How many dads does it take to help me get a camper shell installed and modified for a cross-country move?
Three. Plus my boyfriend.
So first of all, thank you to Josh’s stepdad, dad, the Craigslist seller dad, and Josh for getting this baby on, sealed, fixed with anchors, and packed. And his mother for finding it online!
Our journey began on Monday, March 26. After spending a week moving out of my apartment, giving my dog to my friend, packing and re-packing, and making minor modifications to my truck camper shell, we were finally ready to go. Plus the months of selling off everything I could on Facebook Marketplace, giving things to friends, and countless donation trips to Goodwill, we were definitely ready to hit the road.
We didn’t plan to make this drive much of an adventure as we were worried about how my truck would handle and we drove our cars separately, so it was more exhausting in general.
The first day we drove to Omaha, Nebraska, which took about 9 hours due to rainy weather and my slow truck. We stayed the night with my old college roommate, Ashley, who made sure to take us for gourmet pizza by the slice at Noli’s Pizzeria. We also enjoyed some special seasonal drinks and Pan’s Labyrinth at a lounge called Nite Owl.
The second day we continued down I-80 through Nebraska and got to see a few hundred sandhill cranes in the cornfields during their migration. We stopped in Cheyenne, Wyoming for some much needed Chinese food and mothering (“You skinny, you eat more, you both skinny!”) at Dynasty Cafe and stayed at an Airbnb in Laramie, WY.
Driving on day three was a bit more nerve-wrecking as part of 80 was being hit with snow. Watching the trains pass through the snowy hills of Wyoming reminded me of a western film. I imagined people hopping them and fighting in saloons. The highway allowed me easy passage, but what was it like to drag your wagon and family out to settle this area?
We made it to Salt Lake City that evening and met up with one of Josh’s old college friends, Austin, for some burgers at Lucky 13 Bar & Grill. After admiring all of the cows and sheep on the drive out, I had to opt for the spicy black bean burger.
After dinner, we continued our trek on to Elko, Nevada, which is about three hours west. We zoomed through the pink reflection of the salt flats around Great Salt Lake as the sun was setting. We stayed in a Super 8 in Elko because there weren’t cheap Airbnbs available at the time.
We finished the last leg of our trip on Thursday, March 29. As eager as I was to get to Oregon, we still made time to stop and gawk at a beautiful lake in the mountains on the Utah border and start practicing some western plant identification (Ambrosia!).
We drove through the southeastern desert land of Oregon through some steep, 8% grade hillsides that required some self-talking for me. We passed some more ranch-land surrounded by scrub and nervously kept our eyes peeled. Was this our town coming up? Surely, it must be over that ridge. No…was this the town? Ten more miles may as well have been one hundred.
The piney, national forest right before we reached our new town was a peaceful oasis amidst the desert land.
On the other side of the forest, we finally reached our new home.