Sep 30 2017

Fast Forward: Four Years Later

by andrew

Despite the pretty substantial anchor we dropped here in Winnipegosis, Manitoba, Canada a few years ago, we have still made several epic journeys since then which should have charged enough inspiration to merit their own posts on this blog even though many of them were solo or in smaller conflagrations than our former 9-barrel shotgun happy wagon (which, come November is going to be an upgraded 10-barrel beauty if you’re following my metaphors).

For example, my winter mini-journey in Dec 2013 to and from my old stomping grounds in Minot, ND flying out from and back into the airport there for Never Settle’s visit to Creative Trust (a client at the time) in Nashville, TN with a blessed overnight layover in Colorado on the way back. However, after sitting a few days parked at the airport in weather that had turned typical Minot December since I had left, the suburban’s batteries were dead and diesel fuel was gelled or maybe frozen solid. On a Friday night, Father provided a mini-miracle connection to a guy with a big rig shop who was able to thaw me out in a couple hours and get me on the road.

There have of course been the annual micro-trips for summer camping, fall survival weekend with Bennah in cadets for 3 years, winter ski trips (yes, Manitoba has skiing… sort of), and various Biblical Festival celebrations in different parts of Manitoba and Saskatchewan.

Then there was July of 2015 which was straight crazy fun. Bennah and I went out to California, and while he was at camp Messiah West Coast I was staying at a nearby Bed & Breakfast, working remotely from there, and making forays (well 1 anyway) into Yosemite to scratch my photographer’s itch.

Flying back to Canada through the Calgary port of entry was memorable because it was my first entry into Canada that made my permanent resident status official. As if that didn’t comprise enough miles, Reayah, Joy and I hit the road right after that (still July) and drove to Colorado for Jonathan and Alexandra’s betrothal, which was an amazing time.

(photo by Ross Folkers)

Then Oct 2015 brought me back to Colorado for our Never Settle company retreat at Revel, and afterwards driving home from the Winnipeg airport, which is a 5 hour trek, the suburban finally told me it was officially done for a while when I had to stop 3 times along the way to add a full container of coolant each time.

BUT, we still had 1 more all family trip to make to and from Colorado before 2015 was over for Jonathan and Alexandra’s wedding in December. So, we piled into another diesel suburban almost identical to ours, which our dear friends in town had recently bought and graciously loaned to us, and to thank them we donated a good chunk of miles to their odometer. That trip was fraught with adventure and wonderful family times.

With the suburban torn apart in our garage so I could replace the head gaskets (presumably the cause of the magical disappearing coolant) Father provided a good deal on a 15-passenger Chevy Express van in Feb 2016, which became our new family-mobile. We had been wanting a van for a while, and finally having one meant we had enough seats for more children even with the rear bench pulled out for extra cargo space. We were no longer limited by the maxed out suburban, which was a handy peace of mind about a year later when Renee started her 8th pregnancy (due end of Nov 2017). Renee still credits the decision to have one more with being at a close friend’s home a few months ago right after she had self-delivered her baby at home. But I think that having the van had something to do with it too.

In Aug 2016 Renee and Reayah flew out to Virginia to visit some good friends out there, but I compensated for the crazy 2015 globe-trotting by staying local all year.

This past summer (2017) needs to be written down so that I can call it the craziest summer on record. Besides the normal spring soccer coaching with 4 kids playing on 2 different teams, and frequent games 1.5 hours away, Bennah taking driver’s Ed twice a week in town, family reunion on Renee’s side (in Aug), and something going on every single weekend, we decided that we should also buy a house (moved in June) and go to Colorado again (for just over 2 weeks vacation in Sep).

In fact, it was this last very recent trip to Colorado that got me really feeling like I needed to shake this blog awake again. We took 3 days and 2 nights to drive down there and it took 5 days and 4 nights to come back with 9 wonderful intervening nights there at my parents’ place in the mountains. I originally thoughts this entry would be writing about that trip, but I realized some fast-forwarding was needed at least as a crude link in the chain and the Sep 2017 Colorado adventure deserves a post of it’s own. So, that should (theoretically) also be along shortly.

As an interesting teaser for what’s to come… one of the catalysts that convinced me to bite the bullet and get this going again (at least in random spurts) around the 4th anniversary of dormancy, was a beautiful piece of foreshadowed symmetry: Upon our departure from the Denver area we needed to get our van looked at before the long trip back, because there was a new vibration happening that I didn’t like. Father brought back to mind a dear brother who manages a shop in Brighton, CO when I was trying to figure out where I could take it. The reason this brother and shop were somewhere in my mind to begin with: they had done some big repairs to the suburban 5 years ago when we were in the area on our travels back then, and we had an amazing conversation for about 2 hours after the shop was closed one Friday evening. That feels like a lifetime ago.