Wow -where did the summer go?
We’re coming off an amazing summer of travels and visits in some special places with some very special people. I learned a lot last month about intentionality, cultivating relationships and taking time for the small stuff.
As we roamed across Tennessee (a beautiful state, by the way...), we enjoyed wonderful scenery and hospitality in the local communities. Mark and Jenny Stewart (cousins on Beth’s side of the family) and their wonderful kiddos provided an evening of relaxed fun and fellowship at their home in Mt. Juliet. This was also the place where we picked up some rocket fuel delivered through Mark’s ghost pepper relish (which I’ve thoroughly enjoyed little by little on this trip). There’s a special bond you always share when you’re with family and the Stewarts proved that in spades.
When we entered the Carolinas, we were able to reconnect and visit with some longtime friends. We spent an afternoon with John and Ruth from HHI who were gracious to come visit us at the campsite to “tour” our rig. Ruth and I worked together when I was in college and John became a mentor and dear friend to me as well. They are both amazing people who played a great role in helping me work through college and in establishing the start of my professional career. Though distance makes it even harder to get together, they are the kind of people I will always make time for.
Getting into the Charlotte area allowed us two special opportunities - one to meet up with Sanika (see my earlier FB post) as she had client work not far from our campsite. Very nice to host her for dinner and for her to see what our new normal looks like on the road. Second, we had a wonderful lunch reconnecting with Dave and Daphne. Dave is a longtime friend from high school and we share many great memories of our time together back in the day. I am honored and humbled to know Dave and the man that he’s become both inside and outside of the marketplace. His faith story is awesome and we were so happy to spend time with him and Daphne on this trip.
Lastly in the Carolinas, we enjoyed dinner and the evening with the Monts family in Hilton Head (also see an earlier FB post). We really enjoyed our time with Dennis, Tuesday, Matthew and Hudson, and they were exceptional hosts to us. This time with them was especially meaningful given the recent hurricane and storm activity that would have prevented us from meeting them had we visited three weeks later than we actually did. God’s timing won the days in our Carolinas adventures.
You’ve seen from our other posts that we were in Colorado a couple of weeks ago. While in Denver, we were blessed to meet up with a newer friend, Clayton, for dinner at Denver’s oldest restaurant - Buckhorn Exchange. I met Clay a few years ago at the request of one of my best clients in Atlanta who is also his Mom. His mother has been very good to me over the years as a client so I was especially honored to mentor Clay at a tipping point in his career. He was such an engaging guest and also interacted with the boys well throughout the evening.
As for our new relationships, we’ve met restaurant owners, museum volunteers, RV park neighbors and others who have helped remind us that there’s still plenty of kindness and warmth in this crazy and tumultuous world we live in. We’ll never forget our very first night in the RV and the wise counsel and advice we received from our experienced next door neighbor, Jerry. He put us at ease and confirmed that we hadn’t completely lost our minds and that we were in for a great ride ahead.
So why all of these vignettes? It’s quite simple- no matter how old or how new, relationships matter - from the past, present and future. I keep learning on this trip how cultivating relationships takes time, intentionality and creating margin in our schedule to realize their true significance.
We are blessed beyond measure to continue building old and new relationships over the next several remaining months of our adventure. I’m looking forward to making some new friends and reconnecting with old ones along the way.
See you on the road....
P.S. NOTE FROM WILL: You still have time to guess about the president who freed the donkeys! The answer will be revealed in Mile High Fun Part 2!
Have you ever traveled to the Rockies? How about Denver, Colorado? Just a few days ago we left Denver from an exciting trip. The RV has been in Tennessee getting some warranty work completed. In the meantime we took the opportunity to travel to Denver. We found a large amount of activities to do there. Let me start from the beginning:
A long time ago, in a state far far away...Alright...The flight to Denver was fairly uneventful, as was our entire time actually at the airport/car rental place. But when the airport faded from sight, we were amazed at just how flat that place is! I now know what people mean when they say, "where the land and the horizon meet"! The next day, we woke up and ate at the (free) breakfast buffet at the hotel, and rode off into the sunrise, heading for the Air Force Academy.
Backing right up into the Rockies, the campus stands on some great land. Their visitor center has a great 21 minute video about cadet life. They made it look appealing enough for Nate to consider going!
After the Air Force Academy, we visited some more great places, some of which were impulse visits. For example, the Focus on the Family visitor center was a great stop that we had not planned. Focus on the Family is a great Christian organization with lots of great resources. The visitor center had a museum, bookstore, and a play area for kids with a 3 story slide!
The last place we visited that day was the Garden of the Gods. The Garden of the Gods is a group of geological formations made almost entirely from red rocks. Here, we climbed some of the shorter rocks, but the taller rocks are only for professional climber as they are very very tall.
The following morning awe traveled to the Rocky Mountains National park. We hiked a trail up to a place called Gem Lake. About halfway up the mountain, you get an amazing panoramic view of a big chunk of the Rockies. It was incredible. The lake, however, was a bit underwhelming, but served as a nice resting place before the 1.8 mile backtrack. We were very proud of Nate, as he hiked over 3 and 1/2 miles of moderately difficult terrain. (We had a 1,000 foot elevation gain if that puts it in perspective for you!)
There's a town in the Rocky Mountains called Cripple Creek. It is a casino/mining town, and we enjoyed the informational trolley tour. There are about 20 donkeys that roam the streets, feeding off of the citizens' treats. When we asked our trolley driver why they were allowed to roam freely. The answer was surprising. A president, when visiting Cripple Creek, saw donkeys in the mines, working until they died, never seeing sunlight. He ordered that they be let out every few days to get fresh air and sunlight. Their descendants now roam the streets of Cripple Creek. Make your guess as to which president this was in the comments section below! We will reveal the answer at the end of the next post...
I know I've only gotten through the first 2 days in our trip, and there will be another one out soon. But for now, try and guess which president freed the donkeys! Until next time...
Travel days. They happen every week or so in the RV, so I thought that it would be good to mention them. I'm sure most, if not all of you know what residential travel days are like, but you probably don't know what RV travel days are like. (It's like you guys are anti-nomadic...) Basically, you're picking up the entire house. And you're emptying your sewage. And disconnecting the water. And changing your power source. (Not to mention attaching the house to the back of a truck and securing it.) RV travel days are significantly different than "normal" travel days.
Starting from waking up, it normally takes us about 3 hours to completely prepare the RV, hook up and go. After breakfast, my mom starts picking up the interior of the RV. This includes putting away loose articles, strapping down chairs, securing cabinet doors, and more routine jobs. Also she prepares our on-the-go lunches. Unfortunately, the RV won't fit through a Chick-Fil-A drive thru.
Meanwhile, my dad and I are working on emptying the sewage tanks. This normally takes between 30-45 minutes, depending on how full the tanks are. We also flush out the black tank (the tank connected to the toilet) by connecting another hose to a pipe which leads to the black tank, and sprays the sides of it. This makes sure the sensors aren't being blocked by anything. The sewage is probably the hardest part of our departure.
Following (or during) this process, I will climb the ladder leading to the roof, and check for broken seals around the edges of some "up-top" appliances and hatches. I also sweep the top of the slide outs to keep major debris from jamming the slides when they contract.
Normally, by the time I am finished with the roof inspection, my dad has completed the sewage dumping. Not that I purposely avoid him... Simultaneously, my mom is usually almost finished preparing the interior. This leads into retracting the slide outs, the stairs leading into the RV folded up, and the door locked.
The last part of leaving a campsite is hooking up to the truck and RV. The RV has to be at the right height for hitching up. So, we raise or lower the front jacks until the RV's the perfect height. Then we back the truck up into the hitch. Once we secure the arm, the jacks are retracted, giving full weight to the truck. After a family prayer for safety and contentment during the trip, we start the journey. Our average trip is about 3.5-4.5 hours. During this time, my dad is looking at his mirrors every 8-10 seconds, checking for "young hoodlums disturbing the peace". My mom is our navigator, and is also looking around for dangers in the road. Nate and I, well, let's just say we're the leisure loungers of the truck. We'll listen to audiobooks (We have about 5-6 apps for them), or do something else quiet. I will sometimes work on school work.
Every hour or so, a stop is made at a truck stop (We technically count as a truck) or rest area, and we'll go to the restroom, fill up on gas, and, if necessary, put air in the tires.
After the long ride, the campground slowly comes into view, audible sighs are heard, and then, after a moment of quiet, we all pile out. Once we've checked the campsite for low lying limbs, broken glass, and other hindrances to tires, slide outs and such, the level in the basement storage is consulted to see whether or not we need to back the RV up onto some leveling blocks. Following this process, we go through a fairly complex process to unhitch from the truck. It's basically what we did departing, but reversed. Following this procedure, we auto level the RV to really make sure it's level. This takes about 2 minutes to complete, and once it's done, the interior setup is a go. This doesn't take long, and after it's done, it's time to relax. Pass the lemonade from the left hand side!
Mr. Reinhold, that was an 80's reference, right?