Perhaps my boast is premature. After all, my title quotes Neil Armstrong (C’mon youngsters. The moon dude) and has come to mean “mission accomplished” and we all know I have a very long slog ahead of me with Sparta. But it felt like a mission just getting her up here from Fresno. I won’t bore with too many details, but if you read my earlier blog about moving and trailering such a beast, the process is fraught with peril. Here are the salient facts to emerge from the move that may be useful, instructive or simply amusing to you. I found a great website that I would heartily recommend called Uship (No, this is not a bogus plug offered by the recipient of free services in exchange for an “objective” 5-star experience). Uship is an aggregator that introduces haulers, truckers and shippers to those in need of such services in a seamless and easy bid format. The site is simple to navigate, fast and protects the customer by not releasing funds to the driver until the load is satisfactorily delivered. Best of all, I paid half of what I was hearing from those responding to my Craigslist appeal for movers. It was $500 door-to-door and my driver, Gus, earned every penny because, with a 60 year-old, 45′ trailer, shit happens. There was nothing serious but the trailer brakes did not work as expected (again, making the case for a truck bigger than you think you will need), safety chains were missing from the hitch (oops, my bad) and, despite the meticulous map I drew for Gus to access the destination property, he was unable to make the extreme right turn into the driveway. This necessitated a go-around and he literally had to come back to the property driving on the wrong side of a divided highway during rush hour at a speed not recommended considering the target was a 12 foot entry bordered by stone pillars. Get the picture? It was both funny and frightening as hell. Although successfully up the driveway, Gus then confronted the difficulty of making an extreme right onto the pasture. His only option was to back Sparta in through another 12′ opening. He was a gamer.
Once on the property, I had to create a passageway through the canopy of trees with a cordless Sawzall (a wonderful, all-purpose instrument of destruction), bringing down any branches that threatened to peel the top off of my sardine can. The entire process yesterday took my driver from 8 am in Fresno until 4 pm in Santa Rosa. With a 5 hour drive back to Visalia, his home base, Gus headed out with a much-deserved tip and a legitimate 5-star review from me.