No one would argue that it isn’t hard starting fresh in a new place. Now add to that moving 2500 miles solo, on 3 weeks’ notice, in the prime of Ironman training and in the midst of the Jeep getting broken into and most of my gear getting stolen, and add a 70.3 into the mix and you’ve got yourself a real challenge! Sitting here at my new place off Hollywood Blvd, with all possessions scattered around intact, I still really don’t know how I did it, but to be truthful the effort was not on my own as it took a contribution of many friends to make all this happen. Looking back I am incredibly grateful and would like to use this post as an opportunity to express my appreciation to some truly wonderful friends.
Saying goodbye to 137 Livingston was a little tough. It’s been a good home for me and my intermittent roommates over the last 3 years. Harder was packing up and emptying over 1000lbs of its clutter in preparation for the new tenants.
Thank god for Nick, one of my most recent roommates, borrowing his company’s truck so that we could transport all the clutter, including couches, desks and other large and difficult to carry objects to the dump. I planned to pack/clean/move in the morning and be done in enough time to leave and arrive in Lake Placid at a reasonable hour for one last east coast training trip with tri friends before heading west. I did not anticipate the close to 10 hours it would take to transport waste, have the carpets cleaned and tidy up, so by the time I left it was pushing 8pm. Still, coming off of little sleep the night before from my going away party at Pearl Street, with Nick’s help I managed to get the move out done, drive the 6 hours to Lake Placid (arriving just after 2am) get up in the morning to ride 3 loops (125 miles and 8,260 ft of climbing in just under 7 hours) before packing up and driving back in the morning.
By the time I arrived at my friends in EA it was pushing 7 so it felt like a race jumping out of the car to get my ride and run in, hitting Subway minutes before their 10pm close. And, from there I traveled back to 137 to load what was left of my possessions into the rental car, which I had borrowed while my Jeep was in the shop getting repaired from the break-in, just barely fitting it all.
What a weekend, this was just the beginning!!!
The following week was one of the toughest in my life. There was the obstacle of finishing up at work and tying off lose ends, arranging for all last minute moving ordeals, preparing for my half Ironman in MD over the weekend, saying goodbye to friends and fitting in training on top of a nagging calf strain that had me very worried. Monday I pick up the Jeep at the repair shop and met a friend to install the soft top under the hard one (special thanks to Mike Lundeen). Tuesday I met a friend to pick up all my books (thanks Jay Armstrong) and dropped off my bike at another friend’s for transport to Eagleman (thanks Jon Bottoms), narrowly missing a deer on the 219 that night. Wednesday with the help of Corey Vickard we managed to box up all remaining possessions and drop off at the Depew Amtrack station.
I still remember an eerie feeling when the teller said the total for 400lbs transported from Buffalo to LA was only $250. I asked him “are you sure this is safe” to which he replied “we don’t advertise this service, but we do it.” I told Corey I’d be happy if 70% of my stuff made it to LA, he said “try 50%.” Thursday I got the call for my Jeep with the relocation service I had arranged. The man I met at the drop spoke very little and was wearing flip flops in the pouring rain. He had me drive the jeep up a very steep and slippery ramp and explained in broken English “forvard good, backvard VERY VERY BAD!”
He had me sign a waiver expressing that the transportation service was not liable for damage caused by the driver, weather, road, transport, acts of God or basically anything else. Before leaving with the Jeep precariously placed on the bed I said “I am very anxious, should I be nervous” to which he just laughed and drove off. I presumed that was the last time I’d ever see the Jeep again.
Friday after a nice goodbye at work I was dropped off at the airport (thanks Colleen) and a short flight/train/walk later was at my friend’s apartment in Baltimore MD. I cannot begin to express how kind and thoughtful my friend Carly and her boyfriend Brian were for not only housing me but reducing all the stress I was feeling by being as pleasant an accommodating as can be. Saturday afternoon I took a brief rental car ride down to sunny Cambridge to meet my friends Jon and Aubrey to register and rack bikes. Thanks again Jon for not only transporting my bike but tuning it as well, which I’m sure was the cause of a new bike split PR of 33.7mph. I spent the night in an EconoLodge outside of town and in the morning completed Eagleman in 4:32 (6 out of 120), not a great time but decent considering everything I was going through (race recap to follow).
After the race there was hardly any time to appreciate the accomplishment as I received a call from the vehicle transportation service claiming that my Jeep would arrive in LA the following morning (12 hours before I would) and that I would have to be there in person to pick it up and pay in cash otherwise it would continue down to San Diego. This was particularly alarming because I was told that it would take 7-9 days (only 4 days had passed) and promised I would be kept up to date on its whereabouts however this was the first notice I received. The transportation service was very threatening, claiming they were in their rights to do whatever they wanted, and that the person I negotiated with was a middle man who just wanted my money. The person (middle man) I spoke with who was very friendly up front would not answer any of my calls and it took my Dad calling from a different number to finally reach him. I plan to write the better business bureau on this guy, never do business with Envision Auto Relocation!! As a silver lining, while all of this was taking place my friends Jon and Aubrey both received roll down spots to Vegas, sticking around until 8pm to receive them.
The next day I packed up all my stuff, bike neatly packaged and prepared by Jon Bottoms (thanks again!) and boarded a plane to LA. Between my $10k bike getting handled by the TSA in a soft case and the whole Jeep fiasco I have never been so stressed in my entire life, but still managed to sleep a couple hours on the flight.
The second I landed in LA I received a call from the transportation service. Even though they had offered to move the drop off date to the following morning they were wondering if I could pick up the Jeep right away and a location near the airport. Since I didn’t have a bank in LA this meant I had to take out the maximum $800 from an ATM and ask my friend who was picking me up from the airport to front the rest (thanks again Jeannine!). The shady pick-up location was in the parking lot of a K-Mart. The K-Mart lot was well lit but the driver had moved his truck to a completely dark corner. Not only couldn’t I see the vehicle, which I was supposed to inspect for damage, but the driver was almost completely hidden in the darkness as well. I am pretty certain had I not been with my friend as back-up I would have been murdered that night. Anyway, I gave the man my money and drove off in my seemingly ok Jeep. Somehow after all the stress it had worked out alright, and my bike was in one piece as well.
So, after a couple insane weeks I have finally arrived in sunny southern California. There’s still much to do, figure out training in the new area, meet with some new people, find more permanent living and start my new job, however I am happy to have made it this far. I hope to have some better more exciting and less stressful adventures in the near future. For now I am content with excitement of discovering a new place (although Hollywood isn’t all that it was cracked up to be, not quite sure why young girls come here to become famous – stay at home!).