Last week, I promised details on our recent cross country RV adventure. So here’s the stats: 62 days, 7440 miles, 14 states, 20 campsites,6 state parks, 4 county parks,3 National Parks. It was truly spectacular! Today, I share my reflections on the first half of our journey!
Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
John 4:10 – NIV
Adventure season had begun. The camper was packed with both warm and cold weather gear, the truck loaded with supplies. We pulled out of the driveway with the GPS set on a north/northwest trajectory. Eric had employed his considerable computer skills to book an amazing itinerary of county and state parks.
At our first stop in southwestern Ohio, we strolled along the peaceful shores of Lake Alma. As we made our way toward Indiana, we caught glimpses of small shimmering lakes and tranquil farm ponds tucked into the mountain valleys and rolling hills. Near Chicago, we stopped to visit our cousins and were surprised to find our county park campsite set along a small lake in the middle of suburbia. Yet, those little lakes could not compare with our next water view, the shores of Lake Michigan! Our campsite in Two Rivers, Wisconsin was literally across the road from that enormous Great Lake.
On a sunny August morning, we set out on a lakeshore walk that concluded with a barefoot trek down the sand dunes to wade into the clear blue water. The mere touch of the water on my unsuspecting toes evoked a yelp of surprise. Man, was that cold! It was August, and still, that water was quite chilly! No way this good Southern girl was wading in deep. Too icy for me! Well, it might have been cold, but the gorgeous scenery kept me captivated and gazing all around, cold toes or not.
Our Lake Michigan experience continued as we traveled north into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, stopping for a few nights at Fayette Historic State Park where we enjoyed our harbor walks through the well preserved 19th century village that once housed a quite productive iron foundry. The lake views from the huge bluff that towered above the old village were incredible!
Our week long jaunt through Michigan’s UP took us upward to Sault Ste. Marie where we watched the iron ore ships enter the locks from Lake Superior and float downstream to Lake Heron. Our campground on the banks of the St. Mary’s River offered a front row seat to this busy lane of shipping commerce. The sunrise and sunset over that wide river were spectacular too.
I thought Lake Michigan was chilly, but Lake Superior easily topped that, turning my toes numb in mere seconds! At Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Park, our sunset cruise offered a mesmerizing view of the colorful cliff faces, and we thoroughly enjoyed the excursion until we made the turn to head back to the harbor. Weather conditions on Lake Superior can change on a dime, and promptly did so, kicking up a massive headwind that stirred up 8 to 12 foot waves that our 300 passenger cruise boat had to traverse. It was quite the rocky ride, and I have to admit that Gordon Lightfoot’s ballad about the demise of the Edmund Fitzgerald started rolling through my head! The crew did a stellar job, and we arrived back to the dock without harm.
Our trail along Lake Superior took us to the beautiful Keewena Peninsula, a land mass that juts well out into that gigantic lake. At Fort Wilkins State Park, we explored both Copper and Eagle Harbors, hiking along Superior’s rocky shoreline and watching the daylight fade to dusk over the tranquil waters of Fannie Hoe Lake. From there, we journeyed to Duluth, Minnesota, the western tip of Lake Superior. Our campsite was literally on a pier over the Superior Bay Basin where we watched the iron ore ships load their cargo and pass beneath a massive drawbridge into the main body of the lake Headed for the locks at Sault Ste. Marie.
In East Grand Forks, Minnesota, we stayed along the banks of the Red River, and then traveled across North Dakota to Lewis and Clark State Park near Epping. Sitting high above Lake Sakakawea, I watched the sunrise over the prairie, sipping my hot tea while thousands of tiny grasshoppers serenaded me with their unique morning song. The trill of that humming sound was like nothing I had ever heard in my life.
Leaving the prairie behind, we rolled across the high plains and traversed the mountain ranges to arrive at our ultimate destination, Bozeman, Montana, where we had a joyous reunion with our son and his precious girlfriend. Even in the high desert of Montana, my waterway experiences were not over. On my daily walks, I found a path along a fast moving creek, its banks dotted with Cottonwood trees turning gold in the autumn light. As I wandered along listening to the pleasant sound of flowing water, I pondered all those bodies of water we had encountered on our first leg of our cross country adventure. I smiled to myself as I coined the title of this trip. I decided with a chuckle that it would be remembered as the Great Northern Waterway Adventure! We hadn’t exactly planned it that way, but that’s sure what it turned out to be!
All that time along the waterways gave me time to think about water. Water…it’s the essential of life. We need it for hydration, irrigation, food preparation, commerce, travel, even recreation. All living things require water to sustain life. Wherever you find water, you find life.
The Samaritan woman in John 4 understood the necessity of water. She braved the mid-day sun to fill up her jugs at the well. Not only did she find water,but she found Jesus. He asked her for a drink, and she met his need, still unaware of whom she was serving. She supplied ordinary water from the well, but He returned the favor by offering her some extraordinary water, living water that wouldn’t just quench her thirst for a little while, but would soothe the depths of her soul forevermore.
Like the woman at the well, I need water for hydration. Yet all the water in those magnificent Great Lakes I visited cannot quench the thirst that lies deep within my soul. It is a thirst for the things of God, for the love, the joy, the peace, the hope that comes from knowing Jesus as my Savior.
I found a lot of water on this trip. From irrigation creeks to broad rivers to the vast expanse of the Great Lakes, sources of water seemed to be at every turn. All those water views held incredible beauty, yet such beauty cannot compare with the beauty of knowing Jesus. His love and grace is not only life sustaining, but life enriching, even thirst quenching.
Find the water, find the life. Yes, dear friends, our search is over, our quest complete. Jesus is our source of living water. May we drink deeply and find new life in Him.
Whoever believes in me as scripture has said, ‘rivers of living water will flow from within them’
John 7:38 – NIV
O Lord Jesus, we come to You thirsty for Your living water, for the fullness of life we have available in knowing You. Thank You for Your lovingkindness and generous grace that opens the door to unimaginable joy, abiding peace, and astounding hope. Lord, may we abide in You that You might abide in us.
In the Living Name of Jesus, we give thanks and offer our praise,