So, mostly we stayed at the camp, doing…camp things. Jake took the big 3 into town for an Amish buggy ride at one point (which was apparently more like a horse-drawn wagon with 20 other tourists, not so much a buggy). Otherwise, it was camp stove – grilling raisin toast and eggs, campfire, camp singing (Jake got a “Little Martin” guitar for this roadtrip), camp playground, nighttime stories and tent sleeping. Oh, and the camp coffee was amazing, thanks to Jake’s excellent camp coffee grinder and pour over equipment. Something about drinking it in the open morning air, too – really wonderful.
There’s a children’s book called Adele and Simon in America. The 2 main characters, who are from France, are traveling through America by train with their Aunt who lives in America. The book takes us on a beautiful journey throughout some of America’s most iconic places, and in each place, Simon (the little brother, who is perhaps 5 or 6), loses one of his possessions, much to the chagrin of his annoyed older sister. As the amount of losses increases, so does Adele’s frustration with Simon. A consistent refrain is “Oh, Simon, why are you always losing everything?!”
This is not unlike our journey. It all started with Eli’s brand new Camelbak drinking cup, which I don’t think made it past New Jersey (our first stop). Since then, we’ve all left things behind in one location or another. Some things have been minor (like an odd sock), some not so minor. Some have been a real problem or a real heartbreak to have lost. Many, we have figured out after we have left a certain place, and been able to have hotels or hosts ship them to us.
So, I’ll take a moment now to recount the lost and the found.
|Eli’s camelbak drinking bottle||New Jersey||Gone|
|Dylan’s backpack (camera / books / swiss army knife, etc.)||Nashville||Mailed back to us in Colorado|
|My baseball cap (beloved)||Santa Fe||Mailed back to us in Colorado|
|My camelbak water bottle
Jake’s camelbak water bottle
|Dylan’s hiking hat and 1 walkie talkie||Oklahoma City||Mailed back to us in Colorado|
|Lucy’s drinking bottle||??||Gone|
|My wallet (2 bank cards & 1 license, that’s it)||Louisville, CO||Gone|
|Eli’s shoes||Aurora CO||to be mailed back, probably meet us in Chicago|
We went to Chicago for a few days to see friends. It was nice. It was our first big city since D.C. over a month ago. It was jammed with traffic (so some of our plans evaporated to avoid it), but it was still good to see our friends (Joshua and Kirby) for a little while. We stayed in an enormous hotel which felt like an indoor city. It was built in 1971 and the architecture feels that way (sort of has that George Orwell / Aldous Huxley feel). We also went to Millennium Park in downtown. We had fun.
We spent the last week staying with family (my cousin, Rick and his son Andrew). And on Sunday, visiting with Mark, Cheryl and their 2 (grown up) children Marissa & Nick (long time family friends who moved to Colorado a few years ago). What a week it’s been. How nice it was to see friendly and familiar faces. How comfortable we were made to feel in their homes. After almost a month of being on our own, it was great to be with loved ones.
Sidebar: we were very blessed to have Jake’s parents fly out last weekend and spend 3 days with us over Memorial Day – a total surprise for the kids and a great time. Not to mention Jake and I were able to go out on the first (and possibly only) date of the trip.
Being in Colorado for a couple of weeks now, we feel like we have arrived, and are (somewhat) settled in. We are driving less than an hour a day, sometimes just a few minutes to the park or the store. It’s been restorative. It’s been good. It seems too short. We’ll be heading back home by the end of the weekend and then after a few more stops to see friends (Chicago) and family (Michigan), we’ll be home and back to our normal routines.
Being past the halfway point, I’m really trying to appreciate the little moments that will be unreachable once we’re back.
This trip has been wonderful in so many ways. The new experiences, the family and friends we’ve seen along the way. The mountains and other gorgeous natural sites. But being gone almost a month now, there are some things we are missing. So let’s take a minute to make a note of them.
- Our family at home
- Our friends at home – the kids are especially missing their friends – you know who you are. ;)
- Grocery shopping for more than 2-3 days at a time. And cooking – I miss the leisure of having a stocked kitchen and the ability to plan meals a week in advance and cook them in my own kitchen.
- Our bed, our pillows. We’ve had some comfortable places and some not so comfortable. But there’s nothing like your own bed.
- Mostly, our sleep. Sleeping in one room with 6 people is tricky. Sleeping in one room with 6 people with 1 of them being under 2 is really really difficult. I won’t get into the exacts details, but I will say that in the 27 nights since we left, Jake and I have not had 1 solid night of sleep. And we’ve only had a handful of okay nights (being woken up less than 3x, and staying awake less than an hour). We’ve also had a handful of atrocious overnights, where one or both of us gets about 3 hours of sleep, then needs to function all the next day. It’s not been easy.
I’m not complaining. This is a amazing and uncommon experience. I appreciate it. I’m glad we did it and I’m glad it’s not over yet. But we also appreciate our home, and all that it affords: the people and the comforts.
For now, I’ll soak in the morning view from Parker, Colorado.