military move8When you are making Military Move No. 8 you should be a pro, right? You’ve done it so many times that you should be getting better at it. Unfortunately this is not the case for us. It seems like we make the same simple mistakes each time, like not renting a big enough moving truck.

This has happened to us twice now. I’m not sure which time felt worse–the first time when we weren’t sure what to do or the second time when all we could think was, “Not Again”.

I wish I could say that this last move — No. 8, from Las Vegas to Portland, Oregon–went more smoothly than all the rest. It was going so well at the beginning. This time when we ran out of room in the truck we knew exactly what to do: Go rent the biggest trailer they have to pull behind the truck.

Can’t Start Early Enough for a Military Move

I had planned to leave with the kids two days early in hopes of getting things somewhat situated before Christmas day. I wanted to have at least a tree up and presents wrapped. My husband had to stay until he finished a class, but hoped to join us late afternoon on Christmas Eve.

I didn’t get on the road at 8 AM as I had hoped, but instead at 12:40 PM. I planned to drive from Las Vegas to Portland, Oregon, in one shot.

I so badly wanted to get the whole thing over with that I decided to take the shortest route time wise, straight up through Nevada until I hit the interstate in Idaho. I’ve driven this route to Idaho at least 20 times and felt comfortable with my choice. We were making great time.

Until I ran out of gas.

Yes, that’s right. For the first time in my life, I ran out of gas. It wasn’t a surprise. I had known for a good 40 miles that the tank was near empty. I had been driving against the wind all day and climbing in altitude. Instead of my minivan getting its usual 400+ miles to a tank, it ran out at 320 miles.

A full 19 miles south of the next town that has at least four gas stations.

Getting Help Isn’t Always Easy

I held off on having a good cry and instead called my insurance company. I have road-side assistance and I thought surely this would count.

I got through to my insurance company and was transferred to the 3rd party roadside assistance company where I was promptly given a message to call my insurance company and hung up on. Next, I called one of the gas stations in the town I was closest to and told them my problem. They referred me to a tow company.

An hour and a half later, I had five gallons of gas and a bill for $201 for their service. I then drove 19 miles into town to get gas with my window stuck down in 14 degree temperature. Did I mention that after I rolled down my window to sign the credit card slip for the 5 gallons of gas the window did not roll back up? I’m still not sure what’s wrong with the window, but we survived. We made it to the gas station and I managed to get the window up. I knew after losing so much time we were not going to make it to Oregon that day. Instead, I called around and found a military discount at a hotel along our route. The next day we arrived at our house safe and sound, filled with friends and even a few bagpipers!