March 25, 2013

The Beginning of Our Story

Eight years ago we made the Big Move to Oklahoma. We'd bought our property a year earlier, but it took that long to sell our home in southern Michigan.

We had three dairy goats at the time, including one in milk, chickens, dogs and cats, rabbits, plus two young teenagers. It was quite a trip!

Hubby drove the U-Haul truck, and towed our small car behind it. I drove the pick-up truck with a camper shell and towed a small enclosed trailer. Hubby and our son had made some modifications to the trailer so we could put the livestock in it: they added an RV rooftop vent that cranked open, a flow-through vent to one side, plus an actual window on the other side. Hubby also built a divider for the inside, made of 2x4's and covered with mesh fencing, with a hinged gate in the middle. This allowed us to open the tailgate of the trailer at rest stops without the goats escaping.

The goats rode in the front half of the trailer, with the divider separating them from the rear half which held the milkstand, buckets, a couple of bales of alfalfa hay and bags of feed for all of the animals. The pick-up bed held the rabbits in their cages, my two Maine Coon cats in a crate, and half a dozen Buff Orpington chickens in another crate, all protected by the camper shell with the screened windows open. The dogs rode in the truck cabs with the people. The two older dogs had done a lot of traveling and moving with us in the past; it was a "first" experience for the 2-year-old pup.

Each time we stopped for gas we'd open the trailer's tailgate to allow plenty of fresh air inside. We'd walk the dogs and offer water to all of the animals. We always attracted a number of children and their parents who wanted to see the goats and the bunnies, and we were often asked if we ran a petting zoo.

We spent the night at a KOA Kampground that had cabins for rent. Hubby had called ahead and talked with the management, and was told that as long as the livestock stayed in the trailer we were welcome. They assigned us to the cabin with the largest parking area and farthest away from the rest of the campers.

I have a confession to make: I had only driven the pick-up a couple of times before the move! I didn't like it, it was too long, and it was hard to see with the camper shell on the back. I also hadn't pulled a trailer before. I white-knuckled the entire two days of our drive. The absolute worst part was driving through St Louis. (Eight-plus years later, a newer pick-up truck without a camper shell is my usual vehicle, and I pull the gooseneck horse trailer regularly, although I can't back it up very well. I still wouldn't want to drive through St Louis again though, even in a car and without a trailer. I'm sure it's a nice place, and if you know where you're going it probably isn't bad, but living in the country like we do, "traffic" is two cars at a stop sign.)


Our second day's drive brought us uneventfully to our new home, where we lived for the next two months in a travel trailer with our large dogs, cats and teenagers. But that's another story...


In the Beginning: the Goats

In the Beginning: the Cats

How to Choose Homestead Land
 
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9 comments:

  1. Wow! What an exciting adventure! Lol, & how nerve-wracking it must have been! I've driven through St.Louis more than a handful of times, & can attest to what a very not-fun drive it is - even in a car, without a trailerful of critters. Or in a truck, sans trailer, or a van, lol. It does, however, hold a little bit of fun in seeing the wonder in a child's eyes at seeing the unique, iconic arch, up close. :)

    I can only hope that someday I'll be making the move to my own little homestead. Ahem, but considering this tiny apartment, its pretty certain that the only critters we'll be 'hauling' along on the way, will be our funny, amiable, sweet, small, & easily portable pet rat & equally loveable & exceedingly more cuddly house bunny! Lol!

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  2. Sassss, I hope you'll be making the move to your own little homestead some day soon. And yes, it was exciting to see the Arch for the first time (even for me!)

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  3. Thank you, Queenacres. It was an adventure for sure! :-)

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  4. Hi Kathi - love the story. Two cars at a stop sign - LOL. I don't do traffic very well either. My husband has a big trailer for photography stuff. He has all this equipment he has to set up at event. I'll NEVER drive that thing. Never say never - I know. I can't imagine having to...

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  5. Kenya, yes, never say never. You may end up pulling a trailer someday. Sometimes we have no choice. ;-)

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  6. That sounds like quite an adventurous drive!

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  7. I moved from Atlanta to Indianapolis and drove a U-Haul with my car attached to the back. Uggghhh! I had never done that before and had some white knuckle moments myself. The hills and narrow roads were the worst. Thank you for linking up to Traffic Jam Weekend, Kathi!

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  8. Now THAT is something I do not want to have to do!!!

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