So our last blog will be just like our last couple days have been~~reflective. We have been together nonstop for 13 weeks (our favorite number) and we are closer than ever. Funny, when we left, we had no idea what day we would leave or for how long we were leaving. We felt much like a boat with no rudders or oars being led only by a Divine Hand.
We left on a Saturday, August 21st. We are arriving home on a Saturday, November 20th. 3 months exactly.
We figure we have stopped at around 75 gas stations averaging 20 minutes per fuel-up (thanks to Mable’s slow drinking habits), equaling about 25 hours standing at gas pumps.
We started with 87,268 miles on our old, but new-to-us RV, Able Mable. By the time we get home, she claims 98,848 miles. That’s a grand total of 11,580 miles on this trip. We figure Christian’s put in around 228 hours of driving at an average of 50 mph. That would be like driving 30 days at an average of 8 hours a day or driving 10 straight 24 hour days. Well, I did drive for 10 minutes so don’t forget to subtract that. :o)
We traveled through our remaining 13 states to bring our grand total to 48! This trip we drove through a total of 35 states!
We passed through 9 mountain chains (oh, boy, did we ever!), put our feet into both the Atlantic and the Pacific Oceans, and explored 6 national parks including Badlands, Grand Teton, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, Painted Desert, and Zion.
Also, several state parks where we hiked, biked, and climbed mountains.
We have been in 105 degree blazing sun, a near-miss of a hurricane (that rain was ridiculous), 50 mph winds more than once, blizzards (thank you, Jesus, only while we slept), beautiful fall leaves, sunsets, rainbows.
We have seen more wild buffaloes than we can count, wolves, elk, mountain goats, bighorn sheep, bald eagles, a California condor, a seal, a bear, moose, prairie dogs, mule deer, antelope, white-tail deer, alligators, jellyfish, a badger, foxes, crabs, anoles, a tarantula, longhorn cattle, coyotes, a snake, and rode horses on a Texas dude ranch. And let’s not forget the little mouse that took up residence for a few days and stared me in the face while I was in my bed one morning!
We have crossed paths with dozens of strangers instantly turned into friends we can’t wait to see again someday—if not on earth then certainly in heaven.
Now, I will let you in on our conversation as we reminisce…
Justin-“Pushing the RV through the desert when it died going down the road because the fuel pump died. It was scary because there was nothing for 30 miles in either direction and it was too heavy for Dad and I to push further.”
To finish this story, we prayed and God allowed the engine to start, get us to the next town over 20 miles away where it was repaired by the next day.
Addie-“Going through the Appalachian mountains in the RV, standing on the Hoover Dam bridge,
when Mom, Kyrsten, and Justin ran towards the bear, waking up to the RV swaying back and forth ’cause of the crazy storms, and sleeping in Walmart parking lots where the crazy thugs are.”
Kyrsten-“When Mom got sick with food poisoning in the RV and she was kinda yelling because it hurt so bad and I remember sitting in the rental car sobbing because I was so scared, and I wondered if my mom was going to be okay.”
Alison-“The drive through North Dakota in the dark when Mable made a horrible noise and the engine changed and starting roaring was horrible. We had no cell service for hours and there was no sign of civilization so even our RV roadside assistance was not available. We had to get well into Montana that night and while still in ND we hit the worst road construction—I’m talking one lane of only dirt with cones scattered all over, ruts and holes that slowed us down to about 15 mph—and we just didn’t know if we were gonna make it there.”
Christian-“The mountain pass late at night in CA with 50 mph wind gusts and having to steer into it. I was literally fighting to stay on the road when the gusts would hit.”
Kyrsten-“Sticking pennies to the wall because I had just found a new friend and we were doing this amazing thing together that increased our faith,
and horseback riding on the dude ranch, building a snowman with Justin in Amarillo,
playing with the dogs at Grandpa’s, playing in the ocean with Justin and Addie, and playing with the baby kittens at the ranch.”
Addie-“Meeting Hannah and staying at her house, the alpaca store and Yellowstone.”
Alison-“Seeing a real, live, bear in the wild. Listening to my kids laugh and play in the ocean, and every single other minute except the food poisoning and ND.”
Justin-“First time seeing wild buffalo in the Badlands.”
Christian-“The Badlands—seeing the buffalo and getting within 100 yards of one, when Justin and I went to the Wind Cave in Wyoming and crawled through spaces I never thought I would fit in let alone enjoy.”
Song that best describes the trip or meant the most while on the trip~
Addie-(whole CD’s that she will identify with this trip) Chris Tomlin “Hello, Love,” Tenth Avenue North “Healing Begins,” Hillsong “Beautiful Exchange.”
Alison-(songs) Nat King Cole, “Route 66,” Need to Breathe “The Outsiders,” Billy Holiday “Getting Some Fun Out of Life,” Hillsong, “Forever Reign,” and Kari Jobe, “I’m in Love with You.”
Christian-“All I Need is You,” Caleb Rowden
Justin-3:10 to Yuma Soundtrack
Kyrsten-The Relient K Christmas CD that I got for my birthday and Tenth Avenue North, “Oh, Dear” because it reminds me about how much I love Jesus.
Lily-“Route 66!” We will post a video soon of her singing it. Every time we put it on, she would sing her little heart out!!
Favorite Food (on the trip)~
Kyrsten-I” loved the turtle cheesecake I got for my birthday dinner even though I stuffed myself so much that I almost barfed and the chocolate cake at Cheddar’s because the frosting was soooooo good.”
Justin-“The smoked salmon/cream cheese, pizza in Idaho”
Christian-“The pizza from the place in Idaho with Greek olives, cappicola, and olive oil instead of marinara.”
Addie-“The smoked salmon/cream cheese pizza in Idaho”
Alison-“The amazing pork chop stuffed with prosciutto and mozzarella (that the chef emailed me the recipe for) from Idaho! I will be making this one when I get home!! And surprisingly, the ribeye made by a cowboy at a dude ranch (I never like steak!). Oh, and fresh avocados from the tree.”
Most important lesson or skill you learned~
Addie-“God is faithful. He will always provide in His timing. He doesn’t change. We can’t box Him into our circumstances.
And I now can easily use the bathroom at 60 mph.”
Alison-“I am NEVER in a place where God cannot take care of me. Whether it’s stranded in the middle of nowhere or needing His touch deep in my Spirit. I never had a moment where I found myself really wondering if we’d be okay. If Mable broke, I would just pray. And He ALWAYS came through. I will take that with me forever. Plus, I learned to cook without hot water in teeny, tiny spaces.”
Kyrsten-“I came closer to God and He proved Himself to me. I realized that no matter what, He’s there for me, even when the RV breaks down in the middle of the desert. I learned that I can hold on to a horse even when it takes off galloping through a field and doesn’t want to stop.”
Christian-“What hit me the most was when Dave fixed the vehicle. He did what God told him to do and it met our needs and his in a huge way. Nothing the enemy does can ever surprise God. God will always fulfill His plans to prosper us. Jeremiah 29:11!!!”
–Christian is too humble to claim skills, but let me tell you, he has impressed this family. He has fixed multiple engine parts, doors, water pumps, fiberglass…
He has single-handedly, and safely navigated a 35 foot rig (with all its bikes and extras on the back) through major cities, a million crowded parking lots, mountains, and the list goes on. He is nothing short of amazing.–
Justin-“Dad and I have the strength to push the RV 400 yards, but when my strength is gone, I can depend on my God Who can take me over 11,000 miles.
And, life is what you make it.”
–Justin co-piloted next to his Dad the entire trip. The intention was for him to learn how to navigate a country and he did his job incredibly well. He also learned every aspect of RV life from the hands-on approach which will serve him very well as he begins the next part of his journey with Mable as his home in MS.–
We are almost home. We have lived, learned, and laughed much. We have lived out a dream and seen the hand of God more times than we can count; from His magnificent creation to His providence to His miraculous intervention. We have learned what we can live without, and that all we really need is each other and our God. It might be healthy to simplify.
We have asked God for a lot and He delivered EVERY SINGLE TIME. We defied all the odds—sticking various metals to walls, paths that crossed with people we would never have ordinarily met, the RV emergencies covered…all of it points to Him.
He gets all the glory. We are grateful.
‘Til the next adventure…
Isaiah 46:4~I am He who will sustain you.
I have made you and I will carry you;
I will sustain you and I will rescue you.
Philippians 4:19~And my God shall supply all my needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus