An overnight stop in Everett on Wednesday, though, cost her almost all of her worldly possessions.
She's still getting on that ferry to Alaska on Friday, even if she has to take a taxi, she said.
Shaulis, a 39-year-old registered nurse, took a job on an Indian reservation in Metlakatla, a small town on Annette Island southeast of Ketchikan.
"In my career, I was feeling like I needed to work with people who really needed my help," she said. "Working with the reservation, I could fulfill that need."
Shaulis was headed to Bellingham to catch the Alaska ferry when she stopped for the night in Everett. The drive through the mountains was exhausting, even if her two black Labradors, Max and Misty, loved the ride.
She parked the U-Haul, with her minivan on the trailer, outside the Best Western at 2800 Pacific Ave. She checked in the motel about 8:30 p.m. and went to bed.
She walked the dogs at midnight, and the U-Haul was there. They headed out for another walk at 7 a.m.
The U-Haul and the trailer were gone. Everything was gone.
The thief's image was captured on surveillance video. Everett police on Thursday distributed the video footage and surveillance stills in hopes of generating tips to get Shaulis' stuff back before she has to leave town.
The video shows a dark-colored Jeep Commander driving up to the U-Haul about 10 minutes before 7 a.m. A passenger jumps out, gets in the U-Haul and takes off.
Shaulis lived in Spanaway for a few years before she moved back to Illinois. She's on good terms with her ex-husband and his wife, who live in Tacoma, and they met her in Renton on Wednesday to catch up before she left the state. She hit rush-hour traffic on the way to Everett.
"I just wanted to go as far north as I could, but the rain is just killing me and I thought maybe I would just stop in Everett, thinking that would just be a good place to stop for the day," she said.
When she found her U-Haul and trailer missing, she checked with the front desk and called local towing companies. She thought maybe she forgot where she parked, or she'd parked in the wrong place.
"The cops just said, 'Wow, yeah, it was stolen,'" she said.
Gone are her sofa, bed and armoire.
What bothers her more, though, is her mother's antique dish set made of opaque white "milk glass." Her mother passed away more than a decade ago.
"I don't have my mom in my adult life, so what little stuff I have of hers, it's the stuff that means the most," she said.
Shaulis had a grandmother who made her quilts. Those quilts, along with her own quilting supplies and sewing machine, are lost.
"All of my clothes and all of my nursing uniforms, just everything is just gone," she said. "They're just things, but at the same time, the stuff that was my mom's, that stuff is really important to me."
Shaulis plans to stick to her plan and keep going, she said. She bought the ferry tickets more than a month ago. The American Red Cross has offered to help her for the time being.
She doesn't keep a credit card, wary of debt, so she can't rent a car, she said. Police told Shaulis that her stuff might show up in a day, three weeks or never. It can be hard to tell.
"I have to continue on with my job and with my life, so I'm planning on getting on my ferry (Friday)," she said. "It's already booked and ready to go. I'm going to take my dogs with me and get up there to Alaska and start my new job next week."
Rikki King: 425-339-3449; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone with information should call 911, according to Everett police. Anonymous tips also can be left at 425- 257-8450.
The U-Haul is a 14-foot box truck with Arizona license plate, AE 56627, pulling a car dolly trailer. The dolly trailer has a Virginia license plate, 15567R, and is carrying a black 1999 Chrysler Town and Country minivan with an Illinois license plate, R679783.
The video of the theft also can be viewed at youtu.be/Y-FjOCrJEiE.
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