The conversation happened at church on a Sunday morning during the mad-dash for coffee and cookies between the worship and the message. Well, they call it “Fellowship” but we all know it’s about the coffee and cookies. I don’t recall exactly how the conversation started so I’ll jump in mid-stream:
“Well, we won’t be around then because we’re leaving on a year-long family road trip. We’re leaving in September.”
The man to whom I was speaking got a thoughtful look on his face, then asked “Wow, that’s really cool. Hey, do you know Warren Westenbroek?”
I didn’t know why he was asking but I had to chuckle a bit because we did indeed know Warren and his family. For years, in fact. They used to own a cottage just a couple doors over from my parents, they are homeschoolers, we’ve both owned Jeeps, we’ve picnicked at the beach together and been to their nearby house in Holland for cookouts. I answered the question with some of these details. My conversation partner responded:
“Have you talked them lately?”
“Just give Warren a call. I think you’ll have some things to talk about.”
Intrigued, I did just that later in the week. When I told Warren about the conversation that led to my call he responded with disbelief and astonishment and then filled me in on why my church conversation partner thought we should talk. Turns out he had his family had been planning to sell their house, downsize to something much smaller, purchase an RV, and embark on a long road trip with the intent of seeing all 50 states. We had independently - and within weeks of each other - hatched and put in motion darn near the same crazy road trip scheme. We had even visited the same RV dealers and toured the same RVs within the same week!
Over the next few months we got together a few times to talk about the work of planning extended road trips, types of RVs, routes, goals, and dreams. They initially had a much earlier launch date than we did but were delayed in getting their new house prepped. As it turned out we left within weeks of each other last September and both headed in roughly the same direction - out east.
Since then we’ve gone back and forth, passing within hours of each other but never close enough to meet up. They spent a number of weeks in Florida, we had our truck repairs to get through then beat them out west for a while while they stayed in the sun. We’ve now been in Arizona long enough for them to catch up - even after passing us by for a stint in California.
Ultimately it was a mutual desire to experience an Easter Sunrise service at the Grand Canyon that brought us together into the same campground. The kids all seemed to appreciate some “kid-time” and we parents had a number of great conversations about this crazy thing we’re doing. We spent two days at the Grand Canyon walking, biking, tailgating in the parking lot, and just in general catching up with familiar faces and kindred souls. We even put together a shared Easter dinner and squeezed everyone into our trailer. Everyone must have enjoyed the squeeze - because on our 3rd day in the area Warren and family packed themselves and our two not-so-short kids all into their Jeep and went back to the Canyon for a 3rd day while MsBoyink and I got a solid work day in.
We parted ways this morning - we’ve headed east to catch a couple of National Monuments while they pointed the bus west with an eventual goal of heading to Alaska.
Great seeing you guys - God bless & safe travels!