đź“· A photographic catching up

It looks like my last post was exactly two months ago, on May 9th. I started one on the 19th, and then another the first week of June, but it’s been absolute insanity and neither of those went anywhere. Long story short, so much has happened in the last 60 days it would take me a week to share all of it in detail. I’m itching to get back behind the wheel here and make something (more) of this site.

A picture is worth 1,000 words.
Here’s 65 pictures from the last 60 days.

May 18th: JP finally had his Jeep back from a shady vendor who apparently did FA with it in the three months he had it. Before he went out alone, we did a quick shakedown on Table Mesa Road (east). This was the first trail I experienced in a 4WD vehicle, the first trail I did in my first 4WD vehicle (Rocinante), and the last trail I did before leaving town. Believe it or not: TME was rougher than anything we experienced in the Parashant Monument weeks prior.

May 22nd: My last camping trip in Arizona. JP and Commodore arrived earlier in the day. I arrived well after sunset. I’m glad I got to do one more solo drive into the wild with only GPS coordinates and a ham radio. I’m also glad I finally got to camp somewhere with running water and got to dig out and dam up a pool in it—even if I only got to sit in the pool long enough to finish the bottle of bourbon before we broke camp and went home in the morning.

May 26th: I learned I fit in a [ ND ] Miata and everything changed.

May 28th: We brought home our new, 2023 Mazda CX-50 2.5 Turbo Premium (2.5TP). We call him “Chuck”. He is very chuckable.

May 30th: P and I always got a kick out of seeing the hot air balloons in the morning so we made a point of surprising her with a ride before we left.

May 31st: Fezzik officially joined the Roofbox Mafia. He also rolled 250,000 miles. I missed it. PS: That’s 50,000 miles on the engine Josh and I installed three years ago. Officially the most capable vehicle I’ve ever owned. Thanks, Josh!

June 2nd: I couldn’t hang and took another nap in the garage at the office.

June 4th: Our wonderful friend Shelly passed away. The only thing more fucked up than cancer is a god who makes it part of his “plan”.

June 5th: P threw a friendship party. We rented an inflatable water slide. It was taller than our house. It filled the driveway. I had to go down it a couple times; once when the sprinkler at the top needed adjusting, and once when someone’s hair got caught in a velcro flap up there. Damn thing was slicker than goose shit. The kids had a blast. Highly recommend.

June 9th: (30 days ago!) We caught a flight to Iowa to see the house we bought over Zoom. It was my first time flying Allegiant. If all you need to take with you is the stuff in your pockets, and you don’t mind being an hour late, and/or flying in a dirty plane, this could be the airline for you. Otherwise, don’t fool yourself about saving money. The flight crew was excellent, though. (The bourbon, not so much.)

June 10th: Saw my new house in person for the first time. Went straight from the airport.

June 11th: The next morning, we met our Realtor and did a walkthrough. We saw the inside for the first time. Then we drove to GreenState Credit Union and signed all the paperwork making it official. Then we went back to the house for a couple hours before V had to fly home for Shelly’s services. P and I ended up back at the hotel and made some friends down on the Ped Mall. It was a day.

June 12th: I took a last night picture of the house before going back to the hotel. We were flying home the next afternoon. The next morning, I found an awesome, super comf, black, leather chair at Artifacts, a sweet consignment store less than a mile from my house.

June 13th: Uncle Patrick dropped P and I off at the airport about 30 minutes before they announced our flight home was canceled. Something something unable to get a crew together at the other end? Patrick was already home and had to drive back, pick us up, and take us back to the hotel. P spent most of the day playing with the little girl two doors down while Patrick took me to Slager Appliances to buy a new washer and dryer. We then flew home to Phoenix.

June 14th: I went back in to the office for a going away lunch with my team. Well, the three teammates who weren’t out with covid that day, anyway. We went to a new-to-me Mexican restaurant called La Santisima. It was most excellent.

June 15th: The POD arrived.

June 17th: The movers arrived to load the POD. They were worth the money. Ironically, they told me they actually suck at Tetris. Also, I took Louise to the vet for a booster shot so she’d be fully legal when she landed.

June 18th: The POD left. You know, one of the biggest benefits of going the PODS route is that you can take your time loading the POD. Talk about throwing the baby out with the bath water, I originally planned on us having the POD for a week, then moved that up by three days because I realized it would take 10 days to get to Iowa. So we had the POD for four days.

My shelves, adjustable work bench, garage fridge, dolly, extension ladder, TV cart, folding chairs, driver side jump seat, jerry cans, and much, much more were left behind because there wasn’t any room left in the POD. See also, the patio furniture and brand new, inflatable hot tub. I ended up carrying those empty wooden crates, the legs for two Ikea standing desks, and a giant plastic bin full of Xmas ornaments with me in Fezzik (instead of air mattresses, sleeping bags, and blankets).

The best laid plans of mice unravelled rapidly that day. Right up to the point V made a special trip to Home Depot for a $30 padlock that I discovered didn’t fit the moment the PODS truck rounded the corner. Fortunately, he had a cheap-o, $10 one under the seat that did. It was an even trade under the circumstances, and I cried like a baby for about half an hour afterwards because, fawk.

This was also the night of P’s big dance recital—aka: The event we used to set our departure date almost a year prior.

I’d planned on having everything done by the morning of the 18th so I could go get a leisurely massage and have a float before the big event. Instead, I missed both. (I actually missed three such appointments in the last two weeks, throwing away a good $600. I’m still pissed about that.) And then I went back to the house after the recital to continue my desperate attempts at packing the rest of the shit into the Montero and CX-50.

June 19th: We’d originally planned on leaving town on Monday, but at that point, it would have meant another night in a hotel with two dogs and a cat. If we were going to do that, I figured, we might as well be on the road. So I booked all our hotel rooms for the 19th.

That morning, I got up super early and drove an hour to Avondale to buy another roof box for the Mazda. Because we needed the room. The seller and I spent a good two hours trying to find crossbars that worked with the CX-50s unique load rail profile. Fortunately, we found a set we could modify with a hammer on the edge of a cement parking curb. We mounted the bigger Thule box on Chuck and I raced home to show V, whereupon I immediately let the powered rear lift gate smash into the roof box, scraping paint off the spoiler. Like an absolute jackass.

We packed everything we could fit into the vehicles, I took one last shower in the old bathroom, and we hit the road for Albuquerque around 3PM.

June 20th—22nd: Driving across the country. Phoenix to Albuquerque Day One, then on to Liberal, Kansas, Day Two. We took the scenic route to Lawrence on Day Three so I could show the girls the houses where my dad lived, where I lived in Kindergarten through first grade, and where I lived when we came back and I finished high school. We also got grotesquely over-the-top shakes from Bogey’s.

June 23rd: We arrived at our new house in Iowa City.

June 24th: The first day of the rest of our lives, I guess. From our first meal in town at Trumpet Blossom Cafe, to finding a new summer jam, to returning to the exact spot I decided I was moving here exactly one year later, to meeting my first local gearhead, it’s been an adventure. Believe me, I wish I could dive deep into all these pictures and more so I could share the things I’ve discovered and learned about life, the Universe, and everything in the last two months—but that would take forever.

And that’s basically it!

It’s been a wild ride. The best is yet to come. Thanks for checking out my story. If you’re at all curious about anything above, I’d love to tell you more. Just leave a comment and let me know.

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