If you read my post a week ago, you know we reached the end of our contract in Arizona last Thursday and still didn’t know where we were going. There were two choices: Wenatchee, Washington or Billings, Montana. While Erich slept off his seventh 12 hour night shift in a row, the kids and I got the big camper ready for the road. When he woke up, we had a decision to make! We had exhausted our search for camping and/or housing in Washington and only had one very sketchy lead on a house. We didn’t know how to decide, so we presented it to the kids for a vote. It was unanimous. The kids have been itching to get back to Wyoming and Montana was close. I wasn’t thrilled about showing up in a town with only a sketchy possibility of housing and no backup options. Erich signed the contract for Billings, we pulled up the jacks, and hit the road for Montana! We were happy to see that our route took us back through Moab, Utah and up through Colorado and Wyoming. The whole drive was just beautiful. Even if I could have, I wouldn’t have shut my eyes to sleep for any of it. The sun was setting as we approached Moab and the colors were insane. Purple skies, blue mountains, red rock and deep green grass. We parked at Cabela’s in Grand Junction, CO for the night. The next day we enjoyed seeing some of Colorado and parts of Wyoming we hadn’t seen yet. We camped out at Walmart in Casper and hit the road again the next morning. Jake and River decided to try to count antelope and we dared them to a challenge: if they reached 300, we would buy them each a candy bar. Our kids never get full sized candy bars so they jumped on it and we were happy to have them off their devices for a few hours. That’s right, they kept counting, even after they passed 300. Between Casper, WY and Billings, MT the kids (with a little help from us) counted 603 antelope!
One thing we haven’t shared yet with many of you, is that we feel like it’s time to sell the big camper and transition into apartment living. We have been in the fifth-wheeler for a year and a half now and it has been awesome. It has made moving around so much simpler, with the added benefit of always being home, no matter where we parked. However, the next few contracts we are looking at include Alaska and Hawaii, and obviously, apartment living makes more sense. That being said, we really needed to go ahead and get set up in an apartment or house during this contract to enable us to make some repairs on the camper and get it cleaned up and sold before summer is over. We began our search for a place that would accommodate our family and our dog AND that would do a short term lease. Believe it or not, a place like that isn’t easy to find. One of the first ones we talked to was the only that would allow a family our size in a two bedroom unit. Not only that, but it looked amazing. It had a pool, a fitness center, and a club room. We hopped in the car to go check it out, but I kept thinking it was too good to be true. I felt God gently ask me why I was expecting to be disappointed instead of blessed? He is known to give good gifts! The apartment complex was even better than I imagined. We knew settling for a two bedroom was a bit of a disappointment for the kids, who were hoping to spread out, but they were excited about all the amenities. We applied and moved in the next day! It all happened so fast and still feels so unreal. We bought a rug, a folding table, and a cheap portable dorm room couch from Target. The kids are sleeping on cots, our mattress is on the floor, and we are using our camp chairs, but it still feels like a resort to us!
The day after we moved in, we met a neat family at the pool who also travel (the dad used to play for the Mariners and now coaches the Billings Mustangs). They invited us to a game last night and the kids are excited about making new friends. The maintenance guy here is a youth pastor at a local church that we plan on visiting tomorrow. It feels a bit like a different world. I think I will miss the laid back pace of camp life, but am looking forward to the next season of this amazing adventure we call life!