Intersecting Life and Faith

Tag: travel (Page 3 of 5)

Cross Country Adventure-Part 3

Arriving in Albuquerque late afternoon, we threw our bags in the motel room and made our way to Old Town for authentic Mexican food. Darkness descends early in the west. Did you know that it gets dark a little after 6? I didn’t.

I didn’t take any pictures because of that, but these give you an idea if you’ve not been there. old-town-shops


imagesBright and early, very early Wednesday morning, we threw on our clothes and drove in the dark to the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta. My pictures will not do this event justice. In fact, we almost missed the launch of these gorgeous balloons because of weather. Something about surface winds and upper atmosphere winds had to be minimal. New Mexico was feeling the remnants of a Pacific Ocean hurricane. We weren’t disappointed when they finally made their way across the dawning sky.

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unnamed (36)It was freezing that morning. Did you know it gets cold in the desert? Now I do. We filled up on Dunkin Donuts coffee. I have many more pictures of the fascinating event, just ask and I will be happy to share them with you, but didn’t want to bore you with so many here.

After pulling ourselves away from this fiesta, we got back in the car for our final day of travel, landing in Arizona that night. If you get the opportunity to attend this balloon festival, I would highly recommend it. And if you live near Jamesville, NY or Indianola, Iowa, they have smaller versions of hot air balloon festivals.

The ride across New Mexico and into Arizona was uneventful, except for stopping at two shops on the indian reservations. Not realizing we were going up, although we had been warned, we got to Flagstaff, AZ which is at 7000′. The story of how we came down the mountain will have to wait until Monday.

Part 1

Part 2

Cross Country Adventure-Part 2

I left off yesterday heading to the kitchen to make real food for my family after Lauren and Rob had to fend for themselves for almost two weeks, reminding me why I finally decided to make the trip with Hannah.

Over almost twenty-nine years of marriage Rob and I have spent time apart. Early in our marriage he was a district youth director which took him to youth camp in the summer and Colorado in the winter to take kids skiing. I stayed home with two babies. He also made trips with friends or colleagues to annual church meetings in different states and in the past few years he has attended Together For The Gospel, which we both would highly recommend. Not until my dad passed away in 2008 did I start spending more time in Iowa with my mom.  As I wrote that sentence I paused to wonder why I waited to go visit them, probably teenagers in the house had something to do with it!! I have been thrilled to spend time with family and friends over these past 6 1/2 years because I was encouraged to do so by Rob. And that is precisely how this trip with Hannah began. “You should go” was all he had to say, and I did. Mutual encouragement between spouses will grow and strengthen marriages. His encouragement over the years to do and be what God has put in front of me has only made me love him more.

Back to the road…

After a picture with Dorothy and coffee at a local cafe’ we were on the road again, on our way to Albuquerque for the Hot Air Balloon Fiesta, drawing over thousands of people to watch 500+ balloons fill the early morning sky. Not long into our day we came upon the blip of a town, Hooker, Oklahoma. I think these pictures will be self-explanatory!! Check back tomorrow to see if we made it to New Mexico!! And no, we didn’t stop in Hooker, OK!!! unnamed (6)


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Cross Country Adventure-Part 1

“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. unnamed (25)

unnamed (26)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.


unnamed (27)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.

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And you know we drank tons of coffee, attempting to keep eyes on the road at all times. Found this little gem one morning.

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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.


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