On May 24th – we began our 14 month road-trip by leaving our driveway, our home, our community, and heading north to Rochester, IN ~ my hometown.
It felt like such a big thing to actually leave Greencastle -to finally be done with the packing & the research & the goodbye’s – to DO what we’ve been preparing to do all these months.
I’d gotten good at preparing – but the shift to Going caught me off guard. Jeff prayed for us before we left the driveway and I cried. Honestly I wasn’t just crying because we were leaving a life we knew and loved – I was also just plain scared! We don’t know what we’re doing! We read everything we could get our hands on & watched documentaries & YouTube videos of others who were living on the road, and tried to immerse ourselves in information so we could be ready – but were we? Were we really? As I watched our house disappear in the rear view mirror, I wasn’t sure. On the 3 hour drive up to my parent’s place I wrestled with my head & heart – and I decided, again, to trust God. This would not be the first task He’s called me to that I wasn’t ready for….so I took a deep breath and remembered the faithfulness of The Lord.
It’s doesn’t matter if WE feel ready. God called us to this, and He will take care of us.
The hours and miles passed, and by the time we got to that long row of pine trees that leads my parent’s house, so had the stranglehold of fear, and the next 3 days with my family felt like a big hug. We had a few more days of familiar & the love of my family to help us transition.
And it was just what we needed.
Our Journey really began as we left my mom & dad’s place on Tuesday, May 28th – Destination: Davenport, IA
We decided months ago that driving 4-5 hours a day would be reasonable – after all, we want to enjoy the journey. Davenport would get us across the Mississippi River – one big thing to see our first day – and Jeff wanted to pick up a spare tire, which the Davenport Camping World had listed on their website – on sale! We also decided that rather than paying for camping, we would just stay over in their parking lot. Not the excitement that I had hoped for our first night on the road, but it was sensible – so I resigned to the thought…..and I’m so glad now that we did.
Driving through Indiana & Illinois we saw broken trees and flooded fields that the spring storms had left behind. We drove through heavy rain & strong wind. Some road construction & the weather turned our 4-5 hours into 6 or 7. By the time we made it to Davenport we were tired, and a little stressed, more strong storms were coming, and the swollen Mississippi River had flooded almost up to the highway.
While sleeping in the parking lot of the Davenport Camping World wasn’t exactly how I’d pictured the first night of our big adventure, it ended up being the right move. With all of the flooding in the area, the surrounding campgrounds were underwater. Literally. We saw campers floating on the side of the road!
We called ahead & got permission from the store’s management – (that’s just one of the “rules” of RVing – call first & get permission to stay in the parking lot of a business – and people are usually really cool), and management encouraged us to stay over and ride out the weather.
We could see the storms coming, but we had just enough time to head into the little town of BlueGrass for gas & pizzas from Casey’s (which I’d always heard were really good & now know for myself…yum!). We pulled into Camping World with a full tank of gas & our dinner. We didn’t even have to unhitch the truck from the camper – we just pulled in, secured the truck, and went inside the camper to enjoy some pizza and a game of cards before the storms hit, again. Thunderstorms rolled through all night. And though Jeff & I didn’t rest well (the kids and dogs snored all night), we were safe and sound.
I woke up early the next morning, walked the dogs, made our morning coffee, and started nudging the rest of the family into consciousness. It would be good for us to be ready to roll when they opened the doors for business.
(Another RV “Rule” – if you stay in parking lot of a business the respectful thing to do is be ready to leave by the time they open. You don’t want to be Cousin Eddie – sitting under your awning in your camp chair waving at the customers in your bathrobe while you dump your tanks in the ditch.)
So when they opened at 8am, we were practically standing at the door – I went to look at the cute camper stuff while Jeff went to a sales person and inquired about the tire – but they didn’t have it. They had everything we might need for the journey – except that tire. Jeff showed them the tire on their website and told them that’s why we stopped here in the first place & they explained that they could get it from some dude down the road when he opened, but they don’t actually have it.
That could have been really frustrating – and I know Jeff was, just a little, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that God was just watching out for us – that staying in that parking lot was somehow for our Good. I do believe that God is intentional and nothing happens by chance. Between the rain, the mud, the wind, and the flooding….who knows what we were sheltered from while in the parking lot of the Davenport Camping World waiting to buy a tire that didn’t exist.
I couldn’t shake the feeling that God was just watching out for us – that staying in that parking lot was somehow for our Good.
So often I’ve thought I had it together and knew what I was doing, only to discover that while I was doing MY thing for MY reasons – God was doing a Bigger, Better, Way Cooler thing, with reasons of His own. Sometimes I’ve gotten to see that thing – other times I just have to shrug it off and be ok with not knowing…with trusting…with letting God be God.
Before we left my parent’s house, my mom, a veteran RV’er herself, reminded me that things are going to go wrong out there. Our plans aren’t always going to work out – and we just have to remember that we’re always right where God wants us to be…..afterall, if we were supposed to be somewhere else, we would be.
Her wisdom & our first night on the road brought new meaning into an ancient Word.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him – and He will make your paths straight. ~proverbs 3:5-6.
He will make our paths straight.
I’m ok with that.
Here’s to the Journey.