Change of Address

by Jenn (eating bender) on September 11, 2012

Thank you all for the well wishes on our Arizona arrival! Bobby officially started his new job yesterday, so things are feeling even more official. He looked very nice headed for the office despite my artsy (as in, not really) crooked photo.

Our 1,760-mile journey to get to Arizona was an adventure, to say the least. As I alluded to in a previous post, we decided to sell all our furniture on Craigslist and ship the rest of our belongings via FedEx (originally UPS, but FedEx was SO much cheaper). I’m pretty proud to share that we sold 19 items, from the couch down to the last garbage can. Although it was sad to watch our first furniture purchases go to new owners, the idea of being able to travel across the country with Bobby – rather than separately in a car + truck – was too appealing to ignore.

On Tuesday afternoon, we returned from our Labor Day weekend trip to Minnesota to put the finishing touches on packing and emptying our apartment. We only stopped to relax for dinner, which was improvisational to say the least.

Burger on sandwich bread eaten in a bowl on the floor, with a side of beer for good measure.

I also got a bit sentimental when we watched the final sunset from our apartment. This was our first place together, and there are a lot of great memories – not to mention the fact that it has essentially been my “office” for more than two and a half years! It will be missed.

Our road trip began on Wednesday after a long morning of stuffing the car (no, really). It was hard to say goodbye – Jill stopped by for a while and out came the waterworks – but in the end, we bid adieu and began the 9-hour trek to Kansas City.

Our first stop on the drive was by far the best. We stayed with Adam, Susan and Claire on both Wednesday and Thursday nights, which meant bonus time after the Labor Day trip. We couldn’t go more than 24 hours without seeing them again! πŸ˜‰

While there, we were treated to some delicious Kansas City barbecue (Oklahoma Joe’s)…

…and mojitos with fresh mint from their backyard!

The food was a bonus – it was mainly awesome just to see them all again!

We said goodbye to Munchkrennland at the crack of dawn on Friday morning and began the next leg of our journey, a 773-mile (aka 13+ hour) drive to Albuquerque. We knew it was going to be brutal, but with plenty of short stretch stops built into our plan, we made it in one piece.

Along the way, we enjoyed the farms (and dust storms) of Kansas…

The Friday Night Lights feel of Oklahoma (Hooker is home of the bulldogs, and we even saw a football player and cheerleader getting out of the car at one of our rest stops).

And the “everything is bigger” mentality of Texas. Actually, these large windmills were in several states along our journey, so the slogan doesn’t really apply. I wish we would have had more time to explore all of these places but we had a schedule to keep! Someday we’ll be back.

Eventually, we crossed the state border line into New Mexico. It was perfect timing because as we approached Albuquerque, the storm clouds descended. Fortunately, we made it safely inside our downtown hotel room before the wind and rain really picked up!

With a full car load, we decided to opt for the restaurant inside the hotel to feed our hungry bellies. Fortunately, La Oja boasted a stellar menu with a variety of options. First order of business for both of us, however: a nice glass of beer. Blue Moon for me, Sam Adams for him.

For my meal I went with the crab cake appetizer, which was delicious, and the clam chowder, which was so-so. I should have known better since we weren’t along the coast, but the temptation of something warm and comforting was too good to pass up.

We went to bed exhausted, but fortunately gained an hour and knew we would gain another hour the next day, so we were able to sleep in a bit before beginning our final leg from Albuquerque to Scottsdale – 458 miles in just over seven hours.

Within the first few hours, we saw a friendly sign. Hello, new home.

Our original plan was to stop at Diablo Burger (from our previous trip to Flagstaff) for lunch, but good ol’ Winky (the name of our car…what, you don’t name your car?) started making a strange noise as we idled at stoplights, so we decided to skip the stop in town and grab some quick food on the road instead. The weight of all our stuff was starting to take its toll. Slightly disappointing, but at this point in the trip, our priority was making it to my parent’s house in one piece! We were starting to get a bit delirious in the desert… πŸ˜‰

With two hours to go, we said goodbye to the green mountains and hello to sandy ones.

And then…we made it!! Seeing my family was such a treat. My mom greeted us with a champagne toast as we brought our stuff into the Benders, where we’ll be staying for the next few months as we begin looking for a more permanent place to settle down.

Once we had unloaded, we kicked back and relaxed with two of my favorite things in fall: beer and football. Northwestern football, to be more exact. Although we couldn’t be at the game this time, we were there in spirit as the Wildcats went on to victory over Vanderbilt.

Next up: Boston College. I’m looking at you, Megan. :)

Whew! If you’re still with me after 1,760 miles, give yourself a pat on the back. I’m really looking forward to sharing more about our continued journey in the next few months. It promises to be an exciting new chapter!

Have you ever made a big move? What are your tips for settling into new territory?

**On September 11, my thoughts are with the families of those whose lives were lost as well as those who serve our country, today and every day. We will never forget.**


1 Shannon September 11, 2012 at 2:37 pm

i’ve driven cross-country, but not with the intention of moving πŸ˜‰ glad you made it, and good luck getting settled!!
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2 Jenn (eating bender) September 14, 2012 at 10:32 am

Thanks, Shannon! Cross-country road trips without a bunch of stuff in the car sound much better to me. πŸ˜‰

3 Cara (Twinthusiast) September 11, 2012 at 2:44 pm

Congrats on your arrival! I must say that Mama Bender’s welcome spread looks more inviting than a sandwich on the floor πŸ˜‰ Hmmm, advice for settling in somewhere new? Look for ways to meet new people and don’t rush into big decisions. Hooray for our new fav Arizonans!
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4 Jenn (eating bender) September 14, 2012 at 10:33 am

I couldn’t agree more. πŸ˜‰ Great advice, too! Looking forward to putting it into practice.

5 emily (a nutritionist eats) September 11, 2012 at 3:23 pm

This makes me think of our move last year! What a fun adventure. :)
Hope you get settled in soon and congratulations again!

6 Jenn (eating bender) September 14, 2012 at 10:36 am

Thanks, Emily! It has definitely been an adventure. :)

7 Erica September 11, 2012 at 7:19 pm

WHAT a trip! Props to y’all. That crab cake appetizer looks amazing. Want. Yayy for the man. Very exciting that you guys are finally home :)
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8 Jenn (eating bender) September 14, 2012 at 10:36 am

Thank you, Erica! We are so happy to be home. :)

9 Kelli September 11, 2012 at 7:58 pm

Love this post, Jenn! And gorgeous pictures! I feel like I was right there in the car with you. So glad you and Bobby got to experience some adventure on the way to your new home – and glad you’re there safely! We miss you here in Chicago…when are you coming back??? πŸ˜‰

10 Jenn (eating bender) September 14, 2012 at 10:38 am

Aw, thank you, Kelli! I miss you and Chicago – we’ll be back in October, I promise! :)

11 Nicole Navratil September 11, 2012 at 8:06 pm

Aw, great post Jenn! It was really fun to see your trip & hear the details.

We lived in Phoenix for two years and drove back and forth a few times, so it was a little nostalgic for me. :)

You definitely made the right call with selling all of your furniture – we did not and hauled it all the way across the country twice in 24 months. Uffda!

I hope you have a great fall – stay cool! I get to Phoenix about once a year these days so maybe I’ll see ya down there. :)

12 Jenn (eating bender) September 14, 2012 at 10:40 am

So cool that you lived in Phoenix, Nicole! Thanks for making me feel better about selling all of our furniture, too. :) I would love to see you on one of your future trips to AZ! Perhaps we’ll also have to meet up in Minnesota one of these days. If you have any Phoenix area tips, please let me know!

13 BroccoliHut September 11, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Although my move was not as “big” as yours, I think relocating to NC from Alabama was pretty significant. My favorite way to get acquainted with my new surroundings was to visit the farmers’ market–it definitely gives you a sense of the local culture!
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14 Jenn (eating bender) September 14, 2012 at 10:41 am

I totally agree that your move was big! It’s always crazy to be in a completely new environment. Love the idea of visiting the farmers’ market. I will add that to my list of things to do!

15 Brittany September 11, 2012 at 8:30 pm

Yay! I’m so glad that you, Bobby and Winky made it in one piece!! :)

Hopefully we can catch up sometime this week.
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16 Jenn (eating bender) September 14, 2012 at 10:41 am

Thank you, Britt! Can’t wait to catch up with you next week!

17 Maureen September 12, 2012 at 9:43 am

So glad you made it safely – the midwest will miss you! I hope you don’t forget to continue to cheer on the Pack – they need all the help they can get, especially after Sunday’s misery! I envy your move from crappy winters to the heat – and I have to say, I love the priority you place on beer – I love it too! Had a Leinie’s Berry Shandy at the Brewers game last night – it’s one of those you can only have one of – a bit sweet. Well, enjoy your new surroundings – and best of luck to you.


18 Jenn (eating bender) September 14, 2012 at 10:43 am

I will miss the Midwest, too! The good news is that we will definitely be visiting a lot. :) And you know I wouldn’t forget about those Packers. Last Sunday was pretty miserable but last night was AMAZING! Dare I say the Pack is back? Glad to know another beer lover! We just did a fall beer tasting and found some incredible new ones, if you’re a fan of pumpkin ales. Thank you for the sweet comment and well wishes, Mo!

19 Caroline September 12, 2012 at 11:43 am

I’m so sentimental about moving/change, even if I’m excited for it. I’m sad you and Jill won’t be in Chicago together anymore..

Every time I move, the first thing I do is put up pictures to make it feel more like home :) Best of luck settling in!
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20 Jenn (eating bender) September 14, 2012 at 10:45 am

I’m the same way you are, Caroline! I get so sentimental – and it is incredibly crazy that Jill and I are no longer in Chicago together. It feels like the end of an era, but fortunately we both have things to look forward to even though change is terrifying! Love the idea of putting up pictures to feel more settled. Hope you are enjoying Boston!

21 Emily September 12, 2012 at 4:08 pm

Glad you made it to Arizona… just Chicago misses you! I’ve made several big moves (Minneapolis to Seattle, Seattle to Chicago) but I don’t really have any hints on settling. One of the great ways I’ve gotten to know new areas is running and walking. However, I’ve also gotten lost several times doing that throughout the years : )
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22 Jenn (eating bender) September 14, 2012 at 10:46 am

I miss Chicago back! And I miss our dinners! Can’t wait to reconnect on a future visit. :) I know you’ve had several big moves and I think your idea of running and walking around the area is spot on. I’ll just have to make sure I have a map with me, haha! Thanks, Emily!

23 Ari @ Ari's Menu September 12, 2012 at 5:06 pm

So glad to have you join our group of bloggers in Arizona!!
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24 Jenn (eating bender) September 13, 2012 at 6:15 pm

Thanks for the warm welcome, Ari! I look forward to meeting you!

25 Megan (Braise The Roof) September 13, 2012 at 2:04 pm

Hahaha, bring it! I’m actually really sad that I’m not going to be able to make it to the game. Whomp whomp. Oh, and I totally named my car, too. His name is Renzo. Glad you made it in one piece- the scenery on the way in could have been worse, right? :)
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26 Jenn (eating bender) September 14, 2012 at 10:53 am

I wish I could be at the game, too! We have season tickets (bought before we knew about the move…double whomp whomp) and are planning to come back in October. Renzo is a fantastic name for a car, by the way. :)

27 Susan September 15, 2012 at 1:07 pm

Kermit and Herr Vagen think that Winky is a great name. :) (Sorry to hear about her latest issue, btw… yikes!) But on a happier note, we enjoyed the shout out and all the fun road-tripping pictures. Loved your champagne greeting, too – so great! Oh, and hey, it’s been more than 24 hours – aren’t you due back in KS? :)

28 Meghan @ September 17, 2012 at 1:09 pm

YUM! Kansas City BBQ! Doesn’t get better than that!

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