In the end, Lily made it to Maryland safe and sound, and didn't lose weight on the trip. According to Barn Queen (the barn manager-I will be calling her by her blog name for herself-check it out at barnqueenadventures.com/!), she was somewhat dehydrated, as her stools were very dry. Her appetite was so-so, but I mentioned that Lily always goes into heat on trailer rides, and this always puts her off her feed, and BQ confirmed that Lily was indeed in heat. Over the next 5 days, she sent me these photos, along with detailed reports via e-mail and text.
|Out for a walk in the indoor arena, the night of the 23rd.|
|Slowly being introduced to pasture in the medical "paddock".|
|Staring longingly at Beauty, the feisty black pony mare.|
|Hand-grazing with one of the boarders (she quickly developed a fan club!) BQ discovered that after eating the nice grass by the driveway, her poops weren't as dry.|
What barn manager does this?? I have yet to hear of another one like this! It gave me a tremendous peace knowing that Lily was in good hands, and so I was able to concentrate on getting the rest of our stuff together.
Instead of driving my car and a U-Haul with the truck in tow, we figured out a better and less expensive option was to cram all of our stuff into a U-Box (similar to the PODS concept) and have it shipped to DC. We also had the truck shipped to DC by Nationwide Auto Transport, who hired Reliable Auto Transport to do the job. The Reliable Auto Transport people did a F-A-N-T-A-S-T-I-C job, managing to deliver the truck safely, at our new apartment complex, before Sandy hit land.
This is what the U-Box looked like when we were done:
This is how big it was:
I think between Charles and Charles's dad, they were able to pull off an Undetectable Extension Spell of their own.
And the house. I'm anal about leaving everything clean, but at the end of the 3 days of packing and cleaning, I was done. The house was as clean as it was going to be after 3 years living in it. I'm still cringing that we didn't paint the 3 walls I'd painted back to their original color, but it was almost $300 for the paint (they wouldn't sell you less than 5 gallons!) and we needed that money for other things. Cross your fingers that the deposit is enough to cover it!
We woke up at 4:30am on October 27th to finish packing the car and start our journey up to DC. We absolutely had to be there by the 28th to get the keys to the apartment. This is the longest road trip I had ever been on, and my first time going up the US East coast. I've gone to many places on the West coast, but not the East. We were scheduled to arrive 24 hours before Frankenstorm Sandy was to hit New Jersey. High winds and rain were predicted for most of the East coast between the 27th and 28th. It was extremely aggravating that the forecast changed from one hour to the next, from one news channel to the next, and from one website to the next. We had friends and family calling us with all sorts of different reports as to where the storm was located and when and where it was supposed to hit land. It was nerve-wracking not knowing.
We left the townhouse at 6:30am, after struggling for an hour trying to arrange and re-arrange everything in the car. We ended up throwing out more things, including our pillows, simply because they didn't fit. We had 4 suitcases of clothes and shoes, our jackets, my saddle, Lily's Smartpak supplement drawer, backpacks with our laptops and important documents, sheets, blankets and a quilt for the bed at the new place, and all sorts of essential odds and ends. Plus Astarte and her carrier, and a litter box on the floor of the back seat so she could go potty while on the endless trip.
Astarte remained loose in the car during the trip, but I took the carrier because it was a place to put her if we needed to transport her safely anywhere.
This is what my Corolla looked like. I started calling it the Mary Poppins car:
|This is my favorite photo because it looks surreal, like there was no gravity inside the car. *lol*|
|Yup. I was really glad we had traded in my MINI Cooper for the Corolla at this point. You can imagine what the trunk looked like! Poor Astarte was trying to find some stable piece of something to lay on.|
|Beginning of the trip. Still looking happy and excited. *lol*|
|I95 in South FL|
|South FL cypress trees|
|It stayed between 69-72 degrees all the way north, until nightfall.|
|We stopped at this gas station as a pit stop for us and the car (to get gas) and arrived at the same time as 2 bus loads of tourists. It was a long line to the restroom.|
|Little shop at the same gas station. This was somewhere north of Melbourne, FL.|
|Green GA trees on both sides of the road.|
|SC did have a sign to announce entry into the state.|
|Some orange and yellow trees.|
|South of the Border sign. One of the better ones...|
|The place was HUGE. It looked like a Mexican Old Town (in Orlando) on steroids.|
|90% of the place was desolate. Only some of the rides showed signs of life. Rather depressing after announcing themselves so much.|
Charles and I finally traded seats, and he got to drive the rest of the way. I had driven 9 hours so far.
|My turn to snuggle with Astarte :)|
|Since my feet are smaller than Charles's tree climbers, she really had room to get comfortable on the passenger side floor.|
In North Carolina, the winds started up again. Around this point, the in-laws called asking if we were going to stop yet. It was only 5:00pm, and we were wide awake and going strong. Plus there were neon signs flashing on 95 announcing that high winds and debris were expected that night in NC. There was no way in hell we were stopping there.
We drove into Virginia as night was falling, and these last 4 hours turned out to be the most grueling part of the drive. Since it was dark, we had no idea of our surroundings, and being in VA, technically we were already home-the apartment was in Alexandria-but we had to drive all the way north.
At one point, the road dipped, but I could see the horizon rise in front of us in a slope. "Charles!! It's a MOUNTAIN!!" "It's just the tree line." he said. "No, that's a freaking mountain!" I insisted. It was. As we continued to drive, I pointed out that southbound 95 was above us, carved into the side of another mountain-you had to look up to see the cars driving by. You'd think I'd never seen a mountain before... I have. But it's been a long time! And it's been 8 years since I lived anywhere with mountains!
We finally, finally arrived in Alexandria at 10:30pm. Now we had to find a hotel that would accept cats... We called Charles's mother with the Alexandria apartment address so she could look for nearby hotels on the internet at home (we don't have smartphones YET) and she found a Red Roof Inn that allowed pets, but it was 7 miles from our exit. We had no idea how bad the weather would be the next day and were trying to stay as close to the apartment complex as possible. Thank God for my GPS...we were able to look up hotels within a 1 mile radius from the apartment (there were MANY). The first choice, a Holiday Inn, didn't accept pets. We went looking for our second choice, and accidentally stumbled upon another hotel from a popular chain that had cabins. This made it easy: we left Astarte in her hiding spot on the passenger side floor of the car, and checked in. We got lucky: not only did they give us a first floor room, it was also in the back row of cabins. I snuck Astarte in the room wrapped in a sweater, and put her in the bathroom while we unloaded our suitcases.
Afterwards we got settled. Astarte went nuts running around the room, her nose to the ground like a beagle, then jumped on the second bed, and I swear, if she'd been a little kid, she'd have been bouncing on the bed.
|Eventually she settled down and just stretched out. She really thought that bed was all for her. *lol*|
|Charles checks his e-mail on his iPad, and later I was able to check the weather forecast.|
It was cloudy and cold, and we still had to do storm shopping, as we had no food nor water in the house. But I was not going to be able to see Lily due to the bad weather for the next 2 days, so we took off right after unpacking the car for the long drive to Maryland to see her.
To be continued...