Moving to a new city… (Part 4)

THE FINAL CHAPTER…

Finally!  Right? So where were we…?  Oh, yeah!

DAY 1:  I set out, heading east on the 105 freeway with LAX (Los Angeles Int’l Airport) in my rearview mirror, then Los Angeles itself.  My future life was on the horizon while I had three howling cats in my ears.  Ooof!

NevadaAbout an hour and a half into the trip, a familiar odor wafted through the air and slapped me, hard, across the face.  If you guessed that one of the kitties had used the “facilities,” you’d be right.  I thanked my lucky stars that I’d been so thorough in the set up of my cats  personal areas and travel arrangements.  Their living/lounging/play space being separate from their dining area and bathroom facilities was a master stroke of genius (or was it just what anyone would have done?) that was already paying dividends.  All I needed to do was crack the window from time to time to alleviate the magnificent aroma and all was good!  Or so I thought…

Las VegasBy the time I hit Las Vegas, I was feeling good about the time I was making and decided to delay making my first stop for gas, food, bathroom and stretching my legs for a little while longer.  By the time I got to the Nevada-Arizona border, the kitty poop smell was still flaunting itself and just as strong as before, so I decided to scoop the litter box and take care of my own potty needs, as well.

UtahImage the look on my face when all I saw in the litter box was some clumped up pee!  If I smell the poop, but it isn’t in the litter box, then it must be… Aw, CRAP! The question then becomes “where exactly is it?”  The process of discovery was nothing short of fantastic!

ArizonaIt ends up that all of the hissing and howling from the the first portion of the trip was the older cats, who have serious issues with one another (who’s the ALPHA?), ended up taking out their frustrations on each other and the little guy.  Muni (pronounced Moo-knee) was so affected by the bullying that he shat himself and in the scuffling that occurred after the fact had spread the mess not only to the area he was in, but to each of the other cats, who in turn helped to spread it throughout the “kitty paradise” I thought I’d established for them.  It turns out that it was simply and plainly…HELL ON FUR! (Or is that smell on fur?)

I spent half an hour removing as much poop from their fur as possible with baby wipes. Man, that sucked!  I cleaned their area as best as I could while they were within it (not easy or fun) and then got back on the road to salvage what I could of the day and get as far as I could before settling in for the night at some random hotel where the real work would take place.

(l-r) Nudge, Muni & Shiva... The morning after the "poop" incident.

Somewhere in Utah (Richfield, I think), I stopped for the night and did my best to clean everything and everyone.  Muni, the victim of the whole dust-up, hid in the bathtub and wouldn’t come out, not even for some one-on-one cuddling… Poor little guy!

DAY 2:  In the morning, after a little food and TV, we headed out and had another fun day of driving together, but with far less troubles than the first day. Boring.  Monotonous.  Painful.  Driving.  The only thing that made the drive halfway decent, was the scenery!  I’d never been to or through half of the states I had on my route to New York/New Jersey, my son and wife and our new life together.

UtahUtah was expansive, while Colorado was breathtaking on multiple levels. There’s nothing quite like driving through the Rocky Mountains.  The sun set behind the Rocky Mountains with Denver  in my rear-view mirror and Nebraska out in front of me, as well as the dark.  I stopped in a town that’s name is too cool not to tell you.  Say it with me…Ogallala!  OGALLALA!

DAY 3:  On a side-note, I lost my camera! The last place I could remember having it was at the Nebraska border where I’d stopped to take a picture of the “Welcome to Nebraska” sign.  I realized this an hour after leaving Ogallala, then drove all the way back to search the room, interrogate the housekeeper at the hotel, and I even considered going back to the welcome sign.  But ultimately, after losing so much time and effort, I finally gave up on it and headed east… 8^(

From here on out things got pretty boring on all fronts, until the next night when I got to Chicago.  I tried to see some of the town, but got lost trying to find my way there and wound up in a place NOBODY wants to be…trust me on that!  So I escaped across the border to Indiana and found refuge in yet another non-descript hotel room.  In reality, the hotel room (each and every one of them) was more for the cats than for me.  I can’t begin to imagine what it must have been like for them, despite having everything they needed, including each cat having opportunities for “private-time” with me along the way.

The Rocky Mountains

DAY 4:  By this time, I was so tired of driving that I was giving serious thought to trying to make it all the way to my family without another overnight stop… I mean, I was on the verge of losing my ever-lovin’ mind from all of the “quality” time I was spending with my cats, the road, and myself!  So I tried to push as far and as fast as I could (without getting a ticket!) and in the process, I nearly completely ran out of gas near Cleveland, OH.  I was incredibly tempted to stop and visit the Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame, but didn’t because of the cats.  I couldn’t have left them in the car while I went and enjoyed myself…plus, it’s illegal (I think)!

Sunset over the Rockies

I made it to Pennsylvania and was beginning to feel extremely tired and road-wary.  Remember my good friend Tony that I told you about (He helped me pack up the moving truck…I’ve known him since I was 6 years old)?  Well, his family is originally from St. Mary’s, Pennsylvania.  I figured that because I’d heard so much about them and the town, that it would be a crying shame to miss this once in a lifetime opportunity to meet these people I felt as though I already knew.  A phone call later and I had a destination…Dino’s Place.

I walked in, introduced myself as Tony’s friend from El Segundo, CA, and in an instant, Dino (Tony’s cousin) welcomed me with open arms and teated me like family.  It was more than I could have expected, yet, how I could have expected any less is completely beyond me!  I had a really nice evening and much needed relaxation time without the kitties.  The only bummer about St. Mary’s, PA and meeting Dino was that I couldn’t stay longer!

Most of my trip, as I said before, was through new territory for me, which was mostly exciting, but a little unsettling at the same time.  The people I met in St. Mary’s were really great! They were warm and friendly, hard-working and easy-going…the kind of people you try to surround yourself with no matter where you find yourself.

DAY 5:  I got up and out as early as I could muster and SPED the whole rest of the way to my family in New Jersey!  I made it through Pennsylvania and into Jersey without incident.  The last 5 miles felt like 25 miles…at least!  When I finally pulled up to the house, I thought I could hear my GPS sigh in relief before it fell off the windshield and into a heap on the floormat!

WE MADE IT!  The kitties and I were actually…home! It felt really good to be done with that drive and off the road.  The countryside was beautiful, boring, unexpected and dreadful.  It just depended on the day and state I was in.  Could I do it again?  Yeah, I think so.  Will I do it again?

I SURE HOPE NOT!

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