UHAUL, Amtrak, and My Moving Experience

                The relocation experience is always interesting.  For my latest move, I really had no strong connections to my workplace or the surrounding area, so the process was fairly clean and easy.  I guess if a person is deeply ingrained in their job or community, moving is probably much more difficult. For me, loading my belongings into a UHAUL truck was actually somewhat liberating. Escaping the confines of my apartment complex and office cubicle meant the realization of new challenges, new scenery, new beginning. Maybe it’s something in the blood which drives this mindset and transient lifestyle. Who knows?

                Fortunately, I chose the twenty foot UHAUL truck as this size was perfect for my belongings. Despite my usual precautions, I figured the twenty-seven foot truck designed to accommodate the belongings of a four bedroom house would probably be too large for my possessions occupying a two bedroom apartment. Additionally, I was planning to tow my car on an auto transport, so I definitely wanted to choose the correct size. Surprisingly, the road trip was uneventful despite the ten miles per gallon gas mileage.

                After unloading and returning the UHAUL, I planned to take Amtrak back to my previous location to finish cleaning my apartment and drive my other car to my new location. Granted, I had never ridden Amtrak, so I was curious to see how it worked. The train experience start roughly as I initially parked in a private parking lot. The Amtrak staff gruffly explained the nearest public parking location was approximately four blocks from the station. After glancing at the clock, I figured fifteen minutes was plenty of time to move my car and prevent the possibility of towing. Unfortunately, the parking garage I found was several blocks from the station and required about fifteen minutes of brisk jogging with luggage to reach the train in time for departure. No worries; just a minor hiccup on this journey.

                After some scrutiny of my boarding pass, I was allowed onto the train. I quickly settled into a window seat in the coach section and began taking stock of my surroundings. Behind me, an Amtrak worker was unsuccessfully trying to convince passengers to upgrade their coach seat to a sleeper cabin. For the most part, a few passengers would come onboard at each small Texan station; Austen and Dallas supplied the most passengers. Points of interest along the trip included George H. Bush’s Crawford ranch and the filming location for the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. There was also a well-worn footpath alongside the railroad tracks which was probably a route for illegal immigrants.

                Without anyone sitting next to me, I was content to observe my surroundings. The café car attendant’s announcements over the intercom persuaded me to try a breakfast sandwich. Of course, all menu items were significantly overpriced as this operation held a complete monopoly over food service. My twelve dollar hamburger was surprisingly tasty, yet I still felt like I got the short end of the stick afterwards. For some reason, there was a major emphasis on community dining and reservations from the restaurant car attendant; I think they probably just liked talking over the intercom.

                As my luck would have it, a gentleman sat next to me at the Longview stop. After a little conversation, we discovered we had both had connections to the Air Force. His story was quite remarkable as he told me about his experience with Tops in Blue, the musical entertainment show of the Air Force. He spent the majority of his time on active-duty as a member of this group traveling to different overseas locations to perform shows. He then spent the next twenty years recruiting musical acts to a Dallas hotel. His stories were almost unbelievable, but I knew they had to be true. Needless to say, this conversation helped pass the time. I arrived at my destination and, reluctantly, bit the bullet for a cab to my place. Seventeen dollars seems a little steep for a fifteen minute taxi ride, but I guess they set the rates.

                I thought cleaning my apartment for the last time might trigger some nostalgia, but it didn’t. I was surprisingly content to close this chapter of my life and begin the next.