I've lived in the North, the East, the South and now the West. It's hard to believe that one year ago, my husband and I made our second cross-country road trip with my beloved horse in tow. I remember the day we left Houston and I posted this "currently on the road" graphic like it was yesterday. To celebrate the one year anniversary of our relocation to Arizona, I asked my hubby if he'd write a blog post in honor of our journey! Here's our crazy adventure from his point of view. Enjoy!
Guest Post: Our Family's Journey to Arizona
By My Hubby (Turned Cowboy)
When my wife approached me and asked if I could write a blog for her author website about our experience in moving from Texas to Arizona one year ago, I was not only honored but excited to talk about the journey because it was a doozy. So here goes …thoughts from our trip one year ago.
1. Need Tires!
It was a Wednesday and a typical hot and steamy mid-August day in Houston. We were to leave for Arizona the next day but had much to do and little time to do it. Carly had to work and I took some time off before starting my new job in Phoenix, so I decided to take it upon myself to diagnose the horse trailer the day before our journey. The cracks in the tires suggested we needed new ones … even someone who didn’t know anything about autos could tell you that … someone like me!
We took the trailer to the tire shop across the street from the barn where we kept Sissy and got brand new tires but discovered the electrical was not working appropriately. You can’t drive across country with the blinker and brake lights not working! The guy at the tire shop directed us to drive to North Houston and meet a guy named Leon who would then “fix up our trailer.” Leon lived in a sketchy part of town and it was difficult navigating the skinny streets of North Houston with a truck and trailer, so much so that Carly got the horse trailer stuck in a difficult position and wasn’t sure how to make the turn work into Leon’s junk yard drive way.
That’s when we first saw the guy. An older man with leather skin and wrinkles on his face that resembled many years of both stress and happiness. He was walking with a spring in his step that you weren’t sure was there from the adrenaline of seeing a potential customer or from the mason jar of moon shine sitting next to the smoker grill he had out front.
Leon introduced himself and kindly asked Carly, who was in tears at the time, to step out of the truck and let him back it into his 12 foot wide driveway. Leon, with a 180 degree turn of the steering wheel and a pump of the gas pedal, maneuvered the truck and trailer effortlessly over a three foot ditch by way of the make-shift bridge he created with 2X4’s. He was able to fix the electrical issue and tighten some loose ends on the tires in about 15 minutes, but we ended up staying much longer. He went on to show us pictures of how he used compete at the local rodeos and ride bulls.
As we pulled out of Leon’s home turned 24/7 yard sale we turned back to offer a wave to this amazing man and all was well in the world. After our meeting with Leon we drove the trailer to a semi truck washing station … I never thought I’d ever say I had been to one of those.
We kindly paid the attendant $45 and watched as they gave our trailer an acid wash. We were pleasantly surprised when they turned our dirty trailer into a sparkling diamond of a vehicle.
2. Need Wall Paint!
We were set to leave on a Thursday and after outfitting the horse trailer with new tires, new shavings and a nice acid wash the night before we only got about 4 hours of sleep. It was about 4 pm when we decided to load up the last of the items into our truck, which was packed in like sardine's in a tin. That’s when we found a problem with the home we were leaving for the last time … the walls that were covered by our music racks were not painted the same color as the rest of our interior!
We couldn’t leave without painting those walls! It would definitely get noticed during the final walk through. I didn’t want to live with that stress. Luckily we had a trusty handyman on speed dial and MJ came over to paint the wall about an hour after we called … just another bump in the road to deal with. I have to commend Carly for keeping her head straight before the 14 hour all night journey we had in front of us!
3. Need Things that End in I-N-E!
After packing up the horse trailer with the rest of our belongings, we were off! It was about 10 pm at night. We started off the drive listening to great music and dancing as we saw the Houston skyline get smaller and smaller in the rearview mirror.
It wasn’t until about 2 am and we were in the middle of Central Texas that our eyes started glossing over. The adrenaline of the journey had left our bodies and the sinking feeling of having 9 more hours of drive time ahead of us really hit home. It was around that time that we began seeing random deer on the side of the road. No wait, random is not the right word…HERDS of deer PACKS of deer, whatever you want to call it, there were TONS of deer on the side of the road, staring at us as if to say “I bet you we would win if we played a game of chicken on this freeway.”
We were driving and would just see their little green eyes. It was quite frightening. I remember seeing dead carcasses on the side of the road and wondered what the car looked like that hit the furry four legged beast … then I remembered thinking of all those times I had chowed down my friends venison chili during the cold winter months in Michigan (yep ... Carly and I met in Michigan then moved to Texas then moved to Arizona). I kept saying to myself that I had been a vegetarian for over two years now, that should count for something! SO DON'T JUMP OUT IN FRONT OF US PLEASE!
We stopped at a Flying J after about 30 minutes of driving through the deer amusement park and promptly asked the attendant what this was all about. A trucker with a coffee in one hand a donut in the other and a shirt that read ‘Mama’s House’, overheard our conversation. He gave a belly laugh and simply said “you will be seeing that for the next 6 hours.” We looked at each other and Carly asked how are we going to remain alert enough at this hour for the next six hours? My answer was simple, caffeine. And lots of it! I quickly bought two extra-large coffees, two red bulls, and a few five hour energy. With caffeine coursing through our blood stream, we proceeded the rest of the way to El Paso.
4. Need Sleep!
Pulling into El Paso, and unloading Sissy was one of the most jubilant times in our lives. We could see the light at the end of the tunnel. We pulled into Sissy’s horse hotel which we found online and it was a beautiful barn on the outskirts of El Paso. Once she was content we settled into our own hotel. It was about 5 mins from where Sissy was stationed and we slept from about 2 pm to 9 pm that night. With sleep, a shower and some dinner the adrenaline from the first night hit us all over again …. next stop Arizona!
Our second leg was much easier than the first until around 4am when we pulled into a rest stop in the mountains of New Mexico. It wasn’t 10 minutes into our catnap when we heard a thunderous kick from Sissy as if to say let’s get going wimps …. so we continued our journey West.
We drove about 2 more hours before seeing the beautiful sun come up against the backdrop of the Arizona mountains.
5. Need…nothing we’re home!
Pulling into Camelot Farms, we looked at each other as if we had just accomplished something great, and we both realized we had … in the end the only thing we ever really needed was each other.
Our Life in Arizona
Carly knew when we arrived in Arizona that Scottsdale (dubbed "The West's Most Western Town") was the perfect place to release her debut novel. Since its Arizona launch at the end of 2015, In The Reins, her cowboy romance novel, has climbed the charts and has been an equestrian best seller on Amazon for more than 10 weeks. I am so proud of her accomplishment! Just like everyone else, I can't wait to read the sequel!
I'm glad we made that road trip to Arizona from the great Lone Star State with our horse, our two dogs and each other. We made memories at human and horsey hotels along the way. Since then, we’ve finally started to settle into Arizona life where I watch Carly ride Sissy against a backdrop of mountains and experience the most breathtaking sunsets I’ve ever seen. I can't believe that journey happened just one year ago!
So there you have it! I am grateful for my hubby's contribution to my blog and for being such an amazing co-pilot as we drove our precious cargo across the country!
Everything about Arizona inspires me from seeing the bronze horse statues everywhere especially in Old Town to the vibrant horse culture that is available to equestrians in Arizona. It seems like there's a horse event every weekend somewhere here. I board my horse right down the street from Westworld at the kind of picture perfect ranch I dreamed about as a girl nestled between mountain ranges. The scenery is so breathtaking in Arizona that I’m inspired to continue writing my In The Reins horse book series every single time I saddle up, drive to the barn or take a walk. When I arrived in Arizona, I knew that it was going to be my forever home.
Gallop over to the blog again next week, I'll share new videos, pics, and stories that highlight interesting cowgirl topics, horse tips, as well as In The Reins sequel sneak peeks, updates, and release info!
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Carly Kade writes for anyone who loves horses, handsome cowboys and a great romance. Creative writing makes her spurs jingle!
Books by Carly Kade