This was our last morning. We stripped all the beds and piled all the dirty laundry up for me to start on as soon as we walk in the door at home (one of these days, I really hope I have two washers and dryers, but that would require a bigger laundry room too…) We had a delicious breakfast of bagels and sausage. At home, we will have our own sausage to eat, and we really look forward to all that good food we have waiting for us there. I closed the slide to the camper with tears in my eyes. This has been such a wonderful trip, and something that I have wanted to do for a long time. It is so hard to believe that it is over. I could have continued to travel like this for a long time. However, God has other things in store for our family, and I look forward to each and every day with them, no matter what those days hold for us. I thank God for this special opportunity that I have had to spend with my husband and children over the past 6 weeks, and I thank God for giving us this beautiful country that we live in. I have a much greater appreciation and understanding of it than I ever did before. We hitched up for the last time and pulled out of the campground. Home was supposedly only about 5 hours away; of course we have to add at least 2 hours for stops and slower driving than the speed limit. Driving through the hills of Tennessee we saw beautiful small farms that remind me of home. I have been dreading the end of our trip for the past week or two. However, our little trip to Bakersville in Mansfield, Missouri helped me to remember how much I love our small homestead life. I do look forward to tending to my garden and using the new tool for weeding that I picked up in Bakersville. I have no idea if any of the garden we planted survived its 6 weeks without us, but even if it didn’t survive, I anticipate doing a lot of planting this upcoming week.
Funny story: when we were driving to Mammoth Cave the other day, Charlie was talking about having to go home and butcher the turkeys since we have now been through two mating seasons with no baby turkeys (poults) to show for it. We bought this breed of turkeys (Bourbon Reds) because they are supposed to be able to naturally reproduce, and we were hoping to let the turkey hens raise their own babies since they aren’t easy to keep alive when we are doing the raising. After we got out of our cave tour, Charlie checked his messages on his phone only to discover that he had a message from the girls who are taking care of our animals (thank you!) Well, guess what? They had sent him a picture of a baby poult that was evidently born to one of our hens. What a surprise! The turkeys have now received a pardon. Now we will just have to see if that poult will survive, but we are very happy to know that a natural reproduction was finally successful! The kids can’t stop talking about it.
As we drive, we seem to be bringing the rain with us. It has rained the past two nights while we were in Cumberland Gap, and it has rained a lot on the way home. I’m sure the rain will be welcome in the Carolinas as this time of year there isn’t always a lot of it. Of course, while it is raining, we get to sit in traffic. We have truly been blessed on this trip. Pretty much, until today, the only traffic that we have sat in was in a couple national parks while they were doing some road construction. However, I-40 east going into Asheville had about an hour’s worth of traffic to sit in.
When we finally make it through the traffic, we pull off at the first exit we see with a gas station. The bathroom was needed. Evidently everyone else had the same idea as the gas stations just by the exit ramp were packed. We drove a little further down the road so that we could actually find a place to park at the gas station (you need a good bit of room to maneuver when you have so much vehicle and trailer). Charlie spoke with someone saying that the first gas station had around 15 women in line and about 10 men. Glad we waited until we got a little further down the road.
We continue on home with the rain coming and going. The kids began to get excited as they saw places they recognized, like the Dunkin Donuts in Hendersonville, NC where I often get them a treat when we drive up there for a day of apple picking. As we drove up our highway, it was good to see things that felt so familiar. I had been feeling that I wasn’t ready to come home, but it was feeling good now. Then we all saw it, the place that we have called home for over three years now, our homestead that we have all put so much of ourselves into. We were finally there – we were home. Blessings,