Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Our 3,000 Mile Journey (and some tips for going on your own adventure)

Now that we're settled into our new home, I finally get a chance to reflect on everything that went on these past couple of weeks! Looking back on it now it seems like a dream, did we really ever live in Houston TX?! As you can see from the route we chose, we were able to see a good chunk of the country, there were several factors that determined our route, we knew we wanted to hit up Waco, TX and see Joanna Gaines's Magnolia Market and my best friend lives in Colorado Springs, so both of those were a must-see and pretty much determined the path of the trip.

Being the overly organized, list making obsessed person that I am I started planning this trip pretty much as soon as we found out Lewis got the job (and even before that I was fantasizing). We are lucky enough that his new job does provide relocation assistance but we still wanted to keep it as cost effective as possible. Factoring in gas (for two cars), lodging for 4 nights, food, truck cost, and supplies, we estimated the cost at $2,600 which isn't too shabby for moving across the country.

Some things to keep in mind if you're planning a road trip and some stuff we learned along the way:

-Start pricing out moving trucks as soon as possible. I compared the top competing brands on a daily basis and I noticed the prices would fluctuate anywhere from $50-300. I ended up going with Penske because they had the highest customer satisfaction ratings and they gave me a huge discount for being a AAA member.

-There are tons of Apps available to plan your trip and what sights to see along the way, Roadtrippers and Furkot are my faves. There are also Fuel calculators such as THIS ONE that give you an estimation of gas costs AND tells you where to get the best prices.

-We chose to pack a cooler full of snacks, drinks, and food in order to save some money, plus traveling with a dog limited where we could eat out.

-I debated booking the hotel rooms in advance but it's actually a good thing I didn't because we failed to reach our goal the first day. What I recommend is discussing with the group what goal you are comfortable with setting that day and then book a hotel online no later than 2pm that day. You should always be able to find a room unless there's a special event going on in that city.

Our first stop was Magnolia Market in Waco, TX. You might remember the first time we went there during our trip to Austin last year but this was our first time seeing the new silos! It was truly an amazing space but man it was HOT, too hot to really stay there and enjoy it unfortunately. Our first night we stayed in Midland TX, yes, Texas is so unfathomably MASSIVE we didn't make it out of there within the first day.

After FINALLY escaping Satan's butthole, New Mexico was a very welcomed sight to behold and it genuinely surprised me with it's beauty! I'm not really sure what I expected... tumbleweeds? Roadrunners? It was a stunning land of vast fields and sloping mountains.

Our second night was spent in Colorado Springs, Co. where I saw pretty cotton candy skies and had dinner with my best friend and her husband (still in denial that most of my friends are married now...does that mean I'm getting old?!)

The next morning we explored The Garden of the Gods which was a little crowded due to summer break but still pretty manageable (and they allow dogs which is awesome).

Our next destination (aka our longest day) was Coalville, UT we drove over 8 hours and didn't get in until 11:30pm. Then, after a close call trying to squeeze the truck out of a tight parking space, I snapped some cool pics of these beautiful thistles (Braveheart anyone?) and we headed off to OR!

Our final stop was a super cute town called Baker City, OR. It was as if I stumbled upon Stars Hollow, I expected to be served coffee by Luke Danes and buy some apples from Taylor Doose. We stopped at a local diner and had dinner in the park - it was by far my favorite part of the trip.

The following morning (MOVE IN DAY) we stopped by the Oregon Trail which is about 15 min. outside of Baker City. It was a cool little museum filled with fun interactive displays and historical accounts of what life was like on the trail. None of these things even compare to seeing the tracks for yourself in person, standing in the very spot where people traveled hundreds of years ago.

After nearly having a heart attack and fighting hurricane force winds, we finally made it to our new home right outside of Portland, OR. I still cannot quite grasp the concept that we are here, after countless years of research and uncertainty, we finally did it! Of course, it would have been a lot less attainable without the help of our amazing parents who have put up with our restless spirits and assisted us in many moves across the country. I cannot express how amazing it feels to finally realize what it's like to belong somewhere and I can now confidently say that I LOVE where I live and I truly hope everyone is able to achieve that in their lifetime.

PS - If you would like to see a video compilation of our journey I posted it on the Facebook page :)

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