It Happened One Night…

Oh, my, it’s been well over a month since I last posted. And that was the one about selling our house in Florida and buying a new home in north Georgia. What a whirlwind life has been since that time. The first half of December was taken up with clearing out and packing up our Florida home. There is no way we could have come close to our deadline to be out on the morning of the 16th if my dear sweet sister-in-law had not helped us pack. I really miss her! We lived in that house for 20 years and I’m the first to say, it was hard to give it up. But all good things come to an end. Well, maybe good things don’t always come to an end but they very often change to the unexpected. So before I get into what it’s like living here in the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, I thought I’d share our last day in Florida and the [nightmare] trip to Georgia!

We had to be out by 1:00 p.m. on the 16th of December so the buyer’s realtor could do the final walk through before the closing. Of course, our plan had been to be on the road by about 8:00 a.m.  One of my dearest friends (and one who was extremely hard to leave behind) was a tremendous help in assisting us in getting rid of so much stuff. Of course, half of it we now know is stuff we’re replacing because we didn’t think we’d need it. HA! But that’s okay. My friend runs a charity and helps a lot of people so that’s a good thing.

Well, let’s see if I can put the thrill, the fear, the excitement, the surprise, etc. into actual words…

Anyway, about 1:00 p.m. we had hubby’s pickup filled to the hilt in the back. I had five crated cats (among other stuff) and he had two crated cats and the dog inside his truck. The back of his pickup was full and piled up. We lined the truck bed and covered everything with a very heavy plastic tarp to protect the stuff from the elements. It was time. Oh, dear, was I really ready for this? My biggest fear at the moment was trying to figure out how to get to north Georgia without going through Atlanta again. But I get ahead…

We had a good plan. Yes, we were driving our two vehicles but we would not be alone. We hooked up our iPhones to the chargers in each vehicle and kept the phone line open with the speakers on. Yep, we were alone in the cars together. So, off we go on our new adventure. Or so we thought. A few miles down the road, heading to I75, I noticed that the plastic tarp was already coming loose on the truck (Tom was the lead driver). So we pulled into the Super Target along the way so he could get some real heavy duty tape to fasten it down even more. We parked a ways from the store out in the parking lot. It was hot (naturally), somewhere in the 80s. I was parked right behind him. I stayed with the vehicles while Tom went in the store. We left our cars running for the air conditioners would keep the animals cool. He was gone only a short time. I was sitting in my car watching him go from side to side of his truck. Then he tells me that his truck is locked and the keys are in the ignition. HOW CAN THAT BE? What do we do now. Of course we have spare keys to the vehicles. Do you think we’re nuts? Well, maybe just a bit. Because WE HAVE NO IDEA WHERE THE KEYS ARE. They’re packed somewhere. I thought I knew and thought we could get to them. So we ripped open a couple of things. Nope. Out of options. We ended up placing an emergency call for a locksmith. Yep, nice beginning, huh? After waiting a bit, the locksmith appears. He’s not surprised when he looks at the truck. He said he knows exactly how it got locked.


Looks real innocent, right? Turns out (and it never occurred to us) that Pippin got excited about being left alone in the truck and stood up on the door and pushed the lock down. And, yes, he was harnessed and seatbelted but he could still move around a bit. Oh, if we could only teach them to undo certain things. Well, it took the locksmith about one minute to get the door open and $65.00 later we’re back on the road — over two hours later. It’s now about 4:00 p.m. That’s about when we had anticipated being through Atlanta. Yep, our plans had been to be on the road by 8:00 a.m. or thereabouts.

Let me back up a bit. I had been worried about where on earth we were going to stay when we got to north Georgia since we have seven cats and one dog. The closing on our new house wasn’t scheduled until the 17th. I couldn’t let the cats out of the crates along the way. I’d be terrified someone would scoot. I was so stressed because the owners of the Georgia home said we couldn’t stay in the empty house before the closing. That meant we had no place to go. No hotel (or person for that matter) would welcome in two people with eight animals. At this point, let me sing the praises of both our realtors — the listing agent of our Florida home, Geoff Coggin, and our agent in Blairsville, Jimmy Camp, who split the cost of a cabin for us in Blairsville so we would have a place to go. Jimmy Camp rented a cabin for us for two nights so I could stop stressing (at least about that!). But all in good time. Let me get back on the road…

All was going well. Okay, we were already tired but at least we were on the road. Only about eight or nine hours to go. As we headed north, lo and behold, it began raining.  Then it poured. And just to jump ahead in the story, it never stopped storming all the way up. Lovely. But we kept each other company via our phones. They were a God-send. We just didn’t feel so alone on this trip. Because we were so tired, we decided to take a few minute stretch at each rest stop. We walked Pippin but my poor kitties (who, by the way, were angels who had no accidents the entire trip — but I would have completely understood if they had) were kept in their new crates.

About 9:00 p.m. or so we stopped somewhere in south Georgia to grab something to eat. I think it might have been around Tifton or thereabouts. We got a couple of yucky burgers from a Burger King and ate standing by the cars (the rain had let up temporarily). I wasn’t about to leave my babies alone. Then we headed on again.

Finally, sometime between 11:00 and midnight, we decided to stop at a rest stop. It might have been the last one before Atlanta. Yep, we’re still not there yet. We were exhausted so we decided to try to take a cat-nap (pun intended) for about 30-45 minutes. I was able to rest my eyes a bit but I just really can’t sleep like that. I’m not a sound sleeper anyway. I had set the alarm for 45 minutes and woke Tom up. Poor guy. He suggested we stop somewhere for the night but I told him that nobody would rent us a room. Besides we were now (supposedly) not more than two or three hours away from our destination. We’ve come this far, let’s keep plodding along. So, once again, back on the freeway.

Well, we picked up the rain again outside of Atlanta. Of course, we did. And, so, on we drove for another hour or more. And guess what two extremely exhausted people did. In Atlanta, the freeway splits between I75 and I85. Well, we missed the I75 exit we were supposed to be on so we stayed on I85. Well, why not? They both would get us where we’re going. And maybe we could avoid all that Atlanta traffic. Wait! What Atlanta traffic? To the best of my recollection, it’s now about 2:00-3:00 a.m. There’s hardly any traffic. It would have been a piece of cake. And Blairsville is only about two hours from Atlanta — if you stay on I75 through it. Well, well, well.  We pulled off and looked at the GPS. Hmmm, seems we could still get there by taking the I85 route. It might be just a little bit longer. But we certainly didn’t want to try and backtrack.  Not at this time of the morning. All we could think of was that little cabin waiting for our arrival…

And the rain was coming down again. Keep plugging, we’ll get there. I now know why most people don’t take that route to get to Blairsville. You leave the freeway. It becomes two lanes (not bad traffic at all at 4:00 in the morning). BUT, and that is definitely a big BUT, those two lanes are tiny, winding and straight up the mountain. Oh, heaven help us. And the rains weren’t the least bit helpful. We could see drop-offs going around the curves (with no barriers, mind you). We were only able to progress at about 35-40 miles per hour and sometimes that felt like we were speeding. I believe I almost lost Tom at one point. I knew he was tired but there was a curve coming up and he wasn’t turning. I screamed into the phone. Luckily, he heard my scream and came back to life. Scared us both. In all honesty, the drive up was an absolute nightmare. I don’t see either one of us driving back down to Florida ever again if it means we have to drive back up through Atlanta again. I’ve lived in some pretty big cities — Phoenix, Dallas, Orlando — and I’ve driven through Los Angeles before but I’m not sure anything would be as bad as the Atlanta traffic.

Well, we finally made it to the cabin at 7:00 a.m. (To this day, we’re still trying to figure out why it took us so long.) It had been left open for us and a light left on. It was fabulous. I would highly recommend the Alpine Cabins in Blairsville! We got all the animals inside and, needless to say, they were a bit freaked. I’m sure they were feeling our stress and it wasn’t helping them cope in the least.  You would think I would have slept like a log. Couldn’t do it. Too wound up I guess.  So, I tried relaxing a bit and tried to calm down the cats. No sleep would come for me while Tom was peacefully snoring away! Anyway, that afternoon we finally attended our closing. The house was ours and we were finally mortgage free. What an amazing feeling. Or it would be when I started feeling anything again. By the time we left the closing, I had been up for 38 hours without sleep. I couldn’t tell. I must have gotten my second wind but I could tell my brain wasn’t running on all cylinders. Instead of trying to move into the house that night with no furniture, we went back to that little cabin. I felt like I could finally relax — except for stressing about the cats and the potential havoc they could wreak if they wanted to. But they were so good. Probably as traumatized as me. The best part of the cabin?


They had a big spa tub in the bedroom that I immediately put to use. FABULOUS! I want one. I was finally so relaxed. Got out of there, got my book, and sat in a most comfortable chair by the fire. I finally got some sleep that night, albeit broken up by episodes of cats.

The next morning we loaded up the animals and headed over to our new home to meet the movers.  More to follow!


55 comments on “It Happened One Night…

  1. becca givens says:

    OMG — what a journey!!! Now it is time to take a nice deep breath!! A+ Realtor!!

    Happy New Year!! 😀

  2. Sandy McLaws says:

    Whew! It sounds like Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride to me!

  3. GP Cox says:

    You two are survivors!!

  4. So incredibly happy you are safe and sound, all of you!!! Xo Johanna

  5. When you are settled and loving your new adventure, you will certainly have those memories to recall in years to come. Happy days ahead for you in the New Year.

  6. “Life is like a box of chocolates, you just never know what your going to get”.

  7. John Greco says:

    That is one heck of a story! Hope you are getting settled in. When we moved from Georgia (Alpharetta) to Florida (Tampa) we had five cats and one dog. We fortunately had a temporary corporate apartment where we were able to stay over night until the closing on our house the next day.

  8. Good heavens, child, what a trip!! I hope you are now safe and sound in your new home, with all the fur-gang settled in. Warmest wishes for happiness in your new house!!

  9. […] mail last month – while she was moving to GA – and that “wow’d me” (thanks so much L) While showing you some little birdies – and while on this upbeat topic that Debbie put out […]

  10. prior2001 says:

    ooh love that spa picture and ending with that image was great – but whew what a trip!!!! be back later and thanks again for the “stuff” – love ya so much – ttys

  11. You poor thing! Congratulations on making it through with all your furry friends! Hope you unwind and settle in to your new digs quickly. We’ve taken 285 around Atlanta a few times coming up from FL to TN/NC (avoiding rush hours) and it was busy but not extreme. Only once did we go right through downtown Atlanta, and yes, that was a definite nightmare. Worst part is arriving after dark to places up there because of those mountains, cliffs, and windy roads that often lack good signage. Thank heavens you arrived in one piece! Please don’t do that again!!! 😉

    • I would say that I’d guarantee it will NEVER happen again but I’m afraid I learned my lesson on that one! Let’s just say I will do all I can to avoid Atlanta in the future! If we do ever have to go through there again, it’s pretty certain that we’ll be routing ourselves on that 285! We haven’t done a whole lot of night driving since we got up here. I think I had my fill coming up through Dahlonega at night in the rain! Heck, I won’t even attempt my driveway now when it’s snowing or it rains at freezing temps or below! HA! I’ve definitely become part bear — I’ve taken to hibernating! 😛

  12. dawnkinster says:

    Glad it all worked out in the end. Bad trip though. Never like driving in the rain at night..especially not in mountains!

  13. Joanne says:

    After all that, I’m so glad it has all worked out and you all arrived safely, and guess what? You aren’t the only one who packed keys, I actually packed ALL my keys! It didn’t dawn on me as I rushed around putting the last things into boxes as the movers loaded our gear that the key jar contained our ACTUAL keys… oops. Fortunately by the grace of confusion alone, when I’d raced out that morning to the bank for settlement on the house we were moving into the following day, I’d left my car keys in my jacket pocket, phew! And although all the house keys were packed, Girl Child found her house key (the first time in a year I do believe) in the bottom of her handbag. That was something at least, lol!

    • There are definitely unexpected blessings! I had been offline for a bit and didn’t know you were moving, too! We’ve still got a few more boxes but we’re not rushing. I’m in the process of trying to figure out what new living room furniture I want! Yummy frustrations! Hope you’re getting all settled into your new house. 😀

      • Joanne says:

        Our move was very sudden. Although it was a planned moved, it had to be brought forward a month leaving me only 10 days to pack. Certainly took the romance out of it that’s for sure. There was no second guessing, it was either packed or gone. And I feel your frustrations, our living room furniture is on order and I can honestly say, it was so much MORE fun looking when I couldn’t buy to when I actually could, lol! 😅

        • I know what you mean. Our closing date was moved up so it was a scramble. I hear you on the furniture. We haven’t even decided yet. It’s like, I know once the decision is made that’s it for a long time so it better be right! HA! I like too many different styles! LOL!

  14. Sue Slaght says:

    Linda oh my goodness what a trip! My hands were sweating especially when your husband almost missed the curve. Congrats on your new home and mortgage free life. I hope moving in is going well. Xo

    • Oh, Sue, I can’t imagine anything scaring you after all your adventures! I still have nightmares! We’re getting settled. Still have a few boxes left to open and surprise ourselves but all in good time! 😀

  15. Marian Phillips says:

    What a trip! I have a friend that had an anxiety attack while going through Atlanta. Her husband couldn’t understand what was wrong with her when she kept saying she couldn’t breath, so he took her to the nearest hospital only to find out it was stress from the traffic and drivers of the City of Atlanta. I’m glad everything worked out for you guys. I’ll always remember your sweet Relief Society lessons.

    • Well, I have to say that I don’t doubt that for a heartbeat. I feel like I was on the verge of one. It was truly an absolute nightmare for us. I’m glad your friend was okay but those anxiety attacks are serious. That’s so sweet of you to say about my RS lessons. Thank you so much. 😀 ❤

  16. What an ordeal. But it sounds like all is well that ends well. Moving is never easy, but with pets too, makes it harder. Looking forward to next post.

  17. good to hear from you again and what a journey!! Thanks for sharing it – I could feel your exhaustion and final joy to arrive. What a great gesture from your realtors with that cabin – and all your pets omg!! Good for you!! Now enjoy!!

    • Thanks so much, Hannah! It’s a trip that won’t soon be forgotten yet, hopefully, never repeated! 😀 If I had the proper winter clothes, I’d run outside now and play in the snow even though I’m not a winter person! We had snow all night and it’s still snowing so we’re trying to stay warm under this white blanket of ice crystals! I’m just happy I’m sitting in here all toasty while looking out at the beauty and cold! We’re in till it melts cause we can’t get down the drive or out our country mountain road!

  18. DG MARYOGA says:

    Hi my sweet friend Linda!Happy,Healthy and Prosperous New Year for you and your family,”the seven furry-kids included” 🙂 OM,om,what an adventurous and episodic journey!I was holding my breath while reading all incidents you described so vividly.All’s well that ends well,and I am really glad to know that you’re safe at your new home now.Hope the “kids” have started already exploring the new area and especially the cats.Dogs adjust themselves quickly provided they are with their “parents”.Wishing you the best of best in your new home 🙂 Hugs, Doda ❤ xxx
    PS:I was away from WP during our Christmas holidays and I am far behind.I try hard to catch up 😦

    • Thank you so much, dear Doda! So happy to be back and to have you back. I’ve missed all my blogging friends! It was an ordeal I hope never to repeat. But I must admit that, as time passes, it’s more fun to tell! HA! Pippin is adjusting well; he’s just a bit more “clingy” than usual. The kitties are all doing well now. I’m having a catio prepared for them so they can go outside none of us can barely wait until it’s done! Of course, there will be pictures! Here’s to a fabulous 2016! Love and hugs! 😀 ❤

      • DG MARYOGA says:

        Pippin feels more secure near you after the ordeal.The catio sounds great for the cats and for you to know that they are almost free and safe there.Thanks for your wishes,dear friend!Can’t wait for the pics 🙂 xxx

  19. It’s funny; I read your post about the snow first, and I didn’t know where you lived, but I kept wondering if you might be in North Georgia with all the temperature changes you spoke of. You and I live about two hours apart. I live north of Atlanta off I85, and you are right, you can get to Blairsville from here, and YES, those are some crazy windy roads! 😉
    Btw, If you haven’t tried it yet, you might like Mike’s Seafood restaurant there in Blairsville. Being a native of Florida, I can’t say their seafood is as good as home, but it is really good, and the restaurant has a great dockside feel. There is also a great Italian place called Michaelee’s. I actually wrote about it in one of my recent posts: Tuesday’s Treats…yes, we frequently visit up your way. We love the Hiawassee/Blairsville area. If you would like any restaurant or site seeing help of the area, just let me know! 😊

    • Hmm, what’s with all these Floridians moving to Georgia? LOL! Hey, thanks for the restaurant recommendations. They sound great. I was looking at them online and they’re both getting rave reviews pretty much across the board. I appreciate your offer of info on restaurants and sites. I imagine I’ll take you up on that when it gets a little closer to springtime! We haven’t even been to Hiawassee or Helen yet. But we just got here two months ago in the dead of winter! Maybe one of these days we can even meet when you’re up here!

  20. Heartafire says:

    Such a lovely journey, I am a Miami native, also lived in Daytona Beach, a frequent visitor of Thomasville where I have friends who have a pecan orchard (too cool) and 3 Mastiffs. Love that little cutie dog of yours. I have a Boston, he’s adorable too. lol. Happy landing!

    • I’m still missing my Florida home and friends but I’m excited about this new adventure. Oh, I adore Bostons too. First dog I ever had (at age 3) and we had another up until a few years ago when he passed away with cancer. They’re all on my blog!

  21. Mustang.Koji says:

    Linda, don’t know what to say! OMG, all those pets inside two vehicles and in rain! But you are on your new adventure albeit sad to leave such good friends. My best wishes for your new friends – the four legged kind!

  22. Paula says:

    My visit here is long overdue but my January was almost as stressful as yours. You guys took a big leap of fate, and I am so glad it all turned out well. (i can hardly imagine cats behaving like angels 😀 or that innocent looking Pippin causing such trouble 🙂 )

    • Not to worry, Paula. I fell so far behind, I’m just going to have to go forward from here! And I suppose we could repeat the old adage, “never judge a book by its cover”! LOL!

  23. I was reading through some of your old posts when you mentioned a Florida to Mountains move. Funny, when we lived in Naples (I’m a rare native) we owned two different cabins and eventually some land in Blairsville. We went the way of avoiding Atlanta only once, and that was more than enough for me!! I have lots of great memories from our summers there. I am in the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia and while I don’t miss Florida heat when I travel back, after 2 1/2 years I’m still not in love with winters here! 🙂

    • A Florida native is rare, indeed! LOL! I’m loving it here in North Georgia. I think our range is also the Blue Ridge Mountains. Like you, I’m not missing the Florida heat (I actually thought I would) and I doubt very much whether I will ever be a fan of winter! Never have been so why start now! 😀

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