A Season at Home

Posted by on Jan 18, 2019 in Travel Update, United States | 12 Comments

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. Ecclesiastes 3:1

Six months before we set out on our adventure living a life on the road, my father was diagnosed with incurable colon cancer. We almost delayed our hike across Spain, but my parents insisted we set off. We did, with the understanding that we would fly home if needed. As it is, we cut our nine month stay in Europe by three months because we had the sense that my mother could use some extra help at home.

During the last three years my father had good seasons and bad seasons. At times he couldn’t be left on his own. But at one point he even recovered to the point where he could drive again. He even sneakily practiced driving the quiet country roads in his neighborhood when none of us were at home, to prove he was ready. Laurie and I have based our travel schedule on how much we were needed to help out at home. Then, last September Dad quit his chemo regimen and went into hospice. We delayed our plans to hike the St Francis Way across Italy in order to help provide the nursing care he needed. 

His original prognosis was two years. He lasted over three. In the early hours the morning after Thanksgiving Day, with all three of his sons in town, he passed away. We miss him, but are glad he no longer suffers and walks with Jesus. 

Dad and I, 1960

Since then, Laurie and I have been helping my mother settle Dad’s affairs and transition to her new situation. And now it’s time to resume the vagabond lifestyle we started in April of 2016. We’ll start with time visiting friends and family in the American Southwest, particularly Arizona and Nevada. We have plans for hiking some of the great parks.

We may also bike some of the Oregon Trail. We listened to a book about two brothers who traveled 2000 miles of the Oregon Trail in 2011with a restored covered wagon pulled by three mules—the first covered wagon to travel the trail in over a century. We were surprised to learn that much of the trail—down to the ruts—still exists. While listening to the audio version of the book Laurie said to me, “I don’t want to do it in a covered wagon, but I might want to bike it.” It also turns out that I have relatives who were buried along the trail.

We hope to see some of you and hear from you during our travels. We have made some amazing friends during our journey and believe even more strongly that family and friends are a greater blessing than things.

Ron Brooke, 2006

Ron Brooke’s obituary

12 Comments

  1. Janalyn Voigt
    January 18, 2019

    Hi, Dennis. What a good man your father must have been to raise such a nice son. He positively glows in his picture as an older man. His younger self looks maybe a little sleep-deprived from taking care of that baby he’s holding.

    John and I have talked about bicycling the Oregon Trail too. I’ve followed near it by car and can tell you that much of it gets extremely hot even in early summer. Best wishes to you and Laurie on your upcoming adventures.

    • Dennis Brooke
      January 19, 2019

      I was blessed with a father who really cared. If we do the Oregon Trail we’re going to do a segment in Oregon in the spring before it gets smokin’ hot.

  2. Patty deRidder
    January 19, 2019

    Hi, kids!
    We were there the night your dad was diagnosed–scary time–
    I read the Oregon Trail book–have lots more respect for mules now; Francis, eat your heart out! Maybe you can find Grandma Butts’ grave–that would be great!

    • Dennis Brooke
      January 19, 2019

      I think tying at least one family grave into the trip would be interesting. Do you know of more than one? And, we hope to see you in a week.

  3. Kathleen Freeman
    January 19, 2019

    So sorry about your loss. Sounds like your dad was a spunky guy. Prayers for your mother, and that you two would buoy her with your adventures. Enjoy your hikes and exploration. If you do the Oregon trail, please take many pics.
    Blessings, to you two and your mom.

    • Dennis Brooke
      January 19, 2019

      Gracias, amiga. It will be a season of adjustment for all of us.

  4. Shadrach White
    January 19, 2019

    A wonderful tribute to your Dad. I was missing your posts, please keep them coming. The pictures and writing provide great reflection of the adventure.

    • Dennis Brooke
      January 19, 2019

      Glad you enjoy it. I’m looking forward to hitting the road and sharing stories again.

  5. Cathy
    January 19, 2019

    Hi,
    So sorry for your loss, but as you said your father is in a better place and free of pain. May God bless you and your families at this time and always. It’s great that you are enjoying life as you choose. Have fun in your endeavors and be safe

  6. Machete
    January 22, 2019

    Hi, Dennis. What a good man your father must have been to raise such a nice son. He positively glows in his picture as an older man. His younger self looks maybe a little sleep-deprived from taking care of that baby he’s holding.
    John and I have talked about bicycling the Oregon Trail too. I’ve followed near it by car and can tell you that much of it gets extremely hot even in early summer. Best wishes to you and Laurie on your upcoming adventures.

  7. Kevin Lovejoy
    January 31, 2019

    Dennis – Sorry to hear about your Dad passing, but sounds like he was quite a guy – must have been to raise a son like you. Hope to see you soon.

    • Dennis Brooke
      February 6, 2019

      I was pretty blessed to have a dad who cared and did his best.