Doesn’t take much

We stayed in a hotel this last week that is apparently rated the best Comfort Inn in the nation. They did a good job while we were there. Since we stayed in one of their nicer rooms, it certainly was nice for us.

Their marquee out front read “Ranked No. 1 in nation by Comfort Inn guest.” Just 1 guest? Could no other guest say anything nice about the other Comfort Inn’s in the nation?

I guess it just does not take much to win an award these days.

A New Car! (Cue The Price is Right music)

2003 Honda OdysseyWe were driving to North Carolina for a meeting with our ears to the ground for a new vehicle. We have been earnestly looking for one for over a week. Particularly we have been interested in the Honda Odyssey or the Toyota Sienna. My wife has been the researcher to find cars on line and then I get to call on them. We have talked with so many car dealerships and individuals, we keep getting called back with offers of cars we don’t want. I shared my frustration with one dealer on Monday that we are getting call backs every 2 hours giving us less than ideal offers. The salesman told me that I should just end the suffering and buy his overpriced car. No thanks.

After we were on the road yesterday headed to Georgia, my wife asked me where we were staying. I told her Conyers and she said that there was an Odyssey in Conyers for the best price she had found so far. We did not get there early enough last night to find it and look it over.

This morning I called and found out it was still available. We went in and trudged through all the paperwork. Three and a half hours later we drove off with a 2003 Odyssey. We quickly rushed back to the church where we were staying and transferred all of our stuff from Suburban to Odyssey.

We left the car dealership 2 hours behind schedule. We needed to be in Laurinburg, NC by 5:00. Fortunately, that was a buffer time. Absolute latest was 7:00. Since we got out of Conyers 2 hours late, that ate up our buffer. We did get to the church about 6:30 and I was ready to preach by 7:30. What a wild ride.

Our 1990 Suburban with 285,000 miles is sitting in a church parking lot waiting for us to return next week and pick it up. I told the secretary it was for sale. If she talks anyone into buying it, then we won’t have to take it back to Florida with us.

We are “home”

After a week of traveling, we arrived in Pensacola Sunday morning about 4:00.

We did our final packing and and were ready to hit the road about 11:00 am. We planned to have breakfast with some friends. Because their phone was not working, we never did get caught up with them. So we had breakfast by ourselves then swung by their house to say our final good-byes.

As a travel day, we did well on Tuesday. We did not make it as far down the road as we had anticipated, but we also left a few hours later than we wanted. After 10 trips through the city, we finally found the hotel district of Villahermosa. We have stayed in various expensive hotels on the periphery of the city, but this time located the cheap hotels near down town. Getting our truck and trailer into the parking lot was a bit of a challenge, but we were thankful for a gated parking area.

Because of our late departure on Tuesday, we were about 2 hours behind schedule on Wednesday. We made that up by getting on the road early. We arrived in Poza Rica, or planned destination for the day, and found a hotel with a nice parking lot. We drove around looking at hotel parking lots and then decided if we wanted to check on the price of the hotel. The one we stayed at had a very large lot where we were able to park our truck way back in a corner and not have to worry about losing anything.

This was a sad day for us as the hamster that was traveling with us was not able to make the trip. We had read that they can easily be stressed. Apparently the stress of traveling got the better of him. He was the younger, stronger, healthier of our two hamsters. We left the old one with friends and took the young one on the road. He did not get a proper burial, but we did the best we could at the gas station.

We made the final leg of the Mexico portion of the trip just fine. We had no problems on the Mexican side of the border; we just had to fill out some paperwork to cancel our immigration and vehicle paperwork. The US side of the border was a different story. We waited in a long line to get to the Customs officer. She had us pull over and unpack the truck and uncover the trailer. Everything passed inspection, even the rabbit.

There were friends waiting at a restaurant for us that evening. We were glad to spend time with them. They were 2 missionary families working with the Deaf in Mexico. One family lives at the border and the other happened to be passing through at the same time as we were, so we enjoyed the evening together.

We celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary by crossing into the US.

We drove from the border to Killeen, Texas to visit with an old friend. She is someone with whom we had worked for several years, but it has been 6 or 7 years since we saw her. She had a pleasant surprise for us when we arrived. A mutual friend was passing through at the same time and she invited him to spend the night with all of us. We all previously worked together and enjoyed sharing stories of days gone by as well as catching up on our current ministries. All of us are still doing the same type of ministry we were when we worked together, just in different locations now.

We lingered at our friend’s house too long, but enjoyed every minute of it. We anticipated being in Pensacola between 10 pm and midnight. By the time we got through Houston, we knew that it would be closer to 1:00 am on Sunday, but not much of a problem.

Starting in Houston, we noticed the long line of cars headed west. This very packed traffic continued steadily from Houston to New Orleans. However, we, headed east, did not have any traffic to deal with. At least till we hit just north of New Orleans. At that point there was no one headed west any more, they were all headed east. Traffic then crawled from New Orleans to Mobile, Alabama. The normal 3 hour drive from New Orleans to Pensacola took us 6 hours. We were part of the 1,000,000 people who evacuated the state of Lousiana on Saturday in anticipation of Hurricane Gustav.

By getting to Mom and Dad’s house at 4:00 in the morning, we did not quite make it out of bed in time for church that morning. We also took a long nap in the afternoon and were even a bit late to church that night.

We have landed. Now it is time to find a house to rent and get settled in over the next two weeks while getting prepared for our travel year starting the middle of September.