Thursday, June 14, 2012

Life on the Road

I recently moved my whole life from Michigan to Wisconsin.  During this transition we drove back and forth about 4 times for job interviews, apartment showings, etc.  While travelling back and forth we found a couple things necessary for survival.

1) If you see the Oasis (a rest stop for all you Michiganders), STOP!  Driving on the tollway there was only 2 rest stops (where you didn't have to pay to get off then pay to get back on).  If you even remotely have to relieve yourself, I suggest you stop here.

2) Start looking for Gas stations when you only have 1/4th of a tank left.  That way you don't find yourself grabbing gas in a shady town (like Gary, IN).

3) If the exit says there is a gas station, but you can't see it, keep on truckin', there will be one at the next exit.  I found this one out the hard way.  I travelled 20 minutes out of my way (twice) in search for said gas station.  Never again!

4) Avoid driving through downtown Chicago unless you are going to Chicago

5) Google Navigation is great unless you don't want to take the exact route it suggests.  If you do research on your route using Google maps before you go, you can save the map route for later, but you can't access it via your phone so you might have to print it out.  If you wanna be really slick print the directions to PDF and upload it to Google Drive.  When your done with the trip, throw it out.

6) Be skeptical of the moving company estimates.  Moving companies are all cut throat (I won't name names, but they are out there).  They will all try to under bid each other and try to convince you the other companies are ran by the devil.  Be very careful about shuttle trucks.  Some companies include them in the estimate, some don't, but if you need one because the haller can't get in your apartment you will be paying about 600 more dollars on each side of the journey.  When you want your stuff might be important.  The hallers might have other people's stuff with yours.  If that is the case, you might have to wait a couple days in order for your things to arrive.  We went with Two Men and a Truck, they were awesome.  They didn't have a haller, just 2 guys, and a truck.  They didn't share the truck with another client, and it was still cheaper than the others.  Mostly due to no shuttle because it wasn't a semi.

7) Just because Google Navigation says that you can take the ferry whenever you want doesn't mean there will be a boat waiting for you at the dock. (more about this later)

8) Verify your GPS route before you start driving (otherwise #7 may happen).  This almost happened to my wife.  She typed in the coordinates and set off with our cats (that were both drugged up and in carriers).  About 20 minutes into her drive she realized she was headed to Muskegon to catch a ferry, she was all like "WTF mate".  She quickly found a better route, but if it was her first time driving there she would have had #7 happen to her.

9) If you are redirected in Google Navigation, your major route might have changed.  This seems like a bug in the software to me.  If i'm set on going a specific way, but I get off the road to grab a hot dog with chilli, onions, and stuff (mmm, that sounds sooo good) should my route change?  I wouldn't think so but I've seen it happen.  Steps to recreate: go somewhere that has alternate route, take the alternate route but before you get to the part where it is different make a pit stop somewhere.  The nav will redirect you to get back on the highway (like it should), but then when you continue on you are set back to the normal route and not the alternative like you requested.  Are you listening Google???

Overall, moving is stressful.  New jobs, house, state, etc...  Coordinating it could not have been done alone.  A big thanks goes out to my wife who helped me though it.  Couldn't have done it without ya :)

Fitness note:
Wisconsin has a shit load of hills!  Its crazy!  Running/biking is a lot harder here.  If you need some tips on running hills, here is my post on that.  I'm trying to bike more so I can work up to biking to/from work (which is 11.1 miles each way).  Wish me luck!

Does anyone have any good tips when travelling by car/plane/boat/superman?