Moving In, Moving Out

Sometime in the mid-90s when I was in grad school but before I and the woman I was married to bought a house, we had a friend’s son, a recent college graduate, come to stay with us for a while. We pointed him to a room and said he could stay there. When we looked into his room a short time later we were amazed at the transformation. I had forgotten that college kids are adept at quickly making a small place their own. I then recalled my own college days, when I drove Bessie, a 1972 Volkswagen bus (an older version of Walden, without the camping setup). With Bessie, I could transport a dorm room full of stuff. I even had a dresser that fit neatly in the back, once I had moved it into my new space, I was already unpacked.

Traveling in Walden, I try not to carry much that will not fit in Walden’s cabinets; the amount of stuff I carry in Walden is much less than the complement I carried in Bessie for a move to college or Camp. Now, even when I “move in” to a place for a week or more, I try to keep my impact on the environment minimal. I like to be able to move in and out in a minimum of time. When I was in Florida I got a little out of hand; somehow I ended up there with four guitars, three of them full-sized dreadnoughts. Before heading to Logan, I stashed a couple of guitars back in Birmingham.

For my first ten days in Logan, Utah, I had with an old friend from grad school (she and her husband were out of town for a week of that stay). This was long enough for me to unload a full complement of stuff. This includes, but is not limited to, a small desktop computer (set up as a music server) PA speakers, a guitar, clothes, two (or three) laptops, extraneous electronic gadgetry, a pair of gymnastics rings, and a 35 pound kettle bell (a pound short of a pood). It was time to make a move to another friend’s house, I realized that it was 9AM and that I had a meeting at 10:00. It was time to see if I could really make a full getaway in under an hour.

I almost made it. I forgot the rings and kettle bell, but other than that I pretty much collected all of my gear in under and hour. Here is everything staged to load into Walden.

Probably the most absurd thing that I consider “essential” are the huge speakers (my beloved K8s) and a duffel bag of cables, mics, and Mackie 802-VLZ3 mixer. More absurd is that under the back seat I also carry another small PA system (a Fishman SA220) that is sufficient for playing a small bar or good-sized coffee house. I have almost never used it, but am attached to the idea that at any minute I might need amplification for a guitar and mic. Plus, it fits so well under the seat.

Speaking of absurd, one of the things in the blue bag is a label maker. I have wanted it several times in the past six months and decided that it would make this leg of the trip. I have used it a few times and I am happy for it. For example, since I have two Acer laptops, I have two almost-matching power supplies. One is slightly smaller and is the one that I try to keep in my bag. The other stays at the house. Thanks to the label maker, I am now able to enforce this policy more easily.

My electronics bag is pretty well set up. It contains a Western Digital My Book, a 3TB hard drive that has an Ethernet port on it. I can plug this in to a router at my host’s domicile and have a little file server. The electronics bag also contains a couple portable hard drives, remote shutter release for my camera, my Squeezebox Touch (soon to get its own description in the Stuff I Love series), a spare memory card reader, plus miscellaneous cables and such. It might also contain my “big” laptop, that I bought in Portland when its predecessor’s screen was broken.

If you do not have one of those big Ikea bags made out of blue tarp material, you should consider picking one up if you find yourself in the Walmart of Sweden. The thing rolls up small, is strong, and holds lots of stuff. When making a quick trip into a house or motel, I can throw almost everything I need in and be on my way. On this particular day, it contains a small computer a set of sheets, random clothing that did not get packed in its appropriate place and I don’t know what all. On a good day I can put the hanging stuff on top of it and have it held in place by the handles, but it was too full for that. The shirts and jacket had to be toted on their own.

For the next move, I will endeavor to minimize the amount of random stuff in the Big Blue Bag.

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3 Responses to Moving In, Moving Out

  1. Maureen says:

    Always enjoy reading your blog. I don’t know how you deal with all that STUFF in your van though. I’m trying to get my storage unit set up like a closet so I can switch things out. Maureen

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