Finding Time for Friends (Old and New)

by jdroth on 15 August 2015 · 0 comments

For me, one of the joys of visiting the Midwest was finding time to connect with friends, both old and new. I’ve mentioned some of these folks already.

After our engine replacement in South Dakota, for instance, we drove to St. Cloud, Minnesota where I had dinner with two of my favorite people, Aimee and Joel:

Hanging out with Joel and Aimee

A few days later, Kim and I joined Jim and Jane for a relaxing weekend on the shores of Lake Michigan. While there, we got to know Jane’s sister, Jo, who gave us great recommendations for the rest of our road trip:

J.D. and Jo look at a map of the U.S.
Jo shows J.D. some of the best places to visit in the U.S

After that, we saw Shannyn in Chicago, Jeremy in Michigan, and the Heyerly family in northern Indiana:

Heyerlys and Rothwards at dinner

And that was just the beginning.

In Indianapolis, we stopped to see Adam and Courtney Baker. Adam is best known for starting the blog Man vs. Debt. He and I have worked together for…five years? (That doesn’t seem possible! But it’s true.) Over time, we’ve become more friends than colleagues.

Four years ago, Adam and Courtney did their own cross-country RV trip to promote their site and mission. As part of that, they parked their motorhome on my front lawn in Portland:

MvD RV on the lawn at Rosings Park

“When I do my cross-country RV trip, I want to park in your yard,” I told them at the time. I was mostly joking. But now, four years later, here I was driving through Indianapolis in a motorhome of my very own. Naturally, they let us park in their driveway.

Kim and I didn’t get to spend as much time with the Bakers as we might have liked. We caught them at a busy time. Still, we were able to help them rearrange some furniture, play with their daughters, and enjoy take-out from White Castle. Plus, Adam took time to give me some tips about launching my new personal-finance blog (about which, more soon).

Adam and J.D. and three Baker girls
Adam and J.D. and three Baker girls

We’ll see Adam and Courtney again in the future, and if we’re lucky things won’t be so hectic!

In Ohio, we met up with Amy Finke, a long-time blog reader who has become a real-life friend. Despite having just returned from a business trip, she made us a fantastic meal, plied us with wine, and served us the famous (and delicious) Graeter’s ice cream. Thanks, Finke!

Also in Ohio, we spent an evening with Andrea Deckard. Andrea runs a site called Savings Lifestyle. She and two partners produce a blogging conference that I’ve been involved with for the past five years. But once again: Andrea isn’t just a colleague; she’s a friend, and I value the time we spend together.

In this case, Andrea and her family offered me and Kim a chance to take a break from the RV. They gave us a bed for the night and fed us a delicious dinner of steak and baked potatoes. Andrea also set Kim up with a hair appointment and spent a couple of hours giving me advice on my new website.

J.D. and Andrea are very tired...
Can you tell how hot and tired Andrea and I are in this photo?

While re-connecting with old friends in the Midwest, Kim and I also found time to make new ones.

In Indianapolis, I had breakfast (donuts!) with Kate and Amy, who talked about biking and retirement and what it’s like to live in Middle America. And at the RV park in Wilmington, Ohio, we met Chris and Jim, full-time RVers who make their living by teaching modern technology to fellow trailerites. They call their business Geeks on Tour.

After so much social time, Kim and I were ready to relax on our own for a while. To that end, we packed up and drove into the mountains of West Virginia…

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