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  • Writer's pictureVicki Prentice

It's a bus life, chapter 3: Surprise, surprise

This is the third article in what will be a series of articles of our family's life on the road adventures, which occurred from the fall of 1995 through late summer of 1998. If you want to catch the story from the beginning here's the chapter one and chapter two

November 5, we left Elk Creek campground and headed east on our maiden journey to Wessington, South Dakota. Our plan was to spend a quick couple of days visiting with Bob’s folks before heading to Cedar City, Utah, where Bob was scheduled to do some training and consulting with Head Start staff there. We stopped to visit Bob’s dad at the nursing home in Miller, and were disappointed that we weren’t able to get Robert to talk with us or even acknowledge that we were there.

That evening, while visiting with Bob’s mom, for awhile, it dawned on me that Robert was exactly like my grandmother was before she died. A few minutes after sharing my thoughts with Ramona, Bob and our kids, the phone rang. Robert had passed just a few minutes before. Needless to say, our plans were abruptly changed. After postponing the Cedar City gig, we focused on getting through the next week with family and friends–all who loved my father-in-law and shared in grieving our loss.

A couple of days later, we headed back to the Black Hills for the memorial service in Sturgis. After saying our goodbyes, we hit the road again, destined for southern Colorado, where Bob would be conducting a training for the staff at the Head Start in Conejos.

Our first night out of South Dakota, we stayed at a truck stop in Cheyenne, Wyoming, where we learned to never park down wind of the parked semis. Seriously, we were nearly overcome with diesel fumes!

Bob woke up early and decided to hit the road while the rest of us slept a while longer. As far as any of us knew, we were headed straight to Conejos. But Bob had a plan to surprise us all, which he absolutely refused to reveal to any of us. We didn’t know what he had up his sleeve until we rolled into the parking lot of the Focus on the Family Welcome Center in Colorado Springs.

Bob knew I was a regular listener of Dr. Dobson’s daily radio program, and the kids were huge fans of their children’s program, Adventures in Odyssey, so he also knew that this would be great fun for us. We were so excited to see the home of one of our favorite ministries, and enjoyed taking the self-guided tour. Best of all, we were able to experience Whit’s End Soda Shoppe. (Whit’s End is the setting of many of the Adventures in Odyssey episodes.)

The tour concluded with a stop at the gift shop where we purchased several audio tape sets that provided hours and hours of quality entertainment for us all on our bus life journey.

That night, we stayed in an RV park next to the depot of the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad in Antonito, Colorado, before spending a couple of nights in the Head Start parking lot. It was there that Bob completed his first training sessions and the rest of us our first days of school on the road.

Looking back on those first couple of weeks of bus life I am reminded of two unexpected surprises–one a not-so-happy one, and really more of a shock. The second surprise though, was quite enjoyable. Both “surprises” played a role in setting the backdrop of our journey.

Stay tuned for future blog posts recounting more of our bus story and life on the road, which took place long before people were blogging. As I dig through my journals and photo albums, I hope to have plenty to share!


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