Thursday, September 2, 2010

Dumping the T-Bird and Other Disasters - The Move Odyssey: Day 5

Back on the road next morning. This motel takes more time to pack up from, because its on the second floor and a longer walk to the cars. Again it's at least 11 before we're driving.

By now CK and Quantum have determined that the reason the cellphone battery hasn't charged is because...there IS no battery. It didn't come with a battery. Duh! We call a place, they confirm they have it, and we drive up there, only to find they do NOT have it and we also have to maneuver our vehicles in their tiny parking lot. Next we head for an auto place and a gas station so we can put air in the tires. We need freon for CK's air conditioning, and for our Blazer. We get off somewhere else in the Macon area. This time I'm driving last, and I see something go flying out of our trailer that CK is pulling. Last minute I recognize it as a suitcase-safe that Quantum had for important documents. Fortunately there aren't any documents in it right now. After they stop at a gas station, I circle back and pick it up off the road, wondering if we lost anything else out of the compartment that busted open.

This town is a mess of hills, and once we FINALLY find a place that has air for the tire, we circle around about three times before some nice lady leads us back to the entrance to 75. We had passed it 3 times, but the sign was only visible from one direction - not the one we'd been facing.

We head to Atlanta where we're supposed to drop off the T-Bird for my brother. This ain't Paula Deen's Atlanta. It's a cluster of ill maintained and badly-signaged roads. We find the place my brother suggested. He just left this morning for a trip to DC, so we're just dropping the thing without getting to visit. He's suggested we leave it in a Home Depot parking lot. I think this is a bad idea.

Right before the Home Depot we stop at a gas station to stick the hide-a-key on the T-Bird and swiftly realize that doing it here is a bad idea. I go into the store to use the bathroom, and the clerk points me to a door with an out of order sign. No, he insists, I can use it. Aargh! One of the most horrific bathrooms I've ever seen. Folks, a sink is NOT a urinal. Needless to say, I did NOT use that bathroom!

As we drive out, we notice that the next lot is filled with probable crackheads playing ball. Now, I'm about the last person in the world who's prejudiced. I don't give a rat's patootie about skin color. But these men looked like pure crackheads, and this assessment was later confirmed by another local. We looked around Home Depot and I became very uncomfy about leaving the car here. Scary neighborhood and I was pretty sure that a car left over a few nights would be noticed. Quantum got the idea of going to the shipping place next door and asking them if we could pay them to let us leave the car there for a few nights. "In this neighborhood? Are you crazy? You can buy rock (crack) here on every corner, and just last week someone broke into one of our trucks and stole an entire shipment of salad dressing packets."

One truly has to wonder about the street value of stolen salad dressing!

The guy suggests we leave the car at the airport, so we head off there. We end up circling three or four times before we find the park-and-ride lots and leave the car there.  And naturally, we SHOULD have taken all the stuff out of the T-Bird when we were in the Home Depot parking lot, now we're parked uncomfortably along the road, scrambling to pull stuff out and re-pack it.

We leave the airport, get lost yet again because of confusing signs. We stop to ask directions and the guy Quantum asks is a snide, smug bastard who doesn't even know the road we're heading for and wants to tell us his special method of getting across Atlanta. No thanks.

Finally we make it away from the heart of the city madness and onto Rt. 20. It's late afternoon, and there's no AC in the Blazer. The puppy starts overheating. His breathing is labored. We buy three bags of ice and pack them around him and Squeaky's crate and look for a hotel. It's yet another scary neighborhood in West Atlanta. We find a motel. Some guy who looks like he belongs to the place comes out, an Indian guy and very enamored with our cute puppy. But whoever he is, he's not the manager. The manager is an unfriendly guy who tells Quantum, "NO PETS!"

We'd parked under an awning to shade the critters. As we drive off, we realize to our horror that the trailer we're towing is taller than the bottom of the awning. There's a roof gutter that is now twisted. Looks like it could have been that way all along, but who knows, we didn't exactly pay attention to it on the way in. Quantum knows that the gutter will take less than $15-20 for materials, and negotiates to pay the guy $50. But they don't want to run it through their credit card machine, so we have to find an ATM.

We go and do that, and when we return, the manager is suddenly smiling and friendly. So odd! He dispenses with the no pets policy, and rents us a room for a decent rate. "But that's a non-smoking room," Quantum says. (We're planning to quit, and have cut down drastically during the move, but even still, we're not ready to give up the safety net of a smoking room.) "Oh, I let you smoke there," he says.

The place is a bit of a dump, and the parking lot isn't exactly full, which may explain the manager's change of heart. We're suspecting (based on the fact that the vending machine holds condoms instead of snacks) that this place is more often rented by the hour, rather than by the night. Whatever. It's cheap, it has AC and even if it smells a little dank, the beds are relatively comfy.

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