Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Oh my god, it's finally over. I am out of LA. This is it. I never have to go back!!

My plan to use my Dodge truck to carry the few items remaining in LA as well as tow my Scout to Taos unravelled when I had my little forklift accident.

So instead I embarked on a highly uncertain adventure.... using my 1979 Scout to tow approximately 4500 pounds of robots, shelving, motorcycle and trailer from LA to Taos. And you know what... it made it! Barely.

There was something much more visceral and more adventurous about this trip than any of the others. Maybe it was the constant threat of a breakdown, or the lack of air-conditioning in the 100-degree desert heat, or the encounters with the nice folks at NAPA Auto Parts in both Kingman and Winslow, AZ where I performed repairs, or the 50 MPH average speed, or the actual breakdown in Flagstaff, or the super-cramped sleeping quarters in the back of the Scout, or the fact that I only slept for two of the first 38 hours of the trip... It was sort of like a dream and a hallucination and a tour of the auto supply stores of the Southwest all in one.

Before leaving LA I determined that the trailer hitch on the Scout was not sufficiently stiff to support the tongue weight of the trailer, so I devised the auxiliary support scenario seen in the bottom picture. I wrapped chain around the hitch and passed it over the tailgate door before fastening it to the roll bar. Worked great.

So now, finally, I can devote myself fully to being in Taos. Oh, except that Christina and I are going to San Francisco for our first joint art gallery opening on the 14th. This is the opening I mentioned way back at the beginning of the blog. We'll be back in Taos by the following weekend.....


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The loading of the truck did not go as planned.

I am now without a solid plan for how to get the remaining items to Taos.

My god this move has been difficult.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Every other stage of this move has been a colossal fucking pain in the ass, so I'm not really sure why I imagined this last phase would be any different.

However, I have at least learned a few things about the trucking industry.

First off, freight brokers for the commercial trucking industry are liars.

Secondly, to quote Christina (who had the unenviable job of trying to help me), trying to get a truck to go to New Mexico with non-containerized cargo is like trying to catch a cab in New York on Friday night in the rain while waving a gun around.

We spent most of the week in LA on the phone with the aforementioned freight brokers, several of whom promised us trucks by Friday. The routine was that they'd say they would call back with details, then they wouldn't call back. When we tried to reach them on the phone, they were usually at lunch. Whenever we were finally able to get them on the phone, they'd tell us that no truckers were wanting this load. (You see, the only thing the broker does is post on some web-based message board something like : "flatbed needed for machinery from Los Angeles to Taos, NM." Then it is up to the truckers to check in on this message board, and if they feel like taking the load, they call the broker.) We were strung along like this until Friday afternoon around 2PM, when all of a sudden we learned that the brokers had all gone home for the weekend!

So, I decided to rent a 24 foot flatbed and drive it myself. On the plus side, I now didn't have to depend on these lying freight pimps, and I could get going immediately. On the minus side, however, were the following factors: Christina and I would not be able to drive in the same vehicle; She would have to tow a trailer all the way back, which was something she had little experience with; the 24 foot truck would not carry everything.... hence my "last" trip would not be my last; and worst of all, for some reason one cannot rent a flatbed truck one way, only local.... so I would have to return the truck to LA. What a pain in the ass!

So off we went. Everything was fine until Sunday morning when the rental truck wouldn't start. Absolutely nothing happened when turning the key. So I crawled under the damn rental truck and started it by jumping the starter solenoid with my Leatherman. I've been starting it that way ever since.

The current plan is to load my Dodge truck onto the flatbed for the drive back to LA. I'm not really sure how to do that. Presuming I am able to get it on there, I'll unload it in LA and drive it back here to Taos with the last few things (which includes my International Scout, which I'll have to tow.)

Maybe that will be the last trip!

And, like I said.... what a pain in the ass.