What can we learn from adventures?

Our team is looking forward to taking some time for rest, recovery, and adventure so I have one more post before we sign off for that time until the end of August!

Let me tell you a few stories from a great adventure and invite you into reflecting on what God is teaching you in your own adventures.

Back in July 2020, I took a grand adventure with my son Alex, my dad, and a couple of buddies to drive the Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail. As we drove this route from Northern Illinois to Lake Superior, we traversed roads like Forest Road 327 (in the above video) that taught us just how big horseflies can get, and just how big our Father is. As Morgan Snyder says in his book, Becoming a King (which we were listening to throughout the trip), “adventure is where God has to show up”. He showed up in ways big and small on that trip. I want to invite you into a few of those moments and to begin to have a posture of reflection over your adventures this summer about what God might be inviting you into, and the restoration that is available when you say yes to that invitation.

Relational restoration by invitation

The beginning of the trip was a great moment where my dad was welcomed into my world of Land Rovers and guys I hang out with on the internet in the Dad Edge Alliance. He’s an adventurous soul, and helped push me through to get my Eagle Scout rank as a teenager, so this was rekindling that connection for us that he haven’t had in a while. A deep restoration was begun on this trip with our father to son relationship. It all began by just inviting him into my world to come along with our adventures. He was also able to speak into my friends’ lives as we sat around campfires through the Southern half of our journey and share some of the pitfalls we might be able to avoid in our stages of life. What might you be able to find by inviting your own dad into your adventures? Maybe you need to reconnect. Maybe there’s healing that needs to happen. Keep it low risk and fun and see where it goes.

Adventure is available

Before this trip, even as one of the authors of this blog, I had this notion that you have to live somewhere like Colorado to have outdoor adventures that you want to tell about around a campfire with your grandkids. I want that kind of life for myself and my family! Don’t we all? So with COVID in full swing and flights to the mountains not available, I asked the Father, “what’s available in this season?” He pointed a big neon arrow to the Trans Wisconsin Adventure Trail, which the start of was only a 3.5 hour drive from my house.

The route goes from Galena, Illinois all the way to Lake Superior on ATV rated, public roads. There’s a great mix of country backroads, gravel, and sandy forest service roads. If you’ve got 4WD or an AWD SUV with a little ground clearance, it’s totally doable. Some of the pictures I took remind me of just how cool this overlooked area of the country is!

The scenery we drove through and camped in ranged from rolling hills covered in mist, to country farmland, verdant green forests, to near ocean-like lakeside grandeur. A feast for the senses throughout the trip (not to mention amazing food along the way!). It was a great reminder that you don’t have to venture all that far, no matter where you live (especially in the United States) to find some adventure. You just have to be a bit creative and go with God!

Check your equipment

At about 2 AM on our last day of the trip, I heard a loud “TWANG!” below my rooftop tent, and suddenly I rolled onto my side. I ventured out into the dark to find that one of the crossbars holding the tent up had snapped. I wedged a piece of firewood underneath it to prop it up for the night, and hoped I’d be able to figure something out in the morning to fix it before we had to drive 6 hours home. If I had checked the load capacity of the stock crossbars ahead of our trip, I would have found that we were overloading them and creating not only an inconvenient, but dangerous situation by sticking a tent up there for 6 days.

By the grace of God, no one was hurt, and our chosen campsite was only a few miles from town where they had a hardware store and a heavy equipment repair shop. My buddy and I zip-tied a splint of a couple of wrenches from the tool bag onto the crossbar to get us to town, where we were able to fashion a solution that MacGyver himself would have been proud of.

The lesson I took away from this was to always carry an embarrassing amount of zip ties in the car for emergencies, and do a very thorough check of all the major components of the car before you leave.

Take the leap, inspire your kids

Wish I had a better video of this! Alex taking his first cliff jump!

We spent a couple days on Madeline Island in the Apostle Islands, which is a small group of landmasses in Lake Superior. It was like taking Alex to the ocean! Queue my surprise when given the opportunity, Alex was ready and eager to take the plunge into the frigid waters off of a 10 foot high cliff. What a rush! It was so cool seeing my little guy grow into his adventurous heart in that moment. I led the way and made sure he wouldn’t dash his head on rocks (and he was wearing a life jacket), but he was ready to go after that. Reflecting back on this, it’s alot like how the Father operates. He’s taken the leaps ahead of us and invites us to jump in. He won’t let us crack our heads on a rock or drown in the waves. Yet He’s inviting us into dangerous, wild places alongside Him. What would that look like for you in your life?

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