About a year ago we met a few families who were starting an church plant in Boston who invited us to come visit them. At the time I thought it sounded really fun, but also thought, “Fat chance of us ever traveling all the way to Boston when we’re lucky to visit family once a year.”
Steve felt it would be very helpful to visit the church in Boston since they are living in intentional community–a concept we find fascinating. And what do you know, less than a year later we were headed out on one fantastic roadtrip.
Boston was our main destination which we combined with a trip to visit my family. We’ve also been wanting to visit our friends in Philadelphia, and when our route took us right past NYC, well, of course we planned to spend a day there, too. It was all we could do to keep from stopping in DC and Baltimore, but you can’t go everywhere you would like in just two weeks. Our itinerary was a little tight already. In addition to these stops we also went [backyard] camping with my family in Maryland and spent a few days in the country with friends from Pennsylvania.
We are used to taking long trips with our family, but we’ve never taken a trip with seven overnight stops in 15 days or packed for city living, swimming, and camping in one trip. Our diets are a little complicated since one person avoids dairy, another dairy and eggs, another yeast, eggs, some dairy, citrus, and more; and another person was on a grain + sugar free diet.
For the most part I was all, “Hum-dee-dum, oh, it will be okay.” Then the week before we left it all felt huge and I was wondering how in the world I would pack everything we needed, but not overpack and drive us crazy, and get all the just-in-case food ready to take with us.
For packing I like to lay out clothes in outfits and choose fewer pieces that can be mixed and matched in many combinations as much as possible. I took a little more than I thought we needed in the event that washing laundry would be inconvenient, and we still managed to keep our luggage fairly minimal.
I took too much entertainment for the boys. Zac picked out his books (see above: he might be on school break, but he always loves learning). No matter how far we travel, it seems mostly we only need books. Some other entertainment is helpful, but the boys really like reading and drawing and reading and drawing. Any other toys last for such a short time be fore they tire of them.
The first segment of our trip was nine hours to Virginia.
Thirty minutes before we left, Steve was vacuuming the living room (Yes, he’s awesome like that) and the lights would suddenly shine three times their normal strength for a minute, dim, then intensify again. When he unplugged the vacuum cleaner smoke poured out of the outlet. I unplugged the washer and driver to save electricity while we were gone and smoke came out of those outlets, too.
Steve flipped off the breakers for that circuit, and we left the house feeling just a little nervous. I kept giving our house back to God, but also wishing I would have taken my hard drives holding our pictures on the trip! Well, thankfully our house was still standing when we got back home which was no small relief.
That wasn’t the only way we saw God protecting us. Steve felt our SUV would feel pretty cramped for all the traveling, and the mission very kindly let us use one of their vans. When we first started out I snapped a picture of the boys in the backseat. I hadn’t really noticed the van being shaky before, but with my phone it was impossible to get a picture that wasn’t blurry.
The shaking became so significant that Steve took it to a mechanic the next morning thinking the tiresmay be out of balance. There was a problem with one tire in particular–itwas worn down to threads. The mechanic said it should absolutely not be driven anywhere, and we were lucky it didn’t blow on our trip. Thankfully, the rest of the trip went smoothly after getting the tired fixed.
We arrived at my sister’s house in the dreamy evening hours. Even though I grew up in the Shenandoah Valley countryside, I’m surprised every time we visit by the beauty and tranquility.
The children had such a fun time playing together, and Kelvin grilled steaks for us. My sister Beth always plans menus that she knows would be special for us. We had both just read French Kids Eat Everything, and felt rather French with our late evening, whole foods dinner.
We spent one relaxing day in Virginia. Steve stained my parents’ swing set, Mom and I drank coffee and talked, Beth and I ate lunch together, the boys had a great time playing with their cousins. In the evening Steve and my dad took the boys up on the mountain, then we ate a seafood dinner on my parents deck. It was all so nice.
Next up in this very detailed trip diary, is: Philadelphia!