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Moving to Arizona

We made it safely to Arizona! We allotted six days to drive from Rhode Island to our new home, but managed to make it here within five! We would have flown, but our oldest dog is twelve years old and we didn't want to put her on a plane. So, yes, we drove for our dog's sake. I'm sure she appreciated it!

It was a long trip, but fun seeing how the countryside changed along the way. The coronavirus pandemic surely made it a different experience than past road trips, which is partly why we made record time. There weren’t many places to stop and sight-see since many attractions are closed. Traveling with two dogs also inhibited our ability to be tourists.

Our kids are having a blast visiting the hotel pool every day, but they are going a little stir-crazy and are, as to be expected, missing our friends and neighbors. We were blessed to be very close to our neighbors in Rhode Island and are missing them greatly. Even during the early months of the pandemic, when our kids were stripped away from their classmates, they were still able to see our neighbors, which helped immensely.

Besties - Friends & Neighbors

I’m grateful for today’s technology though. My kids are able to video chat and send messages to their friends in Rhode Island and New York, making it possible for them to keep in touch in ways that wouldn’t have been possible when I was a kid.

I decided to kickstart this blog now, (for the umpteenth time in my life) because I want a way to stay connected to our friends and family. I’ve blogged on and off for years, always going back and deleting past blogs when they no longer seemed relevant (or important to anyone but our closest family). However, especially during this strange time of COVID, I think it’s important that we take stock, even briefly, of the happenings in our lives. Someday my kids will be able to share these memories with their children and grandchildren.

Arizona will be the sixth state I’ve lived in. While we love exploring new parts of the country and making new friends, it’s always hard to leave good friends behind. I hope that (this time around) I will do a better job of consistently sharing.

So what’s happening? Well, we are currently staying at a hotel in Phoenix while the finishing touches are being put in our house. We close at the end of the week and our belongings will be delivered by the moving company on Friday! This move has felt faster, but also more seamless than our past moves. When we moved from Orlando, FL to Rochester, NY all our belongings were put in storage while we stayed in temporary housing (first an awful apartment and then a hotel) for eight weeks while we searched for a house and then waited to close. Similarly, when we moved from Rochester, NY to Cumberland, RI we stayed in a hotel for eight weeks.

The benefit of staying in temporary housing during a move was that we got to know the area as we searched for a house. Unfortunately, it also meant eating more meals out, hotel breakfasts, and being without the comforts of home for two months.

This time around we made a one-week house-hunting trip to Phoenix (in August). We did a lot of research about the area in advance and had an idea of where we wanted to start looking. We had planned to have four full days of searching, but miraculously found our house on the very first day! That was quite an unexpected and wonderful surprise. That meant that we spent the rest of our trip getting to know the area around, what will be, our new home. Taking one week to find the house and then returning to Rhode Island, meant that we got to stay in our house longer and prepare it to sell while we were waiting on our AZ home. It cut our time in temporary housing down from eight weeks to a total of two weeks (one week searching and one week here before we close.)

Flying on an airplane with two kids during a pandemic was a memorable experience. Unfortunately, the airlines were flying at full capacity so we were seated directly next to strangers on three of our four flights. One flight I was able to sit with the kids, while Barkley had to sit with two strangers. Our kids are resilient and understanding. What troopers! They both wore their cotton masks and plastic face shields the entire time, from the moment we walked into the first airport to the moment we got in our rental car almost twelve hours later. While we of course had our concerns about coronavirus, Barkley and I both felt confident that we did everything within our power to keep our family and others around us safe.

Airline Travel during COVID Pandemic

The same went for our travel as we drove across the country this past week. We wore masks into every gas station, rest area, restaurant, and hotel. More often than not we picked up fast food and stopped to stretch our legs while we ate our food in the parking lot. Not ideal. Not fancy. But we didn’t want crumbling, messy food in our recently “new-to-us” minivan and we had to give our dogs space or they’d eat the food right out of our kids’ hands.

It was fascinating to see varying mask regulations as we made our way across the country. Prior to leaving New England, we hadn’t seen anyone without a mask since March. We drove through Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, and finally Arizona. Residents wore masks almost everywhere except for Oklahoma, where signs requiring masks were everywhere, but I rarely saw anyone besides our family actually wearing one. We got a lot of strange looks.

Visiting Family in NM

Another benefit of driving across the country was visiting with family that we rarely get to see! My cousin, her husband, and their three kiddos live in New Mexico. We met them for dinner at a cute pizza place that allowed us to eat outside and have plenty of space! The last two times my cousin and I have met were due to family funerals, so we were all grateful for the opportunity to visit together under happy circumstances!

Now that we are in Arizona, we are getting to know the local grocery stores and shops, but mostly spending time at our hotel hiding from the 115-degree weather. Our son will be starting virtual school on September 14 and our daughter has an IEP meeting this week to determine where/when she’ll be attending. Wish us luck as we go through this big transition!

Have you ever done a cross-country move? Have you traveled during the pandemic? If yes, what did you experience?

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