I recently moved from Houston to Napa Valley, driving nearly 2000 miles solo (with three dogs in my backseat). It was challenging, but looking back, I wouldn’t have done anything differently.
I did have two offers for co-pilots, but frankly…as a pet-loving quilter with a lot of precious cargo, I responded to them, “Where the heck would I fit you in the car?”
A Quilter on the Move
What I refused to put on a moving truck, nor put in the temperature-controlled cargo of an airplane:
-1 thermofax machine
-An enormous suitcase containing my most precious quilts, some made by family, some purchased, one by me.
-Jewelry that had a lot of sentimental value
-A backpack with jeans, t-shirts, a toothbrush and other essentials.
For every night I was on the road (and no, I didn’t drive past sundown), I brought all of this cargo into the hotel room. It meant a lot of trips from car to room between pets, dog food, supplies, quilts, and docs.
The hours of driving each day–and being on guard while driving–were pretty exhausting for all of us…
But we saw some very interesting sights along the way, including this Exxon station in West Texas, where, understandably, while I filled the gas tank, I couldn’t let the dogs out to relieve themselves:
We encountered a wreck on I-10, 90 miles east of El Paso. I would have been stuck in this for five hours (plus) while they righted this semi that had tipped over and blocked both lanes, but with the help of some empathetic truck drivers, I was directed onto the feeder, and again on my merry way.
After about 23 hours driving and two nights in hotels, I encountered this sign (below). Admittedly, seeing this was emotional, and I cried. It had been 26 years since I drove my own car in my home state.
The next day, after driving up I-5, I was on my property in Napa and saw these pink little flags whipping in the wind. They mark the art barn for Crafting a Life.
I cried again.
The next morning, I woke to this greeting.
And I cried. Again.
I found this cluster of lemons on a tree on my property.
You’ll be happy to know, I didn’t cry. (I just plucked ’em.)
Later, Clarence discovered his first hot air balloon and…he cried. (Video can be found on my Instagram feed.)
And I let the dogs out to run run run. And we all cried…tears of sheer joy and gratitude.
Great news! I’m done crying. And better yet…I’m almost done unpacking! And soon ready to get busy and on with the Next Big Life and Business Adventure, here in Napa Valley.
We made it.
Cheers all around,
thanks for the wonderful adventure photos…
thanks for sharing. best wishes and congrats on moving back to calif. great state! i lived there for almost 30 yrs. best to you always.
Great photo essay. I will
be there when classes commence.
Best of luck on your new life, you deserve the best for all you’ve given to us.
I soooo identify with this post. We have moved 20 times and lived in 10 states…. some due to military moves and some just “because”. We lived in California, (El Dorado Hills – up Hwy 50 to Tahoe) and I would identify with it as my home state, even though I grew up in Minnesota. Our last two moves (into retirement) my husband and I each drove a car with our “valuables” stacked inside with the big long orange truck somewhere behind us. It feels really good to be finally settled again, this time in Cary, NC with no more moves in sight. Congratulations on your big move to Napa, one of my favorite places in CA… definitely miss our trips there to visit the wineries. I hope I can come all the way from this coast to your coast to take some classes someday!
Welcome Home…I live north of you on the edge of Mendocino and Humboldt counties but in California talk, you’re almost a neighbor. A new adventure awaits and I wish you all the best.
Welcome home. As a native of California, I too started out in the Napa area. So beautiful. I hope you and your furry four legged kids find great happiness and plenty of time to enjoy and create.
Darlene of QuiltShopGal
How wonderfully exciting for you. I’m glad you acted on your dream. Life does not pass you by, Pokey. Keep it up.
I’m so happy for you, Pokey, thanks for a wonderful post. It’s good to know that you are on your way to a new part of your life and a bigger and better adventure!
Glad you had a safe journey! It sounds like you got plenty of exercise on the road by carrying everything back and forth night and day. Welcome home and I am looking forward to visiting Pokey’s Ponderosa!
(Grrr … gotta change my WordPress login name … “linnerlu” that’s me, Linda Teddlie Minton!)
It’s wonderful following on your latest adventure. Best of luck!
You are a very good writer! I really enjoyed reading about your journey with your companions. Dogs truly rule!
My journey home was only 1300 mi and I did it with my two furries (the other kind) and my mom. I left California and returned to Washington. You can take the girl out of Washington, but you can’t take Washington out of the girl. I understand how you feel about California. I lived there 14 years. And Napa was one of the highlights.
Love following your adventures. Good luck on the next leg of your life’s journey!
Congrats on your safe travels and good luck. As a native CA born and breed I am a little jealous. We have been out of the state for 4 years and I totally understand crying at the Welcome to California sign!!!
Welcome back to CA, Pokey! And congratulations on forging full-steam ahead on the next chapter of your life. You probably don’t remember this at all, but it was almost 10 years ago exactly that you called me personally to tell me that my proposal for an article in CPS was accepted (an article about my 5oth birthday Art Party), but that I needed to write it in a couple of days…lol. I was so over-the-moon excited, and will never forget how sweet you were! I’m so happy for you that you’re embarking on this new adventure–I hope to make it up there once you’ve got things rolling. I’m sure it’s going to be amazing; you have lots of peeps rooting for you!! xo
So happy for you Pokey and your sweet dogs! A whole new beginning and a great adventure is about to start.
If you ever have any doubts about your move just view the video of the dogs running on the property. It was worth it just for them to have that freedom and fun!
So glad you made it safely home, Pokey. All the best of luck to you.
Happy that you made it safe and sound in your new home, back in California. The wonderful photos speak a thousand words.
I cried just reading about it! Such joy to go “HOME”! Best of luck to you and your furry friends. Looking forward to reading all about what is to come..
Pokey what a great story and the photos great..good luck in your new venture from far away New Zealand
Woohoo! Let the new chapter begin!! I’m so thrilled or ou and so very very proud of you!!
Sew Awesome! I love that drove it. What an amazing feat. However you have left me wondering. This thermofax machine–is this a piece of equipment that every quilter should have, but only few know about?
I just enjoyed reading this post more than any other ever! You are being rewarded for all of your efforts, and now it is your time to embrace your new life.. Oh,the joy of finding your Mitch in the universe! Seeing those pups run must have been the greatest joy of all! Many blessings to continue growing and planning!
What an adventure! Good luck to you.
May God bless your new adventure. May you be strong and passionately immersed in your work.
Congratulations on your new adventure. What a trip! You and the “kids” made it! Take some time to just soak in your new surroundings. Life can be short, live each day to the fullest!
Loved the trip with dogs. I think maybe I can do it for myself and two dogs.
Congratulations Pokey. Many things in life should be experienced alone with only your pets for companionship. We still miss seeing you on TV.
What fun. Love the dogs on the bed pics. I hope one day to come to the art barn. Best of luck.
Lovely, welcome home!
My, my but you’ve been on quite a journey in recent times. It sounds like the best is yet to come! I wish you well in your home state. Hubby and I hope to RV out that way one day. Take care.
You are a pioneer woman and an encouragement. Congratulations on your move. Looking forward to the next decade with you. Thanks.
Welcome home, from one California Girl to another. Glad you all made it safe & sound.
Congratulations w/your new adventure. Made me recall my 1970 drive from Indiana to California in. . purple 53 Ford w/ “farout” upholstery. I took my 50’s Kenmore & it’s cabinet in the back seat with my dog,Josie & my friend Phyllis & of course my most precious fabrics,drafting & design drawings!! We took 5 or 6 days….camping in the car & along rivers in Colorado , Wyoming …& I cried when we entered CA!! Suddenly the whole world was different & exciting–colors more intense ,etc. Thanks for stirring an old memory.
Good luck on your new adventure. It must have thrilled your heart to see your dogs run and know that they already love their new home ?
How inspiring are you ??!! How invigorating is this move in your life??!! Best wishes for your wonderful new adventure!
As someone who has followed your adventures since you first opened your shop/office in Stow, MA, I send my heartfelt wishes for your continued success and happiness. You deserve all good things strong woman!
Thank you for sharing an emotional account on how it feels to return home. Bless you and your wonderful dogs. May all your dreams come true.
Thanks for sharing and now on to the new excitement in your life.
Your post was so moving. Best of luck on your new adventures. I look forward to your posts about them.
Thanks for the cute photos and moving editorial. I’ve been rooted to one small town for 37 years so it’s a virtual experience for certain, but I cry for every emotional uprooting which means I’d cry for the entire trip, I suppose. Your pups look so well behaved on that hotel bed and so very happy to have a place where they can stretch and play in Napa. Congratulations on the new adventure and best wishes for your definition of success. Like so many others, I look forward to posts of your new life in CA and perhaps a few peeks into your past as memories rush back to inspire. There’s nothing like returning home to fire up some inspirational memories!