Wednesday, March 24, 1999
Oklahoma to Tucson in 1985 - Part 1
My daughter is coming to visit from New York and it made me think about when my kids and I moved out here in 1985. It was June 1985 and the company I worked at in Oklahoma City was closing. I wasn't laid off yet but it would be soon and I wanted to get settled and get my children in school by the time it started. This was during the oil bust and there were no jobs in Oklahoma. My parents lived in Tucson and there was a low unemployment rate, so this was our goal.
We sold what we could in a garage sale, packed what we could in a small Uhaul trailer, and got rid of the rest. Basically we took clothes and books since we didn't have room for anything else. I hooked the trailer to a 72 Ford LTD that was not in great shape. It was built like a tank but was slowly falling apart. The tires were in bad shape and the radiator leaked. The window on the driver's side would not roll up so I put a piece of plastic there when it rained.
I backed out of the driveway, and learned something new, I was terrible at backing up a trailer and didn't get much better. I tried to always find a way to pull through. We headed west on I-40 . My daughter was 10 and my son was 13 at the time. We had a short drive the first day and made it to Red Rock Canyon State Park, just south of Hinton, OK.
Just the drive into the canyon was a bit scary as I was not used to driving on anything more difficult than rolling plains, having spent most of my driving life in Oklahoma, Texas and Iowa. This was a very narrow winding road. We made it and set up camp.
I had bought a little blue tent for us. It said three person but there was not much room once we were all in. A few years later when my kids had passed me in height, it was a joke. Mike and Lisa tried to wear out the seat of their pants sliding down the red sandstone. That stuff got into clothes and never came out, plus it was like sandpaper on clothes.
The next day we headed west again on I-40 and into unknown territory. I'd been on this route when a child coming from California and once in college, but it was just US-66 back then. I always seemed to be driving it in August and it was always hot. Now we had I-40 till we reached Texas and headed southwest on US-60 from Amarillo.