In June and July 2012, we hope to take a very long family vacation to New York. It's in the planning stages right now, but if it works out, it's going to be great!
We'd like to drive cross-country to Norfolk, Virginia, and spend a few days with Ed's brother Ken and his wife Eloisa. From there we'd like to head north to New York City, stopping along the way to see the sights in Washington, DC, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
After spending two or three days sightseeing in New York City, we'd drive on to Upstate New York to spend time with Ed's family and friends from his youth. It will be especially exciting for Ed's mom Caryl to reunite with her mom, Margaret, and her siblings. I look forward to seeing all the places where Ed spent his childhood, including Niagara Falls.
Finally, along the homeward route we'd like to stop and see the historic sites of our LDS Church, such as Palmyra, New York; Kirtland, Ohio; Nauvoo, Illinois; Council Bluffs, Iowa; and Far West, Missouri. After a short visit at my brother's home near Springfield, Missouri, we would turn toward home at last.
That's if it all comes together as planned. At this point, it's still more than 6 months away.
Our 1996 Ram 3500 and the fifth-wheel trailer on the right.
My husband has been giving a lot of thought to our transportation. We plan to haul our fifth-wheel trailer along with us so we won't have to worry about hotel rooms, but the cost of gas for our 1996 Dodge Ram 3500 one-ton diesel 4x4 truck is horrendous, especially when hauling the fifth-wheel. I shudder to think how much the cost of gas for such a long trip would have been!
So Ed has spent the last few months researching our options, and he decided we needed a newer, more efficient truck for the trip. The fuel will still be costly, of course, but definitely better. Several weeks ago he began the search for his dream truck: a 2006 Dodge Ram 2500 three-quarter ton diesel 4x4.
Our room at Holiday Inn on November 12th.
His search eventually led us to the Phoenix area. Two weeks ago we drove down to the Valley to check out a truck that looked like a good deal. We decided to make a weekend of it and booked a hotel room for Saturday night through priceline.com.
I always get good deals by using priceline, but sometimes it's a surprise to learn exactly how great those deals can be. While we were checking in, a woman came in and told the other desk clerk she didn't have a reservation but needed a room. She explained that she had a AAA card and asked what the rate for the room would be if she used the AAA discount. He looked it up on the computer and told the woman her discounted rate would be $104 per night, not including taxes and fees.
Ed and I looked at each other and smiled. We'd paid just $45 for our room!
The truck that had brought us to the Valley was located in Fountain Hills, belonging to a husband and wife who owned a bicycle shop in this upscale community. It was a beautiful shade of blue, in almost-perfect condition, and it had all the bells and whistles.
After some soul-searching and debate of pros and cons, we made an offer. At the last minute, the husband admitted he wasn't sure he wanted to sell it after all. (Huh?!) It seems the wife decided she wanted to buy a camper that their smaller truck didn't have the power to pull. They promised to call us when they made their final decision.
Blue Ridge wears the purple and gold.
Luckily, the weekend wasn't a total loss. We went to the high school football championship quarter-final play-off game in Phoenix and watched our team, Blue Ridge High, humiliate the opposing team 41 to 14.
(In fact, the final championship game is at 3:30 this afternoon at the Skydome in Flagstaff. As usual, year after year, it has come down to Blue Ridge versus our arch-nemesis, Show Low High, which happens to be the alma mater of several of my nephews and nieces. Ed has gone to Flagstaff--about 2 hours away by car--with friends whose son is on the Blue Ridge team. I look forward to getting Ed's updates via text!) [9pm Update: Blue Ridge prevailed, winning 35 to 14! We are the new state champs!]
On Sunday we stopped by my sister Karla's house in Mesa and visited for about 4 hours before we headed back toward home. Ed had heard of another truck he wanted to look at, so about halfway home we stopped in the tiny mountain town of Strawberry, near Payson. This truck was white with a nice matching camper shell. Although its options package was more basic, it was in perfect shape and had 15,000 fewer miles on it. On the drive home, Ed decided he definitely wanted it.
The next day, Ed called the guy and told him he'd decided to buy the truck. Imagine Ed's disappointment when the man said he'd just sold it to someone else. Ed was getting frustrated and wondered if "someone" was trying to tell him not to get a new truck, but we decided not to worry about it. If he was meant to have a new truck, everything would work out. The right truck would come along at the right time.
Ed and his new baby outside the bank just minutes after making the deal.
It happened sooner and closer than we expected. Just a few days later, Ed learned about another truck being sold by a cop in nearby Snowflake. Ed made the 30-minute drive to check it out and came home enthusiastic about it. Again, the truck was perfectly maintained, and this one had even more bells and whistles than the first truck had.
There was, however, a catch: the cop had a 21-year-old brother, and their dad was thinking about buying the truck for him. It was very frustrating, but we decided to wait patiently and let things work out the way they were supposed to. Two days later we got the call: the dad had decided not to buy the truck, so it was ours if we wanted it. Ed wanted it!
The old and the new trucks in our driveway today.
Yesterday we headed to Snowflake to attend the temple with Kyle, a friend of my son Jacob, who recently received his call to serve a mission in Argentina. We arrived in Snowflake 30 minutes early and met the cop at his bank. Soon the papers were signed, the check was deposited, and the truck was ours to take home.
Ed was right. It's a really nice truck that handles beautifully. Just perfect for a long trip to New York!
The fifth-wheel trailer, the 1996 Ram 3500, and the 2006 Ram 2500.