April 14th – Road Trip!

18 days, 9 states, 3521 miles….and LOTS of fun!

A few weeks ago we returned from a long-awaited vacation to ‘parts south’.  It was a trip we never would have dreamed of taking before Matt’s transplant surgery.  With everything we packed in, we wondered if the wheels would fall off somewhere along the way.  As we look back on it now, it could not have gone better!   Here is a quick summary…

On our way to Florida we spent one evening in northern Kentucky with our long-time friends Steve and Bobbi.  We seem to see them about every 5 years or so….it is always so good to catch up with them on their full and amazing lives!  We also stayed with Matt’s cousin JB, his wife Laura and their little girl Julieanna (and Marty the dog!).  It was great to visit them on their home turf for the first time!

Our initial ‘destination’ stop was in Altamonte Springs…a short drive from Daytona Beach and the first NASCAR race weekend of the 2017 season!

Matt was a picture-taking machine….over 800 photos in 2 days at Daytona!

It was awesome to be at the self-proclaimed World Center of Racing!












After our 2 days watching cars and trucks go fast and turn left….we spent a day visiting the town where Matt’s Grandpa and Grandma lived.  We were able to visit several of their good friends (who Gail knew well), and also saw where their ashes were buried in a beautiful garden at the church they attended.


Our next stop was Savannah, Georgia where we spent a couple days being tourists!

In one of the many beautiful city squares



Container ships are HUGE!

Family picture in our hotel…

A very cool riverboat!
















After a great stay in Savannah, we were off to McDonough, Georgia (near Atlanta), where we spent time with long time friends Terry and Alison and their amazing son Adam.   We ventured into Atlanta to visit the Georgia Aquarium….a must-see destination if you ever get anywhere near there!


Whale sharks are HUGE!





Beluga whales are so fun to watch!









Next up was – yes – another NASCAR race!   Terry and Adam enjoyed two full days at the Atlanta Motor Speedway!

Adam and Matt enjoying some March sunshine!

Terry and Alison were awesome hosts!















We then headed off to Hilton Head Island…graciously hosted by longtime friends Kip and Deb.   We learned a new card game (Golf!), and even got out on the course a little!

Matt with Kip, who modeled an awesome tee shirt!

Working on his putting stroke…


On the Atlantic Ocean beach with Kip and Deb and his brother Dan and his wife Cherry.
















After leaving Hilton Head, we spent our last night on the road with #1 son Jeff and his wife Kimi…and our grand-kitties Pirate and Fiona.  It was a great way to end our time away from home!

Matt is doing great!  He recently got a ‘Fit-bit’, and is more motivated than ever to stay active and improve his overall fitness level.   I am receiving collateral benefits by trying to keep up with him!   Last week we spent a day at U of M getting trained to be ‘peer mentors’.   We anticipate that we will be connected with individuals (and their care takers) who are considering pursuing lung transplant surgery…telling our experience to help them know what they may be facing.  Matt enjoys talking with anyone about anything — he will be very good at this mentoring role!

Matt has had such a dramatic change in his life since his lung transplant surgery.   While he is still ‘Matt’, in many ways he is like a totally new person.  On this weekend that we especially remember the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, it brings to mind how His sacrifice made ‘new life’ possible to all who believe.

Psalm 40:2-3

He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.



4 thoughts on “April 14th – Road Trip!

  1. SO GREAT! Thanks for the update. So thankful to see everyone smiling and healthy. Praise the Lord. Happy Easter!

  2. Wow! Can’t say I can remember a time when we did SOOOOO much in one trip!! Thanks so much for sharing the pics, Matt! I would think you’d be exhausted 🙂 Happy Easter to all of you!!

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