Shortly after returning home last February from my third overseas mission trip through The Sending Place
, this time in Ghana, Africa, I began praying for guidance; specifically, I prayed for guidance about where the Lord wanted to send me next.
I got the silent treatment for about a month.
Suddenly, I heard that He wanted to send me around America in my RV-8, Descending Dove
, and to do so while Americans still had the freedom and opportunity to make the journey. Yes, I would be flying solo, but He promised to be with me through all of it.
I immediately began planning the trip and, since I'm a school teacher on a very tight budget, I finalized the route of flight according to the general areas of the country to which I was being led, along with the cheapest fuel I could find. The planned mission looked like this:
Questions that arose were simple: What would I eat? Where would I sleep? How would I get around once I was on the ground?
The answers were simple, too. For food, I packed over six #10 cans of dehydrated food items along with about 20 lbs. of jerky, dried fruits, nuts, and snack items. I packed a 3-man tent, an inflatable twin mattress from Costco, an REI hammock, and much of the backpacking gear I've used in the Sierra Nevada during my summer excursions there.
For transportation, I practiced in my hangar disassembling and reassembling my Specialized
mountain bike. Removing the rear control stick, rear seat and harnesses, I had tons of room for it, including the wheels, provided the tires were deflated completely:
The journey began on June 26th in Merced, CA (KMCE) and ended there August 1st as planned. I will do my best to report the trip, but please keep in mind that of the 1100 photos I took, you will only be seeing a sample, just as I was able to sample the pulse only of a thin sliver of American life over a short 5-week time period.
I slept almost exclusively at airports, in so-called snooze rooms
and FBO's, in hangars, and in two cases, in rented cars. I didn't spend a single penny on hotels. As for my tent, I pitched it only once during my witness across America. The Lord provided me a very clear path of safety and comfort throughout my journey, and there was never a question about His presence. I never felt lonely, and though solo, I knew I was never alone, and I am convinced now more than ever that His call for me to spend 10 years building Descending Dove
was providential in the extreme.
What follows is a meager attempt to share my experience with others who care about the freedom we still have as Americans to build and fly our aircraft throughout the country and beyond. That freedom is an incomparable gift for which I've become even more thankful because of this trip. Of all the lessons I learned in that 5 weeks, none strikes such a chord as the sobering realization that most Americans have absolutely no idea what's coming. But come it will, and I am equally convinced that Americans will rise once again to the occasion to preserve and defend that freedom.
Freedom is just something we can't live without. And I never felt more alive in my life than I did in the 72+ flight hours I lived airborne across America.
May you, too, feel alive now more than ever. . .