As many of you know, Daniel and I recently moved our life-as-we-knew-it from the place we’d lived for the past two decades, Chico, California, to a little town in South Central Washington called Goldendale. All this, in order to pursue our dream of opening a reindeer farm! This move has been in the works for the past several years, and you can imagine our excitement when the day finally came to go! But we found that moving from a town of nearly 100k residents to one of 3600 doesn’t come without a little culture shock, and a few surprises along the way.
Moving day finally arrived and we rented the largest UHaul trailer possible. We loaded down our newly purchased reindeer trailer, then hooked the trailer to the UHaul, creating something that could quite possibly be the most interesting moving contraption known in recent history. We called her ‘the Beast.’ Daniel drove the Beast while I followed behind in our pickup truck with the dogs. Mountain passes were slow, but the scenery was beautiful and we were excited to finally be making this transition – one step closer to our dream.
Our new home in Goldendale wouldn’t close escrow until 2 weeks after our arrival there, so we’d arranged to live in an Airbnb for that time while we waited to move in. We’d secured (or so we thought) a large storage unit in Goldendale for our belongings, and I had put out a call for help on our local Facebook group called ‘Everything Goldendale’ to get some helpers in unloading the Beast. As far as we knew, everything was set! We’d meet the storage unit people at 4:30pm to sign paperwork and gain access to our unit, our hired helpers would swiftly move all our treasured belongings into the storage unit, and we’d be done in time for a hot pizza dinner at the local pizza joint. Sounds pretty well planned out, right?
The best laid plans of mice and men…. We arrived in Goldendale as scheduled promptly at 4:15pm Friday evening. Our many hired helpers were there, ready and waiting. No news from the storage unit. Multiple phone calls yielded no response and we were left with the Beast, lots of helpers, and nowhere to unload. One of our helpers said…..’Welcome to Goldendale!’ We laughed it off, sadly sent our helpers home, and headed off with the Beast to our hotel to formulate a plan B. This required some creative thinking as it was Friday night, in a small town, during a pandemic. Plan B ended up involving keeping the UHaul for four additional days and renting six smaller storage units at a different storage facility in Goldendale. Not ideal, but do-able.
Fast forward a few weeks. People are quite chatty in small towns! They are in much less of a hurry, and we are finding ourselves having long conversations with people we don’t know. This is interesting! One day, I was chatting with a man who was telling me all about where he lived and how he’d had his drivers license taken away recently. I politely inquired, ‘oh no! How do you go buy groceries?’ He responded with, ‘well, I drive my lawn tractor, of course!’ I laughed and said, ‘You drive that in the street?’ ‘Oh, no, no, no,’ he responded. (How foolish of me to suggest this) ‘I drive it on all the lawns on the way to the market!’ He was so proud of his solve around to his problem, and I couldn’t help but to commend him on his creative solution, and chuckle at the picture that was rolling in my mind. I mentioned my surprise about this story to a new friend, and they said, ‘oh that’s so Goldendale. Welcome to Goldendale!’
I’m starting to see a theme here!
We finally moved into our home, 17 days after relocating to Goldendale. What a joy was this long awaited moment! We had several big home projects to complete, flooring and paint among them, so we decided to leave our belongings in the six storage units until we had the big stuff done. No biggie, right? We’d been living out of suitcases for 17 days, what’s another couple weeks? So…Im getting ready for work on our first evening in our new home, the shower is heating up and I’ve got my work clothes set out, when I realize….we have no towels. Not one towel. Shoot. What now? I lamented to a Chico friend…..’we don’t have any towels here!’ She promptly suggested the logical answer…..’go buy some!’ Well, the nearest towel store is 40 minutes away and work time is quickly approaching, so, one must improvise. Shop towels it is!
What was the next thought that popped into my head? You guessed it…..Welcome to Goldendale!
And lastly….my sweetest Welcome to Goldendale. Yes, I’ve saved the best for last. Our third day in Goldendale was a Sunday. We were driving around town on that Sunday morning looking for a church service to go to and happened by Goldendale Bible Baptist Church and decided to go in. This turned out to be the greatest stroke of luck (or divine intervention!) of our adventure so far. We were welcomed by a lovely couple who made sure we felt at home. Our new friend, Jim, checks on us periodically and reminds us of church happenings and has, in general, made us feel a sense of belonging that we hadn’t expected to feel for years after moving to a new town. Shortly after we moved into our new home, he presented us with a beautiful, hand carved wooden spoon that he had made himself to give to us as a house warming gift.
‘Welcome to Goldendale,’ he said.