Scott Foreman threw the truck into gear and headed up Powhatan Avenue. Riding shotgun was Anton Wilson, whom Foreman calls his copilot.
As they pulled away from Old Dominion's L.R. Hill Sports Complex, Wilson rifled through two coolers and spied half a dozen sandwiches, dozens of drinks and containers with barbecue and red beans and rice that Foreman had packed.
The heavy metal band Whitesnake blared on the stereo. "I like all kinds of music," Wilson said with a smile.
He'd better because Wilson and Foreman departed Tuesday on a 2,721-mile, 50-hour odyssey that will take them - and all the equipment that ODU needs to play a football game - through 12 states and across the Rocky Mountains to Idaho.
Foreman has been behind the wheel of the ODU equipment truck on every road trip since the Monarchs began playing football again in 2009 - including to College Park, Md., and Pittsburgh this season.
This time, he's embarking on the longest drive ever, to Lewiston, Idaho, where he will meet up with the Monarchs when they arrive via charter flight Friday afternoon. ODU and Idaho play at 5 p.m. Saturday in Moscow.
Equipment manager Dan Cornier and his staff did the packing: helmets, video equipment, pads, coaches uniforms, tape, Gatorade, a stationary bike, kicking nets, footballs and more than a dozen large boxes, called "coffins." They're filled with everything from drills to repair helmets to the communications equipment coaches use during the game.
Cornier eyed the truck wistfully as it headed toward Interstate 64.
The length of the haul "will be in the back of my mind until they get to Idaho," Cornier said.
That's in part because of "the Boise State incident" - what the accident last year is called by equipment managers everywhere. The Boise State equipment truck was being driven through New Mexico on its way to Hattiesburg, Miss., on Oct. 3, 2012, when a cow wandered into the road.
As Internet pictures confirm, neither the cow nor the truck fared well. The cow died. The front end of the truck was crushed, and Boise State had to rent a truck to finish the trip.
Foreman, who's been a truck driver for more than a decade, said he's not worried.
"Piece of cake," he said.
Well, not exactly. He and Wilson plan to drive non-stop to Idaho. Foreman was slated to be behind the wheel first, pulling an 11-hour shift that will end in Kentucky.
"From there, the ground is flat all the way to Denver," Foreman said. "It's an easy drive."
Wilson, meanwhile, was to sleep in the back seat of the truck until a little after midnight, then take over for his 11-hour shift.
They will continue the rotation until they hit Idaho. By Wednesday evening, they were north of Denver.
Sleeping will be a challenge. Unlike an 18-wheel, commercial truck, which often has a bed in the back of the cab, ODU's truck is in essence a large U-Haul. Sleeping on the back seat is akin to trying to grab shuteye in the back of the family station wagon.
The route will take them on I-64 to St. Louis, then onto Interstate 70 to Denver. From there, they were to veer north through Wyoming and head through Montana to Idaho. They will enjoy spectacular views of the Rocky Mountains.
Anyone who sees them will recognize the truck: It's covered with ODU football logos and boasts photos on both sides of cheerleaders leading the players onto the field.
"Move Like a Monarch," it says on the side.
That's because the truck is a moving van in real life, too. The truck isn't owned by ODU; it's leased from Aspinwall Allied Moving, a Virginia Beach company. Foreman, a Connecticut native, and Wilson, who graduated from Norfolk's Lake Taylor High School, are licensed truck drivers for Aspinwall.
Foreman moved ODU coach Bobby Wilder from Maine and athletic director Wood Selig from Bowling Green, Ky.
"We've been back and forth to California several times," Wilson said. "But this is the first time driving straight through without stopping."
If all goes well, they should be in Lewiston by 8 tonight (Eastern Standard Time), in plenty of time for ODU's charter flight Friday afternoon.
Cornier and his staff will fly with the team. After the truck is repacked at the end of the game, Wilson and Foreman will depart for Norfolk to complete the 5,442-mile round trip.
They are scheduled to arrive in Norfolk by midnight Monday night, in time for Cornier and his staff to pull an all-nighter, unloading the equipment, doing laundry and getting everything set up for an 8:15 a.m. practice.
ODU has extra helmets and shoes... but no extra pads.
"The drive back is what I'm more worried about," Cornier said. "If he doesn't make it in time, I guess we'll just go with helmets in practice."
No worries, Foreman said.
"It will be a grind," he said. "But we'll be back in time."
Harry Minium, 757-446-2371, email@example.com