Monday, June 30, 2008

Big Wall Nuts' Worst-Case Survival

Entry #1: How to get a cashier's check in under 24 hours

Here's the situation: it's 4:30 PM and you just found out that the $1300 security deposit you need to pay tomorrow morning has to be a money order or a cashier's check. You're 2000 miles away from the nearest branch of your (once) local credit union. They're on the east coast and are closed. You have $200 cash in pocket.

You quickly misread a Wikipedia page and think money orders only go up to $1000. You realize that most banks won't let you open an account without an in-state license or at least an in-state address.

Here's what to do:
  1. Look online to find a nearby bank that is open until 6 PM.

  2. Go to an ATM and take out $500.

  3. Have your wife take out $500.

  4. Take out another few hundred on a credit card (ouch).

  5. Walk into the bank half an hour before they close with an inch-stack of 20's in your hand.

  6. Explain that you want to open an account and get a cashier's check the next morning.

  7. IMPORTANT: Try not to look like a criminal!

So far so good. Now we need to see if the property management company will stick to their word tomorrow and let us move in.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Boulder Creek Path

We went for a nice run this morning.

This is our bear detour hike from yesterday.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

What Would Bear Grylls Do?


So I promised some more exciting stories and hopefully this will suffice...

Aside from apartment hunting and being completely exhausted, we have managed to do a few fun things in Boulder. Thursday night after we got in (and saw house #1 for rent) we went to Whole Foods for dinner. They have a great salad bar! Then we went to Neptune Mountaineering for a presentation on sacred mountains and glaciers of the Himalaya. It was somewhat interesting, but the presenter had a lot of great pictures.

Friday morning I went running through town. It was awesome to see the mountains every time I turned west. Friday night was our first visit to the Pearl Street Mall (open air mall with shops, restaurants, and performers--think Quincy Market area). We also had dinner at a Himalayan restaurant--good Indian and Nepalese cuisine.

So then comes Saturday morning. We thought we would go for a morning hike before doing work and apartment hunting related things. So, we picked out a good trail that went along the base of the Flatirons and Boulder Mountain Parks. The Mesa Trail is not terribly difficult, but it does connect Chautauqua Park to Eldorado Park 6.1 miles away. We hiked for about 2 hours going south until we got a good view of Devil's Thumb. We turned around and started walking back.

As we turned the corner at Bear Canyon we were 50 feet from a 300 pound black bear. So, we started walking backwards (never run away from a bear because they'll case you!) to get out of his way. We warned some other hikers that he was in the neighborhood and waited for a while with a man and his two young sons. Another party coming up from the trail told us that the bear was drinking at the creek and it was probably safe to pass him on the trail. So, we started walking back down the trail and there he was again, lumbering up the trail going for a stroll. Again, we walked backwards and got out of his (or her?) way. Not taking any chances, we opted for a side trail to avoid the area. When we got to a more main trail we saw a pick up truck with two rangers heading towards Bear Canyon. Hopefully they were just there to direct people around the bear, and not for a EMS mission. Our re-routing got us on a different trail and so we needed to go a round-about way back to the car. We ended up at NCAR and explored their lobby/museum. Five hours from the time we started, we returned to the trail head. We did take a moment to talk to the rangers and ask about the habits of black bears. Apparently in the fall they will actually make it to the parking lot or people's homes looking for food so they need to shoot them with rubber bullets or tranquilize them.

So, the question of the day, is what would Bear Grylls do? Would he just have backed up slowly? Would he have sprayed the bear with specially formulated bear spray? What do you think?

The Apartment Scenario

So many of you reading are probably wondering if we have somewhere to live. Well, the short answer is no. We're in a hotel and more than likely we'll be here for another couple of days. For the long answer, see below.

About a week ago we found a great place 2 blocks from Pearl Street (downtown) in a stand-alone 2-bedroom house. Our realtor looked at it and gave it her approval. So, we sent in applications, fees, and deposits. The credit check went through and it looked like we were all set...until last Thursday, that is. We were talking to our contact at the property management company confirming all the details when she said the move in date was July 6th. It had been advertised the whole time as July 1st so this was a problem. We got in touch with the actual owner and he said he would see if the tenants could move out earlier, etc., etc. By Monday we hadn't heard anything so we called the owner back. This time he told us it was available August 6th. Needless to say this is not going to work for us. So, we drove out here as fast as we could so we could start looking at the small selection of apartments available for immediate occupancy.

All day Friday we looked at places. We probably saw 8 places all over Boulder. None of the apartments really excited us. The last place we saw was in the best location (9 blocks from Pearl and in the heart of North Boulder) so we kind of jumped at it. In retrospect, that was probably not the best idea. Dan and I both woke up at 5:00 this morning thinking that we would never get our stuff to fit in a 900 square foot apartment (it is a strange layout as well). So after much debating I think we've decided to go with a bigger place further east and try to get our deposit back on the small place. Unfortunately, the management group for this place is not in the office at all on the weekend, so we will need to be at their office first thing Monday morning. And so the saga continues....

Thursday, June 26, 2008

We're Here

Well, we made it to Boulder. We're homeless and exhausted, but we're here. Hopefully there will be more to write about soon.

Oh, and Iowa blows...literally.


Overview map

According to the ABF tracking website, our stuff is in Dayton, OH.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tornado watch in Iowa

We have about 784 cubic feet of stuff.

Tuesday morning the truck was picked up. We did the final walk-through at 12 Walnut. Made the last 3 hotdogs that were in the freezer for lunch, finished the chocolate ice cream (had to eat it with our fingers because the spoons were packed). About noon we locked up the house and started driving.

We stopped in Binghamton to see Matt and Bobbi, their son Kieran, and their new baby boy Gabe. It was good to see them again, it's been a while! We had dinner at a good Italian place called Grande. Then back on the road until about midnight, stopped in Chautauqua, NY.

Wednesday morning we were back on the road by 9am. Got out of NY, into PA for a bit, straight through OH, IN, and IL. Entered IA. Most of eastern Iowa is flooded, there was a road by UIowa that we couldn't go down because it was under water. Stopped in Iowa city for dinner at Perkin's, then back on the road.

There were some amazing storm clouds and lots of lightening. We got to hear what the Emergency Broadcast System sounds like when it isn't just a test. There were tornado warnings in two or three counties north and northwest of us, and severe thunderstorm warnings just about everywhere, the radio said quarter-sized hail was possible. We heard one quarter bounce off the roof of the Echo, will have to check out what kind of a dent we have in the morning.

We expect to be in Boulder tomorrow in time for the talk at Neptune. Then Friday and Saturday we'll start looking for a place to live, since the place we were going to stay fell through... when I talked to the owner on Monday he basically said "Oops, did I say it would be available July 6th? I meant August 6th."

Sunday, June 22, 2008

It's Really Happening...

The house is empty, the truck is packed, and we're almost ready to go. Dan and I both need to go to work Monday and then it's off to Binghamton, NY Tuesday afternoon to see Matt, Bobbi, Kieran and Gabe.

We ordered an ABF truck Thursday afternoon and it was delivered to our driveway where it's been loaded up for the last three days. Doesn't Dan look like he's having fun?

Tonight we had a lot of friends over to say good bye. It was really fun to see everyone and eat pizza and drink beer. We have some many great friends here in Massachusetts that we're going to miss a lot. Hopefully they'll all come visit some day.

The next post will be from the road. Stay tuned...

Oh, I almost forgot to mention a hike we did a few weeks ago. For my birthday weekend Dan, John and I were supposed to go up to Maine to hike Mount Katahdin. Unfortunately, the weather was not cooperating so we decided to do a local hike Friday afternoon. We went to the Blue Hills Reservation and hike almost the entire Skyline Trail, for a total of about 16 miles in 6.25 hours (yes, we're crazy). John told us tonight that even his backpacking buddies think we're nuts (this is quite a compliment) so now we're really going to have to find the ultimate hike when John visits us in Boulder. Perhaps part of the Continental Divide or Longs Peak.