The thing is done..that is what the narrator said at the end of the film about the building of the St. Louis Arch today. How fitting that is on the return of a cross country trip. After a 5 hour drive home, we crossed back into familiar Big Orange territory. We could finally put up the maps, and the truck pretty much drove itself home.
To summarize today’s events, we visited the Arch. That was all good. Sharon and I had been there many, many years ago. Everyone declined the ride up in the tram, so we didn’t stay long. It is an impressive site. Of course, we got lost and of course, we ended up in the ghetto. We had a brief view of the “for thine eye’s only” hotel. Also, questions arose about “Fantasyland”. I’m not sure, but it looked like the girl who slid down the margarita at Vegas walking down the street.

After the drive and the reflections of our trip, we pulled into our driveway and we were home again. The fat, lazy dog cried..honestly, he cried…and he wiggled a lot. The wiggling is unusual for him. He looked older than when we left. Perhaps our absence has made him age….I’d like to think so.

The bird went thru his entire repoitoire of words and whistles as if he had a command performance. He was very happy to see us. After all of the obligatory pets and rubs we were able to start unpacking.

And then some good friends pulled up to welcome us back home. What a great feeling to have good friends welcome you home after a long sojourn. We made some great acquaintenances on the road. There is nothing, however, to compare to the people that know you. They know your first and last name. They know your dog’s name. They know what your bird’s nips mean. We briefly shared some stories about the Vegas parking lot fiasco, some campgrounds we visited and plans for the future. After a month of adventure and unknown, it was nice to be where people know your name….and the fat, lazy dog cried yet again.

As the night grew short and they drove down our driveway, the wife and I stood in the drive waving goodbye and we heard something unusual. We stood momentarily and savoured the sounds of the crickets, OUR crickets. Those are sounds that people pay a lot of money for to hear on a soundmachine. And that harmony is not everywhere. They are not in the captivating canyons of Palo Duro. They are not on the shores of the Pacific. They are not in the mountains of Yellowstone or Yosemite.
But, the crickets harmonize perfectly here in my very own driveway. It’s not a tourist attraction to sell tickets to, there are no lines and no magnets to collect, but to us, tonite.. they chirp in the muggy nite air, after a rain. They sing of the free admission to a nite’s rest in your very own bed in a home that smells like you.
We have taken 100’s, maybe thousands of pictures on this outwest trip. Some are very striking, I laid them out as I wanted them. They are pictures of my family that will be passed on long after our lives.
Tomorrow, I will begin sifting thru the files to find which ones to print. .But tonite, here at our home, this is probably the most meaningful of them all:

To summarize the experience is not easy. I can tell you this: despite what we hear on media and read about, the world is still good. It is beautiful, endearing and made up of so many great souls; some are not like us at all, but each sould brings a gift. I encourage you to go find them and see their gifts and share yours with them. You only get one chance to do it. Don’t wait till you have the money or the time, or you’ll never do it.
For the record, we drove 6,500 miles. Camped 24 nites in 13 states. We paid $1,667.00 for diesel.
Thank you for following our family during this awesome time of our life. We have had some great messages left in the guestbook and by email. Thanks for taking the time out of your day to see how our day was. It meant a lot to know that we had friends, and some aquaintenances we didn’t know, sign our guestbook and participate in the trip.’s your turn. Have the faith, step out….and meet the world outside of yours. See the brave men that formed your life today. See the rawness of the United States that still exists and know it’s beauty. See the brave women that gave their life at Oklahoma City bombing to save others. See YOUR world….

And the narrator closed the blog with the simple, but meaningful statment:

And the thing is done.
God’s love,
Mark, Sharon, Katie and Anthony

**This will be my last entry in this blog.