Hello and good day!
"With that trailer hitched to the back, you'll want to make sure you don't drive down any dead-end roads. You won't be able to put the truck in reverse," said the fellow working the desk at the U-Haul station.
My lovely wife and I had decided to move from San Diego, California to Issaquah, Washington. We'd packed up everything we owned, and we were heading out the next day.
Nery, my wife, is from a remote mountain town in the northern Peruvian Andes. It gets good and cold where she's from, it rains, and there are rivers and trees all over the place.
She never did take to living in Southern California. I'm originally from San Diego and I lived near the beach during my high school years, where there is a breeze and an ocean view.
But when I got older and had to start paying my own bills, we moved inland where it was cheaper to live. 15 minutes east of the ocean, San Diego is mostly barren desert.
After 8 years living together in San Diego, we learned that the sun was activating a debilitating skin condition in Nery, and we figured we better go somewhere that had cooler and fresher weather. We settled on the Pacific Northwest, and we decided to make the drive ourselves with all of our stuff packed in a U-Haul.
My parents came over to see us off and that was a sad moment. Saying goodbye to your parents and moving out of your hometown is heart wrenching. Nery did it too when she moved to the United States, and I was able to gain some insight into how she must have felt.
We started driving up the 5 north, which will take you the entire way from San Diego to Seattle. The journey took us through Los Angeles and then on through the entire central valley of California, one of the largest farming regions in the country. After the central valley, far into northern California, you start to see amazing forests with huge old ancient trees.
Then we crossed the border into Oregon and found out that there is no sales tax in the state of Oregon. Also, we learned that Oregon has a law requiring gas station attendants to pump your gas for you. You can't pump your own gas in most of Oregon. Isn't that peculiar?
We checked into a hotel in Oregon, and I made sure to park the U-Haul on a street with a throughway. In the lobby, I saw an Oregonian doing his job filling up a hotel vending machine. He had long bushy hair, a scraggly beard, and was wearing a t-shirt with the words "Oregon Mud Stumper" stenciled on the back. As we drove through Oregon, I realized that most of Oregon is not like Portland.
Most of Oregon appeared to be wooded country, populated by country folks driving pickup trucks. We crossed over the big, beautiful Columbia River, and drove three hours north to Issaquah, Washington.
We arrived in the evening and had a reservation at the Motel 8. Our new apartment wouldn't be ready until the next day. I misjudged where we were supposed to turn into the hotel and accidentally drove us into a dead-end parking lot in an office park.
There was no other option but to drive our car down off the trailer, unhitch the trailer and drag it out of the way, back the truck out onto the street to turn it around, then back the truck back into the parking lot, and re-hitch the trailer. We made the move in January after the new year, and it was about 30 degrees out.
Being a California surfer dude, I wasn't used to the cold, and didn't have any gloves. My hands went numb almost immediately. There was a patch of ice on the black asphalt that I didn't see, which made me slip and fall and bang my elbow on the ground pretty hard.But we got it all worked out. Next day we moved in, and I took the U-Haul back to a local U-Haul station.
Here is what I want to point out. This whole experience was very American. And it highlights another reason why I believe that America is still a very special and very free place and why that is unlikely to change any time soon.
An experience like this would be extremely unlikely and borderline impossible in Peru.
First off, there are no U-Hauls.
Second, if anybody moves anywhere, it is almost always from where they are from to Lima. The capital city is the destination for most transient people.
This is not the case in the United States. There are a ton of destinations in this country. For just about any type of cultural or political preference, there is a place suited to your unique outlook on life and there is nothing keeping you from going there anytime you want.
That is pretty amazing. Almost no other country in the world has as many states as we have here in the USA. Of course, to really do a comparison, you have to look at the political units in other countries that are analogous to our states.
China and Russia appear to be the only countries in the world that have more, and both employ top-down governmental structures in which states are wholly under the jurisdiction of the national government.
That is not the case in the United States. States are not merely administrative arms of the federal government, as they are in most other countries in the world.
States are supposed to carry out the vast majority of public services according to policies established by their own, independent legislatures, and policy varies dramatically from state to state.
The tenth amendment to the Constitution gives only limited rights to the federal government and every power not explicitly granted remains with state governments. If the federal government encroaches on state's rights, states can sue the federal government in court.
As a long time business owner, I can tell you that almost all laws governing business activity occur at the state and city level. All of this came about because our country was initially a collection of what amounted to small, independent countries, who decided to form a union for economic and military purposes.
But the states weren't willing to completely give up their independence and strictly limited how much power the national government would have over them. This is still in effect today and to my mind it is a darn near impregnable protection of freedom. If you find that your state is becoming oppressive or not to your taste in any way, you can always move somewhere else.
And it is almost an impossibility that the federal government would attempt to invade and occupy a state in order to enforce its mandates. The uniquely wide variety of places to live and this systematic check on the power of the national government are two more reasons why America, in 2023, has still got it.
Thank you so much for your time today.
I hope that you have a truly blessed day!
Follow us on Instagram - @fortunatonochocolate