Plan A, B, or C?

Moving!  Does anyone look forward to this arduous task?  Some people seem to move often while others have only moved once or twice in their entire life.  My dad has lived in the same house over fifty years while hubby and I, however, have moved  a  dozen times.  I’m not talking about moving around in our RV.  I’m talking move about moving from house to house with a boat load of stuff.   Some of our moves were within the same community while others were cross-country.  Some moves presented challenges while others went smoothly, but all were exhausting.

Our daughter, Ashton, was three-years old when we moved from Chicago, Illinois to Las Vegas, Nevada.  She may not remember that move, but I remember it as though it were yesterday.  Al and I loaded up our rear wheel drive, full-size van, pulling a small U-Haul trailer and with two little kids and a dog, we crossed the Colorado Rockies in January.  A moving company transported the majority of our household belongings while we transported personal items.

Traveling Interstate 70, 2 hours west of Denver, Colorado, in July

Traveling Interstate 70, two hours west of Denver, Colorado, in July

The 1,800 mile move took us three days and did not pass without incident…. ah, but that’s another tale for another time.  For today, I wish to focus on Ashton’s journey.  It was during this drive west that Colorado made an indelible impression upon this three-year old little girl, as it did on the rest of us as well.  After exiting the famous Eisenhower Tunnel located about an hours drive west of Denver along Interstate 70, we were all greeted with the most breathtaking sight.  Laid before us were rugged mountain peaks in all directions, blanketed in a thick layer of the brightest and whitest snow we had ever seen.

ColoradoI remember pulling over at the Dillon Lake scenic overlook.  While I walked the dog, Al watched our 3 year old daughter and 5 year old son run around throwing the white fluffy snow.  The lack of moisture in the snow made it impossible to compact into a snowball.  The children giggled in delight with their failed attempt at throwing snowballs at one another.

It was weeks later, long after we had settled into our new world in Las Vegas, that my little curly-headed blonde announced, “When I big girl, I move to mountains.  I like mountains”.  Well this adorable three-year old only had to wait a mere four years.  At the ripe old age of  seven, we moved from Las Vegas, Nevada, to Colorado Springs, Colorado, making her dream come true.

Denver 002There would be two more local moves in her future before it was time to head off to college.  Then those college years brought about several more moves for Ashton, but most of her belongings at that time would fit stuffed into a vehicle or two.

Last summer was one of her most enlightening moves.  For over two years, Ashton had endured a horrible work commute.  She was living in Westminster (north of Denver) with a girlfriend from college while working in the Denver Tech Center (south of Denver).  Her commute to work one way was anywhere from 35 minutes to 2 hours based on traffic and weather, but the apartment and roommate scenario were perfect thus making the commute tolerable, at least for the time being.

However, with another impending winter approaching along with those dreadful snow storm commutes, she finally decided to move closer to work last September (2014).  The majority of the furnishings in the 2 bedroom apartment belonged to Ashton and she was relying on Al and me to help her move.  This is when I stepped in and showed daughter how a young, single gal can move easily without the help of family or friends.  With her checkbook handy and pointing finger ready, she directed Two Men & a Truck to move her from point A to point B.  Within hours she was easily moved and comfortably situated in her new home in Centennial, Colorado.  Her self-reliant confidence grew by leaps and bounds that day.

Interstate 40 heading west toward Flagstaff, Arizona

So here we were a year later.   Ashton found herself moving a thousand miles away; a move that’s a little more challenging to navigate than a local move.  Al and I were in town to provide moral support and advice.  This time I didn’t even help her box things up.  She had a handle on the whole process.  And as much as she knew this move was good for her, it was emotional.  She was leaving her beloved Colorado behind and moving to a city she’s never been particularly fond of.

Moving day was on a Monday.  Al and I picked up Ashton at her place and drove her to the U-Haul facility where she picked up a 17 foot truck.  The U-Haul was no sooner backed into her driveway (with a little help from dad), when the two guys she hired to load the truck called wondering if they could swing by sooner.  YES!  A little over an hour later with the loaded U-Haul truck, Ashton headed back over to the U-Haul store.  I followed driving her car while Al followed in our F-250.

At the U-Haul store, they hooked up the flatbed trailer.  Ashton nervously drove her car onto the trailer and the guys secured the vehicle.  With that task complete and with Al’s assistance, she clenched the steering wheel of the truck tightly and navigated out of the tight parking lot.  This was her first time pulling a trailer.  We rendezvoused at the Cabela’s on Denver’s south side in preparation for the long drive to Phoenix.

Getting ready to caravan from Denver to Phoenix

Getting ready to caravan from Denver to Phoenix

It was 2:00 in the afternoon and we were way ahead of schedule.  It was time for me to implement Plan B.  You see, I took it upon myself to be in charge of the navigations and picking out our gas stops and overnight stops along the journey.  I had a slew of notes written with lots of built-in flexibility…. I had backups to the backups, not knowing how the trip would go.

move We lucked out with mild traffic on Interstate 25 from Denver through Colorado Springs.  By 6:00 p.m. we were parked in the Wal-Mart parking lot in the town of Trinidad, located just 12 miles north of the New Mexico/Colorado border.  Whew!  It had been a long day, but a productive one.

I kept all of us well fed and hydrated throughout the journey

I kept all of us well fed and hydrated throughout the journey

Day 2 had us skirting through Albuquerque.  Since I was really concerned we might run into a lot of traffic through Albuquerque, considering it was the Tuesday before the big balloon fiesta weekend, I drove the U-Haul through this stretch with Al and the 5th wheel following close behind.  Fortunately again, we lucked out with light traffic and once we were west of Albuquerque on Interstate 40, Ashton and I switched drivers.  It was at this point and time, I briefed Al and Ashton on our intended overnight stop that involved a little scenic drive in the process.

driving through New Mexico

driving through New Mexico

Ashton and I are in the U-Haul truck while Al follows in the F-250 and 5th wheel

Ashton and I are in the U-Haul truck while Al follows in the F-250 and 5th wheel

Painted Desert

Painted Desert

I was happy my little plan was not met with resistance.  We were traveling via my Plan A all along, but shhhh don’t tell them that πŸ˜‰  Not long after crossing the New Mexico/Arizona border, we took the exit for the Petrified Forest National Park.  As many times as Al and I have traveled this stretch of Interstate 40 in northeast Arizona, we had never stopped at this National Park.  Hmm, I’m not sure why!

Painted Desert

Painted Desert

First we took in the unique sight of the Painted Desert.  From there we continued south traveling the 28 mile scenic drive with the occasional stop at an overlook here and there.  Remember, we started our day early in Colorado and it was now late afternoon.  We had already spent all day driving and were all getting rather tired.  Thus, Ashton and Al were putting the kibosh on my photo-op stops 😦

driving through the Petrified Forest

driving through the Petrified Forest

Petrified wood - This National Park is known for its fossils. 225 million years ago, this area was a forest. The downed trees have since turned to stone.

Petrified wood – This National Park is known for its fossils. Once upon a time, 225 million years ago, this area was a forest. The downed trees have since turned to stone.

After a fair amount of oohing and ahhing, we kept our wheels rolling (come on guys, just one more stop – NO) until we arrived at the Crystal Forest Gift Shop Campground.  Thank you to fellow blogger, LuAnn, for the heads up on this free campground.

Crystal Forest Gift Shop Campground just outside the south entrance to the Petrified Forest NP

Crystal Forest Gift Shop Campground just outside the south entrance to the Petrified Forest NP

We settled into two sites next to each other and opened a bottle of bubbly while I made dinner.  We had made it to Arizona!  While we enjoyed dinner, we watched a beautiful sunset. This turned out to be the perfect stop for the night.  It was quiet, dark, and we all slept soundly.

We made it to Arizona!

We made it to Arizona!

Ashton decides to enjoy her bubbly by sitting in comfort.

Ashton decides to enjoy her bubbly by sitting in comfort.

Perfect place to spend the night.

Perfect place to spend the night.

By noon the following day, the RV was all set up at the RV Park in Phoenix.  After enjoying another homemade meal, we were on our way to our son’s home with the U-Haul.  Our son and a friend unloaded the U-Haul and that evening, Ashton slept in her own bed in her new home.

As far as moves go, this one could NOT have gone any better.  Moving karma was with us the entire journey.  We ate well (thanks to my planning and preparation), we slept great, traffic was light, the weather was perfect, and we even managed to enjoy a few laughs along the way.  Ashton did an amazing job driving the truck and trailer and by the time she was met with Phoenix traffic, she was navigating like a pro and already talking about a future cross-country move.  Slow it down honey, slow it down LOL.

Petrified wood up close.

Petrified wood up close.

In the end, it was wise to have a plan A, B, and C, but I was thrilled to be able to carry out my Plan A all along.  The move was tiring but fun!  And by the way, I look forward to returning to the Petrified Forest National Park, but after Al and I enjoy some much needed down time.


Cheap Cheap Moving Boxes Packing Paper, Large Bundle, 24 x 36 Inches (20#)
Reusable Furniture Moving Kit for All Floor Types, including both hard surfaces & carpet – (16 assortment pack of SuperSliders)



76 thoughts on “Plan A, B, or C?

  1. It’s not every family who can move together through an experience like this and still be smiling! Looks like you had a good share of fun, all of you, and oh what gorgeous vistas, too. Great photos. πŸ™‚

    • I’ve had a lot of practice moving and although it’s rarely fun, we did make the best of it and enjoyed the drive. The Painted Desert was beautiful and I’ll need to go back when I can explore it leisurely.

  2. Really stunning photos in this post, Ingrid! I have a stop at Petrified Forest planned for us on our way south in January and I have to thank you for pointing out the free camping spot – looks really nice and it’s one less thing for me to research!

    • Thanks Meghan. Well, you won’t have any issues with it being too hot come January at the Petrified Forest. The Gift shop campground worked great. I know we’ll return when we can explore the park more leisurely.

  3. What a trip! Ashton is so fortunate to have you guys available to help with the move. We are still recuperating from our move October 1st. We also called Two Men & a Truck but hubby decided to save money on the packing, and we packed ourselves. We still have a couple van loads to pick up. The movers moved the big stuff. First move in 28 years, and I hope to never do it again. Arduous task indeed!! But, I am glad it’s done.

    • So nice to hear from you Holly. I figured you were in the throws of moving. Arduous, overwhelming, and exhausting sums up most moves, especially after 28 years of not moving. Hopefully you’ll recover soon and blog share the events and the new home. Hope the place will serve you well for many years πŸ™‚

  4. Awesome parents you are to join you daughter on this move. Probably felt much more comforting having help close by just in case. Not sure I would be tough enough to drive that U-haul over such a long distance! πŸ™‚

    • Thank you Inger. She did an amazing job of driving. It was something she felt compelled to accomplish as much on her own as possible, but it helped that we were close just in case something did go wrong. I know it made me feel better.

  5. As someone who moved with children young (one time a tiny baby) and old every three years I could relate to your theme of organisation and get on with it! Glad it all went so well and also pleased you took in petrified forest – amazing isn’t it?!
    Keep hold of that mild phoenix weather until I get there- got the central heating on back here in Guernsey Brrrr!

    • No heater needed here. The A/C is still needed during the day, but I’m hoping it’ll cool off just a tad before you get here. I look forward to a return visit to the Petrified Forest. I can’t believe it took me this long to explore it.

  6. That looks like quite a journey! Was Ashton driving the U-Haul with the toad for that windy, scenic part? She’s got some driving chops! We keep meaning to go to the Petrified Forest… we’ve been to Flagstaff and Meteor Crater, so we’ve been close by. Another thing on the list! πŸ™‚

    • Yep, Ashton drove the U-Haul pulling the trailer all but the 3 hours that I drove I-25/I-40 around Albuquerque. She did a great job and even gas stations weren’t a challenge for her.
      Arizona is an amazing state with so much diversity. I hope to have fun this winter sharing some of the beautiful sights with daughter.

  7. Hats off to you three for such a well-orchestrated and successful move. I get a feeling of dread when I think of moving again. On a side note, Two Guys and a Truck once moved me some 20 years ago here in Chicago. I wonder if the companies are affiliated.

    • I’m sure it’s a franchise. We’ve used them a lot over the years at various locations. And trust me, I was dreading the trip, but good preparation on my part and daughters part had the plan come together without issue.

  8. Great moving tale. Glad it went smoothly. We’ve moved a lot in out life and some of our funniest and most frustrating days were move days. Now you can easily visit both of your kids.

    • I think you may have moved around more than we have. I’d like to say moves get easier, but they don’t. It’s been barely 2 weeks since the move and hubby and I are already enjoying the fact both kiddos are close by πŸ™‚

  9. I love the irony (unintentional, I realize) of seeing the Petrified Forest — living things turned to solid, immovable rock — while on a journey that’s all about growing and changing in good, healthy ways πŸ™‚ Hooray for Ashton for having such loving and caring parents!

    • Hmm, what an interesting insight I had not contemplated. I guess it is ironic I chose this journey to finally take in this National Park πŸ™‚

  10. This looks like a very well-oiled and organized moving adventure, Ingrid. I’m sure your daughter was so grateful for having the family all pitching in to help and support. The petrified forest looks so intriguing and your photos are lovely. Good luck to Ashton in her new surroundings. πŸ™‚

    • Thank you Sylvia. It certainly helps that both Ashton and I are organized people. I wanted this move to not only be positive for her but to also be somewhat of an adventure. Mission accomplished!

    • I’m relieved the move is over and everything went perfectly. Now it’s time to show Ashton around the beautiful and diverse state of Arizona!

  11. I love the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert! Rick and I stopped there when we moved him from Florida to California. It was a perfect side trip for a long haul thought we were able to make many more excursions along the way as Rick only took a large bag of clothing and his tools. As you can imagine, he travels light…the tools were for future work. We made the big move when I moved back to Florida two years later and we looked much like you and Ashton…much harder to stop when you are carrying a load and have a cat on board…food, gas and pit stops were the only thing we did.

    I love the shot of Ashton drinking bubbly in the chair. I would do something like that!

    • Moves are always stressful and if you can make the process fun, all the better. Fortunately, with the RV along, all our meals and snacks were planned out ahead of time thus no fast food or junk snack stops. I think the healthy food kept us energized and in good spirits and of course a little bubbly at the end of the day, always helps πŸ™‚

  12. So glad the move went well. We really enjoyed the Petrified Forest NP and that free campground is a little extra bonus. Thanks for the mention Ingrid.

    • We may spend some time around Show Low in the spring. If we do, I will definitely be returning to the Petrified Forest for some photography. That campground was absolutely perfect for our needs, and if not for you, I wouldn’t have known about it. So thank you again πŸ™‚

  13. We helped our children with all their “local” moves (within a few states) …. however when my younger son and his wife moved to Seattle, that was a whole different experience. They packed their U-Haul here in PA, and our only function was to wave goodbye ….. they crossed the country on their own. Fortunately they had no car to tow! Good luck to your daughter in her new city!

    • She was willing to make the move by herself and for the most part she did handle it all on her own (which was important to her), but I knew with us caravanning it would be easier and less stressful. And it even had its fun moments. So far, she’s settling in with no regrets.

  14. What a strange coincidence reading this post today. I’ve just been helping my son move more boxes into his new place. I’ve moved many times in my life, as a child and an adult. While there were some sad things about leaving places I was always a little excited about the prospect of new beginnings. The effort of moving was, of course, draining though, especially with a family. The painted desert looks beautiful! Thanks for another interesting read and lovely pics. πŸ™‚

    • I hope your son’s move went as well as my daughter’s and that he is happy in the new location. Daughter is slowing adjusting and embracing an open mind. The Painted Desert was quite interesting and I hope to make a return trip there soon.

  15. No fair, you weren’t allowed to stop for photo ops!! (Just kidding!) I know you all are glad to have the move accomplished. Now the fun can begin!

    • Yes, let the fun begin! Daughter starts her new job Monday, so this week I have some exploring to do with her. And I assure you, there WILL be plenty of photo-ops involved πŸ˜†

  16. I’ve stayed put for a long time now, but I might be tempted to move a bit more often if it involved spectacular drives through dramatic landscapes. πŸ™‚

    • I’m easily bored. The longest I’ve ever lived in one home (during my married life) is ten years and that was because of my work demands and raising teenagers otherwise I’m sure there would’ve been another move in there somewhere πŸ˜‰

  17. Beautiful country! Glad it went well. When we moved cross country the first time we drove a truck from Tennessee to San Francisco. We stopped off at Petrified Forest and Meteor Crater. Wonderful place!

    • It’s nice to break up a cross country move with a little scenic stop here and there. I’m already looking forward to a return visit to the Petrified Forest.

    • We had no problem volunteering to assist daughter in this move knowing we could help assure for a smooth transition. We love spending time with our kids and are pretty proud of their accomplishments πŸ™‚

  18. You guys will love having both your kids in the same city. We too are fortunate enough to have both our kids in the same city so all our travels seem to center around Salt Lake as a hub.

    • It sure does make for easier trip planning. It’s been less than two weeks, and we are already loving it. Phoenix makes a great hub for us πŸ™‚

    • My little truck is right next to my RV today (happy dance). She was tucked away for the summer in our son’s garage. Because of the trip back to IL, we felt it was silly to travel with two vehicles. It’s nice to have a place to park her when she’s not needed πŸ™‚ Next week, I have several outings planned with Ashton and my little truck will come in handy!

    • It was important to her that she do the majority of driving. I only managed to drive about 3 hours and she did the rest. No doubt in my mind, she could handle RVing or anything else she puts her mind to πŸ™‚

  19. What an adventure for all of you!! Good for Ashton driving the U-Haul..”I am woman, hear me roar”, right?? I am sure she will settle in and love that Phoenix area. There are lots of side trips to explore from there, as you and Al know…Nice to have all the chicks in one nest!

    • I’m loving having us all in one spot. Next week I have a bunch of things planned and the following Ashton starts her new job. As a parent, there’s nothing better than to see your child full of strength and confidence. I’m one happy mom!

  20. Super sliders are the berries aren’t they! Way to go Ashton….driving the big rig! Hope all her dreams come true and Phoenix grows on her…cool to able to enjoy more than one awesome terrain and sunset :)!! Enjoy your down time!

    • She seems to have an open mind regarding Phoenix and looking forward to me showing her all the fun stuff. She’s not digging the heat, but cooler temps are on the horizon πŸ™‚

    • And adventure it is when it comes to moving. East Coast to west coast is quite the haul. Three days in a moving truck was enough for me even though day one and day three were only 3 hours…. long enough πŸ™‚

    • Petrified Forest is very unique. The north end you’ll find the painted desert and the south is where you’ll see all the fossils. There’s even a special pull-out highlighting route 66 that’s a must stop to photograph. We were pulling too much length to stop 😦

  21. Another enjoyable read Ingrid! We have 4 daughters and 3 are adults. I am actually looking forward to trips like this. The confidence lift for your daughter alone is worth all the effort. Of course, having mom plan everything out well (to include all the meals) makes it all the better. We are starting our adventure in about a year and keep telling our kids it will actually give us more time together and flexibility to do just this very same sort of thing.

    – Dana

    • Thank you Dana for stopping by and commenting. Yes, it was wonderful seeing her confidence build especially pulling the trailer in and out of gas stations and the scenic pull-outs for my photo-ops. Best wishes for your transition and hope it won’t be the roller coaster it was for me πŸ™‚

  22. There were never any doubts about how smoothly that trip would go! With you planning it Ingrid, and with the help of a little “bubbly” how could things go wrong? Great pictures and story, thanks!

    • The trip was pretty easy for Al and I to navigate considering we’ve lost track of how many times we’ve traveled this route. The only newbie was the Petrified Forest which added a fun element to the trip. And a little bubbly makes everything better πŸ˜†

  23. I know Ashton was thrilled to have the two of you along for this long move:) So glad all went smoothly.

    We’ve never been to the Petrified Forest NP, either. Your photos are beautiful. We’ll get there one day:)

    • For some reason we’ve always bypassed it. After driving through the Petrified Forest NP, I now have an interest in returning for a slower look.
      Ashton was indeed happy we made the trip stress free. Fingers crossed, she likes her new job πŸ™‚

  24. I see Ashton…I see Ingrid. Beautiful…both of you!

    So glad all went well. Hope Ashton enjoys her new adventure.

    • Awe, thank you Marsha. I realized I wasn’t even in any photos during that entire move. Guess we were all focused on the task at hand. I’m trying to introduce Ashton to all the fantastic sights around Phoenix before she starts her new job in another week.

Comments are closed.