Settling In

Well, I feel that we’re just beginning to be “settling in” again. Yesterday we pried ourselves from our house after arriving home the night before and nearly kissing the ground of “home”. We walked to town and back to Panera Bread for an easy breakfast, cup of coffee, and read the Chicago Tribune. Ah…this feels more like our routine! (Batavia is experiencing bridge closings due to road construction and we’re finding that sometimes it is much easier and obviously better for us to just walk the mile and a half each way.)

I wanted to say that after leaving Jean and Mike’s in Bethesda, we enjoyed lunch with our friends Don and Vanice. Don and Steve are friends from high school days and then they both went to Iowa State and lived on the same dorm floor. We were discussing with them and two other friends, who we saw over the summer from the Last Man’s Club, that we need to get together next summer for our 30th reunion.

From Bethesda we drove onto Paoli, Pennsylvania to enjoy an overnight stay with Rob, Holly, Tim, and Brent. We’ve known them for 25 years after meeting in a babysitting co-op when our Jeremy and their Matt were almost one. Despite their moving from the Chicago area to Pennsylvania 17 years ago, we still remain in close contact and it’s always good to spend even a little time together. It’s hard to believe that the 25 years have flown by so quickly.

From Paoli, Steve and I drove along Route 30 through the Amish countryside in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania thinking we’d experience pristine farms dotting the very green and beautiful farmlands throughout the countryside with an occasional buggy. Well….Lancaster County tourism has certainly capitalized on the Amish way of life, only except for the occasional Amish shop, shopping areas now remind one of strip malls or “one stop shopping” areas complete with buggy rides. After we suffered a flat tire in York and replaced two tires at Sears, we decided it was time to get on the Turnpike to head westward to Ligonier and avoid the traffic and congestion of Amish territory.

In Ligonier we stayed with my cousin Linda and her husband John. They invited my cousin David and his wife Peggy and their daughter’s boyfriend for dinner. We enjoyed dining on their deck and watching the nearly full moon make its appearance. This was our last stop to visit family and friends across the country, and we enjoyed a wonderful sleep in John and Linda’s luxury R.V. What a contrast it was to our little tent and sleeping bags that we own for our recreational gear!

So, it is Saturday and time to continue unpacking and putting things back where they belong. The travel information that I’ve collected sits in bags on the dining room floor beckoning for some organization. The dozens of photos are either uploaded in the computer or awaiting to be done in our digital cameras. Thoughts keep racing through our minds on what to write and share with others. And, the clock keeps ticking as we get closer to our return to work. Promise that more will come as I know that Steve especially has much to revisit. — Love, Diane

We ARE Home!!!

Hi everyone! Steve and I arrived home fifteen minutes ago. Steph was in the process of putting up the Welcome Home Steve banner when we pulled up. Several neighbors were out in their yards and came over to welcome us home too. Bob and Lois put together a bicycle display and signs, plus Lois made a peanut butter and chocolate cookie the size of a pizza pan for us. Yum!!

We left Ligonier, Pennsylvania this morning and drove 11 hours to Batavia. We are relieved to be back at home. We are very, very grateful that God watched over us and provided a safe trip. We are starved as we skipped dinner to make it home before dark. We are sleepy and will not set an alarm tomorrow, but catch up on some extra winks. Stay tuned for a wind up or two…or three from us. So much needs to be processed, yet we’d love to share some thoughts with you too. Just wanted to let you know that we were home safely.

Love & Hugs,
Diane & Steve

Time to Reflect

The last few days have been a whirlwind of relief, sadness, joy, excitement, anticipation, and satisfaction. The physical part of the adventure is over, but gaining clarity on all my thoughts and emotions will take some time.

My life has been very simple this summer; wake up, eat, ride my bike, (eat a lot), set up camp or find a motel – or, best, ride up to a friend’s home, or a family’s home – shower, eat, go to sleep. The real world awaits around the corner but before stepping back into that world, I will spend the next couple weeks reflecting and recording some of my thoughts.

It has been a wonderful summer. The trip was better than my expectations, and easier. I appreciate, more than most of you will ever know, the well-wishes, prayers, and love that went with me during the summer. That was a tremendous part of the summer, and a tremendous part of why the trip was “easy.” Thank you all.