If there is such a thing as divine intervention, it certainly played a part in our connecting with Charlie and Suzie Davis, two of the most kind-hearted, down to earth and spirited souls I’ve ever met. I’ll never forget the Skype call that set the wheels in motion. It was almost 1 year ago in Japan, Jon and I were talking with his family back home. We were probably still in our pajamas sipping morning beverages on a lazy Sunday while they were getting ready to call it a night on Saturday evening. (Can we take a moment to celebrate technology?) We were excited about a new trailer that we had found on Airstream classifieds and sharing the details of the beauty we had our eyes on.
In this conversation that happened across 15 time zones, we explained to Jon’s parents how we planned to inquire about this 20’ Flying Cloud, aptly named Silverheels. It would have been something ordinary like, “Dear Sir, we are very interested in your trailer, is it still available?” In her infinite wisdom, Jon’s mom gently informed us that it was a terrible idea and encouraged us to instead share our story – appeal to the human heart on the other end. Following her guidance, we did just that. We reached out to Charlie, who posted the ad, and gave him the short and sweet version of our Airstream Dream. The way it had been conceived over beers on a second date in San Francisco, inspired by a timeless novel and brought to life by imagination. It wasn’t long after that when we heard back from him and made plans to connect further… the rest is history.
Little did we know at the time, it was our story that made the dream come true. This was something that came to light during the maiden voyage in our new home. Destination: Merkel, Texas. On a Monday in mid-January, we decided that our first trip out would be to take Silverheels back home for a visit. On that day, we had the best intentions of leaving early, however we’re learning that when you’re on the road, departure times operate on a sliding scale. We intended to finish up a few final tasks and leave by mid morning, but then those few tasks revealed a few more and we found ourselves heading northwest after lunch. A little later than planned, we rolled into Merkel (20 miles west of Abilene) after 6:00 P.M. with just a hint of daylight left and the appearance of a baby moon, as Suzie lovingly called it.
Upon arrival, we were greeted with warm hugs and smiles, not as strangers, but as kindred spirits. They welcomed Silverheels home in the same fashion. With the last bit of light disappearing, we unhitched under the benevolent watch of Charlie who gave us space to do our thing, but chimed in with thoughtful reminders when we needed a little help. Something that made me both happy and homesick as it echoed my Dad’s similar style. During that first encounter, we learned from Suzie that you musn’t jump the hitch and I know she’ll be pleased that Jon has diligently walked around ever since.
We stayed two nights in Merkel, sharing meals and stories and songs with our new friends. It was during our first night by the fire that Charlie and Suzie shared how our story had landed for them and inspired their willingness to help us make it happen. They explained how every subsequent offer was met with a firm, “no thank you” and how they were pleased about where their beloved Silverheels would be going. They, like us, intuitively knew it was right. And it was all because of a story.
Charlie and Suzie have an air of peace about them that I’ve decided comes from living in simplicity. After living on Davis Ranch for 40+ years, it seems everything has a place. When you create a home for that long, you keep only the things that you love and this was evident in every corner of their property. From moon wisdom to travel memories, you could feel the life that they had designed happening all around. You could hear it in their voices as they told stories that I’m sure evolve and get better with each round of telling. We learned a lot from spending just a little time with Charlie and Suzie. About how to conserve and use only what you need, how it’s possible create space for what makes you happy anywhere. How it takes courage to live in the moment and how every plan is made of equal parts dream and action. We learned that it’s best to be quiet in the stillness of the sunset and to always stop and look up when you can see the stars. Most importantly, we learned how beautiful it is to be travelers welcomed (completely) into a home. Where you inevitably discover new ways of being, improve your own stories upon the opportunity to tell them again and depart feeling more complete than when you arrived.
With overwhelming gratitude for Charlie and Suzie and a lingering crush on Davis Ranch, we left knowing we would be back again.
Until next time, here’s a look at our trip so far.
January 11 – 13 Davis Ranch, Merkel, TX
January 13 – 19 Blanco State Park, Granger Lake State Park, Inks Lake State Park
January 19 – 21 Pedernales Falls State Park