Two Weeks Later...
Two weeks and 3,350 miles after it began, The Turner's Great American Roadtrip ended as we pulled into my parents' driveway in McDonough, GA. It has been said that we ate our way across this great country of ours. It has even been suggested that should I ever stop being a pastor, I could conduct travel tours of the great dining establishments found along the southern portion of the US. From the outrageously good burger at Joe's Farm Grill just outside of Phoenix to the stuffed sopapilla in Flagstaff to the green chile stew at the Blue Corn Cafe in Santa Fe to the steaks at the Big Texan in Amarillo to the cheese enchiladas and margaritas at Joe T. Garcia's in Fort Worth to the crawfish etouffee and alligator bites at the Cyprus Inn in Monroe to the Eggs Shannon and Bananas Foster at Brennan's in New Orleans to the crab cakes at Crab's in Pensacola -- it was quite a culinary adventure.
And along the way -- this is the best part -- there were people who we love. Old friends and new friends who were extraordinarily hospitable and overwhelmingly generous. The Leeses bought us dinner at Disneyland. Jill's family went with us to Joe's Farm Grill, where we all ordered up and split our entrees with one another. The Powells opened their home to us, grilling steaks and inviting the Stowers and Deloaches over -- even asking me to preach for their church. The Hughes family cooked southern fried chicken and green beans for us and let our kids run off some of the energy they'd accumulated. Christopher Green met us at the Dallas Farmers Market and bought us good, cheap Mexican grub. John and Maggie Dobbs (and the amazing wiener dog, Jackson -- aka "Oscar Gorge") took to our girls like few people have and allowed me to teach a Wednesday night class in the building where I went to elementary school. Denny and Philis Boultinghouse along with Johnny Howard and Leonard Allen treated us to lunch at Copeland's as we talked about the rapidly-changing landscape of the publishing industry -- especially as it has to do with my next book for Howard Publishing. Rick Hazelip and the folks at First City Church in Pensacola asked me to preach for them and allowed us to stay in a condo on the beach for next to nothing.
Jill and I constantly found ourselves wondering, gazing out the minivan windows as the terrain shifted from the rocky pacific coast of California to the painted deserts of Arizona to the badlands of New Mexico to the high plains of the Texas panhandle to the hill country of central Texas to the bayous of Louisiana to the white sandy beaches of the Gulf Coast -- each beautiful in its own unique way -- how in the world we've managed to collect so many wonderful friends in so many wonderful places.
All we can think of is God has been preparing us for a trip like this for a very long time. Knowing how vulnerable to disappointment and bitterness we would be at such a time as this, he made certain we could find the encouragement we so desperately needed.
Two weeks later, we find ourselves back in Atlanta, strangely less weary than when we'd first begun and greatly cheered by our travels, our hearts full to overflowing with gratitude for all those who helped, eager to discover what God has in store for us next.