Sure, I had options.
I could have driven straight through, from Portland to North Carolina, and arrived in a few days, easy.
I could have left Portland earlier, giving myself a couple of weeks or more to explore and drive a little bit each day.
I could even have flown, buying a ticket from PDX to Raleigh (and back), then moving on from there to whatever my next adventure proved to be.
Instead, I took a TRECC. I drove 3400 miles in my trip across the country, through 14 states, on 12 campuses, with 14 ministry “explorations” in those 8 days. Plus 9 blogs in this lil’ Blog Event, which actually take a lot more time to prep than you might guess. [If you’re new, click here to see what this TRECC thing is.]
This Terribly Random Excursion Cross-Country finally ended at 9:20am this morning – just in time, 10 minutes before the close of registration and the start of the College Metro conference. (I was aimin’ for 9am, but I knew there was that built-in “registration” buffer. Hooray for buffers on year-long road trips…)
After stopping for sleep & shower (both of which were FANTASTIC) just north of the Virginia/North Carolina border last night, I hopped back in the Pathfinder for one last hour.
No campuses along the way. No new ministries to see. Just an hour to finish out the last 50-something miles. I spent most of the time looking at the guest list to make sure I remembered everybody I’d met before.
So the hour may not have been climactic. But it was an awfully important hour, I’d say.
As we discovered, the TRECC provided a window into several “normal” days I’ve encountered over and over again this year. The getting-the-job-done day. The hard driving day. The Sabbath. The worn out, am-I-gonna-make-it-out-alive day. The crazy Sunday.
But today was a pretty phenomenal sort of day, too, a day I’ve encountered pretty regularly on the Road Trip, as well. It was the Arrival Day.
There aren’t many on a trip like this, but Arrival Days are sweet when they occur. There was the moment, around noon, I pulled up to Trinity International University near Chicago, the first big area of this trip. Or my arrival just in the nick of time at the Passion Regional in Boston, followed by an awesome month in New England. The early morning completion of my nearly all-night drive to Birmingham, kicking off the Southern Blitz at the end of last semester.
Then more Arrival Days this semester – beginning with my San Diego Saturday and stop after stop up the West Coast and throughout the Northwest. Often I arrived later than I wanted, but I arrived.
The Arrival Days have been pretty special, and this one is no different. After this morning’s early start, it’s really been a phenomenal day. I’ve gotten to hang with a few dozen other collegiate ministers, explored a few new campuses, and chatted about my trip – and people seem interested in what I’ve been learning. So hooray for Arriving!
Something else I noticed as I was typing that Arrival Day list is that most of those – nearly all of the arrivals, in fact – have come “just in time.” The schedules have been tight, they’ve followed nights of little sleep, and in most of those Arrival Days I was about as worn out as I am right now. (Maybe not quite – it’s been a pretty rough last few days in the sleep department.)
Why is this the case? Why are Arrival Days so often harrowing?
Because I just can’t get past visiting more campuses and more ministries on the way to any next stop. If I wasn’t willing to get a little pinched, I never would have watched “The Office” in Scranton (and visited schools there). I wouldn’t have taken a Vespa-ride around the University of Florida. I wouldn’t have bought my amazing “I am a Duck” shirt at Oregon, and I wouldn’t have seen yesterday 4 really cool campuses topped off with a ministry visit.
I really wouldn’t want it any other way.
So today, I’m glad to say, was no different. It was an Arrival Day, and I crossed the finish line exhausted. Isn’t that the idea?
So here’s hoping that when this trip finishes (August? Never?) I will have road-tripped to the hilt. I can sleep in September.
What a week! (The TRECC Itinerary has a great view of this week of fun, if you’re interested.)
- Today’s T-shirt: Gonzaga University
- Today’s states: 2 – Virginia, North Carolina
- Miles driven today: 59
- Campuses visited today: 1 – Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary
- Total TRECC states: 14
- Total Trip states: 37
- Total TRECC miles: about 3,416 miles
- Total TRECC campuses: 12
- Total Trip campuses: 102 (as of the arrival at SEBTS)