The Move Out West: AZ or Bust

I find moving to always be a weird mix of emotions. This is definitely amplified when you are moving 2,000 miles away. This is what my best friend, TUBS, and I just underwent on our move to Arizona. Accompanied by my dad, we took five days to make the journey from Wisconsin to our new home in the Southwest.

Itinerary: December 30- January 3 

December 30: Visit St. Louis

December 31: Visit Oklahoma City, New Years in Albuquerque

January 1: Visit Santa Fe

January 2: Visit Taos Pueblo

January 3: Petrified Forest and Drive to Scottsdale

St. Louis ArchWith the cars all packed we set off for Arizona early on Monday, December 30th. Our first pit stop was in St. Louis, where we attempted to visit the arch. Unfortunately, only one of the two underground entrances were open and we were thwarted by a lengthy line we didn’t have the time to wait for. Instead, we paid a visit to the Old Courthouse where the famous Dred Scott case was first ruled on. This case led to an official Supreme Court ruling in 1857 that African Americans were not citizens of the U.S and subsequently sparked the Civil War. After a lunch of fast food, we drove on through Missouri and spent the night in a dumpy hotel outside Tulsa.
OKC Bomb Memorial
The next day we visited the Oklahoma City National Memorial Museum, located on the spot where the bombing occurred. It was a somber site to visit. Lunch was in Amarillo, Texas at The Big Texan, home of the free 72 ounce steak!  Of course, if you do not finish the steak in an hour it is not free ($72 to be exact). Though TUBS boasts to be a big eater, even he wasn’t willing to take that risk. New Years Eve night found us in downtown Albuquerque, where the bars were packed and hopping. All the driving had worn us out though, and we barely made it up past midnight.
Sandia Peak
The following day we did some hiking up nearby Sandia Peak before moving on to the New Mexico State Capitol, Santa Fe. Here we experienced the famous New Mexican Chile! It comes in red and green varieties, but if you want both, just say “Christmas”! The Chile was awesome, as was the city. Every building in the city limits is required to retain the Pueblo Revival style, giving it a really neat and authentic look. The place to be is the Old Plaza, where museums, shops, and churches line the streets.
Dad & I
Taos PuebloThe next morning we headed an hour North to visit Taos Pueblo, the oldest continuously inhabited community in the U.S. The Pueblo, really a small community made of several buildings and homes, is inhabited by the Red Willow Tribe, named for the red willows that grow along the nearby creek. We took a guided tour with a native who had been born and raised here. His personal stories really brought this place to life. It was amazing to witness something so old and spiritual!
Painted Desert
Day 5 of the trip finally brought us into Arizona, the Grand Canyon State. Petrified Forest National Park was an interesting sight. It was incredible walking among the petrified chunks of wood and envisioning a time when this area was a massive rain forest! Also worth a looksy was the Painted Desert. Similar to the Badlands of South Dakota but much more colorful and vibrant, it is located inside the monument. Another 3 hours in the car brought us to Scottsdale, Arizona, our new home! The 2200 miles we covered took us from the subzero temperatures of Wisconsin, into the 70+ degree sun of Arizona. Winter was over for us. The New Year had skipped straight to Summer and a whole new world of opportunities!

Written by Jake G

I'm a 26 year old who loves to hike, bike, backpack, and explore the outdoors. I'm a Midwesterner who currently resides in sunny Arizona. I hope to inspire others with my adventures and maybe give some advice for your future vacations. Follow me as I travel around the country and...
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