So, we've decided on a day: June 21. That's when we're packing up the Dodge and traveling east (ironically enough, to arrive at "The Gateway to the West"). And it's not exactly due east...we're actually planning to go to Disneyland and California Adventure for two days, and then heading east.
After all things Disney, our first stop is Kingman, Arizona and on to the Grand Canyon, then Albuquerque, NM; Amarillo, TX; through Oklahoma City, OK; and then either through Tulsa, OK up to St. Louis or through Little Rock, Arkansas to Memphis, TN to St. Louis. Either way, it promises to be an adventure, all 2,400 some-odd miles of it! Lord willing and the creek don't rise, we're planning on arriving in St. Louis on June 30 or July 1 (Don's classes start July 9).
And the blessed, trustworthy (and paid for!) '97 Dodge is running quite well: recently, we've invested in a new transmission ($3,000), a new paint job (it was starting to rust!) for another $975 (Earl Scheib is our new best friend), and then another $880 yesterday to put in all new belts and hoses, plus a new O2 sensor, air conditioning unit, air intake service, and more!
We figure $4,800 out-of-pocket is not a bad investment, considering that buying a gently used car would probably sack us with $400/month in payments and higher insurance for the next 3 to 5 years. In 12 months, we would have paid out that same $4,800...and still have car payments for another 2-4 years. Not our cup of tea. Being debt-free and freed up to give greater resources to God's Kingdom...it's a wonderful life!
We won't win any "cool car" contests any time soon, but "having more and better stuff" has never been our goal. As my brother says about himself, "I don't own a lot of stuff...because if I do, it starts to own me." True. And Jesus says, "A man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions" (Luke 12:15).
So, stay tuned for The Ray Family Road Trip as time draws closer. We plan to post to the blog as we journey east, headed for The Gateway Arch. Thanks for your continued prayers and support!
Love and blessings,