The Journey Begins!

And we’re off! The first day of our travels has officially begun (and is now nearly over, as I type this).

Thanks to Eli, we awoke around 6:30am and had an early breakfast at Eli’s favorite breakfast tavern with Grandma Boo & Grandpa Bill.  Eli then spent an extra hour or two with the grandparents while Susan and Dave went back to the campground to get things organized & packed up.  The young women setting up their tent next to us had quite the luck of the draw this morning, as they had inherited a box of miscellaneous bottles of booze, s’mores ingredients, and a couple of empty plastic bins by the time we were done packing up.  Our good friends Jay & Brittany, and their daughter Elodie, also dropped by to say good-bye and wish us well (and helped take away some of the food that we weren’t going to bring with us). And Susan completed a last-minute Craigslist transaction to pick up some more play-yard panels — Eli has suddenly decided he can walk, so we think those will come in pretty handy.

By around 11am, we were pretty well packed-up. Amazingly, we had found space for pretty much everything we had brought to the camper.  Eli re-joined us, and Grandma Boo had a bittersweet departing – it was somewhat unfortunate timing that our day of departure just happened to be her birthday.  We dumped the gray water tank, pumped up the truck tires, and hit the road right about 12:30pm.

Beautiful Day For a Drive

It was a gorgeous day for a drive – bright blue, partly cloudy skies, moderate temperatures, not much wind.  Quite a nice change of pace from the humid, stormy weather we’ve had the last couple of days.  Eli took a nice long nap, and Susan & Dave chatted about the journey to come. (At some point we’ll write more about our expectations, hopes, and dreams, too!)  Traffic was light, and we made pretty good time heading south.

Our first major destination is Johnson’s Shut-Ins Park, a bit south of St. Louis, MO, where we will camp out for the next two weeks.  But for today, we only going as far as Springfield, IL to a campground recommended by my good friend Dan Barham (Double J Campground in Chatham).  Speaking of Dan, we were able to meet up with him, Anna, and their three boys for a few hours this evening. That’s one of our big goals – to catch up with friends & family that we don’t get to see often, so it seemed fitting that we were able to do that on day 1 of our trip.  Thanks Dan & family!

Tomorrow we hope to meet up with one of Susan’s friends in St. Louis for some apple-picking before we check into the campground. And then we expect the next week to really just be about settling in and figuring out what this new lifestyle might be like.  We’ve got more friends we want to meet up with, a couple of recommended sites to see in St. Louis, and of course – more travel planning to do.

But for now – we can finally say we are on the road! And, you might say, now living the dream