01 August 2008

Kings of the Road

Today we head north to Philadelphia, New Jersey, and New York for the last weekend of our farewell tour. We're driving up and leaving our car with Mike's dad, then taking the train home. It's going to be sad, leaving our car behind. It looks sad enough with New Jersey plates instead of California plates. But to not drive it again for two years? Oh, I'll miss our Subaru!

Last night we did some more shopping and made another trip to the storage unit. We were planning to hit Costco but found the majority of our list items at Home Depot. We had to stop at Home Depot to buy a charcoal grill (no propane in Burundi, apparently, plus the movers won't take the tank anyway) and they had all the pest control products we need, too. And let's grab a couple fire-proof document safes while we're there, too.

The drive from Home Depot to the storage unit is about five minutes, seven if you have to stop for lights. As we're driving along I noticed a funny smell in the car, but didn't say anything. It wasn't a bad smell, just a smell I hadn't smelled before in the car. As we were unloading our things we noticed some of the boxes were wet on the bottom. A bottle of pesticide had leaked from its top.

We are both quite proud of ourselves for how calmly we handled the situation. I opened the boxes and pulled out my clothes and fabrics. They hadn't been sitting in the wetness long enough for any damage to happen to the contents, but the boxes were ruined. We had some other boxes with enough room to stuff the clothes and fabrics into. We also have a rubber liner in the trunk of the car so could take it out and rinse it and let it dry while we were up in our storage unit. Crisis averted. (We are certainly not bringing that bottle of pesticide with us now; it can't be trusted. Some landscapers rent parking spaces at the storage unit and we gave the bottle to one of them.)

One of the chores we had to do at Costco was return a case of motor oil that we bought by mistake. But we didn't have the receipt so decided we'd wait until next week. Since we're not taking it to Burundi with us it's a chore that can be put off until after the packers come. So we grabbed some dinner and then came home. Mike grabbed the box from the back... and it was all wet. What? But the pesticide was in the wayback. The motor oil was right behind the passenger seat. Nothing else is wet.

Oil! We opened the box and the bottles were covered with oil. How did that happen? And when? Sigh. It doesn't really matter. We can't return it now. It's not the right kind of oil for our Subaru or our Burundi truck, which is why we were returning it in the first place. The box is all oily so we can't bring it up to our apartment. It's going to New Jersey with us. Someone we know in New Jersey must need a case of oil, or at least have a garage it can live in until it finds a home.

Time to get up and pack for the weekend. I really want this trip to be as uneventful as possible.


Cara Lopez Lee said...

Just found your blog through Goodreads, Stephanie, and was eager to read about an entire year of adventure living in Africa. I spent 7 weeks in Tanzania, Zanzibar and Malawi, and people thought THAT was a long time. (To me it wasn't.) I'm so envious, but vicarious will have to do: I've decided to read your posts in order, a trickle at a time, so I can get a picture of the whole adventure.

I'm glad you decided to start with the preparations. I have a couple of friends who are going to be traveling the U.S. in an RV, starting later this month. I've been trying to convince them to start their blog now, because I think travelers like to know how other people prep.

I empathized with you over discovering two smelly leaks in a row! So, the adventure begins before the trip. Reminds me of what writer Tim Cahill says, "An adventure is simply physical and emotional discomfort recollected in tranquility." I remember what a pain it was carrying cooking gas in Tanzania, so I could cook on Mount Meru. I was always worried it would leak. It didn't, but by the end of my trip, a lot of my stuff smelled like white gas, even though I put the bottle in a plastic baggie. Still, the memory of that smell makes me smile, as if it is somehow an essence of my trek: "eau de Meru"!

Stephanie said...

Thanks for reading Cara! I hope you enjoy. Since we're in the neighborhood, we spent two weeks in Tanzania climbing Kilimanjaro and then going on safari a few months ago. You'll get to those posts eventually. :)


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