We are incredibly grateful for all that you have provided over the last several months. You ensured that we were well-prepared for a safe and fairly effortless National Parks tour across a beautiful stretch of land. You kept us fed, lodged, and engaged - both physically and mentally - for almost four months. And you reminded us that people, both new and familiar, are really amazing.
As we begin Phase Two, we wanted to pause for a few specific acknowledgements...
WWOOF hosts: thank you for sharing your homes, your experiences, your knowledge, and your senses of humor! We loved every minute of our days on your farms/ranches. (Okay, almost every minute... But the minutes we didn't love, we still laugh about.) Will we buy a farm as a result of our experiences? The answer is unclear right now but discussions are certainly underway!
Friends in Canada and the US: we are still blown away by your hospitality. Your comfy beds, your delicious food and drink, your wonderful travel tips, your care and storage of our precious items while we are gone, and most importantly your encouragement and support have touched us more than you will ever know. The "mini reunions" were so much fun and we really hope you come visit us in Portland (eventually) so that we can return the favor. Better yet - come visit us on our trip!
Family: you think we are nuts for doing this but you don't actually say it. You tolerate lengthy periods of time with little communication; you patiently read our blog posts and look through our hundreds of pictures; and you don't say a word when we do silly things like hike with bears or ignore the "check engine" light for months. You have been so supportive of this endeavor and we know you will continue to be there for us, no matter what happens. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
To the 158 of you (and counting!) following us on Facebook, blogger, flickr and twitter: thank you for your "likes" and comments. Your virtual presence inspires us to find the humor and beauty even in stressful times - one of the many lessons we hope endures after our trip is done.
Finally, Canadian national parks: thank you for the rain. The gorgeous sunny days and star-studded nights were awesome and much appreciated, but the rainy days and nights tested our patience, flexibility, creativity, and endurance - all of which will come in handy over the next several months.
And now back to you, Universe. As we head out on our first "off the beaten path" bus/train trip to Eastern Poland we hope for the best... Regardless of how it turns out, we know you will make sure we learn from, and appreciate, this experience. Thank you.