PHOENIX – A retired New York couple who hailed a taxi for their 2,500-mile move to northern Arizona arrived with their two cats at their destination on Monday.
Neither Betty nor Bob Matas drive and they wanted to spare their cats, Pretty Face and Cleopatra, a trip on an airplane to their retirement home about 90 miles north of Phoenix.
They left the couple's Queens neighborhood April 10 in Douglas Guldeniz's canary-colored Ford SUV cab and traveled about 10 hours a day for a $3,000 flat rate plus gas, meals and lodging. The SUV is a hybrid-electric vehicle, which helped lessen the cost of fuel.
"It was pretty tiring, for my wife especially," said Bob Matas, 72, a former audio and video engineer for advertising agencies. "We're happy where we are. We're happy and that's it."
Matas said he was "flabbergasted" by the attention surrounding the couple's trip. Passers-by recognized them when they saw the New York cab, he said.
"Every state that we hit, people would say 'Are you the ones?' and we would say 'Yes, we are the ones,' " Matas said.
The Sedona mayor welcomed the couple at a noontime ceremony Monday, presenting them with a bag of Sedona souvenirs. Their real estate agent presented them with the keys to their new home in the Village of Oak Creek, a community just south of Sedona.
The couple will stay at a hotel for a few days until all their belongings can be moved into their house. A friend followed the cab in a rental truck carrying the couple's possessions.