Sunday, December 30, 2007

Head for the hills

Well, it has been too long since I've last written. But it hasn't been without cause -- and I don't mean the Christmas holiday. I've been in negotiations with the Thermopolis (Wyo.) Independent Record, a newspaper in north-west Wyoming. And I got the job!

This means that I may be taking something of a hiatus from here for awhile. As some of you know, I'm currently living in eastern Iowa, so picking up stakes and settling into a town 1,000 miles away isn't exactly a mean feat. The Map feature at Google tells me that the total trip will be 1,068 miles, and will take 15 hours and 24 minutes. I think the Goog is smoking some suspicious substance if it thinks I can make the trip in that time, even under perfect circumstances. (I have family in Cheyenne, which is about 250 from Thermop, and that drive can take nearly 14 hours.)

And on top of that, I'm only able to hope for near perfect circumstances. I've been checking the WyoDOT page this evening, and right now you can't get to Cheyenne, let alone points north or west: I-80 is closed; I-25 is closed; and the numerous federal, state, and county routes out of there are closed as well. Oh! Scratch that. I-25 is now open north of Cheyenne, but that still wouldn't do me any good, since I wouldn't be able to get there anyway. The best roads in the state are marked "slick in spots," and many more roads are either TNA -- travel not advised -- or just plain closed. And this is the winter norm in Wyoming.

So we'll see if I can make it. My current plan involves leaving here, Lone Tree, Friday about noon. I expect to lie low in Omaha for the evening, and then push to Cheyenne Saturday. I imagine I will bed down in the capital city, although my plans hinge on the weather. If the roads are all open and clear, but with the threat of weather Sunday or Monday, I'll probably push out early. But we'll see. I should hit Thermop either Saturday, late, or Sunday, depending on weather. And again writing about that weather: a Monday or even Tuesday arrival can not be ruled out, if I find that I have to spend additional hide-out time in either Omaha or Cheyenne. While I have the green light to retire to a motel in other places, I just assume to aim for friendly quartering with persons familiar.

I spent a good deal of treasure today purchasing items for the new place, all domestic. Bed sheets, laundry detergent, a fresh roll of toothpaste. However, there are some domestic items unique to Wyoming: tire chains, road flares, snow shovel (to live in my truck) -- those sorts of things.

In keeping with the tone of this blog, I thought I would (briefly) ruminate on a few of the difficulties an interstate move is posing. In a future post, after I've been through the process, I'll post a fuller laundry list of things to consider when moving to another state, but here's my rough draft...

First of all, there is the move itself. I'm giving U-Haul $227 (plus Iowa sales tax) for a trailer that measures 5'x8'. Fortunately, my new digs are furnished, so I won't have to worry about taking everything I own. On the other hand, I would rather have done that, because I'll have to come after my stuff at some point, which means a 2,000 mile round trip, and another U-Haul. But since I've got an old truck -- that I expect to get back from the shop after having a new clutch put in the same afternoon that I'm too pick up my U-Haul -- I decided to defer on that for now.

Once I arrive, I've got to worry about getting a Wyoming driver's license. ($20.) I've then got to insure my truck in Wyoming. (I dunno how much that'll cost yet.) I also have to transfer my truck title from Iowa to Wyoming, which means a trip to the cop-shop to verify my VIN number, and then to the county seat (thankfully, Thermop is the county seat of Hot Springs County), to do the deed. ($20.) And then I can get plates for my truck. ($96 is the estimate that I was provided from an online calculator. But this will be important for me: I'll get the famous Bucking Bronco logo plates!) Alright, at this point, I should have my truck sorted out, right? (Total cost: $136, plus whatever insurance costs.)

Then there is renter's insurance. I hear that's pretty reasonable -- if memory serves, probably $15 a month. Then I have to figure out if my mobile phone will work in Thermop. People tell me that Verizon is the best carrier there, but I've got Sprint. And I happen to be happy with Sprint. I roam for free, so hopefully I'll be able to use Verizon's towers -- and I don't use any advanced data services. Hell, I don't even text message. Ever.

But if I do have to drop Sprint, I will have to argue with them to let me get out of the remaining time on my contract -- it expires in November, 2008 -- without paying them to $200 early termination fee. I've heard that such a thing is possible, if it can be demonstrated that the current carrier doesn't offer reasonable service in the new locale.

Then there are utilities. Due to my housing situation, these should be fairly simple. I'll be renting half of a house and splitting the utilities 50/50 with the other two inhabitants. I just hope it isn't too lopsided. But the current resident tells me that his bills generally run from $80 - $150 a month on top of the $275 rent. I can live with that.

Well, I have much more to add, but my eyes are getting heavy and I have much packing to commence tomorrow. Shameless plug for comments: if you have any specific information about making an interstate move that I haven't written here, please let me know so I can hopefully avoid making any mistakes, and, if that isn't the case, incorporate your wisdom into my full checklist to come out sometime in January or February.

Cheers -- and I'll see you in Wyoming!

No comments: