"Maybe it will help to write about it", I've been telling myself since I returned home on a red-eye flight from Arizona. Justin moved to Wyoming a month ago, and Hannah is now living with her grandma while she finds a job and gets settled in the sunshine state. I knew this fall would be full of many emotions. Justin, Hannah, Kelsey and Lauren are not just our kids, but they've become great friends. What's up with them moving away? "It's in our blood" says Kelsey. Wonder where they got that? My hope was to blog as I went from state to state but with limited wi-fi access these posts had to wait. I know many of you followed our trip on Facebook as I posted daily videos and pictures there. But I needed to get it all out here and process the many emotions of spending precious time with Hannah. I really need to go back to mid-June when Hannah left for Southeast Asia. You can read about her travels here. It was on this trip I heard she wanted to move to Arizona when she returned. I said, "why don't you enjoy your trip and we will talk about your 'next thing' when you get back to the states. Determined, (something that defines all the Gates I know!!) she made her plan to leave New York on October 1, one day after my mom left from her visit. I wavered for several weeks as to whether I would drive with her in a packed, 2-door Honda Civic, not a very big car. Could I be gone for almost two weeks? Would we get along? I didn't decide to make the trip until a couple of weeks before we were to begin the adventure. And now I'm saying I can't believe I considered not going. Bright and early Wednesday, October 1 with fog rolling in the distance, we made coffee, grabbed some pumpkin muffins and hit the road. We were Indiana bound, a 12 hour drive for day one. I now realize I didn't take any pictures with our dear friends Kim and Susan Hall who we stayed with for 2 nights. One of the many blessings of pastoring God's people. We have loved ones everywhere. I'm not sure we had even left the state when our first "thrill" happened. With a clunk on the trunk and a sight of something flying through the air caught in the rear view mirror, Hannah knew she had left her phone on the top of the car at the rest stop. This is her running back from where she found it lying in the road on a major interstate still intact while truckers honked at us to get off the shoulder. That was enough excitement for one day. A God thing for sure as there were not cracks or scratches. By the weekend we were on our way to Iowa where she was able to spend time with cousins, aunts and uncles and grandma. She made her famous Irish scones one morning as she reveled the crowd with her stories of travelling abroad. We began again on Monday morning setting the GPS for somewhere in Kansas. Have you ever been to Kansas? There isn't much there except for more of God's people we know and love as we began our first pastorate there almost 29 years ago. It was a long day of watching tumble weeds, but we made it to the town where Dorothy and Toto have their museum. And you know we drank tons of coffee, attempting to keep eyes on the road at all times. Found this little gem one morning. Stay tuned, I have dinner to make after Rob and Lauren ate noodles, frosted flakes and Mcdonald's while I was gone. Check back tomorrow for more of the story.