EP Shadows Road Trip begins

On Saturday February 6th, 2016 Gustaff and I said goodbye to Key West, hopped in our rental car, and began our 82 day road trip across the United States, planning to play musical concerts in at least 50 cities through 11 states.
After a short stop in Plantation to pick up Gustaff’s suitcase we continued the rest of the way to Tampa, Florida.

EP shadows road trip begins
(Photo by Kyle Schmalenberg)

We arrived late at night/early the following morning at our first hosts home and went straight to bed.

morning in tampa
Enjoying the morning view in Tampa.

The next morning, after a wonderful breakfast of eggs, bacon, blueberry muffins and coffee, we headed to the Tampa Baha’i Center for our first performance of the trip. The center filled up quickly and we played a gentle but interactive devotional for the welcoming audience. Afterwards we finished up with questions and answers which lead to some enlightened conversation.

performance tampa baha'i center
(Photo by Hardy Roberts)

Eventually Gustaff and I had to rush to get going in order to return the rental car before we had to pay extra, and just as we were about to leave someone heard about our struggle with arranging transportation and offered to lend us their van for the entire trip! All we had to do was pay some monthly maintenance fees.
We decided pretty quickly to take the deal, so we rushed to the airport getting the car there just in time, realizing we forgot to fill it with gas. Therefore, we had to leave, fill it up, and return it late. After explaining our situation with the lady in the office we were able to knock off the extra fee for being late, thankfully.

chevy caravan orlando road trip
Our “new” van we named Consolo (Solace).

From there the family who was renting us their van picked us up, then we dropped it off to get some last minute tune ups, and in the meantime we visited a newly formed Junior Youth Group in the area. After a couple hours of hanging with the JYG, playing music, soccer, and enjoying lots of great conversation we returned to the family’s home for dinner before receiving the keys to the van, thanking them a million times, and then setting off towards Orlando. Truly beginning our road trip.

Junior youth spiritual empowerment program
New friends at the JYG

The whole drive Gustaff and I excitedly chatted about how blown away we were by the love and support we received from Tampa on the very first day of the tour. The van drove wonderfully, and we arrived safely in Orlando late that evening, only to be welcomed into yet another warm and radiant home for a much needed deep and peaceful sleep.