What started out as an uncertain trek from Arizona ultimately became an extended love letter to my boyhood home state of Michigan. Every turn in the road brought me closer to the pure, diverse beauty of the land and the welcoming hearts of the people who call it home. And just when I thought it couldn't get any better, I was blessed with this picture perfect parting gift from above on my last night in Michigan. So it is with tremendous gratitude that I thank God for all my gracious hosts across America*, my wonderful tour guides, the great friends and family who went out of their way to connect, the business that went the extra mile to help me**, my incredible sister, Norene, and for the many people who virtually joined and encouraged me on this journey. Because of you, I was blessed beyond measure throughout this 9000 mile, 143 day trip.
*Thank You To My Gracious Hosts (In Order Of First Appearance).
Debbie Majerek, Jan Marquis, Albert Przybylski, David Kwiatkowski, Daphne Horvath, Becky Sanders, Angie and Brad Nachtigal, Tony Rubbo, LuAnne and Dave Gray, Yolanda and Jerry Davis, Rene Carnahan, Debbie Sammons, Marge Morgan, Kim Golemba, Renee Jones, Paula, Tim and Matt Warner, Patti and Gerry Congleton, Margo and Rick Wilhelmsen, Cathy Ryan, Jan Belair, Kathy Bloomfield, Darlene Cox, Kay and Chuck Herndon, Kelly and Joe Sicari, Jessie, Brett, Edison, Winston, Lucie and Ellie Letourneau, Patsy and Jim Donahey, Rich Sikes, Lori Mills, Patti, Stephanie and John Taylor, My Colorado Family, Patti Linder-Stivers and Gary Musgrave.
**Thank You Shults Hyundai For Going The Extra Mile To Help Me.
I owe a special thanks to Rick Bruce, General Manager of Shults Hyundai in Lakeville, NY and his team for going out of their way to help me out of an otherwise dire situation. You see, I was driving from Michigan to surprise my Daughter, Jessie and family who were vacationing in upstate New York. Half way there I developed engine trouble in a remote area. With grace from above, i found the one Hyundai dealership in the area. Rick Bruce's crew assessed my perilous situation and immediately got me into a rental car so i could continue on and pull off my surprise visit. Within a few days his team got me qualified for a new long block engine replacement and gave me a dealership loner I could drive until the new engine was delivered and installed. And while everything was backed up for months because of Covid, Rick acted as my advocate with Hyundai Corporate to attempt to expedite solutions. Thankfully, due to his care and diligence and Hyundai's excellent warrantee on my 2016 Tucson, I was ultimately able to get back on the road again in my own car. What's more, I incurred no cost for the complete engine replacement and the dealership loaner car. So what could have been an awful experience for me turned out to be an awesome opportunity for them to showcase their great customer service.
PS. I took this picture on the day I picked up my Tucson and started driving back to AZ. Even the sky was happy. :-)