Drew and Christine Move to Montana

Friday, Sept 20th was our last day working in the Rio Grande Valley, Texas.  We accepted an offer on our house earlier in the week and Saturday was spent anxiously waiting for packing day.

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Our living room in boxes.

Sunday the movers arrived to pack our house.  It was so cool watching them work!  They packed our entire house (except for Dale, our mounted elk) in 8 hours.  While the government paid for this service for us, we both agree that we will never move again unless we can have someone pack for us!  Sunday night we got together with our neighbors for an impromptu cook out.  We will miss our neighbors more than anything else in the RGV.  The people that move in after us are very lucky!

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On Monday, the movers returned to load our stuff in their truck.  We just paced for a few hours while they worked.  SIgned some final paperwork with out real estate agent (who is awesome and highly recommended by the way), and we were ready to leave by 1pm!  We said goodbye to our neighbors and our house and left the Rio Grande Valley.

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One last picture of our first house.

We were originally planning on going through Colorado but avoided the area due to the flooding.  So glad we did because pulling the boat up to Denver would’ve been rough!  We ended up going through Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, and finally Montana.

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Our route from south Texas to northeastern Montana.

I spent hours planning our travel and picked hotels based on these standards: 1. Rate within our government travel allotment.  2. Good reviews on Trip Advisor.  3. Pet-friendly (2 dogs over 50 pounds). 4. Free Breakfast. 5. Pool and hot tub!  Every night we did the same thing.  Check in.  Walk the dogs.  Get dinner.  Get in the hot tub.  Bed.

Since we left Monday afternoon we only went as far as San Antonio.  We ended up staying at La Quinta in Schertz, TX.  I give it 4.5 stars.  The staff was very nice and helpful.  There was no pet fee (no pet fee at any La Quinta).  And the breakfast was great.  The only problem was some noise coming through the walls.  But the hot tub was sooooo nice.

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Best part?  Right across the street from Raising Cane’s!  Oh how I’ve missed Cane’s sweet tea.

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Tuesday, we had a short (6.5 hour) drive to our next stop and got to really enjoy the hotel when we got there.  We stayed at Embassy Suites in Norman, OK.  I give it 5 stars!  Wish we could’ve stayed at an Embassy Suites every night.  We did have to pay a pet deposit but it was worth it.  The hotel was beautiful, we had a 2-room suite and the pool was indoors.

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Every evening they have open bar for 2 hours so we had some drinks and ate at the hotel restaurant so we didn’t have to drive.  The breakfast was by far the best one with lots of fresh options.  Even though all the rooms opened to the main corridor, there was NO sound transfer into our room.

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On Wednesday, the drive to Nebraska was quite beautiful.  Rolling plains and rock outcrops.  We had a little trouble with a tire on Drew’s truck, small puncture leaking air.  We had to pull over on the side of the highway so he could change the tire.  I think it took him 20 minutes total which is quite impressive.

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We drove through Kansas and got to Nebraska for our stay at La Quinta in North Platte, NE.  I give it 4 stars.  This was obviously a stopover travel hotel.  Lots of traffic and noisy room.  But we loved the restaurant they recommended: Whiskey Creek Wood Fire Grill.

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We got steak for dinner and smores for dessert!  They bring out a tiny little fire pit on your table and you get to roast the marshmallows right there!  I LOVED this.  What a great idea.

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The dogs travel so well.  Spartacus rides in the front seat in the truck, and Bogie in the front seat of my car.  They are worn out by the time we get to the hotel each night.

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Lunch break!

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Bogie wiped out at the end of the day.

Driving through Nebraska, South Dakota, and North Dakota was our longest day of travel but it was another beautiful one.  We finally spotted some Pronghorn antelope and even had to brake for a grouse to cross the road!  I didn’t get any pictures because we were driving.  We were beat by the time we got to Dickinson.  Dickinson is a boom town right now thanks to the Bakken oil fields that are currently in production.  They estimate that these oil towns have doubled in population in the last 3-4 years thanks to all the oil field jobs.  We stayed at the Microtel in Dickinson, ND.  I give it 4.5 stars.  We picked this Microtel because it was number 1 on Trip Advisor.  The rooms were very nice ( the dogs loved the seat under the window).

I was definitely most tired today.  We got Wendy’s for dinner and after the hot tub we went to bed early.

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This was the only place where we were concerned about our vehicles in the parking lot.  There were even cards on the beds in the hotel that told you to make sure you leave no valuables in your vehicle.  Crime has gone up with the increase in population.  When we were exhausted at 8:30pm we realized that we were in Mountain Time!  Totally didn’t realized we crossed time zones.  The breakfast was OK.  All the oil field workers get up at 5am so breakfast was a little old by the time we got downstairs at 8.

The drive from Dickinson, ND to Williston, ND and Medicine Lake, MT was a mix of BEAUTIFUL scenery and oil field traffic.

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All the highways were under construction and being expanded.  We got stuck behind lots of oil trucks.  But the views were incredible.  Especially when driving through the National Grasslands and Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  That’s where we saw our first bison of the trip!

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Looking across to Theodore Roosevelt National Park, North Dakota.

We drove through WIlliston just to see what it was like and pick up a few things at the store.  It is COLD up here!  Williston was crazy with traffic and we were glad to get out of there.

Our final destination is our new home on Medicine Lake.

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The front of our house, facing Medicine Lake.  It’s a new house so the sod isn’t here yet.

On our way in we stopped to watch 6 hen pheasants get out of the road.  We’ve seen a ton of ducks, geese, and swans plus lots of other birds.  Words can not describe out beautiful our new home is.  And how happy we are to have finally arrived.

Me in our front yard.

Spartacus is in heaven, finally in a climate he was bred for.  Bogie is just happy to be with us.  I got a solid 11 hours of sleep our first night here.  Then I embraced my inner pioneer woman and made a hot breakfast!

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Country living is fantastic so far.  We are spending the next two days getting settled and acclimatized to our new 2,000 foot elevation before our moving truck arrives and we fill our new house.I can’t wait to explore our new home!!

Sunrise over Medicine Lake, Montana.

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