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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Made It To California

What a trip!!  I never want to do that trip again. Although you never know, after I've rested, and gotten back to, or close to, normal, you never know. I've got a friend that does it on the spur of the moment. Both my parents and my brother did it several times. Maybe it'd be different not driving a truck, hauling a trailer, in mid winter.
I thought it'd get warmer and the weather would be nice as I went south. But those who watch the weather channel, or those who live between New York State and say Dallas, know what a bear the weather was between Jan 7 and 14. I swear the winter was following me, showing me what to expect if I ever came back. It was cold, it was snowing, the roads were icy. Of course living in NYS for so long had equiped me for dealing with it, and truthfully by NYS standards it was almost laughable, an inch or two of snow, and some slick roads. BUT it wasn't funny to the people that lived there, they didn't have a clue how to drive in it, they weren't equipped to deal with it. I heard on the news that one county down there had one, yes one, snowplow, for the whole county.  Not to mention I was driving a truck, hauling a trailer. So I took my time, drove slower than neccesary sometimes, and stopped overnight until I was almost out of Texas. Of course it wasn't all due to the weather, I lost my taillights the first day out, which made it neccesary to stop at night too.
I left NY on 1/7 and finally got to Ranger Texas on the 12th, I left Ranger about 7am on the 13th, and had a bright idea. The trailer was due back at Uhaul on the 14th, I had about 1300 miles to go, and it was Thursday. I stopped at a Walmart, and a Tractor Supply, and bought two 6 volt flashlights, some red paint and the stuff to attach them to the rear of the trailer, voila' taillights....  I should say, the weather had turned around and was fantastic too, sunny, blue sky and dry roads. I was driving 65-70mph most of the way.  Thursday night, I also lost all turn signals and emergency flashers. So now I drove the rest of the way, no taillights, no turn signals, no emergency flashers, just two flashlights with lenses painted red for taillights. To make a long story short I drove 31 hours, arriving safely in Fullerton CA about 1:30pm Friday the 14th.
After doing a couple errands, I drove to the storage center I'd reserved long distance, and unloaded the trailer, it had so much crammed in that it nearly filled a 10x15 space. Then I got the trailer to Uhaul, and turned it in, on time...
Then I took the truck and drove around looking for a motel, I was exausted and in desperate need of a shower. It was dark, I had no taillights or turn signals, and although there'd been a motel or several at almost every exit from NY to Calif, suddenly I found none. Finally going south on Beach Blvd in Buena Park I spotted something called the Covered Wagon on a side street, so I went around the block. I passed a house with 3 or 4 police cars and was very aware of my lack of lights, but figured they were busy enough they wouldn't notice me. Finally I turned right and was driving down a street, seeing the Covered Wagon sign ahead, when who pulls up next to me? A Buena Park cop, I saw him look at the back of the truck in the mirror, then he pulled up and looked at me, I slowed down and turned in to what I thought was the Covered Wagon place, and the cop pulled off. I was actually in a Super 8 motel, but didn't realize it until the next day. I registered, took a shower, badly needed, and got much needed sleep.
The next day I rented a Camry from a car rental place across from Disneyland on Harbor Blvd. When the guy came to pick me up to go back and do the paperwork, he asked why I was here.  I explained that I sold Rascal scooters to VA hospitals, and had come out to take over a territory. He mentioned that he had seen several scooters that a company down the street rented to tourists tip over in the crosswalk. I immediately started telling him about our new three wheeler and that so far it was impossible to tip. To make a long story short, he was the owner of the rental co. and told me he'd be interested in buying some scooters, to rent out. In addition he referred me to the owner of the other company, a medical supply company, currently buying and renting Prides.
I spent the rest of the week, looking for and buying a vehicle and an office. I looked at several vans and dozens of warehouse office combos, buying or renting none, either not right or too expensive. But finally on Friday, I bought an Escort to get me around until I need a van, the price and 25 mpg made it very attractive, and it was in excellent condition too. The same day I rented an office in Fullerton, no warehouse, just an office. But again it was priced right and will work until sales volume says I need a bigger space.  
So here I am now, on my 8th day in Calif. getting ready to empty the truck, and set up the office. Then I start making sales and moving Rascals, also I found out on Friday that Disneyland has and rents scooters, and I'm sure safety is important to them too.

Lee Murray

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