9583 Miles and 44 Days Later

Mt. Hood, my spiritual mountain, guides me home. Photo by Tim Graves.

I posted on Thursday of last week, “I woke up in Saskatchewan and decided it was time to go home.” I meant I would have a full day of driving, stay in a motel that night, and then continue my typical pattern of working my way home at a modest pace. I would drive 3 to 4 hours, maybe 5, stop as the spirit moved me, and camp in the evening. I expected to be home Saturday afternoon or Sunday morning.

Alas, they had no room for me despite my pre-paid reservation when I arrived at my hotel in British Columbia Thursday evening. After a 14-hour day, I did not think I could drive anymore. So I texted and called Hotels.com, trying to get them to fix the problem they caused. Two hours later, they finally admitted they could not fix the problem for which they were responsible. There was no room at the inn.

And so, while I stopped a few times, trying to get a room, I drove through the night. Ultimately, I slept in the car at a rest stop for an hour in Washington. I approached my home state of Oregon as the sun rose. I recalled my deep affection for this place as I drove first through eastern Oregon’s high desert, passing exits for two churches I have served. The Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area never fails to impress; I remembered the view from our apartment as I passed by it in Mosier. And then Portland, oh Portland!, the city which beckoned me after seminary. Finally, after 28 hours, I arrived home to my beloved in Albany.

My trip ended in a perfunctory and non-spiritual way. This was not how I expected to end my pilgrimage across the continent and back. I am not sure what I expected; a flashy epiphany from the universe or God would have been nice. Instead, I am left with issues yet to reflect upon and thoughts and ideas. All the same, what I have learned about myself on this journey is significant. I have also identified many areas in need of further reflection. I am reset but am still re-installing the software.

Sunrise over Lake Erie from the southern shore. Photo by Tim Graves

But today, I want to be less reflective on resetting my spiritual, physical, and emotional well-being and share stats and observations from my trip. In no particular order,

  • I drove 9,563 miles from when I left my local gas station on Wednesday, June 22, until I pulled into the driveway on Friday, August 5. The easternmost point of my trip is 3,037 miles from my home door-to-door.
  • I filled the tank of my electric lime hybrid 26 times. I used 195.81 gallons of fuel and averaged 48.09 mpg.
  • This self-funded sabbatical cost me $968.56 in gasoline. The most I paid for gas was $6.19 a gallon in northern California.
  • I spent 44 days traveling through 2 countries, 20 states, and 4 provinces.
  • I went on 20 runs for a total of 67 miles. I ran no less than three days a week and no more than five. My typical run grew from 2 miles to 5 miles as my stamina reset over the course of my journey.
  • I lost 13 lbs. and fasted 16 to 18 hours daily except once as my emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being improved. This was the result of eating well, intermittent fasting, and exercise.
  • I wrote 16 posts to this blog about my experience. That is an average of one every third or fourth day. My awareness of the scars and deep wounds became more clear. I still have processing to do regarding many areas. I have a list of more than twenty areas to explore in future posts.
  • I received wisdom and kindness from my adult children and their spouses. Both my daughters-in-law shared particular gems. My son and daughter saw things with the clarity I needed to hear. I will talk about those in future posts. I am most grateful for the healing love my four grandchildren gave me. After the emotional pummeling I have endured over the last three years, they reminded me how to be my authentic self. They reminded me in action what I heard in the meditative state early in my trip: worthy. I am worthy just because I am.

Over the coming weeks, I will continue my pilgrimage, perhaps from my home, perhaps from day trips or short camping trips. I am not yet ready, nor do I know what is next. However, I feel more authentically myself, physically, emotionally, and spiritually healthier than I have in an extremely long time.

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