I first met Bill Miller at bootcamp several years back (exactly this time of year too). We were randomly placed at tables for meal time and Bill and I were put at a table together. That weekend had a huge impact on me as I believe it did for many men including Bill. Long story short, Bill and Karen Miller served our church and community in so many ways…it seemed like they were involved in everything. Then one summer day in 2014 I’m riding my bike home from work and I pass them riding their bikes out by Golden Ponds. We chat for a bit and I share with them our family’s plan to travel the country in a 5th wheel. Turns out, they’ve done the same thing….several times! Bill ends up in a major leadership role in our church’s construction project to build a new facility while at the same time he and Karen buy a house in Mobile AL and sell their one in CO. And that is how we came to plan a stop in Mobile AL on our adventure across the USA.
We got in the truck Friday morning to go to Bill and Karen’s house and I get a “water in fuel” message on the truck. Crikey! It eventually goes out and we have no problems getting to the Miller’s house and the truck acts perfectly normal. I try to put that out of my mind so I can enjoy the day. It was SOOOO good to see Bill and Karen…and they were so welcoming. The kids fell in love with them and their dogs right away. They have an awesome house along the Dog river complete with a classic dock with some cool rocking chairs. And they also have a boat that would be our transportation across Mobile Bay. We load up the boat and headed out. Bill was apologizing that it was so choppy…but the kids were having a ball as we bounced along the water. Across the bay, up the intercoastal waterway to LuLu’s for lunch then on up to the warf to try out boiled peanuts. Ummm….hrmmm…they tasted alright, but definitely funky. Not my preferred preparation of the legume but I’m glad we tried this southern snack. The ride back was even bouncier and the kids were just eating it up. They were wide eyed and laughing.
Marine fuel, $3.26 a gallon. Lunch for seven, $91.03. Basket of boiled peanuts, $3.25. Hanging out with friends and watching your kids having a blast….PRICELESS!
Back at the house the Millers cooked us a fancy steak dinner that we ate at a table with lots of elbow room and everyone got a real chair to sit on! It was an awesome day but we were beat, so we headed back home. The “water in fuel” message did not appear but the check engine light was on. I knew I needed to find a service center first thing in the morning or I’d have to wait until Monday.
So after dealing with the truck the next morning (I’ll save that for another post) we moved Ava up to a vacant lot owned by neighbors of the Millers and we spent a couple nights at the Miller’s house. One of those nights they offered to watch the kids so Steph and I could go out on the town. It was wonderful to get to spend some quality time with my angel. On a suggestion from the Millers we went to The Listening Room after dinner to listen to Phil and Foster, a local folk/country/bluegrass duo. The venue is sort of like a house concert: you are there to listen to the music and the stories behind the music rather than have it as background noise. They serve sodas, beer and wine from a fridge but no food. It was really enjoyable.
Thank you Bill and Karen for your amazing hospitality. We all felt so welcome and comfortable with you, in your house and on your boat. You were a very welcome taste of “home” and you created for us some memories that will last a lifetime. And thank you God for putting the Millers in our life…I’m sure YOU were the one who put Bill and I at that table at bootcamp!!
Huck and the captain
Hey...watch where you're driving!
Caden at the helm
I'm driving a boat!
Awaiting boiled peanuts
Having the time of their lives!
Look at that
The group shot (plus neighbor dog)
Bill and Karen with the kids
Kids and dogs
Look at that view