We got started Memorial Day morning around 9am and figured to be in Tamworth around 2pm. However, the best laid plans of mice and men etc., etc....
The right front tire was soft, so in Hoosick we stopped at a place I knew there was an air pump. Ken had bought a little truck air compressor along the way, but we first tried the air pump (75 cents please). We started with a pressure in the tire of 100psi hot. So we started the air pump and added some air, or so we thought. After about 30 sec we checked the pressure and it was now 94psi. Another try and it was down to 92. Obviously that wasn't working. So we plugged in the portable one, and let it run for a while, and I think we managed to get the pressure back up to around 100. We decided that would have to be good enough.
We headed for Bennington, and there they had the entire main street blocked off and a detour around the back streets, but when we got back to Rt 9, it was still blocked because they were having their Memorial Day parade. We had to wait about 10 minutes until we could get back onto Rt 9. Going out of Bennington there is a REALLY big hill and it is about 2 miles long. I think I managed about 40mph at the most going up that hill, but the truck just chugged along. Once you get up on top, the route is pretty level until the next big challenge which is getting down into Wilmington VT. There is a pretty good downgrade, and I kept the truck in low gear and pumped the brakes all the way down. I had a good line of cars behind me, with drivers probably gritting their teeth, but I was concentrating on not going too fast, and couldn't worry about them.
We finally made it to Wilmington and the traffic was backed up for at least half a mile from the center of town. Wilmington is a small town but it is also a shopping mecca. The "shopping district" is only about one block long, but the street is narrow and pedestrians are everywhere so the normal speed limit is only 25mph. There was so much traffic that it was gridlocked with only 1 or 2 cars getting through the light at a time. So it took about 20 minutes to go that half a mile. We finally made it to Brattleboro and got gas ($3.77/gallon). From there to Keene NH was uneventful.
Once we started north of Keene on Rt. 9 things were fine until we got up a ways and the road narrows down with a hill on the left and a river and another hill on the right. A fire truck had already passed me a little ways back, and suddenly I saw white smoke and a police SUV in the road, and I thought it was an accident. Then I thought it was a house fire. It was actually a brush fire caused by a tree that had fallen down on the power lines on the left side of the road (Ken had fallen behind a ways, so when he caught up, the first thing he saw was emergency lights and smoke, and he thought the tire on the truck had blown).
The police officer was turning the people in front of me around to go back because they had blocked off the road entirely. When he got to me he said "looks like you're stuck here for a while" because there was no way I could turn the truck around on that narrow road. Behind me were several RVs and campers that also could not turn around. Because of the terrain there is no cell service there, so we couldn't call Ken's dad to let him know we were running late. We were there for a couple-plus hours while they called in more trucks and emergency personnel, and fought the brush fire which was being driven along and up the hillside by the very gusty winds. They had to get PSNH to cut the power as well so they could get the tree off the wires and then fix those. There was nothing we could do but wait. Eventually they got the wires fixed, and the fire was mostly under control, so they let us go through. By then it was about 3:45 I think. As soon as we got down the road a bit, Ken called his Dad to let him know where we were. Chester had just gotten to Tamworth himself about 5 minutes before Ken called him. We stopped at one more air pump to try to get the tire up to normal pressure, but again the pump couldn't seem to push air into the tire, and instead let air out and we had to use the portable pump again. We finally got to Tamworth at around 6:30, and it promptly started to rain. We were all tired, so we decided to wait until the next day to unload the truck.
We were still tired when we started unloading on Tuesday, and around noon I asked Ken about his co-worker Mike that had offered to help us unload. Ken had forgotten about that, but went and called Mike and he said he could come a little after 1:30, so we went and had lunch. Having Mike was a blessing because he was fresh, and pretty muscular, so he started right in carrying boxes (we'd gotten about half the truck unloaded by lunch, but that was all the lighter stuff, and all the heavy stuff was still waiting). It made a huge difference to have someone who wasn't already tired. We finally got all done around 5pm I think. Mike is our hero.
I had been calling the number on the contract which was supposed to be for the place in Silver Lake to return the truck, but it constantly rang busy. I finally called UHaul, and told them the number wasn't working, and the agent looked up the place and gave me two different numbers to try and the number for the UHaul regional manager if those other numbers didn't work. I tried the first and it was the right place but I had to leave a message. The next morning I hadn't gotten a call back so I called the other number and someone picked up right away. We dropped the truck off and that was that. We got charged for the extra day but it was worth it.
Many ibuprofens later I was feeling pretty OK, but still tired. I must be getting old. :) Now we just have to figure out where to put everything!
Comment from: Roger Crassi
Having read the final installment of your move and long-awaited arrival at your home in NH, I felt a little guilty for having let you drive that awful (a “dadism")truck all that way; and yet I praise the LORD for having answered mine and Mom’s prayer for Divine protection over your lives throughout the long trip. I now CERTIFY you as a “fully capable and qualified Class B Driver (though DMV might dispute my authority). I am hoping to see you both in the somewhat near future.