Looking back at everything that Deb and I have done over our 16-plus years together — and it’s true we’ve done a lot — this journey we’re on is our best thing. When we made the commitment last September to travel in search of America, we knew that one big piece of the puzzle still was missing.
A year ago today that piece fell into place. We rode up to Medina County, Ohio and drove home a 16-ton diesel-pusher motorhome, a 2004 Beaver Santiam 40DST.
We named him “Ernie,” after Tennessee Ernie Ford, and we parked him in the driveway at Second Chance Ranch.
A week later we winterized the coach. Ten days after that he was under a blanket of snow. We spent the next four months cleaning, repairing, nesting and tweaking. In March we packed up and undertook a three-week “shakedown,” and on the First of May we rolled out into The Great Unknown.
We’ve covered thousands of miles since. We’ve seen 15 states, guiding Ernie south to San Antonio and north to the Lewis Range of Montana. But it all began on a gray and chilly November 21st, 2020 with those first miles on I-71 southbound.
Eventually we found our blue skies. We spent weeks on peaceful prairies and snaked over mountain passes. Countless times we’ve watched the sun rise and set over the American landscape through Ernie’s big windshield.
No doubt about it, this bus has been at the center of the very best days of our lives.
Now it’s parked comfortably in The Ozarks, where we feel home. And that, for the last seven months, is what Ernie has become — Home.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.