite poor) was that the lock on the other side was broken and we were NEVER to unlock it that way. I heard my husband's words over and over again as well as my own thoughts on how was I to explain to him that I did not try and open it that way...the wind did that upon the flapping open of the other side. I could also hear him say, "Why don't you like to play golf or tennis?"
We both dangle out of the doors in the car trying to angle ourselves to get up on the roof high enough without actually climbing on top of the car. As we are doing so, we see flashing lights come up behind us and realize that we have been spotted by Florence Nightingale of the highway and she has put her big arrow behind us as we struggle with the roof rack. We impress her by pulling out our handy dandy ratchet ties as we try to tie down the roof rack after getting it partially closed.
We had lost nothing which was truly a Godsend for Chris had put her overnight bag up there which had our only change of clothes for the next day. Mine held an extra pair of boots for we had been warned the fields were muddy but after checking on one of my sons upstairs in the am and being drawn into a lengthy conversation, which IF I can remember correcly involved zit creams, all thoughts of adding clothes to the bag rushed out of my head. (Why can I remember the conversation about the zit cream and not that the key is still in the lock?) We assure her that we will pull off of the closest exit and fix things properly at a safer site. She follows us the exit, we get off, she passes us by and we get back on behind her. How the heck are the two of us going to get the entire roof rack off of the car and into the U Haul? It takes my husband and at least two of our sons to get it on! We are fine...we limp along at 40 mph, tick off a few people behind us and pull into the hotel parking lot to find the closest restaurant and some beverages. A girl has got to eat.
We check in and up to our room we do go to wash the grime off of our hands from the days forays. As we unlock our door, we notice Room 305 and a picture of a truck with the words, "Buy- 1 Get - 1 Free- Fireworks on the door. How apropos??
More to follow on Day #2...tomorrow...now for some sleep!