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 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, 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.
I 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.
There 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
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.
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
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
Ashton and I are in the U-Haul truck while Al follows in the F-250 and 5th wheel
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 😉 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!
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
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
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!
Ashton decides to enjoy her bubbly by sitting in comfort.
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.
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)