We gathered to leave at the church at 6:30.
Kelly and I had rented the vans the day before and I had parked one at my house so I could actually drive to church seeing as I had left my truck at Kelly's sisters house for the week.
Everyone showed up pretty much on time and a few extra people showed up just to see us off.
Ethan ran a little late because he was packing tools but everyone was there by 7-ish and Kelly said a word of prayer.
We settled in our vehicles for the drive to Albuquerque.
Around an hour and a half into the trip we stopped at a McDonalds because Emily Coday had to use the bathroom. This is a trend that started early and happened frequently.
So we pulled in and on our way to the building Ethan asked if I had the prepaid "debit cards" that we had decided to get for the trip rather than cash.
This was a surprise to me because I thought he had gotten them. I had been texting him about them for a couple weeks since Kelly had given us the idea to use them.
He however thought my texts were me updating him on the progress not reminding him to get them. So neither of us had gotten them.
Well we were both mortified that we had screwed that up and here we were an hour and a half away from town with 15 other people and no money.
We called Pastor Kelly who made some calls and in about another hour and a half to 2 hours he and Nathan arrived to rescue us.
While we were there though the kids and a few leaders took it upon themselves to LoveBomb some random folks. Emily C and Ryleigh walked thru the drive thru to LoveBomb a car behind them. I don't think the drive appreciated it until after they had gone because they said he shot them the stink eye while he waited on them to move. I bet his tune changed after he realized his bill had been paid and he received the card.
We finished our 2 hour bathroom break and got back on the road. The rest of the drive was pretty standard. Ethan and I were in the first van with half the kids. And Matt, Laura & Brandon were in the second.
Laura had taken the time to make a very detailed drive map. Marking our scheduled stops and the length of each but thanks to the teeny bladders of a few of the teens and 1 leader we stopped a little more frequently than originally planned.
I'm reasonably sure this distressed Laura because she had worked so hard planning the stops. We were very thankful for her time and effort but we just couldn't stick to it the first half of the trip. It got better after that. Brandon and I switched vans for a bit and I got to spend some time with the other half of our team.
Halfway to ABQ Brandon and I switched vans so we could spend time with all the kids and because Ethan wanted to talk to Brandon about security stuff.
The vans were very opposite. Ethan's van was constantly active. Always talking or playing music. Matt's van was loud for about an hour then dead quiet for another hour then ear split tingly loud again.
Lots of sleeping in that van. I have no idea how the teens could sleep that much but a few of them slept nearly the entire 18 hours it took us to finally arrive in ABQ.
We stopped for lunch at Chic fill a and dinner at Whattaburger in Amarillo Tx. The most memorable part of that was certainly not the food. The Whattaburger was decent at best. The part that sticks out in my mind was Dakota and Miki. They both ordered the same thing. 2 huge burgers and fries. They proceeded to eat roughly 3 bites
That and the fact that we LoveBomed another stranger. This time one of our people paid for his meal out of their own pocket.
We finally arrived in ABQ and thanks to some road construction we ended up missing our drive and circling for another 20 minutes or so. We made it to the Howard Johnson Express around 1 and finally got to our rooms for some sleep.
Wasn’t a big deal that first night because we were hardly there long enough to enjoy the stay.