The Young Family Goes To Town

We made a supply run to Prescott last week, a two-day trip that has been undertaken by pioneering souls in the rugged northern Arizona desert for over a hundred years. The only differences between us and the first settlers were our modern clothes, manner of speech, and contemporary sayings like “Should we eat lunch at Taco Bell or Burger King?”

Our three-quarter ton extended cab Dodge pickup with climate control capabilities, AM/FM radio, and (mostly) functioning windshield wipers may have set us slightly apart from 19th-century settlers. Also, we camped at a Best Western and, at the insistence of management, didn’t burn a single buffalo chip.

Regardless of the century or mode of transportation, traveling to town from the far reaches of the O RO Ranch is a significant undertaking. The drive takes 4 ½ hours each way, so I spent most of the day prior preparing for the trip. I cleaned out the cab of the pickup, ratchet-strapped ice chests and storage tubs to the flatbed, packed and loaded the diaper bag, filled the water jug, and packed our suitcase.

I wanted to make sure we left early, but I was also fueled by adrenalin, serotonin, and other naturally occurring uppers that end with “in.” I hadn’t been to town in four weeks, and I was pretty excited to buy one of everything in Costco and eat a meal that I didn’t have to prepare or clean up after. I was halfway through making the bed before I realized that not only was I still lying in it, I was sound asleep.

When the alarm went off at 4:30 a.m., I bounded out of bed, curled my hair and put on some eyeliner. Jim started the pickup, and we bundled our sleeping kids into their car seats and headed for our nearest neighbor’s house. 15 miles and 2 hours later, we stopped and picked up Alicia, because when our kid is going to get car sick and puke twice on a road trip, we like to involve as many people as possible. Also, her family’s car was broke down and she needed a ride to town for parts.

Once we arrived in Prescott, the excitement of being in town quickly wore off. I didn’t even feel like shopping, and food interested me little.

Just kidding! I totally went nuts, buying at least 6 weeks’ worth of food and more DVDs and books than I’ll read in half a year. At Costco, we filled a flat and a cart chock-full with baking items, canned goods and dairy products. Preppers wish they could shop like me. If a natural or man-made disaster triggers a global apocalypse in the near future, we are completely set. We could live off goldfish crackers and frozen fruit alone for at least one month.

While on our big trip, we ate eggs for the first time in over a week. We enjoyed Chinese food and a trip to Tractor Supply. Bargain alert: they have rubber boots way on sale right now. With all this rain, the whole family needed to get outfitted in galoshes. Milo, our one-year-old, is napping in his mud boots right now. He’ll take them off for his bath under strong protest, then they go right back on over his footie jammies.

We also meandered the aisles of CAL Ranch, Walmart, a couple thrift stores, did some banking, and made a park stop for the kids. We’re not planning on going back to town for 4-6 weeks, so we tried to cram everything on our lists into our day and a half in civilization.

Even with all the fun stores and stops, the best part of the trip was returning to our desolate little home in the canyon. We’re back to pumping water from the spring, generating our own electricity, and playing in the creek with the kids. When the next storm hits and it rains so much that the roads aren’t passable, we’ll laugh our heads off and eat some dried mango. Heck, we might even burn a buffalo chip if we’re so inclined.

We live far away from town, very similar to Ma and Pa Ingalls. Basically, the only difference between us and the good folks of Little House On The Prairie is that we don’t live on the prairie; we live in the desert.


Also, I don’t think I would look that happy if I had to bounce my butt on a wagon seat all the way to town with no radio and four kids.

Also, we don’t have our own TV show.

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