Monday, August 15 / Day 1
Back when we started this trip, I imagined it would take about a year and a half to make it through most of the lower 48 states, visiting and working and seeing a few sights. I was rather off in my expectations, however, as we didn't cross the Mississippi in any meaningful way (as in actually intending to keep going west) until August 15h of this year … the 608th day since we left home.
At the beginning of this year, when we got the Save the Date message for Aran and Lexie's wedding in San Francisco on August 28th, my gut reaction was YES!!, largely because we really really wanted to be there, but also because it just felt right, even though we've found that fixed dates for anything can be very limiting. The ebb and flow of this whole shebang has a more in-the-moment feel to it than any other period of my life. What's immediately in front of us is going to get the lion's share of our attention, and only shifts when we know it's time to move on … and God seems to make it pretty clear when that should be.
So jumping at a wedding on the West Coast wasn't our usual way of operating at all. We'd had no offers of work out there yet, and the density of folks we already knew was a lot sparser. It was going to be a financial/faith leap on a bigger scale than we'd yet encountered.
So by the time August 15 rolled around, and we'd gotten most of the loose ends in Illinois taken care of and a few days of R&R in Indiana, we had 13 days until the wedding, and 2161 miles to go if we took Google's most efficient option. Which we, of course, did not take. Mountains to cross! Plains to roll through! Parks to visit! Scenic overlooks to test the brakes on! Not to mention, campsites to find, camp to set up, and camp to break, every. single. day.
We started off on the 15th of August at 5:30 pm (yes, PM) from Chesterton Indiana, in the pouring rain … after a snafu with Amazon that resulted in chasing a package back to the post office, delaying us by several hours. We made it across IL and just into Iowa, parking at a rest area on I80 in Bettendorf for the night. I was coming down with a cold, we were all completely wiped, and crashed hard.