Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Moving Back to the Midwest

After our last minute packing and cleaning, it was finally time to say goodbye to our first home. We loved living here - it was the perfect place for us as a young married couple. If you're ever looking for apartments in Tucson, we highly recommend the Kachina Springs Apartments. :)

We were out the door and in the car by 7:40 last Wednesday morning (5/27)! Charlotte had been a little uneasy about all that was going on, but once she found that she had a place set up for her in the back, I think she became a little more comfortable. She also happened to be sitting right next to the cooler with all our snacks, so that could have provided some reassurance as well. :)

Charlotte says goodbye to Limberlost Drive.

Another thing to miss about living 100 miles from the border...all the pickup trucks towing other vehicles filled with things and going 50 on the interstate.

Charlotte says "Are we there yet?"

The day before we left, we bought a couple new bones for Charlotte to entertain herself with. Hopefully that made up for 27 straight hours in the car? 

I also made cookies for Curtis and I, and we would try and sneak them whenever Charlotte was distracted or asleep. But no matter how quick and quiet we were, her little nose would always pick up on it and she would pop up between us and beg for some. 

There was a good cloud cover from Tucson to somewhere in New Mexico. It made the mountains look beautiful and the ground actually looked very green. The highest the temperature got for us was in the 90's. Just a few days later, Tucson had its first 100 degree day. I guess AZ just wanted us to remember it not for how hot it could be!

Charlotte spent most of her time either sleeping, chewing bones, or stealing cookies in the back seat. Every once in a while she would pop her head up and stand on the center console between Curtis and I, just to see where we were. She always has a sense for when it's especially pretty out there. 

I'm not sure if there was a certain point when Charlotte knew that we were driving back to our parent's houses in Iowa, or that she would be in the car for a while. Part of our route was similar to when we drove up last Christmas, so we stopped at some of the same rest areas to let her smell around to see if anything smelled familiar.

Goodbye Arizona, until next time!

This may have been my favorite route out of all the trips we've taken between Iowa and Arizona. To start off, we took I-10 to Las Cruces, then highway 70 to Alamogordo, through the Lincoln National Forest, and Roswell, all the way to Clovis. The Lincoln National Forest was gorgeous and easy to drive through. 

At this point, I took over the driving and Curtis took a nap until we reached Clovis. After making it through the forest, the road was mostly flat as we reached the plains, but I rather like driving where I can see for miles in front of me. I'm thankful that I am able to drive so that Curtis gets a break and we're still making lots of progress! This was also a great day to be driving this stretch, because there were hardly any other vehicles around. I'm certain that there was an entire hour that I didn't come across any other cars headed our way.

We stopped in Clovis to switch places, fuel up, and get Sonic for dinner. In the above picture, you can see Charlotte ordering food for us, as well as a hotdog for herself. ;)

I'm getting a hotdog!!

After that, we took highway 60 in Texas, through Amarillo to Pampa, then took State Route 70 straight up, through Oklahoma's panhandle, to Liberal, Kansas. We got to see a lovely sunset, and colorful clouds in the distance. Those colorful clouds grew closer and closer as we headed further Northeast, and soon a great lightening show began. For the longest time, all we saw was lightening, but once we reached SR 83, the rain began! It poured heavily for a while and we had to slow down quite a bit, but it was over by the time we reached Oklahoma. We had heard about all the flooding in Texas, and were very thankful that we didn't run into any of that!

Before all that though, we did happen to stop for a letterbox in the town of Hereford, and we enjoyed seeing the lovely courthouse.

Charlotte loved being out of the car and in the grass. Of course, this is still in Texas, so we haven't even reached the "good grass" yet that's in the Midwest!

Curtis continued driving through Liberal, KS and through another thunderstorm along highway 54. I was thankful for the big lightening strikes that lit up the horizon and showed there were no tornadoes anywhere! I took over driving again in Meade, and drove us to Kingman, KS through the night. We had done an overnight drive last summer when we came up for a week, and decided that we wanted to do it again to get the drive over with faster. It helps that we have a working vehicle that I can drive! ;)

Curtis took over before Wichita, which we drove through at around 5 in the morning. We then took the tollway to Topeka. We did this last winter and really liked how fast and direct it was. It started raining on us in Wichita, and there was no end in sight. The above picture is exactly what we saw through the rest of Kansas...and through most of Missouri. We actually saw more flooding or overfilled lakes and rivers in Kansas and Missouri than we did in Texas. 

We took the tollroad to Topeka, then avoided Kansas City by taking highway 4/59 to St. Joseph, MO. This time, instead of taking I-35, we decided to take new roads and drive across Missouri. We took Highway 36 almost to Hannibal, and then North from there. We actually loved this road - it was especially beautiful this time of year, and not too busy. The only thing was it continued to rain on us almost the entire way across. We wondered if we'd see the sun at all today!

Finally, we saw a break in the clouds on the horizon. It wasn't until we started heading North that we were actually out of the rain though.

We stopped for one last letterbox, and since it was in a nice and quiet space we decided to let Charlotte out to stretch her legs. The second her feet hit the grass, she was in love with this land, and she took off running everywhere. Not just running - I would have to say that this was the literal definition of "frolicking"! She would stop and roll around, and she was literally grinning from ear to ear. It's safe to say the Charlotte is going to love her summer in the Midwest. :)

Finally, our last stretch of the drive! Charlotte joined us for a bit in the front and did her share of "driving". We are very thankful for a puppy who puts up with our long drives and does so well! 

We're home!

Even though I lived in Arizona for 2 years, I have never stopped referring to Iowa as home. I am so thankful that I am able to spend the summer here with our families. It's so good to be back. :)

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