Thursday, June 21, 2007

A 4,000-mile road trip, reunions and a dog named Diesel

The family just returned from a two-week, 4,000+ mile road trip from Washington, through Oregon, Idaho, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, back throough Utah and Nevada, and then on to California, Oregon and back here. What a wonderful time of family, scenery and lots of character building, too.

The purpose of the trip was to see both of Bill's grandmothers in Colorado and California, which we did. We hope that the kids, especially the little ones, remember them.

We also saw lots of friends and other family along the way. It's a privilege knowing so many people across this country. We saw family or friends in every state except Nevada. That gave us something to look forward to each leg of the trip. Those visits were very precious to us. It's a blessing to know that there are some people God has placed in our paths over the years that we can pick up where we left off.

We met a couple in Boise Bill hadn't seen in 15 years. Although we were able to meet them only for an hour and a half over breakfast, the fellowship was sweet.

We also visited with a family who used to belong to our church here in Washington and who now are pastoring a small church in Utah. Though we were very late getting in, they stayed up for us, had beds ready and visited with us until well past midnight. We appreciated their hospitality and understanding that only another large family that has traveled cross country could possess.

We also met our baby's namesake in the Denver area. One of our little guy's middle names means badger. It was great the little badger met the big badger in the mountains of Colorado.

We met Bill's college friends in Denver and their new baby. It was great seeing their lives changed and their family.

We met tons of relatives as well as friends we suprised, in western Colorado. We wanted to meet others but there wasn't time.

In California we met some of Bill's family, some of whom Bill hadn't seen in nearly 30 years. It was interesting watching various family dynamics, and, for Bill, getting reacqainted with some cousins he has very clear childhood memories of. It would be nice to reestablish a permanent connection with them.

We saw Crater Lake. Very nice!

We then met with another of Bill's college friends and his family in Oregon. The visit was much too short, but that's the problem with long road trips.

And what family vacation would be complete without a vehicle disaster? We decided to watch the sunset on the beach at Long Beach, WA. We (Bill) strayed too far off the packed sand and got the van stuck. After trying in vain to dig out, and snapping a climbing rope we had when a passerby came to help, we had to get some real help. Shortly before sunset, a huge moustachioed guy named George and his huge Mastiff Diesel arrived in their huge 4x4 to pull us out. The job took all of 30 seconds and cost us $85. But it was worth it, and we still had time to watch the sun go down, giving the perfect ending to a great trip. We arrived home shortly before 3 a.m.

We came home with a lot of memories, thoughts and ideas for future trips, as well as confirmation that we are where God wants us to be despite wondering at times if He's calling us somewhere else. We do know that we need to visit our friends and family more often. We pray that we will be able to do that as He provides the means to reach those people.