Surveying the stacks of cardboard boxes scattered throughout our home I took a mental inventory of what else needed packing. I had been packing for months and was tired of the mess. The walls were bare of my treasures packed carefully for the long trip to Arizona.
I had mixed feelings about leaving my home. We bought the house new five years ago and all the decorating and landscaping we had done ourselves. Memories swirled in my head as I looked at the burgundy walls in my living room. I smiled remembering how we had painted late into the night and when we came downstairs the next morning the color was horrid. It was streaked and was not what we had planned. We made a quick trip to Lowe’s for different paint and missed church that Sunday.
Jack and a neighbor had dug a goldfish pond and fountain with rock garden and I had planted flowers and trees in our yard. We took pride in having a beautiful yard and tried different types of landscaping.
We hadn’t been to Arizona but all our children were grown and our youngest daughter lived in Strawberry, Arizona a town in the mountains approximately ninety miles above Phoenix. She told us of its beauty but the thing that made our decision final was a tiny baby grandson that we had never seen.
We sold our home and signed everything this morning. I had the check stuffed in my wallet and Jack had gone for the moving truck. We promised the buyers possession this afternoon. That was okay with us we were anxious to get on the road.
My husband and I grew up in Missouri and had not been far from our home state in fifty plus years. I loaded us down with maps, an Atlas and print outs from my computer for places to stay. It was over thirteen hundred miles and would take about three days with the moving truck.
By the time the truck was loaded, our Dodge pickup fastened to the carrier, it was getting late and we were exhausted and cranky. Our friends tried to get us to spend the night and start fresh in the morning but we refused wanting to get on our way. Loaded down with snacks and drinks we headed west on highway 44 going to Oklahoma City where we would take highway 40 all the way to Arizona.
We spent the first night in Oklahoma. Early the next morning we got coffee and breakfast to go and climbed into the Ryder Truck wanting to get a head start on the traffic. The heavily loaded truck with the carrier made slow travel and I marked off the towns on my Atlas as we approached them. I had a camcorder and took movies of our trip.
As we approached New Mexico we began to have problems with the truck. On the outskirts of Albuquerque we managed to get the truck off the road into a tourist attraction before it stopped dead.
Did I mention my husband is a “worry wart”? He will complain about something and worry until it happens. Here was a farm boy from a small Missouri town now smack dab in the middle of New Mexico and he came unglued. He was sure someone would know we were carrying money and would rob us.
I used my cell phone and called the emergency number on our papers and was given the name of a mechanic in the area. After a wait that seemed like hours a young man arrived. He was wearing a dirty shirt open to the waist revealing a hairless brown chest. He had jet black hair falling down over his forehead concealing his eyes.
After a quick exam of the truck he informed us he would have to haul the truck to his shop. We removed our pickup from the carrier and he jacked up the truck to his tow truck. The man left like a ball shot from a canyon and was on the highway leaving us behind. We followed with my husband’s anxiety skyrocketing. We had trouble keeping up with him as he weaved in and out of rush hour traffic. My heart began to beat rapidly realizing everything we owned was in that truck. We did not know the area and would only catch occasional glances of the truck ahead. Finally we saw him exit and made our way over two lanes to follow him.
Since it was late and the garage closed the man said we would have to stay in a motel and our furniture would be transferred to another truck in the morning. We spent a restless night and finally early the next morning we were at the garage when it opened. It took another two hour wait to find someone to unload and reload our belongings. One of the men moving my furniture was smoking a cigar with a long ash hanging. I could see us leaving and my furniture catching on fire somewhere in the mountains. I wasn’t too kind when I instructed him to put that disgusting cigar down.
Back in the new truck we tried to make up for lost time. This truck did not like to climb the mountains. When we arrived in Halcomb, Arizona and turned on Highway 87 we were surprised that this was a two lane highway winding around the mountains. One side of the highway was the edge of the mountain and the other side was a deep drop off. Having a loaded truck with a pickup on a carrier steering around the highway was bad enough but meeting cars was terrifying.
After three days on the road we arrived exhausted at our daughter’s home. When we saw our grandson for the first time it was all worth the trip.