Hello Tepe Travels Readers!
As you may be aware, there’s a highly-rated series of books written by Matt and Karen Smith, entitled ‘Dear Bob and Sue.’ The books are a compilation of emails written by one couple as they travel across the country on a quest to visit all 59 of the US National Parks. They share their experiences (good, bad, and just plain crazy) with – you guessed it – Bob and Sue, their long-time friends back home. Today’s guest-blog post comes to you from the perspective of Bob and Sue (aka – Dave and Megan).
We’ve been friends with the Tepes for more than 20 years now, so suffice it to say, we’re familiar with their unique pursuits and willingness to go against the grain. And still, when they first told us about their plan to sell the house, buy an RV, and hit the road with their boys in tow – we said “You’re going to do WHAT????” We thought that they were nuts, but it’s no surprise that they made it happen, and we’re so glad that they did.
In the midst of the COVID-19 quarantine and lock-downs, we’ve spent a lot of time this year living vicariously through our friends. As the post cards roll in, we’ve tracked their journey by tacking them up on our own fridge here in Cincinnati – following them around the country, one blog-post at a time. We’ve read enviously about their experiences sand sledding in Colorado or surfing in San Diego and less-enviously about learning to empty the waste tank from the travel trailer or trying to make Thanksgiving dinner in a tiny RV oven. Those ‘learning experiences’ have kept us laughing and their pictures have kept us ‘oohing and awing’ and in some small way, they’ve given us the gift of sharing their adventure when the promise of adventure was something we all desperately needed.
As spring break rolled around, we had the opportunity to meet up with Ben, Sarah and the boys in Virginia. We went to experience Colonial Williamsburg and walk through the battlefield in Yorktown where the Revolutionary War was finally won. The historical sites were great (especially for our Hamilton-obsessed teenage daughter), but mostly we went to see our friends – to share a camp fire and some stories and hear about this crazy adventure first hand.
It had been more than a year since we’ve seen them in person. Initial observations are in line with what you’d expect. We can report that Will is about a foot taller, Nick is even better with the guitar, Sarah is still a great cook (even with more limited tools) and Ben has found new ways to embrace his passion for hammocks. But more impressive is the way they’ve learned to adjust and adapt. We loved seeing how they’re using their space and resources to live, work and learn in such a small space. We can certainly make a joke or two about how life on the road has brought them ‘together’ in more ways than one, but beyond all of the amazing sites they’ve seen on this trip, this seems like another intangible benefit.
It’s possible (likely?) that our own kiddos won’t remember the day we ‘met’ Thomas Jefferson or learned how they made shoes and chairs in the 18th century, but I’ll bet they remember the weekend they caught up with their friends at a campground in Virginia, learned about the places they’ve traveled and life on the road, and maybe sparked the inspiration to pursue an adventure of their own.