The Road to Montana

It’s a road I’ve considered for several years. A road I’ve dreamed of, contemplated, prayed about, and ultimately planned for.

Dallas, Texas provided many opportunities for me over the course of ten years. It was a decade where a soul was lost and became found. Where a faith was developed, shaped, and matured. Where priorities became clear. Where materials mattered less. Where a purpose was defined. It was unforgettable.

Montana occupied my daily thought life the last five years or so. Especially when the Texas summer came around and heat and humidity ruled the day.

My decision to move was finalized in October, 2016 with a plan of heading out 1–1–17.

It wasn’t an easy departure. All of my immediate family is in Texas, plus a close group of friends from work and church in Dallas.

And goodbyes are not for me. I’ve never enjoyed the awkwardness of them and have always preferred I’ll see ya later to goodbye, a line taken from the movie John Q.

And on Monday, January 2, 2017 — a chilly, rainy morning and a day behind schedule, I set out from my mom’s house in Corsicana with all my possessions packed into a trailer.

And left a life of stability, support, and countless relationships from friends and family. Left a six-figure job as well as a dream opportunity broadcasting high school football games in the largest football district in Texas. And arguably the most equipping church in the country.

I left Texas debt-free with financial security and little worry. A single, 38-year old man without a family to support and just one mouth to feed. I left to begin a new life, to forge new relationships and to build a new community in an area of the country that I believed best suits the life I desire: camping, hiking, running, and outdoor life in the grandest of climates.

I was running “to” something, not “from” something for the first time in my life. This was the litmus test I used in my decision making. I was living on faith alone.

And that faith allowed me to enter an unknown area without any security, or any connections

The pictures below best chronicle my journey:

Overloaded from the start with an undercarriage change necessary
After the change…thank you, Isaac Roberts.
I sat outside this OK gas station for 30 minutes without feeling rushed for the first time in maybe ever.
I missed the Oklahoma state sign, but Windstar is as good as any.
Early legs of the trip included lots of morning sun and blue skies
Leaving Oklahoma
Entering Kansas
“Flat” is a flattering word when pulling a trailer with a V-6. Thank you, Kansas.
More Kansas
Again, Kansas.
Econo Lodge at dawn
Kansas at the start of day 2.
Beautiful morning in Kansas
Again, Kansas.
Near the Kansas/Colorado border where everybody waves at you
This guy was excited as I was to cross the state line.
Small town, America.
Northbound 385 in Colorado
A highway to remember
Southwestern tip of Nebraska
Not a gas station in sight in Wyoming
Prior planning prevents poor peformance
Night #2 in Douglas, Wyoming
Intimidating signs along the Wyoming interstate
Thankless job by the snow plow
seriously, thank you
The 4Runner averaged 10 miles per gallon.
Down to one lane on the interstate
Decisions in Wyoming
Wyoming with Montana in the background
Even closer to Montana
There she is.
First shot of Montana
Sundown outside of Billings.
Snow-free Montana roads.
Upon arriving, the temperature wasn’t welcoming.

What I’ve learned lately:

Reading the good book daily presents an opportunity to learn something each day and though I fall well short in that category, this move did teach me one thing about goodbye.

Goodbye is not about me or the person leaving. It’s about the person saying goodbye. How could I be so short-sighted to this elementary social skill?

Anytime I’ve left, I’ve always downplayed it, whether it was a party or a five-state move, chalking it up to humility or just plain being tough.

Truth is, goodbye is an absolute emotion for me that I compartmentalized and chose not to address. And for those that are close to me, I apologize. I’m sorry I didn’t grant that very basic right.

Please know that I love and care for you more than words could ever convey.