A New Year and a New House

We’re on the road again.  And we’re in a new “house.” 

We moved up from a 2007 Dodge Caravan to a 2011 Chrysler Town and Country. We like it. I built a sturdier bed in the back with better, more accessible storage underneath and a softer, more comfortable mattress on top. We bought a cartop carrier to stow away more supplies on the roof to make more livable space in our “home.” (We also bought a cool tent that fastens to our van but the cartop carrier we got is too small to hold it. Oh well.) We bought a butane stove and a bigger cooler to insure better, more nutritional meals and a portable, rechargeable power supply to ease my mind about draining the battery from all the accessories we use through the night. (Yep, we’ve woken up to a dead battery. That’s not a good way to start the day. Especially when you’re out in the middle of the dessert.)

We’re traveling in style now.

Sometimes we wonder what it would be like to travel in a camper. Something with a bigger bed and a bathroom and a shower. Something with a sink and a stove and a table. Maybe even a refrigerator and a heater and an air conditioner. You know, something with the comforts and conveniences of a real home.

We borrowed a camper for a short time. It was nice. But we missed the mobility, the flexibility, and the good gas mileage of our minivan. We missed being able to navigate the rough back-country roads, maneuver the narrow cobblestone streets, and park anywhere we wanted.  We missed the one place in our lives that had begun to feel familiar. The cramped quarters of our van. We even missed sleeping on our cozy 48×70 inch bed.  Who’d’ve though?

LuAnn and I have spent most of last summer on the family farm in northern Minnesota. This was our longest stay yet. Summers are beautiful there. It’s quiet and sunny and filled with wide open spaces and endless skies—dark nights, northern lights, and the Milky Way. And I mean dark nights.  The famous Boundary Waters, that separate Minnesota from Canada, is the first certified dark-sky site in Minnesota and Voyageurs National Park, located along those boundary waters, only a few hours east of the farm, is Minnesota’s first International Dark Sky Park.  Yes, there is such a thing.  LuAnn and I officially grew up where the skies are dark.

We also spent Thanksgiving and Christmas on the farm but we could tell, by the agitation in our hearts, it was time to go. And not just because we didn’t want to spend the entire winter in sub-zero temperatures. It was simply time for us to go.

We’ve been grateful to have the farm to retreat to these past couple of years when restrictions and shutdowns, due to the pandemic, made traveling, boondocking, and living the life of nomads nearly impossible. It’s been good being there—being close to family and old friends—but we were getting restless. (Any of you who have tried to “go home” after living a lifetime away, know what I’m saying.) The more time we spend on the farm, my childhood farm, the more I feel like I never grew up.  Like I never went anywhere.  Never did anything.  As if all the adventures LuAnn and I have had together—all the places we’ve been, the people we’ve met, the things we’ve done—never happened.  So, before we forgot ourselves, it was time for a change.  It was time to get moving. Time to get back on the road.

I wish I could tell you more.  I wish I knew what the state of affairs will be traveling around the nation and across the borders. I wish I knew if we’ll encounter any restrictions and shutdowns. I wish I knew how far we’ll be able to go and how long we’ll be able to be gone.  I wish I could tell you to keep the light on for us because we’re coming your way.

There are just too many uncertainties to make any predictions or promises.

We have some plans.  Good plans.  But you, our faithful readers, know what usually happens to our plans.

We believe good things lie ahead.

May it be so.

P.S. I had intended to post this the first week of January. You all know the variance between what I intend to do and what I actually end up doing. We’ve been on the road for nearly a month already. It’s been good. Hospitality is returning to society. And our new bed is crazy comfortable.

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