Moving can be hard
Moving is different when the house is an old fashioned log cabin 6,700 feet above sea level in Montana. The drive way to the home is dirt, and steep. Moving companies are not interested, and so homeowners are on their own. That is OK, people who live in isolated log cabins are used to doing things on their own.
My parents’ log cabin often shelters bats as they migrate through the area. A few bats move in every summer and only leave as the weather cools off. Bats are tiny, and they can crawl in through cracks in the logs and gaps in the chinking. Whoever sleeps upstairs sleeps under a mosquito net for peace of mind.
Mom has several beautiful pieces of pottery. She picked one Navaho pot off of a shelf and took it to the sink to wash. Peeking into the vase she thought she could see some trash or an old dark sock, so she turned it over the trashcan. Four dead bats fell out. Another day mom pulled a wood plaque off of the wall, and a skeleton of a bat fell to the floor.
When the day came to pick up the moving van we had to drive almost 2 hours to the town of Ennis. The drive was beautiful, winding past ranches, lakes and tall mountains. Rain fell, the clouds moved among the trees. The road curved and climbed up mountain passes. We collected the van and ate supper before driving back another 2 hours to the cabin. The van climbed the dirt road without any trouble.
The next morning we loaded the moving truck in a light rain. Along with the usual boxes of dishes, books and small furniture we included climbing supplies, an ice ax and mountain bikes. Once the van was loaded dad drove it down into the valley and parked at a friends’ house. Even though the date was mid September snow was in the forecast. Early the next morning we woke to a white snow covered world. Clumps of snow rested on the fir branches, and covered the yard. Mom had to shovel snow off the porch and steps so we could load the pick up truck with paintings, fragile items and our suitcases. Once the snow stopped falling the sun came out, and reflected brightly.
On day 2 of our drive home we chose an often used shortcut across the Eastern part of Montana. Although a 2 lane road, many trucks follow this route as well. The drive passes through cattle farms and empty wide landscapes. We watched groups of pronghorn antelope standing in the fields and cows grazing on the wrong side of the fence, unconcerned about the traffic.
Then, we came to road construction. Instead of one side of the road being worked on, the road was simply gone. On both sides, all cars and trucks drove on rutted dirt pathways. We slowed to a crawl and bounced and banged and jostled our way across rocks, dirt piles and dried up mud holes. All I could think about was the boxes packed in the moving van. Did I wrap the drinking glasses well enough? Are the boxes stacked decently and tied off carefully? The dirt road continued, with long lines of transfer trucks crowding each other and the cars nearly off the sides. After 10 – 12 miles we finally drove back onto blacktop.
On day 4 the moving van broke down just as we pulled onto a highway filled with morning commuters and long distance truck drivers. The drive train fell off, bouncing on the concrete and sending sparks into the air. A tow truck was called and once again our packing skill was tested as the van was hooked up to the tow truck and lifted onto two wheels. A new moving van was backed up to the old one, and all our items were moved and repacked. All the boxes and items seemed to be in good shape.
On day 6 we pulled into the NC house and backed the U Haul to the front door. The first U Haul had been loaded in rain and snow. Now we unloaded on a hot southern afternoon. When we packed in Montana we saw foxes, mice and dead bats. Unloading we worked near soybean fields, feeling hot and sticky in the humidity.
I have moved many times but this trip with my parents was the most interesting. As they unpack the boxes and settle into their new home, I wonder if they will find any bat stowaways. Perhaps mom is already anticipating the new life without so much wildlife. She bought a figurine of a bat, and has it hanging in her breezeway.