Resuming Projects

What a breath of fresh air! Grounding ourselves back at home for the better part of a month has been refreshing. We’ve been able to focus on health, well-being, fall immunizations, Western Colorado’s beauty, and a daily routine. We are absolutely grateful for the travels since March. We’ve enjoyed visiting many family members, several friends, and soaking up the natural beauty along the way. Both Steve and I had numerous projects waiting on the back burners that we wanted to resume, so in this post, I share my primary project.

Family Archivist and Genealogist

I devote time as an archivist and genealogist on my lineages. I often feel like a historian and a super sleuth at the same time. Admittedly, the initial goals that I determined in 2010 are taking many years to achieve. These past five years that included two years of full-time RVing around the country and then three household moves in three years challenged the goals of my projects. Not that I’m needing to find an excuse, it’s just a fact of life.

Upon our maternal Grandmother’s move from her apartment in the early 1990s and following our Mom’s death in 1994, I brought home from Iowa the majority of the archives that they absorbed from preceding generations. I visited my parents for my 39th birthday, which sadly was my last visit before Mom’s death. The afternoon of my birthday Mom sat next to me on her couch and tearfully yet urgently requested that the history and stories not be lost. She knew her time was limited.

Honestly, neither our Dad nor the five of us siblings realized the extent of what was stored in every possible nook and cranny of their lakeside cottage until we all committed to monthly family work weekends of sifting through my parents’ household of 40 years. As Dad was greatly overwhelmed, he was also extremely grateful to share this journey with his children.

Mom spent the better part of 30 years conducting thorough genealogy research sans computer and pre-internet. This translated into finding many handwritten or typed records filed in folders, binders placed in boxes and filing cabinets, photo albums, scrapbooks, etc. Additionally, there were many treasures and heirlooms from all lineages that were divided among the five of us siblings as part of that downsizing for our Dad.

Working, obtaining my bachelor degree, raising our family, and enjoying church and community involvement was a large part of our life until our 2010 relocation to Denver from Chicago’s western suburbs. It was in Denver while Steve began grad school that I had time to take a deep breath and gradually sift through my parents’ archives held in taped up moving boxes and Rubbermaid tubs that came home years prior from Iowa. I attempted to make heads and tails of such a broad collection. There was frustration and sometimes tears. To keep storage more consistent and streamline access, I bought archive boxes and banker boxes as well as easy to assemble and disassemble plastic utility shelves. Then I returned to full-time work and volunteerism, having little time for family history for several years. 

1981-10 Chuck Sr and Betty (Vale) McLennan at their Holiday Lake Cottage, rural Brooklyn Iowa. They along with the family helped build their cottage.

What’s in the archive collection?

Through the generations of eight lineages there were originally many photos, slides, correspondence, documents, beautiful photo scrapbooks by my paternal Grandmother, typed and handwritten children’s short stories by my Mom, published books authored by family, Dad’s letters and slides during his time serving in the Korean War, old family Bibles with genealogy pages, handiwork from grandmothers, linens, crystal, china, sterling silver, oil paintings by family, jewelry, china head dolls, cuckoo clock and watches, and mementos passed to succeeding generations. The collection includes my Mom’s lineages of Carmitchel and Stratton, Vale and McClester; and my Dad’s lineages of Patterson and Jackson, McLennan and Plumb. (All except for the McLennan lineage have been in the United States for many generations, some dating back to the 1600s. McLennan’s arrived from Scotland in 1869.) Since the original collection that I held, it’s gradually diminished over time. Although, there’s still 23 boxes.

Archive Collection as of last year..I’ve made progress since then!

How do I work my way through the archive collection?

Slowly and methodically are my approaches due to also having other interests. In 2018, I created a project sheet for each archive box. When I remove the box lid and peer inside, the sheet reminds me where to pick up where I left off. I update each sheet when I’ve performed some action plus date my notes. On each project sheet, I also suggest extended family, museums, or historical societies who may eventually like the history. I included this information in the event I don’t make it through a particular box during my lifetime. It’s just part of reality! In tandem, I have a Google document that includes the entire archive collection notes. I also update this as I make progress.

Over the past 13 years, it’s been quite enjoyable to also find homes for many of the treasures in the original archive collection with siblings, our children, nieces and nephews, cousins, and organizations. Especially for family, I consider that when our parents passed away, their grandchildren were quite young OR several grandchildren born after my parents’ deaths. Just this last year, our niece, born after their deaths, was quite excited when I offered her a beautiful heirloom linen tablecloth of her great-great-great grandparents’ Herriman, dating back almost 200 years. She also was pleased to receive a tatted collar made by her great-great grandmother Carmitchel, dating back 100 years.

Tatted Collar by Pearl Stratton Carmitchel

My trajectory may change course if I receive a request from a family member or if there’s an upcoming event related to our history i.e. community or family reunion. After reconnecting with some of my Mom’s cousins this summer, I used it as an opportunity to revisit those lineages. Concurrently, I have boxes and folders for cousins and siblings, where photos and other treasures are placed. Within the next few months, I will offer to send these to my family if they would like to receive items. This week two Bibles belonging to my paternal grandparents are on their way to their great-granddaughter in Texas. My heart is happy!

What are my goals? 

1. Preserve a portion of the original photos and documents

  • Scan to digital files. Recently, I’ve been “taking photos of photos” instead of scanning. It’s a time saver. Although my flatbed scanner will still be used for certain photos.
  • Create Google albums to share files with family. This provides them an opportunity to download the digital files.
  • At FamilySearch.org, attach photos and documents to individual records and family groups on the family tree.
  • At FindAGrave.org, link ancestors in the family tree and add photos as possible.
  • Write family biographies using Google documents and share with family or historical societies. I created a brief biography for my paternal grandfather this summer for Clan McLennan. I have also self-published family history through Lulu.com, a print-on-demand service.

2. Reduce the size of the archive collection

  • Offer some original photos to family members, after I have scanned to digital.
  • Keep a sampling of original photos for each lineage by placing them in archival folders. In the digital age, originals still have a place in case there’s a breach where digital files are stored.
  • Donate some originals to historical museums or historical societies.
  • Discard, as tough as it is sometimes, it is necessary.

3. Continue to donate items

There’s a beauty to preserving history by donating items where they might be enjoyed, especially if I have the time. Since 1994, I have been finding homes for many treasures beyond giving many to family members. My high school drama department, a former community’s high school art department, a former community’s two community theaters, my hometown historical society, several genealogy societies, nonprofits that support special needs adults or autistic children, numerous public libraries, and other entities have been appreciative of receiving donations of items. I write a brief history on each item in order to provide background information. Some of these donations included my Dad’s Korean War era military uniform & service history scrapbook, my Mom’s stylish vintage dresses and her wedding dress, Patterson tree nursery business records, Plumb blacksmith tools, McLennan kilt and kilt accessories, my Granny’s china and art glass, my Grandma’s crocheted handiwork and sheet music collection, and much more.

Clan McLennan Kilt and Accessories
Donated to the Belle Plaine Area Museum
Mom’s Wedding Dress was donated to Making Memories Breast Cancer Foundation.
Dad’s Military Issued Wool Uniform from his service in the Korean War. Donated to the Belle Plaine Area Museum.

4. Moving forward

A goal on the horizon is to move forward to focus on a very sweet life that  Steve and our own family have shared for nearly 50 years. Beyond the archive collection, photos of our chldren and special times together will be the next area to embrace. While I scanned photos from our own albums several years ago, I want to synthesize the photos that aren’t in albums but in the fancy photo boxes of the 1990s and 2000s. Then resume scanning. (There was an era pre-digital when photo labs made two copies of each photo for the price of one. Ultimately this was a bargain at the time, but a challenge now).

In conclusion

Steve, our children and their spouses, my sisters, and my brother have all been quite supportive during this lengthy journey. I am greatly appreciative of everyone for their encouragement. Believe me, there have been some bittersweet times with the archives where I’ve received amazing voices of reason from family and being able to let go of some treasures. The journey continues.

As I am curious by nature, please tell me if you have family history that you are also preserving. I would be interested in your techniques and perhaps some challenges you’ve experienced.

Life at the Speed of Sanity with Steve by my side.

Diane

 

Installment Two: Late May-December 2022

[Note: This is a lengthy post as it also serves as a journal for us and our family.]

Why Grand Junction, Colorado?

We are frequently quizzed: Why did you choose to relocate to Grand Junction, Colorado? This is a good question, especially since it’s the first time in 47 years of marriage that we have no family members or friends residing in an area where we chose to reside. We know from previous moves how much easier it was to connect as newcomers when we had at least someone we knew in the new community. Of course, our move years ago with children made it extremely easy to connect with a new neighborhood and community.

Why Grand Junction? When we were full-time RVers for two years, we camped here in July 2019 and December 2019 for a week each time. During that July week it was 100 degress. Our December stay was over Christmas and we had snow! Grand Junction’s main street looked vibrant. The public art was beautiful. There seemed to be nice amenities with parks, shopping, medical facilities, etc. As we kept a list over our RVing travels of possible communities where we’d live one day, we noted that Grand Junction might be a good place to land. (As was Pullman, Washington where we lived for two years.) With its 100,000 population and wide range of amenities, the Grand Valley encompasses Palisade, Clifton, Grand Junction, and Fruita with the Colorado River a primary much-coveted waterway. Grand Junction’s name derives from the confluence or junction of the Colorado River (formerly the Grand River) and Gunnison Rivers.

We’re at 4,600’ in elevation and live in a desert environment even with the Colorado River flowing through the valley. Our townhome with grounds care is quite suitable for our turnkey lifestyle. We adjust the thermostat, hold the mail, lock the door, and travel. We subscribe to the digital version of the local paper and follow local happenings and businesses via social media, so we keep informed.

We are 25 minutes from Colorado National Monument due west, where we hike. The Monument sits on the eastern edge of the Uncompahgre Uplift, which is part of the great Colorado Plateau with its stunning red rock beauty. Some other geological wonders that share the Colorado Plateau are the Grand Canyon, Arches, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, etc. We are a 45 minute drive to the top of lush 11,000’ in elevation Grand Mesa, due east. It’s the largest flat-topped mountain in the world and Grand Junction’s primary water source thanks to the many lakes and reservoirs. On the Mesa, we’ve hiked, camped, and snowshoed.  Stargazing while wrapped up in a cozy blanket feels good in August!

Due north are the distinctive Book Cliffs consisting of Cretacesous sandstone. They look very wrinkled and what we call “Wrinkled in Time”. In particular is Mount Garfield, which stands as a prominent sentinel overlooking the Grand Valley. On a hike in a canyon among the Book Cliffs, we saw wild horses. What beauty as the breeze gently moved their manes and tails! We’re also near the Dinosaur Diamond Scenic Byway, which offers a 512-mile loop. The Utah border is 35 miles away so a big playground beckons for exploring. Living in Grand Junction, we have access to 1 million acres of public land: Bureau of Land Management, National Forest, National Recreation Areas, National Parks, and National Monuments. One simply cannot be bored!

Now for a Review of Late May through December 2022

Picking up where we left off in the previous post “Installment One”, here’s a synopsis of the remaining months of 2022.

Beginning Saturday, May 21, 2022 (the day after we moved into our townhouse), we hit the pavement running. Here we were unpacking again! We shook our heads! The two of us have a pretty good rhythm of unpacking so over the weekend, we had many boxes unpacked and some order established with belongings.  This time we dearly miss extra storage since we have a slim one-car garage. For the past 13 years, we’ve kept many boxes to use for future moves. Not this time. We found that the local U-Haul store accepts gently used moving boxes, even ones used eight times. (Gulp!) All the packing paper went to the City of Grand Junction’s recycling drop-off center. During the first full week Steve took the Highlander for servicing. He was due to donate blood and made an appointment locally to do so. Diane organized the kitchen and closets. During the first week, we obtained our library cards and registered to vote. Nearing the end of May, we took a break from all things “move and settling” related to have a picnic and hike up at Colorado National Monument.

May 26, 2022 Hiking in Colorado National Monument, Alcove Nature Trail.

In June 2022, seeking new medical and dental providers, we researched options and by the first week of June secured appointments with new primary physicians and a dental practice. Some appointments would be in July and dental not until December as new patients. From previous moves, we knew it would take time. By mid-month, we were able to get our Colorado drivers’ licenses. As residents of Colorado for the second time, we made our first of many trips over 2022 to Denver, which is 250 miles from Grand Junction. Now that we were in our new space, we determined what additional furniture might enhance our lifestyle and made a stop at the IKEA in Centennial. As the end of the month approached, we happily voted in the Primary Election!

June 15, 2022 We purchased some new bookcases and display shelves from IKEA while we were in Denver.

During July 2022, we kept busy with many walks, attending worship a couple of times, enjoying farmers markets in Grand Junction and Palisade, and visiting several coffee shops. We hiked at the Monument. We made a trip to Denver for time with family. Then, drum roll, on July 27, 2022, during a prolonged stretch of upper 90s and 100 degree temperatures, we awoke to an inside temperature of the upper 70s in our townhouse. Hmmm. Something was amiss. Our landlords acted swiftly with a call to an HVAC company. The company was out within a record 20 minutes and determined that the air compressor was dead. Unfortunately, the air compressor was not available locally and would take about a week to arrive from California. Well, being who we are with the history of house issues in Pullman and needing to quickly solve our predicament, we sought out campsites in the area.

Thank goodness a trailer once again provided a quick backup plan! Being a popular time of the year for tourists, we were thankful on a moment’s notice to score the only remaining campsite at the KOA in Grand Junction. We could stay only two nights because the weekend was booked. After our two nights at the KOA, the trailer went back into storage. We made a roadtrip to Denver and stayed  two nights with Steve’s Mom. Again returning to Grand Junction after the weekend, we retrieved the trailer from RV storage for one more night at the Grand Junction KOA.

July 1, 2022 Devil’s Kitchen Hike, Colorado National Monument.

Welcome August 2022! On the first of August, we hitched up the trailer at the KOA campground and we were off to beautiful Ridgway State Park, which is 80 miles south of us. It had been on our bucket list and when campsites were available for the upcoming weekdays, we nabbed four nights. It was at higher elevation so only in the 90s for highs, plus we had an electric hookup and could run the air conditioning. While at Ridgway State Park, we hiked some trails, took in the beauty surrounding us, and made a day of visiting the breathtaking Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Our landlords called on August 4 with the good news that the new air compressor was installed and the air conditioner was working! Yippee! 

August 2, 2022 Sunset view from Ridgway State Park, Colorado.

One of the highlights of August was having our daughter from Denver stay with us. It was such fun to have our first company in a very long time, years in fact. We explored Colorado National Monument together and created new memories. A few days after she  left, we packed up S’More the Trailer and went to  Grand Mesa National Forest to camp and enjoy the cooler temperatures afforded us at higher elevation. The hiking was fantastic. The night skies were dazzling. Later in August, we made a roadtrip to Pullman, Washington for time with our son, daughter-in-love, and grandchild. On our return route home, we spent two nights in Bozeman, Montana and soaked up time with Diane’s sister, brother-in-law, and nephew. It was so good to have more family catch-up time.

During her August 2022 visits, our daughter helped arrange photo gallery walls while here.

In September 2022, after three years apart from much of our extended family, we made a 19-day road trip  to Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, Denver, and back home. What an absolute blessing! We visited our Midwest siblings and their families. We also saw Steve’s aunt and uncle plus several of our cousins. 

Sept 22, 2022 Playing Disc Golf at Altmaier Family Park near Coralville, Iowa.

A joy-filled few days in October 2022 had our Pullman family and Steve’s Mom here in Grand Junction. It was the first time that Great-Grandma and Great-Grandson met. The autumn colors through the mountains and across our Grand Valley were a beautiful palette of yellows and golds. The autumn temperatures were divine.

October 29, 2022 The colors were magnificent along the Riverfront Trail on our walk.

In November 2022, we joined a local fitness center. Thankfully our medical insurance supplement plan offers Silver and Fit, which covers our basic fitness center membership. We also expanded our search for a church community. One in particular really has offered a warm welcome. A Denver Thanksgiving brought more joy with family. Plus, we soaked up a relaxing visit with our daughter and son-in-love. The first snows were evident through the mountains as ski resorts were busy making snow and colder temperatures were sustaining the snow.

November 2, 2022 We played disc golf at Riverbend Disc Golf Course in Palisade.

Throughout December 2022, we were busy with sending holiday greetings, mailing presents, and purchasing a new Roland Digital Piano for our home. Diane enjoyed tickling the keys and resuming the joy of music. Steve made many batches of biscotti and Swedish limpa bread to give to the family! We kept tabs on Interstate 70 on our Christmas trip to and from Denver. Glenwood Canyon is notorious for closures year round. However, winter weather can wreak havoc in an instant. We rung in the new year of 2023 as just the two of us from the comfort of our home.

December 28, 2022 We had snow in Grand Junction. It didn’t stop us from taking a neighborhood walk.

How’s daily life in Grand Junction? We love visiting our public library. Through the library, we joined a book club, which has been very nice to be with other people. We typically engage in some physical activity daily whether walks along our riverfront or through our neighborhood, hikes, or fitness center workouts.  Farmers’ markets are great in the summer and fall. We took up a new leisure sport of disc golf. Between June and November 2022, we played 15 courses in six states. Steve bakes bread using a Cuisinart Compact breadmaker and makes yummy biscotti. Diane is busy with family history, photo projects, making photo greeting cards, and writing posts for Instagram (@speedofsanity).  Unfortunately, our bodies have changes and ailments that require extra medical attention. It’s a part of life and we’re grateful for our care providers.

The mountains welcome us each time we go to and fro! It’s been a gift to be closer to our Denver family. The added bonus on several trips when we were in Denver are visiting family members whose visits coincided with ours.  They’ve traveled from upstate New York, New Mexico, and Minnesota. What a joy to see family after the “missing years” of the pandemic. We also have reconnected in person with Denver friends after a long absence due to living in Washington state and the pandemic.

In conclusion Okay…so this pretty much sums up the remainder of 2022 and our settling into Grand Junction. Thanks for hanging with us as we slowly bring our 12mph blogs up to date. We hope that you will stay with us as we shift our future posts to travels, camping, natural wonders, and the curiosities of life along the way! If you have any particular topic that you’d like to read in a blog post, let us know!

Happy Trails at the Speed of Sanity!

Diane & Steve

Bringing “LIFE AT THE SPEED OF SANITY” blog up to speed! Installment One: January-May 2022

[Note: This is a lengthy post as it also serves as a journal for us and our family.]

JANUARY 2022 

After receiving a non-renewal of lease letter on January 18, 2022,  we devoted time to develop a plan for relocating back to Colorado. [See prior post dated January 28, 2022]

FEBRUARY 2022 

We spent the better part of February madly “rightsizing” and selling, donating, or giving to family various household treasures. Being realistic, we anticipated a smaller home in our future. Despite the frenzy, we stuck to a previously planned camping trip to Whidbey Island, Washington. It served as a calming segue to the future pace we anticipated.

We donated Grandparents’ Vale set of china to Palouse Treasures Thrift Store. All proceeds go to support persons with disabilities in the community.
We donated housewares, shoes, books, and clothing to the Goodwill in Pullman.
Housewares, sheets, and towels went to Family Promise of the Palouse in Moscow, Idaho.
We donated several items to RTOP Theatre that they can add to their boutique or to their costume or prop departments.
2022-02-17 Cap Sante Park, overlooking Fidalgo Bay, Anacortes, Washington on Fidalgo Island.

MARCH 2022 

Until the third week of March, we kept packing, donating, selling, and organizing for an upcoming move. 

Steve’s packing up our art pieces.
Furniture that we’re selling has been moved into the garage for ease of loading into purchasers’ vehicles.
Diane keeps busy sorting family archives by category and filling a recycling bin with extraneous records.

On March 23, we embarked on an abode-hunting trip that would last nearly five weeks. Thankfully, we are “old hats” at living in a trailer and traveling. Plus, it was a good way to avoid Airbnb or hotel costs as much as possible. With S’More, our 15’ Geo Pro trailer loaded, we stayed at a hotel in Butte, Montana the first night. Then we had overnight campsites in Sheridan and Douglas, Wyoming before arriving at KOA campground near Fort Collins, Colorado. From this location of the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains, we explored Fort Collins, Loveland, and surrounding areas. On-line we also kept tabs on Denver, Aurora, and Littleton rental listings. The traffic was intense and rental prices outlandish. In our back-pocket of planning, we kept Grand Junction, Colorado tucked away as a back-up. “Because, you just never know!”

Our one night at the KOA, Sheridan, Wyoming was a bit chilly! Because of freezing temperatures, they didn’t offer water hookups yet.
The one night at the KOA, Douglas, Wyoming provided a beautiful sunset.
It was nice to have six nights at the Fort Collins/Lakeside KOA, Fort Collins, Colorado.

APRIL 2022 

On April 1, from Fort Collins, we shifted gears and drove 90 miles to our next stay at Chatfield State Park near Littleton. We have enjoyed several stays at this state park as full-time RVers. Thankfully we were able to reserve only two months out for a 13 day stay. With spring break vacationers, this state park is quite popular. 

Towing the trailer through Denver’s early afternoon traffic on I-25 wasn’t pleasant. Perhaps we’ve been away from Denver too long! We did this drive with our larger trailer over the years too.
Our campsite for 13 nights at Chatfield State Park gave us views of the Hogback along the Front Range.

Yet despite calling and following up on oodles of listings in the Denver and Metro Area with no success, we placed our gaze and research efforts westward 250 miles to Grand Junction.  Already, we had a list of potential rental properties. Having anticipated going to Grand Junction, we opted to reserve at the Grand Junction KOA while we were in Fort Collins. It’s a good thing as there were no empty sites when we arrived!

On April 15, we left the Denver area for Grand Junction where we had a 7-day stay at the KOA campground. The weather forecast called for more snow in the mountains, so we were prepared and the Highlander did a great job of towing up to the Eisenhower Tunnel and over Vail Pass. Shifting into the manual setting certainly helps the transmission!

Towing the trailer from the Denver area to Grand Junction, we had some snowy conditions on I-70 westbound at higher elevations.

In Grand Junction, knowing that even their rental market was short on supply, we were up at the crack of dawn and reviewing listings on Zillow, Craigslist, and Facebook Marketplace. We drove around the community and past various listings. Each time we’d inquire about availability, we’d hear that the listing was just rented. Finally, we completed an application on Zillow and focused all efforts there.

Before bed we marked our “favorites” on Zillow. At 6:30am the next day, there was a response on a townhouse listing. Within 30 minutes, we had traded messages with the owners and had an appointment for a showing a few hours later. This was just what we were seeking with ample space for our household, an attached one-car garage, central air conditioning, no yard maintenance, and a very nice location.

Our campsite at the KOA in Grand Junction, Colorado while abode hunting.
There’s SO much less traffic in Grand Junction than the Front Range of the Rockies.

On April 22, a week after arriving in Grand Junction, we had a lease signed, renter’s insurance secured through a Grand Junction State Farm agent, utilities transferred to our names, RV storage reserved, and a U-Haul truck reserved back in Washington. We emptied S’More the Trailer of bedding, clothing, food, etc. and off we left towards our Pullman home.

We have our next abode rented! Grand Junction here we come!
April 22, 2022 We placed S'More the Geo Pro in RV storage in Grand Junction before returning to Pullman to finish preparing for our move.
It felt a bit odd leaving S’More the Geo Pro in RV storage in Grand Junction.

Without the trailer in tow, it only took us two days of travel to get back home. We stayed the first night in Park City, Utah. Admittedly, a big king bed felt heavenly after our bunk-size beds in the trailer. Park City brought back wonderful memories of past vacations or stays. After another long day of driving, the second night found us with some slim pickings along I-84 in Oregon. We stayed at the Oregon Trail Motel in Baker City, Oregon. It was in very stark contrast to the Marriott in Park City. Although we had a nice walk around Baker City and viewing their public art.

We stayed in Park City, Utah. It even snowed overnight!
A most unique stay was experienced at Oregon Trail Motel in Baker City, Oregon. It was economical with the room, bathroom, and bed quite worn around the edges.

On April 24, we crossed back into Washington over the Snake River. Before we knew it, we were back in Pullman. What relief! We were SO ready to hug our Pullman family and catch up with them again. 

We’re crossing the Snake River so just a bit over an hour from our Pullman, Washington home.

The next morning, we were ready to hit the pavement running with only three weeks until our move. A spiral bound notebook had oodles of notes and lists that we jotted down over the five weeks of our trip. Major checklist items: reserve a two-person crew to unload our household from the U-Haul in Grand Junction; make an appointment for the car to be serviced soon after moving to Grand Junction; resume packing; and, deep clean the townhouse before vacating the home.

MAY 2022 

Squeezing our last meals, morning coffee and conversation times, and grandbaby cuddles with our family were the essentials those last days. It was a heart-tug to leave our son, daughter-in-love, and grandbaby. We were all part of a “Buddy Bubble” for the better part of two years during the COVID pandemic. Our hearts will hold tight to those lasting memories!

One of our last walks in our NW Terre View Drive neighborhood on Pullman’s Military Hill with this beautiful view. Kamiak Butte is in the distance and one of our favorite hiking spots.

On May 13, Steve received a call that the 20 foot U-Haul truck that we wanted was not available. He had carefully planned the placement of boxes and furniture. This threw a bit of a wrench into that plan, as we ended up with a 26 foot truck with too much room. Both Pullman and Moscow are university towns, so we and many students were grappling for U-Hauls at the same time.

Steve tended to the many details of calculating space and packing the 20' U-Haul truck that he had reserved several weeks ago.
Steve tended to the many details of calculating space and packing the 20′ U-Haul truck that he had reserved several weeks ago.

On May 14, a lovely couple, Beth and Eric, who we met through our Pullman family, invited us over for a delicious breakfast complete with his home baked bagels. It was so nice to actually sit at a table with them. During COVID restrictions, all of our other contacts had been in their front yard when picking up our order of baked goods from their pop-up cottage bakery or over coffee and outdoor seating at a local coffee shop. They were very gracious.

May 16 was U-Haul pick up day in Moscow, Idaho (10 miles from home). As soon as the truck was in our driveway practically using a shoehorn, Steve began loading boxes. In the afternoon, our son came and worked with Steve into the evening to finish loading and securing boxes, furniture, bicycles, etc. As our bed was loaded onto the truck, we opted to stay in a hotel. It was divine after a day of hard work!

The truck in the driveway with enough room for our neighbors to drive past.
The truck in the driveway with enough room for our neighbors to drive past.
Steve has the two-car garage staged to make loading the U-Haul and Highlander easier.
Steve had the two-car garage staged to make loading the U-Haul and Highlander easier.
Bidding farewell to our Pullman, Washington, Terre View Drive townhouse.
Bidding farewell to our Pullman, Washington, Terre View Drive townhouse.

May 17 was a big day. We awoke early in order to return to the house, vacuum the carpet, tie up loose ends, and load the car with the last of items. Our final stop before driving away from our community of Pullman was for extra hugs and “see you laters” with our family. Our eyes “leaked” as Steve drove the U-Haul truck and Diane followed with our Toyota Highlander filled to the gills as Pullman receded in our vehicle mirrors.

Thanks to Jeremy and Steve, our household is loaded except for what Diane has in the Highlander.
Thanks to Jeremy and Steve, our household is loaded except for what Diane has in the Highlander.

We traveled U.S. 95 south along the beautiful Palouse Hills terrain in southeastern Washington and southwestern Idaho. This was mostly a two-lane highway through a picturesque landscape that we’ve enjoyed the past ten years. The Nez Perce Reservation lends itself to meaningful native history and stunning beauty. The first night we stayed in Ontario, Oregon at a hotel needing to rest our weary bodies and emotions.

Along U.S. 95 through Idaho, we stopped to stretch with a beautiful view of the Salmon River.
Along U.S. 95 through Idaho, we stopped to stretch with a beautiful view of the Salmon River.

May 18 was a very long day of driving on busy I-84 across Idaho and northern Utah to Heber City, Utah. In all of our many miles of driving around the country, I-84 can be really busy and fast. We’ve learned our lessons from prior travels with our Nash trailer to avoid the bulk of Salt Lake City’s I-15 traffic. While we weren’t towing this time, Steve found the U-Haul to be a very rough ride and fully loaded, not something to take through Salt Lake City.

Our overnight stay at Heber Valley Hotel in Heber City, Utah was a welcomed night after a long day of driving Interstates 84 and 15.
Our overnight stay at Heber Valley Hotel in Heber City, Utah was a welcomed night after a long day of driving Interstates 84 and 15. We also have some fond memories of vacations in this area..

On May 19 we were up at the crack of dawn and on our way towards Grand Junction. The route we took was U.S. 40, a route with which we’re familiar. It brought back memories of former full-time RVing stays in Vernal, Utah and a 2014 visit to Dinosaur National Monument. Interestingly, we missed a turn and ended up on a Colorado 139. Yet, this afforded us a new drive on part of the Dinosaur Diamond Scenic Byway. While beautiful, it sure posed some challenges for the U-Haul truck on the climb over Douglas Pass. The Ford 450 engine of the truck labored heavily!

Our trusty Toyota Highlander and the 26' U-Haul truck at the scenic viewpoint near Douglas Pass, Colorado.
Our trusty Toyota Highlander and the 26′ U-Haul truck at the scenic viewpoint near Douglas Pass, Colorado.

Once over the pass, it was a stunning downhill stretch through the Book Cliffs and across the wide open northern reaches of Grand Valley to Loma, Colorado. We stopped at the Colorado Visitor Center in Fruita in order to call our landlords and arrange to meet them to obtain the keys to the townhouse in Grand Junction. Devoting a couple of hours to unloading what we could, we settled onto our tent camping air mattresses and slept quite comfy on the master bedroom floor.

May 19, 2022 2:02pm Yay! We made it to Fruita, Colorado so 20 minutes from our new abode. We called our landlords, Paulette & Charlie, to arrange meeting them at the townhouse to get the keys and garage door opener.
It’s May 19, 2022, 2:02pm .Yay! We made it to Fruita, Colorado so 20 minutes from our new home. We called our landlords, Paulette & Charlie, to arrange meeting them at the townhouse to get the keys and garage door opener.

On May 20 and just like clockwork, the two-person unloading crew arrived at 8:00am. Within 90 minutes the truck was unloaded, furniture in place, and boxes placed in their assigned rooms! We vouched to ourselves and our family that for future moves, a crew would load AND unload!

May 20, 2022 and it's moving in day! Thankful for the two person unloading crew!
Thank you to the two person unloading crew!

Whew! This was quite the post to write!

Stay tuned for “Installment Two of Bringing Life at the Speed of Sanity Up to Speed!”

Happily Retired at the Speed of Sanity,

Diane & Steve