It's Thanksgiving in the U.S., a few weeks after our Canadian friends celebrated their nation's holiday of the same name.
A tradition at our family is that as we gather round the Thanksgiving dinner table – and yes, we always do turkey and all the trimmings – each one of us says what we are most thankful for this past year.
Remember that old Irving Berlin song, “Count Your Blessings?” If we're breathing and relatively upright – though football and ODing on turkey will probably render many of us horizontal on the sofa after dinner – we all surely have much to be thankful for.
Besides faith and family, Jennifer and I look back over the past year and think of how many wonderful people we have met in so many wonderful places thanks to Roadtreking. We've traveled nearly 35,000 miles since last year at this time, cross crossing North America. Here's our short list of the Roadtreking blessings we are thankful for this year.
- Yellowstone National Park
- The Badlands
- The Black Hills
- The Emerald Coast
- All our National Parks and National Seashores
- Our many friends at the Family Motorcoach Association – Jerry Yeatts, Pamela Kay, Robbin Gould, Guy Kasselman and all those many readers who have written such kinds words in response to our column in Family Motor Coach Magazine.
- The Roadtreking International Chapter of the FMCA
- The Amateur Radio Chapter of the FMCA
- Our amazing contributing Roadtreking Reporters here on the blog – Campskunk, Laura Robinson, Janet Arnold, Jim Hammill and Lynn and Roger Brucker. What a team! The blog and its readers so blessed that they share their experiences and wisdom and humor.
- The volunteer moderators on the roadtreking.com/forum – Alan MacRae and Robert Ambrose.
- Our friends from our Facebook page and group who have truly become family. I am so blessed by their friendship. We may be scattered across two continents and yet are as close knit as if we were all in the same community…. which, I guess, is exactly what our Roadtreking group has become: A Community. Many of these fun, caring, compassionate, hospitable, sharing and helpful folks we have also met on the road. – Cheryl Gregory, Shari Groendek, Kristi Klomp, Ginny Dugan Evans, Laura Lochsky Robinson, Alice Stern, Stu and Winona Kratz, Tim and Carole Mallon, Deby Dixon, Jim and Carole Diepenbruck, Bill and Karen Brown, Jim and Sharon Angel, Lisa and Bill Gruner, Laura and Ken Postema, Paul Pogorselski, Tom Hopkins, Trudy Meyers, RT Campskunk, Yan Seiner, W. Dan Hulchanski, Sue Baker, Brian Barker, Nancy Tudor Richardson, Dennis Crabtree and… so many others who share so much of their knowledge and humor on Facebook. Our Facebook Page went from about 500 people who “Liked” it a year ago this time to more than 73,000 today! More than 2,000 new people “Like” the page every week! Our Group has more than 1,100. Amazing.
- The men and women of Roadtrek Motorhomes in Kitchener, Ontario Canada who truly think of all of us owners as family and lovingly build the wonderful machines that open up the world to these of us who drive them – Jim Hammill, Howard Stratton, Jeff Stride, Paul Cassidy, Joe and Tami Morales, Karyn Torcoletti, Tess Talty, Chris Deakins, Steve MacDonald, Pamela de Beus, Joe Murray, Andy Weller.
- Chad Neff and his crew at American RV in Grand Rapids, MI, who take such good care of my service needs, as do Eric, Josh and Daryl from Hoekstra Specialty Vehicles in Troy, MI, who do the Sprinter engine maintenance work on our eTrek.
- My son, Jeff Wendland, who handles the digital management of this blog and processes the orders for the Roadtrekingstore. I'd like to say I taught him everything he knows. But he has truly become a genius at all things World Wide Web. One of the greatest joys a dad can have is being able to work with his son.
- And finally, but certainly not least, my wife Jennifer. The fact that we are able to do this together and have traveled 35,000 miles, living for weeks on end in a 23 foot motorhome and not once arguing shows how well we get along. She is the love of my life and makes every mile of Roadtreking a taste of heaven. And I'm not even jealous that she now gets more fan mail than I do. Come to think of it, Tai, our Norwegian Elkhound, also gets more fan mail and I do.
The trouble with a list like this is it's impossible to name everyone and everything we are thankful for. It goes without saying that we have inadvertently left some names off the list. For that, I am sorry. It's probably because as I write this, it is very, very early Thanksgiving morning and we have a turkey to get in the oven. I will probably go back as more names come to me and add them.
To all of you who we have not met yet but who read our blog and newsletter, please know how grateful we are for your support, encouragement, suggestions and, when needed, constructive criticism. I know I rush too much sometimes, forgetting to spellcheck or proof as carefully as I should. I just get so excited about getting the next post up, I hope you forgive the occasional sloppiness. I will try to do better.
This growth and the popularity of this blog and the adventures we've had traveling North America the past two years has absolutely blown me away. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine this would change our lifestyle in such wonderful ways. This is a labor of love. We're far from raking in a profit here. But we are having the time of our lives.
We can't want to see what the next year has in store.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone.
We'll see you out there…