I've waited a few days to answer to let things about this trip develop. So far, so good. My friend still wants to come along and is very excited to be an intergral part of the planning for the journey. He has not brought up the subject of religion and I don't think he intends to do so. He is maintaining a distinct separation between the WTS religion and our friendship. That doesn't mean the subject doesn't come up when we talk on the phone on occasion, but that he hasn't been persistent or insistent on it. That's a cue for my approach and I think I will keep that approach throughout the entire planning and traveling we will do.
I believe OMJ raises a valid question when he wonders why my friend would deliberately go on a pleasure trip with a disfellowshipped person despite all the condemnation such an action would get from rock-of-ages Witnesses. I honestly don't know what to make of that decision, but I've decided not to question it. If he is comfortable with it, then I can certainly live with it. That will address points that nugget, jemba and others have made about expectations. If all either of us expects is to have a great time on this road trip, then we'll do fine. If either of us wants to "convert" the other, then there may well be problems. That doesn't mean we can't talk about religion, but I will endeavor to put across the "live and let live" philosophy I adopted when I made up my mind to never return. I believe my friend wants to do likewise.
I want to thank Flossycat for reading my blog. I have thoroughly enjoyed writing it. Yes, the Piggly Wiggly supermarket chain is alive and well in the Southeast. Fundamentalist religion is as strong as ever and still has a chokehold on many people in this region. I have been to Evergreen, Colorado on more than one occasion and miss it as well as all the rest of the state very much. I have days in Alabama when I am tremendously homesick, but I do hope to eventually return to the Rocky Mountain West.
Finally, I want to thank everyone for their good wishes for "Autumn Adventure 2013". I get excited everytime I think about what lies ahead. I made a similar pilgrimage back in 1980 when I drove the route alone. Having friends with me the next time will only make the journey even better, and give all of us memories that we will forever cherish.