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Moving Day(s)


Shipping Container Moving to Hawaii is not cheap.  I figured about $10,000 total for all moving expenses.  That's about as cheap as I could get it and only if we did all the work ourselves.  Moving is lots and lots of work.  The logistics alone can be overwhelming and the physical labor is not for the faint of heart.

We decided to take both of our cars.  It cost about $1000 to ship a vehicle to Hawaii.  We shipped Valerie's station wagon early so it would be ready when we got there.  I had to drive it down to the port of Long Beach.  It would have been fairly straightforward except there is this annoying little rule that nobody can ship a vehicle unless it has less than 1/4 tank of gas.  When I left Santa Clarita the car had about 1/2 tank of gas.  Since the drive to Long Beach can easily take two hours I figured I'd be well below 1/4 tank by the time I got there.  I never realized how fuel efficient that little station wagon can be.  I spent the entire afternoon driving around the port of Long Beach trying to burn off the extra gas (no, I wasn't smart enough to bring a siphon with me and they wouldn't loan me one either).  At one point, I found a cloverleaf intersection and drove around it a few dozen times.  With that many right turns in a row all the gas in the tank sloshed to the left and the needle read empty but as soon as I straightened out and headed back to the port the needle would shoot right back up to where it had started.  It was nearly dark before I finally got that needle to just barely kiss the 1/4 mark.  Of course by then the day shift had all gone home and I had to wait for the night shift to come on duty.  Once I finally got them to take the car, my next challenge was to get home.  I rode a bus, two trains and a three mile hike.  It was a very long day.  Luckily I learned from my mistakes and dropping off the truck went much smoother.

Packing The easiest way to move to Hawaii is to hire someone to do everything for you.  The cheapest way is to do everything yourself, shipping your household goods directly through one of the two shipping companies, Matson or Horizon Lines.  It costs about $3000 for a 20 foot shipping container.  As you can see in the picture above, it shows up on a truck bed about four feet off the ground.  No ramp, boxes or equipment is provided.  They provide the container but it's up to you to get all your stuff into it.  We were told that a 2000 square foot house like ours would require a 40 foot container which would cost $6000.  We decided to try to cram all our stuff into a 20 foot container.  It did finally fit, but just barely.  We had sold off as much stuff as we could ahead of time (including my motorcycle which is good because there's no way it would have fit, even if I had figured out how to get it four feet off the ground and into the container).  I also made at least a half dozen trips to the local Goodwill and whatever they wouldn't take went to the dump.

Loading all our stuff took three days of hard work but we did it.  By the time we were done there wasn't more than a few square inches of empty space anywhere in that container.  I used every nook and cranny, repacking parts of it a couple times.  We did have to leave a couple items behind.  Our rusty old barbeque didn't make the cut.  Neither did my hydraulic desk (Valerie was glad to see it go) nor Valerie's garden workbench (I promised to build her another one).

Saying goodbye to all our friends and neighbors wasn't easy.  It was a dark and storm night.  Figuratively and literally.  I don't think we could have left except that it was too late to change our minds now.

Teela Mercedes Once moved out of our old house we drove up to San Jose to drop off the pets with relatives.  Hawaii has very strict rabies quarantine laws.  Even though there hasn't been a domestic case of rabies in over 50 years and even if an animal did have rabies it would be obvious within a couple days, Hawaii still demands on a four month quarantine.  In dog years that's forever.  Luckily, in 2003, Hawaii "relaxed" the rules to allow the quarantine period to be performed outside Hawaii.  So assuming we have all the shots, tests and paperwork in order, the pets should be qualified to enter Hawaii a few months after we do.  By then it will have cost nearly $1000 per pet in airfare and vet bills.  We have two cats and a dog.  You have to really like your pets if you want to bring them to Hawaii.  Either that or have two little girls that you can't say no to.

Moving is expensive and hard work, but hopefully it would all prove to be worth it.  It better work out because Valerie made me promise that we would never move again.




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