Sunday, January 16, 2011

The final leg of the drive: Albuquerque to Phoenix

July 1, 2010, the day we are to arrive at our new home. After saying good bye to our friends in Albuquerque we were on our way to Phoenix. It was a day of excitement and relief to finally get out of the car!

We don't have many pictures from this final leg of the journey, the battery on the camera was very low and we knew we would want a few key shots. We really began to see a change in landscape as the plains changed to mountain and desert.

We crossed into Arizona:

Not too long after entering AZ it was time to exit I-40. We basically could have gone one of two ways to get to Phoenix, down the mountain or through Flagstaff. Our friend the GPS told us go down the mountain! I (Michelle) was driving and lets just say the GPS and I have suffered some major fall-out in our friendship after that experience! Quite possibly the scariest thing ever. It doesn't help that there was also a rather large construction project happening. But we made it out alive and as we reached the valley we knew we were "home." We just happened to arrive on what was one of the hottest days of the entire summer. Really, the heat wasn't too bad.

We knew it would be a few days before our moving truck arrived so we had some basics with us in the van, a box of kitchen equipment, sleeping bags, TV, computer. Thanks again to the generosity of strangers, who are now friends, we were able to borrow an air mattress so we weren't sleeping on the floor. We went out to dinner, then to Walmart (oh Meijer how I miss you dearly) and got a few groceries and things that we knew we would need (garabge can, cleaning supplies, etc). We were a bit surprised when we left Walmart around 8pm or so and it was DARK outside. It was the middle of summer and we were not expecting that, but then I remembered that AZ doesn't participate in daylight savings time so it made sense that it was dark that early.

And so there you have it, our drive from Michigan to Phoenix!

The Drive to AZ: OKC to Albuquerque

Waking up June 30, 2010, we were a bit excited. Today we were driving to Albuquerque and we were actually staying with people we knew! Just a week before we left Michigan we had some friends leave as well and they moved to Albuquerque. Jokingly one day, as we were planning our drive I mention to the husband that we could just stay with them in Albuquerque for a night and was shocked the next day when the wife told me they were excited for us to stay with them. How amazing that even though they'd only be there a few days themselves they would open their home to us on our way to Phoenix.

Jon and I were also excited to drive through Texas, even if it was just a small part of Texas, since neither of us had ever been to Texas. We made a point to stop and eat in Amarillo. just to say we'd done it. Yup we are dorky like that!

Oil rig in Oklahoma. It's the simple things that amuse us.

Red dirt! It is the REALLY simple things that truly amuse us, lol!

I get the whole wind energy thing, but putting the turbines on the side of the highway is VERY distracting to those of us not used to them (side note, this wasn't too bad, on a future trip to LA there were probably thousands of them for a good stretch of the road and it was beyond distracting):

Entering Texas:

Jon really got a kick out of these billboards scattered along our drive:

This was the only place we've ever seen a different speed limit depending on the time of day (well minus a school zone):

Hmmm... Leaning Water Tower of Texas?
Entering New Mexico, we are almost to our new home, just one more state away!

The Drive to AZ: St Louis to OKC

So it's been over 6 months since we first departed MI on our way to AZ, what better time to get caught up, right?

The next leg of our trip was driving from St. Louis to Oklahoma City. Again we would be staying with a family we had never met, but had offered us a place to stay for the night. And this family also were the ones that arranged our stay in St. Louis since they themselves had recently lived there and knew people. In OKC we stayed with the oldest child of a family that Jon and I had grown up with. To make things a little more comfortable, upon arrival I was surprised to see that one of the other "children" is the family, one I had known since he was around my age, was there visiting as well.

I suppose they call this area of the country the "plains states" for a reason. Driving along I-40 was, to be honest, a bit dull...beautiful, but dull.

This picture reminded Jon and I of The Amazing Race!
Entering Oklahoma:

On a funny note, while staying at our overnight accommodations Jon received a phone call for an interview for a job in Texas. We actually were really interested in the area of Texas that was calling but seeing as we were half way to AZ he had to turn it down.