From Illinois to Arizona…

Dekalb to Lake Havasu City1849 miles.  27 hours.

It’s a long drive to make by yourself (okay, technically with my cat, Lucy) – especially when you’re leaving everyone you know and care about behind.  Yes, I had plenty of time to think about everything from teaching and friends to politics and love.  As graduate school wound down (i.e. I successfully defended my dissertation and completed the necessary revisions), the daunting reality of relocating began to set in as I finalized my plans and said my goodbyes.  The day the movers came I felt slightly anxious because I just longed to get on the road to St. Louis.  As I finished vacuuming  and then turned in my keys to the management office that afternoon, I felt relieved to be in route.

Lucy slept most of the ride.  When I tired of listening to the music I brought along, I turned on the radio.  An observation: nationally syndicated, ideologically-driven talk shows (either conservative or liberal) are hyperbolic and predictable.  No thanks.  Maybe it’s all of my graduate school training or that I simply know better, but I’m not interested in being manipulated by people who make a living spouting opinions (often with anecdotal evidence) in such a caustic manner.  So, I rode in silence for periods of whatever length of time.

Once I reached New Mexico I found myself captivated by the beautiful desert landscape.  Somewhere along the way I encountered a really intense thunderstorm.  As the dark clouds grew closer, the rain began to pour so hard that I had to turn on my hazards because I could barely see the truck in front of me.  The lightening flashes appeared to strike the ground in the distance.  The thunder shook the car.  I tightly gripped the steering wheel, focused on the road, and wondered if I should just pull off onto the shoulder to be safe.  I didn’t.  After I arrived in Albuquerque I watched another thunderstorm engulf the mountains from the hotel window.

During the last stretch of the trip, I passed numerous mesas and through the Painted Desert.  Upon reaching Flagstaff it started to rain again.  At some point, I noticed the dramatic change in temperature as the elevation decreased.  Flagstaff’s summers are more comfortable in comparison to Lake Havasu’s.  It’s common for there to be a 20-30 degree differential between them.  When I finally arrived in town Thursday afternoon I picked up my keys from the property management company and drove over to my new residence.  While unloading the car, I felt the intense heat and realized that I had just moved to one of the hottest parts of the country.