"Whatever God Brings You To, He's Big Enough To Bring You Through!"

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Getting Ready to Cross the Border

Day #9
Date: 07/29/11
Traveled: Conrad, MT
Interstates: NA
Miles Driven: NA
Hours on Road: NA
Weather: Sunny & Breezy (85 degrees)

Well today was another rest and relaxation day.  We spent most of the morning sleeping in before deciding to take the boys over the large pool here in town.  We swam for a couple of hours before coming back to the camper to do laundry and get things ready for the following day.  We went out to eat for supper and stopped by the grocery store to stock up for the next several days.  When we returned, we noticed the camping spot beside of us had been filled with a new tenant, who as luck would have it, pulled up in their truck as we were getting out of ours.  We exchanged greetings and continued talking for a few minutes only to find out that this couple was actually on their way back to FL from AK after a month long tour.  We continued our conversation for at least 2 more hours as we exchanged information and stories about each of our trips thus far.  We then exchanged farewells and went back to getting things ready for our trip across the border. To our new friends the Cagwins, it was a pleasure to meet you and to get to share a little of our trip with you.  Safe Travels and God Bless on your way back home!

As previously mentioned we will be traveling through Canada the next several days.  We will not have access to phones service, except for emergency situations and there will be no internet unless we happen upon a campground that offers it.  With that being said, updates on our trip for the next few days will be sparse, if present at all.  We will have access to text messaging however, so feel free to text us if you need something.  Otherwise, we'll call and post updates when we make it to AK.  We also wanted to take a moment to say thanks to everyone who has emailed, called, texted and most importantly prayed over the past week+.  This has truly been an exciting time in our life, which we have enjoyed very much and which couldn't have happened without your love and support.  God has blessed us more than we could have ever imagined and we look forward to what he has in store in the future.

God Bless!

The Moores

Thursday, July 28, 2011

In Awe of God's Creative Hand...

Day #8
Date: 07/28/11
Traveled: Big Timber, MT to Conrad, MT
Interstates: I90 & I15
Miles Driven: 260 Miles
Hours on Road: 10:30am - 5:30m
Weather: Sunny & Breezy (85 degrees)

Rapid City, SD and the drive to Big Timber, MT certainly had some amazing scenery but today's drive was really incredible.  We awoke around 8:30am and were on the road by 10:00.  We drove for quiet a while still enjoying the views and surroundings.  For lunch we stopped at a place off of I90 called Wheat Montana Farms and Bakery.  The food here was really good, as was evident by the number of customers they had.  They offered many different foods but there big tickets were there pastries and deserts.  They offered a wide variety of these too but we decided to go with the chocolate chip cookies and Robin went with the cinnamon roll.  Both of these items were as big as plates (no joke... check out the pics).  Once we finished lunch we headed north on Highway 285, this road was plagued with construction.  For 30 miles we set in traffic for 20 minutes at a time and traveled on gravel and pothole filled roads.  This wasn't much fun but this is really where the views began.  The fields were golden with wheat that was ready to harvest and the mountains were displayed as their backdrop.  We continued north through the mountains through a town called Bozeman.  This too was incredible as this very large town was surrounded by snow covered rocky mountains in every direction as far as you could see.  After this we ventured through the mountains of Helena, this was probably our favorite as we had tall rocky mountains literally 200 yards from us on the left and the Missouri River 200 yards on our right.  We were able to get a few pictures but due to the terrain and the fact we were pulling a large camper, stopping for more pictures was rather difficult to do today.  Once we finished traveling through this town, the land flattened as we approached Great Falls.  However, in the distance, you could see a single rectangular mountain in (pictured above).  This particular mountain reminded me of Ayers Rock in Australia.  From there we continued north though Great Falls and on to Conrad, MT.  The drive was long today but well worth it.  The views were amazing, at least to this small country family from a small country town.  If you ever get the chance to travel west, please do.  You'll see some incredible scenery along the way.   Below are the links to the pics and video of today.  We hope you enjoy!

Traveling to Conrad, MT Pictures:

As it sits now we are about 45 - 60 minutes from the border.  We plan to spend a couple of nights here as we get ready to cross the border into Canada.  We will travel through Calgary over to Banff up to Jasper during the first few days we are there.  Internet will be sparse so there may be a few delays in us sending out updates on our blog.  We''ll continue to write them and then post them whenever the opportunity presents itself.

God Bless and Safe Travels!

The Moores

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Big Timber Water Park... Wet & Wild!

Day #8
Date: 07/27/11
Traveled: Columbus, MT to Big Timber, MT
Interstates: I90
Miles Driven: 40 Miles
Hours on Road: 9:30am - 10:30am
Weather: Sunny & Breezy (85 degrees)

Well today we awoke to the beautiful snow covered Rocky Mountains in the background of the view from our camper.  It was an awesome site to behold.  We loaded everything up and went over into town to eat breakfast, stop by the post office and fill up the truck before we hit the road on our way to Great Falls, MT.  After breakfast we stopped in a little shop to look around and was talking with the cashier.  She told us there wasn't much to do in Great Falls, especially for the kids.  We asked for suggestions and she recommended a water part just an hour or so down the interstate.  After some discussion, we decided to hit the park and spend the night at the KOA campground next door and then to head out and get as close to the border as we could the next day... so that's what we did.

Upon arriving at the campground and water park, I was a bit leery but after a look around, it seemed as though it was a place the kids would enjoy.  We paid for our camping spot and parked the camper before heading over to the water part.  As you would imagine, the kids were very excited.   When we arrived we watched a short video on all the available rides and then we were off to get wet.  There were for slides for adults and older kids and then 3-4 for the kiddies..  For the folks back home, this was no Dollywood Splash Country, in fact it was a much older and smaller park, but regardless of all of that, the kids still had a blast!  We all road every slide available to us several different times, some more than others.  The boys played and played for almost 4 hours.  The warm sun mixed with a cool breeze made it a bit chilly at first but after the first hour, it was the perfect weather for a day at the pool.  Below are the links to the pics and videos of the day at the park.  Check them out when you have time.

Big Timber Water Park Pictures:

Big Timber Water Park Videos:

Cam & Cole's Race

Cole's Big Drop:

After we wore ourselves out at the park, we want back into Billings to have supper and to look around.  Here we ate at the Cracker Barrel for what appears to be the last time for a very long time as I have checked the CB website and there are no Cracker Barrels currently present in the state of AK.  This is a sad day but as they say, we all must make sacrifices... guess this one is mine.  :-)  After supper, we headed back to the campground to let the boys play on the "Air Pillow" the campground had available.  For those of you wondering what in the world this is, it was a large inflated rubber pad, shaped like a pillow that was around 50' long and 25' wide.  All the kids from the campground came out to play.  The boys had a blast on this as well.

Tomorrow we hope to get to Great Falls or further if everything goes well.  Once we are there we will spend a day or so getting things ready to cross the border over into Canada.  Once there, we will begin our trek up the Canadian Rockies for what I have been told are some breathe taking views.  We are looking forward to it!

God Bless & Good Travels!

The Moores

PS - We received word this afternoon that 4 kids accepted Christ at VBS at our church back home.  PTL!  This is awesome news and something we are so excited to hear about!

The Rocky Mountains... What a Site to Behold!

Day #7
Date: 07/26/11
Traveled: Rapid City, SD to Columbus, MT
Interstates: I90
Miles Driven: 150 Miles
Hours on Road: 9:30am - 7:300pm
Weather: Scattered Showers & Sun (85 degrees)

Well today we left Rapid City, SD around 9:30ish and got back on the road to continue our journey. Everyone was a little sad to leave as we really enjoyed our time there. The TeePee campground was a nice little place to camp with afternoon sunsets that could not be beat. In addition, it was centrally located so it made it easy to get to the different paces we wanted to visit while we were there.

Once we were on the road, we headed west on Interstate 90 towards Wyoming. Our drive through the state was nice with some very interesting land formations to see. However, nothing could prepare us for the Rocky Mountains we could see in the distance as we moved closer to Montana. As we came off a plateau in WY, the Rockies were staring us in the face. They still had snow on the peaks which was great to see and which made us want to get to AK even quicker. We traveled along the foot of the mountains throughout Wyoming until we finally made into MT. We ended the day at a little campground in Columbus, MT named the Mountain Range RV Park where we arrived just in time to beat a passing thunderstorm. Robin went in to register and when she returned she had the info on our spot. As we drove to it she mentioned that the attendant had told her we could drive through the field to get the camper lined up in our spot but that it wouldn't be a good idea to let's the boys play there as they had a few rattlesnakes around. What.. Really... Rattlesnakes... Come on... Seriously? Sure enough, they even mentioned this on there paperwork for the campground. Oh well, I guess if we don't bother them, they want bother us... Right? We set up the camper, started some laundry met a couple of neighbors and enjoyed another beautiful sunset. Luckily, after the storm, the skies cleared, the temperature drop considerably and it felt great outside! Below are the links to our photos and videos of the day... Check them out when you have the time.

Pictures from the day:

Videos from the day:

Tomorrow we plan to make it to Great Falls, MT where we plan to spend a couple of more days before crossing the border into Canada and starting our journey up through the Canadian Rockies.

God Bless & Good Travels!

The Moores

Monday, July 25, 2011

There's Gold in Those Hills...

Day #6
Date: 07/25/11
Traveled: N/A
Interstates: N/A
Miles Driven: N/A
Hours on Road: N/A
Weather: Rainy with Clearing Skies (90 degrees)

Well today was our last day in SD. We ended up sleeping in today. When everyone finally crawled out of bed, we decided to take the kids to Pan for Gold as it was something they had been wanting today since we arrived. We stopped out at a place near our campground and was greeted by an older gentleman in a Civil War hat. After sometime talking with him, we learned that he was a sniper in vietnam and was a stunt double in several westerns back in the day. He said he doubled for Clint Eastwood in Pale Rider and showed us pictures of him with the different actors from the different movies and shows he had been a part of. After that, we spent the next couple of hours panning for gold and gems and listening to more stories. We had a great time and the boys found lots of stones and even a little gold.

After that we went out to eat at South Dakotah Steakhouse, which was a nice place. We then swung by WalMart for some necessities and then stopped by the "Piece of Cake" cafe and bakery where we each had a wonderful desert before heading home. Once we arrived, we began chatting with our neighbors, who we discovered had actually been to Alaska on several diffent trips. They worked with a travel agency and helped with vacationing convoys that traveled all over North America. We talked about the route we had planned and received some pointers for our trip. We spent the next couple of hours socializing with these very nice folks before watching the sunset over the mountains behind the campground for the last time in SD. Below is a link to our photos of the day.

Gold Panning & Sunset Pictures:

Tomorrow we plan to hit the road and attempt to make it to Billings, MT.

God Bless & Good Travels!

Oh What the Black Hills have to Offer!

Day #5
Date: 07/24/11
Traveled: Rapid City, SD to Keystone, SD to Custard, SD back to Rapid City, SD
Interstates: US16
Miles Driven: 150 Miles
Hours on Road: 9:30am - 5:30pm
Weather: Sunny with Clouds of Cotton (80 degrees)

Well today was an awesome day! We decide to hang out in the area for a couple of days and today we began exploring around 9:30am. After filling up the truck our first stop was at Bear Country USA. This was like a drive through zoo of sorts with different animals loose in the park. We paid to drive through and were warned to stay in our car at all times and to kep the doors and windows closed as well. After pulling around the first curve we soon saw why. Elk, big elk with big antlers. We proceeded on and saw an Arctic Wolf, Reindeer, Mountain Goats, Mountain Lions, Coyotes, Wolfs, Black Bear, Brown Bear and Buffalo while in the sanctuary. Once we left there we were hearded into their walking section where you could see Grizzlies, other smaller animals and baby bears. They had a couple of snack shops, a grill and large gift shop. The bears were by far the most entertaining part of this stop as some were lounging on large rocks and logs while others were walking in the road and up to the different cars. While driving through the Wolves section, a rather curious Black Wolf began following behind us. We looked over into the side mirror just in time to see him take a bite out of the rear skirt we had on the truck to protect the camper. Fortunatly, he didnt like the taste and quickly let go as we drove away. All of this lasted a couple of hours and was a fun thing for the family!

After this we decided to grab bite before heading on to Mt. Rushmore. We stopped at a place called the Powder House Lodge & Resteraunt, where the food was good. Two orders of chicken tenders, a BBQ Chicken Sandwhich and an Elk Burger later, we were on our way to see the presidents. We arrived to a spectacular view but unfortunately only two of us were excited to be there as the other two were not impressed with faces of stone on a mountain. Admission was $11 for the vehicle and good for an entire year, so if you were in the area, you could come back for free another day. We parked the truck and immediately got out and began taking pictures of the surrounding mountains. We made our way to the entrance and continued walking through the outdoor foyer where there was a gift shop on one side and an ice cream shop on the other. We continued walking up to the mountain through an isle that was made of stone columns. Each column had 4 flags hanging from the top them and had the name of the state and the year that state was admitted to the union. Of course we found the one for AK and took several pics. Once we made it through this, we arrived at he observation deck, where you had a great view of the presidents. We did the tourist thing and wandered around for a bit, looking at the different things they had to offer and taking pictures. While we were walking around we stopped and offered to take a photo of a group so all of them could be included. Robin and one of the ladies immediately hit it off as they began talking about cameras and lenses. More conversation lead to discovering they were all actually from TX and were up on a mission trip of sorts. We discussed our move to AK and they were very excited to hear about our journey. We eventually exchanged information, wished each other well and parted ways. If you all are reading this... To everyone who was in your group, it was a pleasure meeting you today.

From there we decided to make our way back to the ice cream shop as we had 2 young men who were dying to get some. We walked up to the counter and was greeted by a young man who appeared to be in his early twenties. We told him what we would like to have and he immediatly responded with a "where y'all from". We let him know we were from TN and he responded with a "so am I, Which part?". When we let him know we were from around Knoxville a big smile came over his face. We asked where he was from and he responded, that he was from a small town just outside of Knoxville called Seymour. Robin and I both started laughing as we told him that was where we were from as well. When we inquired further about why he was now working at Mt. Rushmore, he responded that he had been traveling all over the US doing mission work for the past feww years and that he was there for the summer sharing the Gospel with staff members in early morning services at the park. We let him know we were headed (AK) for similar reasons and continued to talk for a bit. Unfortunately I did not get the young mans name before leaving, so if you are reading this, it was a pleasure meeting you today! Keep up the good work of spreading the Gospel!

After making it back to the truck we decided to make our way over to Custard State Park. On our way, we saw the Crazy Horse monument, which looks like it will be and awesome exhibit once the work is finished. We continued on to the park which turned out to be a treat as well as we traveled through some beautiful country. Mountains, prairies, hills... It had it all! We saw, deer, gazelle, donkeys (which we got to feed) and herds of buffalo. Cameron was excited to get to see the buffalo and Cole loved feeding the donkeys... They had a blast! We traveled and traveled and saw some spectacular views to go along with the scenery and the wildlife.

Once we returned home, we broke out the grill for the first time on our trip. The chicken was good and so was the corn and biscuits. We spent the evening relaxing, riding our bikes and chasing rockets... Yes, I said chasing rockets. :-). One of the neighbors in the campground had small (12' tall) rockets which he could shoot into the air using some sort of firework powder. They were ignited with 2 wires and a small battery from a distance and once the rocket reached it's peak, a shoot would deploy and the rocket would fall back to the ground. These things were actually very cool as they shot hundreds of feet into the air before returnig. Our neighbor would shoot them and then let the kids in the campground go chase them down in the fields. Ater this, we called it a night and retired to the camper to watch movies.

Below are the links to some of the pictures and videos of the day. Check them out when you time and keep in mind you may need to copy and paste the links in your browser to get them to work.

Bear Country Pics & Videos:

Mt. Rushmore Pictures:

Custard State Park Pictures & Videos:

Tomorrow looks to have the makings if a great "lazy day" as we all plan to just hang around the camper for the most part and relax. We've ben pressing pretty hard the past few days on the road and it's a good idea to take a day and just rest every now and then. Until the next time...

God Bless & Good Travels!

The Moores

Saturday, July 23, 2011

From East to West, SD has been Traveled

Day #4
Date: 07/23/11
Traveled: Sioux Falls, SD to Rapid City, SD
Interstates: I29 & I90
Miles Driven: 352 Miles
Hours on Road: 12:00pm - 7:00pm
Weather: Cloudy then clearing (85 degrees)

The long days and nights caught up with us and we decided to sleep in today. We ended staying in bed until around 10am. We then got ready and begin our normal routine of taking everything down and preparing the camper for travel. Things were going good until I opened the toolbox in the back of the truck and noticed a container of oil I had placed there had lost it's lid and there was now a quart of oil soaking everything I had in it. After 30+ minutes of cleaning things up we were finally back on I29 and then I90 headed to Rapid City.

We had planned for a 6 or so hour drive and that's what it turned out to be. The scenery changed drastically from the days before though and everyone was happy to see something other than corn and beans. We were now treated to green fields of grass and amber fields of wheat. As we progressed west those fields began to change into slow rolling hills. We made a pit stop at Al's Oasis for diesel and for food. Here, myself and the boys had our very first bison burger, which we all agreed was very good! Once everything and everyone was refueled, we headed back out for the final 3 hours of our drive. Along the way, the scenery continued to change as we approached the black hills. In the distance we could see the "Badlands" to our south. This and the miles and miles of rolling fields in every other direction made for some outstanding views... The type of stuff you would find in a good western movie. After exiting I90 in Rapid City, we made what was our highest and hardest pull uphill so far on the trip. We slowed to a mere 30mph as we climbed and climbed and climbed until we finally arrived at our destination at the top of the mountain, the TeePee Campground and RV Park. From here we were treated with a beautiful sunset. We ventured out for just a few to see what we could find before dark and ended up letting the boys try their hand at rock climbing before calling it a night.

Tomorrow's agenda is pretty full as we plan to spend at least a couple of days here. We hope to start out at Bear Country USA, then on to Mount Rushmore and if time permits, Custard State Park. Cameron has had his heart set on seeing a bison/buffalo and this should give him a good opportunity to do so. Below are the links to some pics and videos of today's adventure. You may need to copy and paste them into your browser to get them to work.

I90 Pictures & Video Links:

We'll be sure to report in the next day or so on how the excursions around Rapid City went.

God Bless & Good Travels!

The Moores

Friday, July 22, 2011

Wow... 4 States in 1 Day!

Day #3
Date: 07/22/11
Traveled: St Joseph, MO to Sioux Falls, SD
Interstates: I29
Miles Driven: 350 Miles
Hours on Road: 10:30am - 7pm
Weather: Sunny & HOTTT (100 degrees)

Well today was suppose to be an easy day for us but unfortunately that was not the case. We started off the morning with a little pond fishing at the campground before we left out. Cole managed to catch a 10" bass and both boys caught several more bluegill before we packed up and hit the road. We finally took off at 10:30am and headed out in search of Sioux Falls, SD. We hit I29 heading north and was making excellent time when westarletd seeing the water from the floods. We continued on for several more miles, in awe of how much damage had actually been done. Prayers went up for all of those impacted by this terrible event. We took our first detour and ended up in Iowa before making our way back over to I29, where we remained for several more miles. Once again, the interstate was closed and we were forced to detour into Nebraska. This took a long time as well as we were forced onto numerous two lane roads winding our way back to I29 further north. We finally arrived in Sioux City, where the flooding had also impacted the area. There was lots of damage done here as well as the water had risen well over the river banks and into the town. We returned to I29 and continued North until we finally reached our destination, the Tower Campground in Sioux Falls, SD. All in all, what should have been a 4.5 hour trip turned into a 9 hour trip due to due to all the detours.

Link to Flooding Picture: http://s1100.photobucket.com/albums/g414/faithtothe49th/Interstate%2029%20Flooding

We unhooked the camper and set everything up before heading over to Falls Park Falls. I had visited these falls once before while on a business trip in Sioux Falls. I was happy to have my family there with me for my second trip. Everyone really seemed to enjoy it as we took lots of pics. We walked around the area looking at everything and the kids played. We stayed around for the laser lights show after dark but the kids were tired and wanted to come home early. If you plan on visiting Sioux Falls, you should plan on taking an evening and spending it at the park. It really is an awesome little place.

Link to Falls Park Falls Pictures:

Link to Falls Park Fall Video:

Tomorrow, or today as I type this, we hope to make our way over to Rapid City where we plan to spend a couple of days. While we are there we will try an visit Mt. Rushmore, the Badlands and Custard State Park. We've also been told of a few other places which we may try and hit as well if time permits.

Until next time, God Bless and Good Travels!

The Moores

PS - Please keep all those impacted by the floods we saw today in your prayers. What we viewed today really made us take note to be thankful for what we have as it could all be swept away in the blink of an eye. Also, while on the road traveling today, I received word that one of my cousins was admitted to the hospital with blood clots. Please remember him in prayer as well.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

2 Days on the Road...

First off, our apologies for not posting anything last night after our first day on the road. We had some technical difficulties with the WiFi and were not able to be online much yesterday evening. Tonight's a different story, so here goes!

Day #1
Date: 07/20/11
Traveled: Sevierville, TN to Benton, IL
Interstates: I40, I24 & I57
Miles Driven: 415 Miles
Hours on Road: 10am - 6pm
Weather: Sunny & HOTTT (100 degrees)

Wednesday was an uneventful day for the most part. We got a late start leaving Sevierville due to some rain the night before. We ended up pulling out around 10am but was able to make good time through middle TN and Western KY. The boys were excited to see LP Field in Nashville as we passed by. They had never been to Nashville before so seeing the skyline of a larger city as we passed through was intriguing to them. After that, we made our way into Paducah, KY as we passed Kentucky and Barkly lakes. The plan was to stop in Paducah for the evening but we were making such good time we decided to go a little farther. We ended up in Benton, IL around 6pm where we spent the night at a KOA campground. It was an older KOA and was a litle small but the people were friendly and they had a pool, which meant a lot after travelig in such heat. After a quick dip, a couple of loads of laundry and a late supper we were all ready for bed. Not the most exciting day but it was productive.

Day #2
Date: 07/21/11
Traveled: Benton, IL to St.Joseph, MO
Interstates: I57, I64, I70 & I29
Miles Driven: 406 Miles
Hours on Road: 10am - 7:30pm
Weather: Sunny & HOTTT (105 degrees)

Once again we got a little bit of a late start as we all wanted to sleep in. A quick shower and we were out loading up the camper and getting ready to hit the road. While we were working on getting things ready we began speaking with our neighbors from the night before and they too were from TN... Camden, TN to be exact... Go figure! They were traveling to northern IL to visit family. After a quick conversation with them and a little more time packing things up, we were back on the road and raring to go! After an hour or two we were passing through St. Louis, MO. We saw the Arch (Gateway to the West) and Busch Stadium, where the Cardinals play. The kids enjoyed seeing those things and we were able to snap a few pictures of them both as we drove by. It would have been nice if we had had more time and accessibility to spend a little longer there in the city, but pulling a 35' 5th wheel camper, the last place we wanted to be was in downtown, St. Louis. Another place that looked like a great place to visit was the St. Louis Zoo. We were able to see it as we passed by and it looked very nice. Unfortunately there was a bad accident just after that where it appeared as though a mattress had flipped off a truck and the car behind them swerved to miss it and in the process flipped there car as it came sliding into the concrete median. Prayers sent out to all involved in that accident as it didn't look good.after that we continued west to Kansas City, MO. Once there, we passed by KC Field, where the Royals play baseball, and Arrowhead Stadium, where the Chiefs play football. Both of those looked to be very nice stadiums. We continued on north from there to our destination for the evening... The AOK Campground in St. Joseph, MO.

Tomorrow brings a new day with new rewards and challenges. We plan to make it a shorter day as we head to Sioux Falls, SD. The shorter day will hopefully bring some rest as everyone is a little tired. I would also like to show my family the falls, I was able to see a couple of years ago while in town on business. Depending on time and the overall mood of the crew, we may stay there overnight or travel a little farther. More to come...

God Bless!

The Moores

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Let's start from the beginning...

Let me start by saying our future blog entries will not be anywhere close to this long.  However, we felt it necessary to explain in detail why we have made the decisions we have.  Ever since we announced that we were looking to move to Alaska the number one response / question has been an emphatic, "WHAT...WHY?  YOU KNOW IT'S COLD THERE...RIGHT?". Well, to answer this question lets start from the very beginning...

It all started when my wife, Robin, and I were married back in October of 1998.  We began talking then about the possibility of visiting AK on a cruise or other possible vacation type trip.  A couple of years later our first son, Cameron, was born and we joked then that when he graduated high school he was not receiving a graduation gift from us but that instead we were going to use that money and take our cruise to AK.  Over the years a trip there has been something that has always been in our thoughts.  The parts we were never sure of was the standard... When, Where & How.

Almost two years ago my wife came to me one evening and told me she felt strongly that we needed to move and that the location we needed to move to was AK.  At first I thought she was joking but she persisted and I realized then that she was very serious.  I wondered why she felt this way as I had never imagined actually living in this great state.  I then thought that maybe it was an early mid-life crisis of some sort but after more and more discussion, I could tell that she was very serious and very set on making this happen and it was for reasons that neither of us were certain about.  Unfortunately at that point we were not on the same page at all.  I still wanted to visit AK very much but had no plan nor desire of living there.  I tried to appease her with an offer to finally take our vacation their but that was not enough.

Over the next few months, she remained persistent and we continued to have weekly discussions about AK and moving.  Being the planner that I am, I remained insistent that it was only logical to take a vacation there first to see what we thought about it, prior to moving.  She finally agreed and we began planning and thinking about the best way to make this happen.

Around this same time the parents of a very good friend of ours, who visited AK annually, decided to purchase a small cabin in Soldotna, AK.  There names were the Gilberts and it wasn't until this time that we discovered that they actually took 2-3 trips there per year and were in fact in love with the state.  Once we discovered this we began talking to them regularly about the state and what it had to offer and during one of our conversations with them my wife explained how she felt strongly that we need to move there.

Over the next couple of months we continued to have routine conversations with them about AK and my wife continued to convey her strong desire to get there.  Then one evening during one of these conversations the Gilberts made the rather shocking offer to let us stay in their cabin for our trip.  This was a fantastic opportunity but were they really serious... or were they just doing the neighborly thing and making one of those hollow offers that was never meant to be accepted?  Over the next month or so we continued to talk about our trip and the options they had given us on their cabin.  The more we talked the more they assured us and the more we came to realize that they were in fact genuine and sincere... They wanted us there if we wanted to be.

It was around this same time that I too began to feel that maybe AK was where we were suppose to be.  This was the first time I began to actually see things the same way as my wife on this matter and really started to feel that this relocation of sorts needed to happen.  As Robin and I continued to discuss and plan our trip, my once very rational thoughts began to change and I begin thinking about saving the money we were going to use for our vacation there and instead put it toward our move.  Several more discussions transpired and we finally agreed this was the approach we were going to take.  However, knowing this and having everything actually line up to make it possible were two totally separate things.

During this same time my youngest son, Cole, began playing Jr. Pro Basketball at his school.  On our way to practice one evening my wife recognized a Denali SUV in the parking lot with an AK tag on it.  Surprised to see an Alaskan license plate at a school in Seymour she immediately began asking me questions about who this could be.  Unfortunately I did not know and we were both left to wonder.  A couple of weeks later, I had to work over one night and asked Robin if she could take Cole to practice for me.  When she arrived and set down on the bleachers she overheard the lady beside here talking to another parent about the fact that they had just moved to TN from AK, to be closer to family.  Surprised and excited she texted me to see if I thought she should approach the lady and possibly discuss our situation.  I assured here that I didn't think the lady would bite her but she was still hesitant and said nothing.  After practice she ran into the lady again as they were both trying to exit the gym through a locked door.  She struck up a conversation with her about AK and our situation and before she knew it an hour had passed as they sat there and talked about AK and what we were going through.  Much to her surprise, she discovered that this lady (Ms. Leedy) and her family had went through many of the same trials and situations that we were now facing.  They quickly became friends and started chatting often about kids, family and of course AK.

As the days continued to pass I began to scour the Internet looking for possible jobs in AK.  I applied for anything and everything that was remotely close to my area of expertise and even some positions that were not even close.  We also began painting and preparing the house to be sold.   During that time we informed the Gilberts of our decision and that we would need to figure out something else since we were planning to move up instead of visiting, as we originally discussed.  To our surprise, their immediate response was that we should stay in their place until we were settled there and were on our feet.  Again, surprised, we wondered if they were serious but they ensured us that they were and just wanted to help in any way they could.  It was at this point that "the bus was actually going into motion" as they say... This was the first big step and things were slowly beginning to move forward.

During the next month we put our house on the market and began to look for the best possible way to get ourselves and our stuff to AK.  We checked into moving companies but they were just too expensive.  We checked into buying a large enclosed trailer but there was a lot of expense there too as we would not only have to buy a large trailer but we would probably need a large truck to pull it too.  During this time we continued to talk with many people about our decision, some were very supportive while others thought we were crazy I'm sure.  One night while sitting at home my phone rung and it was Mr. Gilbert.  He proceeded to tell me that him and his wife had been talking and they had a 5th wheel toy hauler camper they wanted us to take and use on our trip to AK, if everything worked out and we were able to go.  Completely surprised, we were once again left wondering... Are they serious or is this another one of those neighborly offers that you never take someone up on?  However, after a few more conversations they convinced us they were in fact very serious as they wanted their camper in AK and had no plans or availability at the present time to take it themselves.  Here another stepping stone had been placed and things continued to move in a positive direction.

While we now had a camper to take, use and stay in on our way up and a cabin to live in once we got there, this is where things began to slow down for us.  Over the next 3-4 months, our house sat on the market with no real interest from anyone.  To compound things even more, companies' interest in a potential employee who was over 4600 miles away on the other side of the continent was not very high.  Application after application submission seldom generated responses and those that did were only to tell me the position had already been filled.  Finally, after 30-50 submissions I received a request for an interview with a prominent bank in the area.  The interview took place and went very well, so much so that I felt strongly that I would be considered for the position but the company was in a tight crunch and needed someone who could step in immediately.  Since I was in TN and would need at least 3 weeks to get there, the position was filled by someone else and I was left wondering how our decision to move was ever going to work.  As the days and weeks went on, we began to grow weary and to wonder if AK really was the place we were meant to be.

Then on Memorial Day weekend, the Leedys approached us about leasing our house.  They had had plans of moving back to AK but some things came up and those plans were postponed.  With two kids of their own, they wanted more space and a yard their children could play in.  This was the first time we had seriously considered leasing but thought this might be the opportunity we were looking for.  Unfortunately this opportunity did not work out as it was just not something we were ready to do at that time.  However, what it did do was show us that God was willing and completely able to put us were he wanted us.  It also caused us to take stock in what we had and realize that if this was going to work, things had to be in order between us and him.  After lots of prayer and some late night discussions over the weekend, we headed out Memorial Day to find a new truck...  One that we could use to pull a camper and our belongings to AK.

As the day began we found several trucks within our first few stops on Alcoa highway but none of them appeared to be "the one".  We stopped at a few places in Knoxville and found one that we liked.  We talked to the salesman for a few minutes about the truck and also discovered in doing so that he too was from AK.  He had been born and raised there but had moved to TN a few years ago to be with his wife's family.  We let him know that we liked the truck, thanked him for his time and explained we were just getting started and had other places to look.  We traveled through 5 counties that day looking for trucks but our thoughts kept coming back to the earlier vehicle we had found.  This seemed to be "the one"!  We traveled back to Knoxville late that evening to see if we could buy it.  As we were in the salesman's office, he called his mom, who was still in AK, and we talked to her over speakerphone for a few minutes while we waited.  Ironically, she was complaining about how hot it was there... A huge heat wave with a high of 72.  After some back and forth and a day and a half of shopping and haggling, we walked away with the truck and another AK encounter that helped support that we were on the right path.

A week after we bought the truck, we went from having no one interested in the house to having 2 families who were looking to lease or lease to purchase.  One of which was a good friend of mine.  We met with both couples twice over the weekend and followed that up with lots of prayer and discussion.  After much debate we went with our friends and within a week the contract was signed and ready to go.

Two days later, I had two people ask to buy my car... A car that I had never advertised or offered to anyone.  Again, it was another friend of mine who was interested and ended up purchasing it for his daughter.  And just when you thought that was it, something else happens.

You see I had a boat that I had been fishing out of for several years.  It was a boat that I had been trying to sell for at least a couple of those years with no success.  Numerous people had looked at it but no one would ever bite.  Until one day around this same time I received a call from a good friend and fishing partner of mine who wanted to know if the boat was still for sale.  I explained that it was and he told me he would take it.  We worked out the deal and the boat is now his.

But wait there's more... In the 4 weeks since we signed a contract on our house, we have managed to sell all of our furniture and all of our other belongings that were not needed.  We went from having all this stuff, and thats really all it is... Is stuff, to only having a truck of our own and a camper we have borrowed.

So now, after all of that, here I sit at 2am in the morning typing this entry from a 35' Toy Hauler Camper that's parked in a campground in Sevierville, TN... Preparing to head out on what's sure to be an experience of a lifetime.  One that i'm sure we will never forget.   Looking back now, I can see that God's plan had started taking shape long before my wife ever approached me that day and way before either of us ever realized that God had a path for us that only we could travel.  That door has now been open for us and our path is set before us.  It's time to walk through and begin our journey.

God Bless,

The Moores

Monday, July 11, 2011

Just Getting Started...

We have just begun working on this blog to give a history of the events leading up to our decision to move to AK and to chronicle our adventure as we journey that way.  As you can imagine, packing and planning the actual move have taken up a lot of our time the past few weeks.  However, we hope to have this project well under way in the next 5-7 days.  Keep checking back as updates are soon to follow!