Friday, August 3, 2018

The Tour de Backpacks

As anyone who has ever planned an extended trip knows, it involves a lot of planning that goes well beyond packing “mix and match” wardrobe pieces. When Allen and Trish plan an extended visit to the U.S., the logistical decisions are enough to make your head spin! On August 30th, Allen and Trish will fly to the U.S. to begin what I like to think of as "The Tour de Backpacks”. This is a behind the scenes look at the sort of planning that is going into that trip.

The Tour de Backpacks will begin on the West Coast and work east. So, naturally, the participants (Allen and Trish) will be flying into Maryland. Huh? Geography is not my strong suit, but that didn’t sound quite right. Trish explained they will be spending a Sunday morning at Lighthouse Church in Glen Burnie, MD. Lighthouse Church is doing a major backpack push, which will span a few weeks, and Allen and Trish will be there for one of those Sundays. After that, they'll fly to Seattle, and begin the big cross-country drive.

Allen is trying to make the best possible use of Sunday mornings. They will have the opportunity to speak at multiple churches. At other churches, they will be available to meet with people and answer questions about why they do what they do. Trish is scheduled to speak at a women's conference, to tell the kidnapping story.

The actual backpack collection will begin in Seattle. The backpacks will be loaded onto a rental truck and they will begin the eastward drive. The fact that Penske’s truck rental policy is that you can only rent a big moving truck for a week adds an extra level of difficulty. So, at the end of each seven day period, Allen and Trish will have to turn in their moving truck, rent a new truck, and transfer the contents! Ah, good times!

They will be mostly making the same stops as last year. Some things are still up the air, but the Tour de Backpacks calendar is filling in nicely! There’s even a fun side trip planned, for Trish to visit with a childhood friend from the seventh grade on - and they haven't seen one another since Trish left for Honduras. Allen and Trish will be going just a few hours out of the way to meet with this friend and her husband at their home in Wyoming. There’s also the possibility of a side visit to Yellowstone National Park, if the weather hasn’t already turned cold there. After so many years in Central America, Trish confesses she is pretty wimpy when it comes to cold weather.

Eventually, the Tour de Backpack participants will arrive back in Maryland with a full truck. They will unload for a shipping container, which will leave by boat from Maryland. After a week in Maryland, they will head south. Multiple groups are doing backpacks in Virginia, Georgia, Florida, and Mississippi.

Trish will return to Honduras in mid November, so that she can be home when Ben’s school lets out for the year. Trish will likely miss out on loading the Florida shipping container, but is already looking forward to having Ben home for a while. Allen will stay and finish up any loose ends. He will return home in early December.

One of Allen’s strengths is figuring out logistics, but even his head is spinning with the planning involved in this trip! This trip has been sneaking up on Trish because she's had her head buried in appointments with sponsors, so that the website can be completed. She will not be internet accessible very often while on the Tour de Backpacks. If you are a sponsor who has not yet scheduled an appointment with Trish, please do so ASAP.

 - posted by Christi

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