We're moving. Now what?
August 14, 2006 12:08 PM   Subscribe

Oh god, not another moving/travel question. Oh, but it is! Eattheweak and I are picking up and moving from Denton, TX to the Olympia WA area in about seven weeks. We've done nothing to prepare and now it's crunch time. You can bet your britches that there's

We're done with the south. It's time to get out. His parents live a few hours away from Olympia, we both like that area of the country. So now what?

We need to find a place to live first and formost. We have to decide on it sight unseen. Where do we start? We've been looking at a variety of apartment sites, but it's hard to actually figure anything out from that. Same goes for the apartment rating sites. Those are just filled with people who hate them or the apartment managers trying to inflate the score.

We want something cheap but not slummy. Somewhere we can just be left alone as long as our rent is on time. I will be working in Lacey and he hopes to be going to Evergreen State. We're also noticing that Denton and Olympia's version of cheap might be very different. What is the usual price for an ok one bedroom apartment?

Next, we'll be driving. We're planning on going from Denton to Santa Fe, NM (to celebrate my birthday) then to Pheonix, AZ then getting through LA as quick as possible and just head north. Anything we keep an eye out for or be on notice about? He can legally drive and we were considering getting me a learner's permit in Texas (he's 27 and I'm about to be 25). Will this cause any problems with the other states?

As far as we can figure, unless we want to drop a couple thousand dollars there is no way for us to move big stuff like furniture (2 desks, a bookshelf,and an end table to be exact). So we're thinking that we'll ship things like records and video games and books media mail to his parents and pack anything that'll fit in the 99 Chevy Malibu and just leave everything else behind. Any other solutions worked for you guys?

Basically we're one huge ball of stress and any help you can give to guide or direct on the travel or living in Olympia front will be greatly appriciated.
posted by nadawi to Travel & Transportation (12 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Get rid of as much as possible! You'd be surprised at how little you'll consider necessary.
These Boxes were a life saver. They're sturdy, can be labeled, and we managed to tetris about ten of them in the car when we moved.
posted by ktrey at 12:17 PM on August 14, 2006

Is there a reason you want to go through LA? I ask because you could easily shoot across the desert into Utah from NM, and then go north and catch I-90 on in. Way more pleasant, and you won't have tooth-gnashing experience of driving through LA (and the rest of California). It would be faster/cheaper too!
posted by dbmcd at 12:44 PM on August 14, 2006

Let me add a bit more to the above post:
See this MapQuest page for these details:
1. From Sante Fe, take I-25 back to Albequerque, and go west on I-40 to Gallup.
2. At Gallup, head north through the Navajo reservation on US160 to the Four Corners area.
3. From there, pick your route (the route through Durango is be-yoo-tee-full!) to get oto I-70, west on I-70 to I-15, north on 1-15 to I-90 and you're there!
This method will take more time, but you'll be in the most magical country in, and mostly pretty fast driving (for US Highways) - not a bad place for a gal to do a little highway driving...
posted by dbmcd at 12:56 PM on August 14, 2006

The reason we're thinking the LA route is that we can drive up that coastal highway. I did it a few years ago and it was beautiful. We'd also like to stay out of middle america as much as possible.
posted by nadawi at 1:38 PM on August 14, 2006

...okay, I can appreciate the beauty of the coast highway. I have driven it too, although when I had loads of time, and stayed away from the interstate.
HOWEVER-- the desert southwest is NOT NOT NOT "middle america" - it is the landscape of countless westerns, it is the land of red cliffs, spectacular canyons (Moab is pretty much in the middle of Canyonlands, but also think Grand Canyon, Bryce, and Zion), huge skies, dark nights (you've never seen so many stars!), and the largest sovereign nation within our borders (the Navajo nation/reservation).
It is somewhat 'desolate' , but I find a wondrous beauty in that, and would encourage you to look at a few websites before you consign it to "middle america".
Also, consider that LA to Santa Barbara is pretty much one big freeway with loads o'burbs - once you're north of SB, it opens up a bit, but that's a lot of driving 8-lanes to get there!
posted by dbmcd at 1:52 PM on August 14, 2006

Hi. I'd like to second dbmcd's suggestion that you route yourself through the desert southwest. Yes the PCH is very pretty, bit it's also slow as hell. You'll save a day or two by going the route dbmcd suggests, a route I grew familiar with travelling from Albuquerque to Portland back when I was an undergrad. As an added bonus, the monsoon season here in NM has been early and strong, and the desert is gloriously beautiful, all the plants in a frenzy before going back to dormancy. Because of the strong rains and low relative humidity here, the weather here feels cooler too.
posted by Sara Anne at 2:05 PM on August 14, 2006

To really save time, skip Gallup & the Navajo res and take this route through to Moab. You'll miss the beaity of the Navajo Nation, but you'll make it up in the 'I've driven route 666' bragging rights.
posted by Sara Anne at 2:21 PM on August 14, 2006

Ugh, I just gave you a really wrong route there. Sorry. From Bernalillo, go North to Farmington, and from there west to Shiprock (one of the most spectacular sights in NM). Then on through Cortez, CO and Moab. It's mostly two lane hwy, but very little traffic. Or since you're going from SF anyways, go N from SF to Espanola then up to Durango, then west to Cortez. Sorry if I'm overloading you with directions you don't want. I'm just awash in nostalgia.
posted by Sara Anne at 2:37 PM on August 14, 2006

Since you have such little stuff and a temporary place to store it with the parents, I would wait until you arrive to commit to an apartment. Couch surf for a couple days, or even better, camp at one of the beautiful parks nearby. I would try to sublet a place for a month or two, which should be easy this time of year around Evergreen. Then you can really explore the area to find what suits you and you will make a far better choice than you would have from Texas. It sounds like you'll want to be close to bus lines and a grocery. Some of the best rentals never make the newspaper classifieds or rental agency listings. Look on bulletin boards on campus and in the grocery stores & co-ops in the neighborhoods you like. Also, craigslist.
posted by roboto at 3:02 PM on August 14, 2006

So where will you be working in Lacey? You shouldn't have trouble finding a decent place. Based on what you've said, Evergreen Park Drive and Lilly Road are two areas I'd suggest you look at. Since they're close to Evergreen and St Peter's Hospital, respectively, both of those streets are thick with decent, affordable apartment complexes on the bus line. It may be a little tougher by the time you arrive, since Evergreen and St. Martin's will be back in session, but by no means will it be impossible.

even better, camp at one of the beautiful parks nearby
Unfortunately, the closest park with camping is one Millersylvania. It's nice, but in a KOA sort of way...just so you know what you're in for.

The Daily Olympian's unfurnished rental apts. section is probably a good place to get a feel for what rent is like out here. Prime Locations is the only property management company I can recommend; they run several complexes in the area, and do a pretty decent job of it. (Drop me a line for boring details.) As far as moving your stuff...yeah, just take the irreplaceable things. Between craigslist, IKEA, and thrift stores, you can take care of everything else. Once you get here, though, I strongly recommend investing in a good water-resistant jacket and possibly a few full-spectrum lights, since it's constantly overcast from mid-September to May.

I'd also recommend doing any of the suggested southwestern driving mentioned upthread, as well as the PCH north of San Luis Obispo. Great stuff.
posted by Vervain at 7:30 PM on August 14, 2006

Pssst... it's either "Evergreen," "TESC," or "The Evergreen State College." Not "Evergreen State." You don't want to get those geoducks riled up, you know...
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:19 PM on August 16, 2006

Damn it -- please ignore that "either." Editing mistake.
posted by The corpse in the library at 4:21 PM on August 16, 2006

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