After spending the day resting after our early morning hospital scare, we cancelled our evening plans. Contacting Mel’s cousin Aaron, we made arrangements to come visit them one night earlier than planned. They let us park our RV at the church Aaron is head pastor at. We plugged in and stayed their for the evening without being disturbed by anyone. The next day we arranged to go to lunch with Aaron at Chili’s restaurant. I enjoyed ribs, chicken strips and beef brisket complete with garlic bread and corn on the cob. A meal fit for a king. Along with sharing a meal with us, Aaron shared the 15 passenger church van with our family for the next few days, and I commented how small the van felt to drive.
That evening we all piled into the van and drove to Aaron & Paige’s home. The house was packed with family, including 2 cousins, 8 children and 3 spouses (one of Aaron & Paige’s kids is married) for a total of 13 bodies. Pizza, pasta, bread and salad satisfied all the hungry mouths present. While the kids watched a movie and wrestled in the living room, the adults (and a teenager) played cards. It was good to see family; laughter and conversation were in abundance.
The following day we relaxed in the sun on the green church lawn. The kids played at the church playground, rode bikes and enjoyed the beautiful Texas day. The church had a kid’s youth group service that evening which the kids were excited about and especially because they could hang out with their same aged family members. This afforded Mel and I a date night to ourselves (we had planned a double date with Aaron & Paige, but Paige wasn’t feeling well) and, by Aaron’s recommendation, we ate at the Flying Carpet Turkish Cafe (http://flyingcarpetturkishcafe.com/). Not only was the food and service excellent, but the building was uniquely decorated with hand made Turkish rugs hanging from the walls. The evening was completed by artisan crafted ice cream at an ice cream shop called Melt.
The following two days would be traveling days on our way to see Mel’s brother and family in Kansas City, MO. We drove north through Oklahoma while listening to the music from the musical, “Oklahoma.” Stopping at the visitors center, we learned the history of the relocation of the Native American tribes into what is now Oklahoma during the expansion across the United States and the 1889 land rush into “Indian Territory” after the western frontier had been settled. It is an interesting and sad history into how the Natives were treated. We wondered at how we had never learned this part of our history while growing up. It’s something worth digging further into. Also, we studied the famous Route 66 and listened to 4 different versions of the well known “Route 66” song.
Though it was not the most straight forward route, we drove next to Arkansas. We stayed the night at a local Walmart, and I did my grocery shopping in the evening so we could get a quick start on the road the next morning.
Mel was able to schedule an appointment with a cardiologist just outside Kansas City, only minutes away from her brother, Matt’s, house. Her appointment went well, everything checked out, and the doctor recommended her get an ultrasound on her heart as a final precaution. And so, at around 5pm on Friday, March 8th, we pulled into the driveway of our closest relative outside of Washington state.
We plan on staying here for about 12 days. During that time I (Josh) will be visiting a wilderness survival camp for 5 days (that I am super excited about!). (https://survivalschool.us/survival-training-class-list/wilderness-survival-courses/sigma-survival-training/) I will be gone from Monday, March 11th- Friday, March 15th. During that time I will be unable to blog, but trust me I will have much to say when I return. I hope and pray all you who are reading are well. We are grateful and thankful for everyone for following our family’s epic adventure. All our love goes out to you.