Road Trip!

Today we hit the road for three weeks. In a way this trip will be the centerpiece of our summer of travel and define this period in our lives. It somehow feels important to have something big that we can put a pin in. “The summer after Norah died we did this thing”. It has given us something to look forward to and plan for during a time when it is all too easy to live in the past.


For years we dreamed of taking a road trip with the girls and visiting some National Parks. I have great memories of my own family when I was growing up taking several road trips across the country to visit family in Oregon and stopping along the way to see some of the iconic sights “out west”. A few years after Peggy and I were married we took 6 weeks to tour the country in our Subaru wagon, tent camping in campgrounds and visiting friends and family along the way. We have always wanted our girls to experience some of the sites we had visited and, with Norah approaching middle school years, it seemed like maybe the window was closing on the time when the girls would be excited about long hours in a car with parents. Norah loved nature and was always soaking up new facts about amazing places and animals. We are now embarking on a trip that she would have loved. And hated. She had little patience for being uncomfortable. There will be many times on the trip when we will say “Norah would have loved this” or “Can you imagine how Norah would have complained about this?” 

In order to follow along with the Steel Wheels, we bought another camper. Yes, we are now a 2 camper family. I know, it’s ridiculous. But we couldn’t take along our old 27 ft trailer in and out of big cities and all the way to Montana, and we didn’t want to stay in hotels every night. So we found a used truck camper that we could slide into the bed of our 2000 F-250. We drove up to PA to buy it from a retired couple who were upgrading, and we knew it was well loved and cared for when he kept shaking his head saying, “I should have given it one more wax for you.” It took me 5 hours to buy the thing because he had to show me every little part.

Our first night in the camper in VA at our friend’s river party

We’ve started calling it our gypsy wagon, and we’re excited about the adventures we will have. This trip will have 3 phases. Week one: we gig our way out to Montana with the Steel Wheels, a show every night for the first few nights, ending with a festival in White Sulphur Springs. Week two: we get a week of free travel through the Rockies, making our way down to Southern Colorado and another festival. Week three: we hightail it home for the end of summer and school!

We are taking along little reminders of Norah. A dashboard hula girl to remind us of her love for all things warm and sunny and her desire to someday travel to Hawaii. Her favorite animal carved into a new bed rail using walnut lumber from our little 2 acre wood.

32 Replies to “Road Trip!”

  1. Dennis - Papi says:

    Love it! And love you guys! Have an awesome trip!!

  2. Deb Huffman says:

    May this trip bring healing as you remember and reflect. May it also bring lots of new wonderful healing moments. Safe travels! Deb

  3. Debbie Dixon says:

    You all are in my heart. I know this epic journey will bring peace and healing so enjoy this journey.

  4. Suze Davies says:

    Thank you once again for including us in sharing your thoughts and your adventures. Even though I never met Norah I feel I am getting to know her better and better through your blog. I love your new camper and the story you told., envisioning the past owner taking pride in selling it to you. Happy camping to you as you take this next step in your journey of love and healing.

  5. Richard and Elsie Bowman says:

    So glad you can do this! Thanks for sharing. May your trip be a great time together. Savor the memories, both new and old.

  6. William says:

    I need to say that you are an inspiration. You are showing people that life is possible beyond tragedy. Thank you for deciding to include others in your life. While I know this blog is therapeutic in your grieving, it also helps those of us who are grieving for you. Its new territory for me to read such a blog to be honest.Somehow, some way, its helping in ways you might not imagine. Life is hard, but it must go on, or at least-it CAN go on if you choose it. That’s what your teaching. I look forward to reading whatever you might share during your travels in the future. Safe travels, and all the best! -William

  7. Sandy Hine says:

    Wishing safe travels and blessings during this wonderful trip of building new memories. Times together that help promote healing are so important and at the same time knowing that sweet Norah will always be with you all.
    One day we will have to share our stories of “Cabover Camper Adventures”…my dad built one in 1958 for our travels and yearly camping trips.

  8. Cindy Dickel says:

    Love your blog and your memories of Norah and the new memories you are making as a family. I had to laugh at the buying process…it could have been Brian’s dad selling that to you. Happy traveling.

  9. Ray Massucco says:

    Eric and Peggy,

    Thank you for opening your hearts and thoughts to the rest of us. Please know that the enormity of Norah’s loss is felt by all of us and that our love will follow you everywhere.

  10. Keep talking about Norah and sharing her spirit and spunk with us!

  11. Emily Morrison says:

    So many hearts travel with yours. Oceans of love.

  12. Gail Watts says:

    What a great plan! Have a wonderful adventure! Much love to you all.

  13. Patressa Kearns says:

    What a fearless and fun thing to do — create a new tradition in memory and honor of Norah! And what a fabulous bunch of memories you’re making for Lydia, too. Our national parks are made for reasons exactly like those — creating memories, honoring life, and preserving tradition. (Like Norah, I especially love animals; seeing wildlife is the best part of traveling in wild places.) God bless you all. I know you’ll have a beautiful time!

  14. Sandy Brown says:

    Have fun and enjoy. Will be thinking of you guys. Thoughts and prayers are with you

  15. Jennifer Sterling says:

    Looking forward to reuniting with you Peggy and meeting your family in CO. Safe travels. Sending our love, Jennifer

  16. Derek says:

    “The ukulele hula girls last the longest” – Alan Pflueger, Baja 1000 Trophy Truck racer on the movie Dust 2 Glory.
    We’ve got a spot for u in CA when ur ready.

  17. Hayward and Jane Phillips says:

    This is wonderful!! So glad to hear how you and your family are doing. Hayward and I think of you often! Years ago we were on the hunt for a truck camper! You can go and camp anywhere! Hope we see you soon and as always your family remains in our thoughts and prayers ❤️Hayward & Jane

  18. Vickie says:

    Wishing you many blessings along the way.

  19. Todd and Carree Taylor says:

    I think losses such as yours have a defining moment in many people’s lives. It alters your perspective about what is important and lets you appreciate things that may have gone overlooked for far too long. God has a plan in it all. Little might you know how your journey through loss and restoration has helped so many others be inspired to pick up and keep going. Best wishes for a fun, safe, and memory filled journey through the first of many moments without that precious child. Godspeed. <3

  20. Jenn Mann says:

    Perfect & perfectly-timed trip. When you folks are ready to come to Hawaii, let me know. Be safe, & enjoy!

  21. Les Helmuth says:

    Sounds like a full summer! Enjoy those precious family moments!

  22. Penny and Rick says:

    What a beautiful way to spend the summer, making new memories, healing as best as you can and cherishing your loved ones.

  23. Rose Shenk says:

    Thanks for sharing your summer trip with us. The Christmas after my dad died in Tanzania, we took an extended family vacation to attend his memorial in Tanzania, where he and my mom had been serving with MCC/EMM. We really needed that time out of the loop with everyone, and it was exactly the right thing.
    Next summer will be harder. And then it slowly gets easier. And what you’re doing now will help. Thank you for the courage of gratitude. That’s really powerful stuff.

  24. Don Morrison says:

    What a wonderful tribute to Norah. Hope to see you at the Ark in October.

  25. Babs Newton says:

    Much love to the Brubakers from Hendersonville NC. May you all see many rainbows, cross many glistening rivers and make memories that will be passed on to the generations to come in your family.

  26. Lana Henson says:

    This makes my heart so happy! I knew it was important for you to get back to the band, but also knew it would be hard to leave your family. I love that you are doing this together and taking parts of Norah with you. She is always with you, and time will heal the gaping hole in your life. Blessings on you and your family!

  27. Julie Waldron says:

    What a wonderful idea….
    to spend quality time traveling together
    as a family
    grieving the tragic loss of Norah!

    PRAYING for healing in the tears and
    remembrances….
    and, yes,
    even in the music!
    🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶🎶🙌

  28. Jan Houser says:

    This blog is an inspiration to all of us. Thank you for mustering the courage to keep us abreast of your activities. We love you and pray for you.

  29. Betty & Gary Bailey says:

    Safe travels. We continue to pray for your family. So glad you are back with the band. Cool that you’re traveling together as a family and enjoying nature.

  30. Nancy Riker says:

    May much healing come as you blog and spend this special time with your family as you remember your sweet Noah!! Love and prayers!

  31. Debbie Dunn says:

    While my heart breaks for you I absolutely LOVE everything about this and I’m thrilled to “ride” along with you. Thank you for the reminder that even when we must walk through the darkness there is light all around. I look forward to hearing about your journey and getting to know Norah.

  32. Sue Mower says:

    Such a memorable and ongoing healing excursion for you and your family. Cross country road trips are fresh in my mind as I recall my adolescence. Unforgettable memories of Norah and the new memories which will be created. Safe travels!

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