We’re finally, FINALLY in Tucson

Hard work pays off! Photo of sunset

After years of hard work, planning, frustration, and financial investment, we arrived in Tucson on Saturday, November 25th. I had hoped to write a post for each day of the trip, but I was too damn exhausted. So you get it all in one massive post. Hooray!

If things had gone to plan, we’d have been in Tucson on Thursday or Friday. However, things rarely go to plan, and we sat in the RV park in Indiana we called home since the end of October for a couple of extra days with “failure to launch” stamped on our foreheads.

I woke up early on moving day, still not quite believing that any of this was actually happening, and started to get things packed up. We went through our pre-journey checklist and made sure all was bueno. Antenna down, slides in, everything tied down, water heater off, etc.

Then we tried to start the engine. NOPE. Dead chassis batteries.

Our coach is supposed to charge both sets of batteries, house and chassis, while on shore power. For some reason it’s not doing that. We should have started the engine to charge them at some point in the last month, but in an effort to not disturb our neighbors with a big diesel engine, we didn’t. Derp on us.

We hooked up our battery charger and waited. And waited. And waited. We tried starting the engine several more times. No go.

We weren’t able to drive the car behind the RV to jump start it, so we asked the kind and very helpful staff at Timberline Valley RV Resort if they could. They had a beefier battery charger, and we got the coach started with their help. Great! Let’s go.

NOPE.

Then the automatic jack system started acting a fool. We got a little impatient with it since we were running late, and shut off the control panel before it was done thinking. That pissed it off and caused a burp in the fluid lines. We didn’t have any fluid on hand, so we had to make a run to the nearest auto parts store to pick some up.

The car towing the dolly we bought to tow the car.

We got the fluid levels figured out and the jacks up and ready to go. So we tried to put the car on the tow dolly we bought.

Not only did it not fit, we also tore the bumper off trying to get it back off the dolly. We have one of the only cars that won’t fit on a tow dolly and can’t be flat towed behind the RV. Of course.

By that time, it was very late in the day and we were both overdone. We decided to give up on leaving and move on to Plan Z.

  • I could drive the car behind the RV all the way to Tucson.
  • We could buy a trailer to put the car on and drag it to Tucson.
  • We could rent a trailer and turn it in once we got to Tucson.

While we hated spending $800 on a trailer we weren’t going to be able to keep, we went with option #3. Our car won’t tow a large trailer, so moving one around an RV park would be next to impossible. Also, we have nowhere to put a trailer. Levi didn’t want me driving the car behind because he needed help managing the RV. So renting a UHaul trailer it was…

The stupid rented trailer on the back of my dad’s truck. Dog bless him for dragging it over to the RV park for us.

We left Indiana on Thanksgiving day, and while it was annoying to be stuck there for an extra two days, it was probably a blessing in disguise because the holiday made traffic manageable. I don’t celebrate holidays, so it was just a regular day to me and my heart wasn’t broken about “missing” Thanksgiving.

After getting beat to death by crappy Indiana roads and bored to death by boring Illinois roads, we made it all the way to Marshfield, Missouri. We overnighted in the very clean, friendly, and convenient Route 66 RVexpress Park and took off without issues early the next morning.

In the western part of Missouri and all the way through Oklahoma, we found out that our rig is basically a big sail. We fought the wind all. day. long. Also, Oklahoma roads are a lot like Indiana roads, only they have the excuse of having earthquakes due to fracking. So it was another day of the poor RV taking a beating.

We made it to Shamrock, Texas and found a simple place to park in a restaurant parking lot for $20 a night. After getting the trailer in a bind and almost hitting someone’s truck, we got settled in and enjoyed an awesome sunset.

Awesome sunset in Shamrock, TX.

Luckily, RV people are the best people and they weren’t mad at us for making them move their truck so we could get into a space. We offered to buy them dinner, but they wouldn’t let us because they were also from Indiana. As fellow Hoosiers, they were very understanding that “shit happens.”

Up until that point, this journey felt a lot like our Tucson road trips. I still wasn’t quite believing that it was a one-way trip that wouldn’t have us returning to Indiana.

Standing in the middle of nowhere Texas watching a blazing sunset while listening to coyotes yip in the distance started to make it sink in.

Our rig in Shamrock, TX next to the gracious RV’ers who forgave us for almost hitting their very nice truck.

We took off from Shamrock early the next day and were treated to beautiful New Mexico. We had planned on overnighting in Alamogordo, but all of the parks were full. I guess Alamogordo is the place to be on holiday weekends.

We pushed it all the way to Las Cruces and overnighted in the awesome KOA. We finally got to chill out, enjoy the weather, and cook some burgers on our little Weber grill.

The stunning view from Las Cruces KOA. Welcome to the southwest!

We took off early the next day and drove across rough and tumble I-10 through southern New Mexico. We got to go through a border patrol checkpoint, which we thought might be an issue, but they waved us through.

Our rig at Texas Canyon Rest Area, one of my favorite stops along I-10 in southern Arizona.

We made it to Tucson at around 2 PM and, after getting stuck in a little residential neighborhood, found a friendly UHaul location who took the trailer. I hopped in the car and followed Levi to Cactus Country RV Park, where we’ve settled in for at least the next three months.

For the last couple of days, we’ve been trying to take it easy and enjoy our new home. It still seems temporary, or like a dream. Am I really allowed to have it this good? Or is someone going to show up and drag me back to Indiana and make me do what I’m “supposed” to do?

We went to the hardware store up the road and bought these chili lights to string across the patio.

I’m guessing it will sink in for good when I drive Levi to the airport for his work trip to Buffalo and I’m left here in Tucson, alone, to my own devices. We shall see!

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