The Beginning of Our Story

Girl and her cat on top of a round hay bale, with goats below

We made the Big Move to Oklahoma in the fall of 2004. We'd bought our property a year earlier, but it took that long to sell our home in Michigan. 

We brought along our three dairy goats, including one in milk, plus our chickens, dogs and cats, rabbits, and two young teenagers. It was quite a trip!

The Chief 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.

The Chief and our son had made some modifications to the trailer so we could transport our livestock in it. 

They added an RV rooftop vent that cranked open, and a flow-through vent on one side of the trailer. They added a "real" window on the other side, covered with half-inch hardware cloth instead of screen, which we opened while we traveled.

Hubby built a divider for the inside, made of 2x4's and covered with wire 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 of the trailer, with the divider separating them from the rear section. In the rear we packed the milkstand, buckets, a couple of bales of alfalfa hay and bags of feed for all of the animals. 

The pick-up bed carried 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 windows open.

Our 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, but it was a "first" experience for the 2-year-old pup. He loved it!

Each time we stopped for gas we'd open the trailer's tailgate to allow plenty of fresh air inside. Early September is still awfully hot, especially as we travelled further south.

At every stop 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.

Where do you stay overnight with goats?

Of course, a "two-day drive" means we had an overnight stay.

My husband called a KOA Kampground with cabins to rent. He talked to the management and explained our situation, 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.

Now imagine me milking Chloe, my alpine goat, in the back of that trailer the next morning before we resumed our road trip. And feeding the chickens and rabbits. 

Our fellow campers had something to talk about when they arrived at their destinations, I'm sure!

The harrowing drive

I have another confession to make: I had only driven the pick-up a couple of times before the move! 

I didn't like driving the truck. It was too long, and it was hard to see with the camper shell on the back. I also hadn't pulled a trailer since I was a teenager.

I white-knuckled the entire two days of our drive. 

The absolute worst part was driving through St Louis. I'm sure it's a nice place, and if you know where you're going it probably isn't difficult, but I wouldn't want to do it again, even in a car and without a trailer.

Eight-plus years later, a newer pick-up truck (but without a camper shell) is my daily driver, and I pull the gooseneck horse trailer regularly, although I still can't back it up very well.

Our granddaughter meets the goats for the first time.

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 before moving into our house. 

But that's another story for another day...

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More chapters in the Oak Hill Homestead story:
In the Beginning: the Goats
How to Choose Homestead Land
Ten Things I've Learned Living in the Country


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