Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bumps on the Road to Becoming Coloradoans

When we returned to Oregon after visiting family at Christmas, we came to the difficult decision that having Willow grow up near her grandparents and extended family in Denver was more important to us than continuing to live in the Northwest. This was hard because we REALLY liked living in Oregon.

It seemed like the heavens smiled down on the move - Q got a great job from his first round of applications and friends decided that they wanted to rent our house. Seven weeks after the decision was made, we had the moving van packed and left Eugene on the afternoon of February 19. And so began the journey we began to affectionately dub "the trip that never ends".

Q and his dad were in the 26' moving van and were planning on driving straight through on the almost 24 hour journey. Mom and I followed with the car with two cats and a baby, pulling a 5'x8' trailer. We got a late start on the day we left (3p) but figured it would all work out.

About 16 hours later, Q and his dad got to Rawlins, Wyoming, where the highway (I-80) was closed due to hazardous conditions. It stayed closed for the next three days. Luckily, after delaying for one night and, seeing no change in conditions, they took a circuitous route through Casper, Wyoming that added several hours to their trip. It was good that they went when they did because I-25 (the alternate highway they used) closed shortly after they made it through. Apparently that journey was rather hairy, with points in time where snow was blowing so hard that they couldn't tell where the horizon was in a solid sheet of whiteness. I'm grateful I didn't know about that detail until they were safely in Denver. They arrived in Denver only a day later than they had anticipated.

On the first day, Mom and I had stopped in The Dalles, Oregon for the night. The skies looked clear the next morning as we approached the final Oregon mountains and we were skeptical when we saw signs saying that chain laws were in effect for towing vehicles for a 10 mile streetch only 20 miles beyond where we were. From there, however, conditions rapidly deteriorated and I learned how to put chains on the car at a snowy rest stop as Mom held Willow. We then hobbled along with our chains (which we ended up being rather grateful for) for the next 20 miles. An hour later, we were preparing to pull into a chain removal zone, feeling that we were finally out of the woods, when a tire on the trailer went suddenly and completely flat. Flat in the way that there was a limp ring of rubber loosely associated with the wheel. Mom was able to pull way over and we called U-haul. Two hours later, a wonderfully helpful fellow arrived, changed our tire, and had us back on the road. With an average of 6 miles an hour for three hours, our trip was not progressing at the speed we had anticipated. All of our adventures were happening as we stayed in touch with Q and his dad as they approached the closure at Rawlins. We stopped in Boise for the night (Monday) and decided to take the southern route, through Utah, the next day to avoid Wyoming's roads. After a very long day on Tuesday, we were grateful to pull up to my aunt's house in Grand Junction, where I locked the cat's in her guest bathroom and she found beds for my mom, my baby, and me. That was the night that I-70, our route over the mountains to Denver, closed due to extremely high winds and snow. We ended up staying in Grand Junction on Wednesday and Thursday until they were no longer warning vehicles with light trailers away from the highway. We were so lucky to have such a gracious hostess and delightful companion in the form of my dear aunt.

Finally, on Friday, February 24, three full days after we had anticipated, we arrived in Denver. We were joyfully reunited with Q (Wil practically turned inside out with happiness when she saw her daddy) and have had the last five days to recover and temporarily move into my parent's basement until we find a house. Q seems to be settling well into his new job, the cats are beginning to relax, and Willow is getting back on a regular schedule. Hopefully, after all the craziness of the last two months, I'll get back into a routine of posting our adventures in this space. Although we grew up in Colorado, our entire adult lives have been as Oregonians and we're anxious to get reacquainted with the area.

2 comments:

Marina said...

Oh my goodness!!! I'm so glad all of you made it alright, what an adventure. Glad you're safe at home now, love Marina, Scott, Sebastian and Christene

Jeaneane said...

Oh man, what an adventure! Our move out here wasn't as bad as that, but it wasn't a picnic either. When we moved back the weather was fine, but we sure had a lot adventures with the moving truck and trailer. Glad you guys made it safe.