It’s the completion of our first week on the road. I’m surrounded by the forest and breathing in the smells of campfire. We are somewhere in Wisconsin near a train, which is bringing all kinds of joy to Bubba.
This trip wasn’t destined to start on time, or so we believed up until the last minute. A week ago we were standing on the street in front of Ethan’s parents’ house, feeling defeated while looking at the inside of our cargo trailer. It was the fifth time we’d packed it and we were still overweight. Somehow, in the next few hours, we were ready.
Monday morning we hit the road. We were blessed to have my dad in a second vehicle, as he was going as far as Jackson, Wyoming for a conference the same day. It gave us the welcome opportunity to stretch out a bit and take turns spending time with Grandpa. 🙂
Driving to Jackson was rough, with various transportation problems cropping up along the way. We pulled into a very full campsite that night and prayed there would still be a spot open. Thankfully there was and we started our first official evening setting up in the dark. We had Tex Mex Chicken for dinner. (Recipe here.)
We were all pretty exhausted the next morning and it took a while to get back on the road. As a result, we arrived at Yellowstone a bit later than planned, and were honestly all so tired we really didn’t appreciate the short amount of time we had there. We were motivated to get back on the road so we wouldn’t have to set up camp again in the dark.
Bubba sleeping on Greta through Yellowstone
Tuesday evening we pulled off in another part of Wyoming, at a quiet little campground with sites incredibly far away from the parking area. Feeling thankful that Bubba insisted on bringing his little blue wagon, we used that to haul all the things to the camp site. During one of the hauls, Bubba brought out his favorite sauce of all time; (Frank’s Red Hot) with the cap untwisted, leaving a trail of sauce in his wake. We laughed about leading the grizzly bears straight to us, which seemed much more funny during daylight. (During the night when I got up to the the bathroom it was kind of terrifying.)
Trail of hot sauce through the woods
Wednesday dawned with everyone feeling much more alive. It was a long day of driving through Wyoming and into South Dakota. The campgrounds in South Dakota were peaceful, with a chatty and kind camp host who was interested in hearing all about our ministry.
Thursday was Mount Rushmore Day! What had inspired the designer to create in that state, I wondered? As we grew closer to the site it was obvious by the huge rock cliffs surrounding us. Even the untouched parts looked like they had the potential to become faces, if that makes sense. It was incredibly awesome to see in person. After Mount Rushmore we needed some coffee. Of course we brought some with us for camping, but had a tip that there was a coffee shop in nearby Rapid City that imported beans from Doi Chang. Excited doesn’t even begin to describe how we felt about it, as this was the coffee plantation from our little town of Chiang Rai! The owner has been to Thailand and we have mutual friends in ministry there. It was a great stop!
Thursday night we finally stayed in a campground with showers! Let me tell ya, it was time. Seven people and a 130 lb. dog packed into an SUV for so long, well, you can imagine. There was also a playground. It was heaven.
We planned to make a rest stop for the weekend with our long-time friends, the Fischers, in New Prague, Minnesota. Along the way there *just so happened* to be a Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum in Walnut Grove. The girls and I were thrilled. For those familiar with the books, it’s the same town where their family lived in “On the Banks of Plum Creek.” If you are ever in the area I would highly recommend the museum; it’s well worth the price of a ticket. We attempted to see the dugout where the family lived but it was way back on a road and we weren’t totally sure there would be room to turn a trailer around.
- Yes, the museum stop was totally planned weeks ago. I confess. 😉
Arriving in New Prague and seeing my friend Amber almost made me cry. Years ago in church, when I was a pre-teen, I prayed HARD for a friend. We had a small congretation and I just knew God had a friend out there for me. Amber’s dad moved their family to Oregon to pastor the church and that prayer was answered! It’s hard to believe so many years had passed since we had seen them. It was fun to let the kids hang out together and catch up on everything. We also had the opportunity to share about The Phoenix Alliance and our work with their church Sunday morning. It was a much-needed time of rest before hitting the road again.
We’re now in Wisconsin. The hot dogs have been roasted and the s’mores are being devoured. It’s Sunday night, and the first week is down!