Moving to Tucson, Arizona from Eastern Iowa | August 15-17, 2013
A mere 4 days after our Honeymoon, we packed up Curtis’ new/old truck Yeti, said goodbye to our families, and set off into the great horizon, ready to take our first steps as a brand new married couple, moving to Tucson, Arizona. What better way to grow as a married couple than put 1600 miles between you and your family, friends, and place you’ve called home for the past 20.5 years? While this day had been much-anticipated for several years (since saying goodbye to Curtis as he moved to college in AZ for the first time) all of a sudden, the bittersweet feeling that had been growing inside me became mostly bitter. This was the best yet hardest decision that I had made in my short life, and we had come to the hardest part of it all: saying goodbye. Just 2.5 weeks ago, we had said goodbye to our family in my parent’s driveway as we took off for our honeymoon, but that one had been such a happy memory. Lots of smiling, waving, and laughter accompanied that goodbye. This one was much different. Tears, tissues, hugs, and prayers were the theme of this departure. I hated to be so sad as we were starting out on this brand new adventure as a married couple, but the goodbye overshadowed this day and loomed around like the storm clouds around us as we drove West.
But just as the sun lit up the sky in a gorgeous sunlight, so also the sadness faded, and hope overcame us as we realized that the hardest part was over, and there was so much more that God had in store for us on this journey. We had each other, we had our faith, and an exciting future was standing in front of us – and with faith, we would make it through this together.
Driving across the plains
We knew from the beginning that I-80 wasn’t for us, so we took highway 30 West before heading South. We were planning to get to I-35, but somehow took a wrong turn and found ourselves in different towns in Iowa that we’d never heard of. We embraced the adventure and stuck with back highways for the rest of the day. The highlight of day 1 was when we were driving past Troy, Kansas, and saw a sign with a familiar name: Peter Toth. On our honeymoon, we had randomly come across another one of his creations: the Whispering Giant in Two Harbors, MN. What are the odds that we’d randomly find another that same month?! Of course we stopped to see the statue, standing in front of the cutest courthouse. I guess it’s worth mentioning that we also happened to pass by a replica of a Whispering Giant in Osceola, IA. We didn’t stop and get a picture of that one though because it isn’t Peter Toth’s work, and it has been painted over.
We eventually did get on the interstate, made it through Wichita, and stopped for the night in Oklahoma City. So besides our round-about way of traveling, we still got to where we wanted. We set off on I-40 bright and early the next morning and remained on the interstate for the entire day. Curtis had already driven this route on his way to Iowa three months prior, so he knew a few places to stop and grab letterboxes and souvenirs. We stopped at a roadside stand in Oklahoma and purchased a Pendleton blanket, saw bison, and ate at Cracker Barrel. I learned how much bigger the bugs were the farther West we went. Was I really ready for this?? Ready or not, there was nothing I could do about that now!
Besides heavy traffic in Albuquerque when we drove through during rush hour, the trip went smoothly – which we were very thankful for since the truck had problems with overheating in stop-and-go traffic. The clouds were just spectacular as we approached the AZ-NM state border that evening. It was such a weird feeling seeing the “Welcome to Arizona” sign as we entered the state, knowing I was here to stay…this was my new home. After years of dreaming of this day, I was finally moving to Tucson, Arizona. The land was so incredible – I was already falling in love with the big skies and the views across the horizon. But could this really be my new home?!
Home at Last
We stayed in Flagstaff that night, then finished the drive on Saturday. We were already looking forward to returning to Flagstaff as we drove away. We made one stop in Sun Tan City outside of Phoenix to visit some friends, then finished up the drive to Tucson taking highway 79. As we came nearer to my new home city, the mountains grew bigger, and our excitement grew.
Any worries or doubts about moving vanished in my mind as soon as we turned onto our new street. It sounds so silly to say, but seeing that we had a Plato’s Closet (my favorite consignment store) right on the corner of our street was just a gift from God, as if to say, “Don’t worry, I’m with you, you’re going to love living here.” That afternoon, we signed our first lease together, then moved what little belongings we had into our HUGE 2 bedroom apartment. Then in the evening we went for a sunset hike and letterboxed on A Mountain, then ate dinner at In-N-Out. These things seemed so new, so monumental, so “Arizonan” to me, and very soon they became our life.
The Catalina Mountains // Whispering Giant by Peter Wolf Toth // Newlyweds, right before moving to Tucson