There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. Ecclesiastes 3:1
Six months before we set out on our adventure living a life on the road, my father was diagnosed with incurable colon cancer. We almost delayed our hike across Spain, but my parents insisted we set off. We did, with the understanding that we would fly home if needed. As it is, we cut our nine month stay in Europe by three months because we had the sense that my mother could use some extra help at home.
During the last three years my father had good seasons and bad seasons. At times he couldn’t be left on his own. But at one point he even recovered to the point where he could drive again. He even sneakily practiced driving the quiet country roads in his neighborhood when none of us were at home, to prove he was ready. Laurie and I have based our travel schedule on how much we were needed to help out at home. Then, last September Dad quit his chemo regimen and went into hospice. We delayed our plans to hike the St Francis Way across Italy in order to help provide the nursing care he needed.
His original prognosis was two years. He lasted over three. In the early hours the morning after Thanksgiving Day, with all three of his sons in town, he passed away. We miss him, but are glad he no longer suffers and walks with Jesus.
Since then, Laurie and I have been helping my mother settle Dad’s affairs and transition to her new situation. And now it’s time to resume the vagabond lifestyle we started in April of 2016. We’ll start with time visiting friends and family in the American Southwest, particularly Arizona and Nevada. We have plans for hiking some of the great parks.
We may also bike some of the Oregon Trail. We listened to a book about two brothers who traveled 2000 miles of the Oregon Trail in 2011with a restored covered wagon pulled by three mules—the first covered wagon to travel the trail in over a century. We were surprised to learn that much of the trail—down to the ruts—still exists. While listening to the audio version of the book Laurie said to me, “I don’t want to do it in a covered wagon, but I might want to bike it.” It also turns out that I have relatives who were buried along the trail.
We hope to see some of you and hear from you during our travels. We have made some amazing friends during our journey and believe even more strongly that family and friends are a greater blessing than things.