This semester in review, and a peek at the next

Trip Start Aug 21, 2010
Trip End Dec 31, 2010

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Flag of United States  , Michigan
Saturday, December 25, 2010

Alright, well we've come to the end of this first semester. It's been a very different tour than the last two, but altogether a great experience. Some things we expected, some things surprised us.

Expected- We would do some shows on our way out to the East Coast.
Unexpected- We would take a southern route that brought us through Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas. Our two shows in Page, AZ, were among my very favorite on tour. Especially because of swimming in Lake Powell in the afternoon. A truly unique memory. But swinging through Las Vegas and the Hoover Dam were very honorable mentions.

Expected- New Jersey still sucks.
Unexpected- We never had to work in New Jersey. It was just a convenient place to meet up with our friends, and we got to enjoy multiple stays at the Ramada in Wayne. New Jersey proved to be a nice safe haven from our frequent jaunts into Long Island.

Expected- Long Island sucks.
Unexpected- The schools on Long Island, in our experience and without exception, made for nice work days. The schools were all relatively large and in nice condition, but most importantly, the people we interacted with were among the nicest. Great custodians, friendly administrators, even the audiences were pretty good! Long Island schools were a pleasant surprise this semester, and barely redeemed the stresses that accompanied traveling in Long Island.

Expected- Driving on Long Island is stressful.
Unexpected- Our van, considered "commercial" by New York law, is unable to travel all but perhaps two of the parkways criss-crossing Long Island. We found this out the hard way. The $400, 2-license-points hard way.

Expected- New England would be pretty in the fall.
Unexpected- We caught peak seasons of multiple regions throughout New England, the most brilliant foliage occuring in Northeast Connecticut. New England foliage was one of the best highlights of this semester.

Expected- We would be able to see and stay with many friends and family.
Unexpected- Just how many people we were able to interact with! We stayed with my family in New Hampshire multiple weekends, of course, but since we left California, we've also visited the Wahlgrens, Whitesells, Cedarville folks (wow those seem forever ago), Kildows, my Aunt Rae, Anfangs, Barnwells, Moats, and the Ferlands. We've said on multiple occasions that this has been a very social tour. And being such, it has been refreshing. Thank you to all who have given us a bed, food, and friendship!

Expected- This job would be easier the second time around.
Unexpected- Well, it was pretty much as expected. This job has been way easier this year than last year. It partly had to do with our region. Being more north, we were out of New Jersey. Score one for us. We also, like I mentioned, were around family a lot more. That makes it less draining of an experience. Also, the job-related challenges that made it difficult last year were less of a challenge this year. We've learned how to live comfortably on the road. We can set up our equipment in 20 minutes. We can set up the show in a difficult auditorium with just a little pre-planning. The work aspect of this job has proven to be less difficult with time, making enjoying the surrounding life a bit more accessible.

Expected- We would see moose in Maine.
Unexpected- We wouldn't see moose in Maine. Bummer.

Expected- We would have to employ winter driving skills in New England.
Unexpected- We wouldn't drive in snow until December the 23rd, in Ohio. Cool.

Expected- We would have some opportunities to give out our new gift cards.
Unexpected- We would give out twenty-four by the start of the second semester! Ten different experiences resulting in handing out some gift cards with hopes of encouraging people. Each encounter has had a slightly different emphasis. I've been keeping careful accounts of each experience so that they can be compiled into a book. Kelsey and I want to write about our "Gift Cards on a Mission" experience. I think it's been a valuable time, and we hope other people take up the reins on the project in their own circles of influence. More on that later.

That's been this semester in review, to the best of my memory. Kelsey may come along later and say, "Wait! What about [such-and-such life-changing memory that would rob the world of joy if I failed to give account to it]?!?" And then I will add it in. Until then, have a Happy New Year! And we will continue the travel stories in the new semester!

God bless,

- Mike and Kelsey

PS. We're going to be in Nebraska.

PPS. Yeah. Did I forget to mention? Next semester will find us in the Plains states. We'll have everything between Colorado and Missouri running east-west, and everything between Texas and Canada running north-south. Get your driving gloves on! See you there!
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