Friday, November 30, 2012

Last day of November....

Well, here it is, the last day of November, and we are still on this chapter of our journey.  
The Travel Chapter.
As Derek mentioned the other day, 
sometimes you just want to read ahead to see what the next chapter holds.  
But, no peeking allowed.   I so want to peek.

It's been a BIT rainy these past few days in Northern California.

Not quite 40 days and 40 nights of rain ~~ but, I admit, I've been thinking of Noah. 
 A lot. 
Every time I smell wet dogs, I think of Noah. I do.

Since Gold Beach Oregon ---- 
we've trekked inland to avoid high winds & flooding along the coast.

We drove through GARGANTUOUS and MAJESTIC Redwood Forests.  
We walked beneath them and stood in awe. 
Kai and Jack splashed and stomped in rain puddles.

We celebrated with my parents, their 63rd Wedding Anniversary, 
at a cozy restaurant on the pier in Trinidad, California.
We saw orange starfish on the rock.

Yesterday, I woke up to Maxine decorated with flowers 
and balloons and ribbons and streamers  
~~ my family totally spoiled me on my birthday~ you are the best.
(and for the phone calls and facebook messages and e-cards ----thank you, I felt so loved!!!)

We're now in Petaluma, and my parents, affectionately nicknamed "YoYo and Boomer" are safely back in their Sacramento home.  Thank you for visiting us and sharing in the journey!  It was so much fun to celebrate anniversaries and birthdays and a Thanksgiving Dinner by the sea...and just be together.  

Tomorrow,  come rain or shine, we will continue our journey south,
and we'll keep adding pages to our travel chapter.
Pictures too.

Even in the rain, God continues to give us rainbows, literally.
Love that about Him.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Today, November 27th...

Crossin' from Oregon into C A L I F O R N I A !

Gold Beach -- Golden Memories

Gold Beach, Oregon, in November
(random order---family popcorn thoughts-- thoughts that pop-up)

Smooth rocks
Miles of sandy beaches
Sound of the waves
Whale spouts
Pelicans skimming the surface of the sea
 Campfire on the beach
Long Walks
Jackets, scarves, hoodies, & leggings
Happy Dogs
Happy Campers
Walking along the coast
Giant rocks jutting out of the water
Whale watching
Seeing YoYo & Boomer!!! (Diane’s parents,who came to camp with us in their RV J)
 Thanksgiving Dinner together at our campsite
Thanksgiving outside, driftwood for our centerpiece
The fragrance of turkey, cooking on the weber
Beautiful campground by the ocean (sorta had the place to ourselves!)
Hearing the pounding waves through the night
Walking through tall seagrass along a sandy path
Chester digging to China
Sneaker waves…that sneak up and get ‘cha
Sandy feet
Galloping horses at the water’s edge….at sunset
Wet dogs
Footprints and paw prints in the sand

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Bandon, Oregon.... Right at the top!

We've met such amazing people along our journey from sea to shining sea,
...just sayin', though.. ... Bandon, Oregon, is  right at the tippy top, for warmth & hospitality.

We started our Thanksgiving Day in Yachats, Oregon, with thankfulness ~~ sitting around Maxine's table ~~~ & not really having a "plan" for Thanksgiving Dinner, as we were going to be traveling. 

We sorta thought we might eat like the Pilgrims did.... a lot of very fresh seafood. (Kai must have heard us talking about the seafood plan).  We were open to eat "out" or "in".  I think we were all LEANING towards "out". However, restaurants were slim pickins. I was secretly hoping someone would invite us pilgrims in for turkey dinner and all the trimmings.

We arrived in Bandon, walked and romped on the gorgeous beach. Drove through town, a town that was very quiet & very closed on Thanksgiving Day.  We pulled into Bandon By the Sea RV Park. It was 3:45.  Keith and I went into the office/gathering place to register.  When we opened the door......we were greeted by the aroma of freshly roasted turkey, and all the fixen's, and some of the friendliest people on earth.

Shirley, the owner of the park, asked us to join them for their annual Thanksgiving Potluck Dinner, "Only day of the year you get a campsite AND dinner.  Dinner starts at 4:00....we have plenty, come join us!"

We parked.  Got Maxine set up for the night.  And then, we all walked down to dinner.  (Well, Kai road her bike.)  We told Kai we were going to have turkey with new friends. She yelled, "TURKEY?WE GET TO EAT TURKEY? NOT SALMON!! YEAH FOR TURKEY!"

Thank you Bandon friends for sharing with us.  It was one of the most memorable & yummy Thanksgiving dinners ever!  You blessed our socks off and filled our hearts and tummies.

God Bless you all.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving Day PST

Sunset in Oregon.  God's handiwork for sure.

Thankful Morning Thoughts........PST
 Pacific Standard Time 

Derek....Ocean View, morning walk on the beach with my family

Keith.....Thankful to the Lord for  my family, for getting us to the west coast safe and sound...and for having fun!

Kailea' Joy ...  The water and the waves and walking on the beach.

Jack Oliver ... his yogurt and toast and learning to use a spoon.  Watching the pelicans fly.  Riding with Daddy in the Bjorn (he doesn't know how to spell that) for an early morning walk.

Abby..... To be living an adventure.  I am thankful for two beautiful kids to love a great husband to ummm ummm just ummm (she needs more coffee)....just say a wonderful family to love.  YOu can erase the kids thing.  Just the family in general.   The ocean to be at.  I AM THANKFUL.  How is this turning out?  

Diane .... for coffee, and more coffee. .... in the morning. Waves out my window.  Family in the motorhome.  For this journey and the Lord's presence with us.
(And listening to all the background noises & laughter while I typed Abby's words~~
Jack's giggles with yogurts smeared on his face, 
everyone telling Abby what to say and interrupting her train of thought,
and then everyone saying, OH, wait, I want to say that....
and of course the burping, 
and the uhhhh --- gas-noises & fragrance (not thankful...hello). 

We are thankful.
We are thankful for you, that you would share our journey with us.
God bless you and keep you.

PS...found this verse yesterday....and I was so thankful.

"All sunshine and sovereign is God,
generous in gifts and glory.
He doesn't scrimp with His traveling companions.
It's smooth sailing all the way with God of the Angel Armies."

From Psalm 84, The Message

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

After 7,000 Miles...We found the Pacific Ocean!

After 7000 miles-- east coast to west coast....We made it to the Pacific Ocean!  Woo Hoo.  
I feel like Lewis and Clark in a 31 foot wagon.

Today the skies cleared. 

We drove THROUGH a rainbow.

When we got our first peek at the Pacific Ocean  we could hardly believe it.
  Sea to Shining Sea

We stopped in Tilamook... and tasted cheese.

In Pacific City, Oregon,
We bundled up and watched a glorious sun, set into the ocean.

And the dogs ran free on the beach and took their first splash in the Pacific.

We toasted at the seaside Pelican Pub and Brewery

so thankful to the Lord for our safe journey west.

The ocean sounds.... and smells ..... so good !!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Pawsing to Ponder in Portland

From the title, bet you are wondering if we are in Portland :-).

Yup. We are in Portland, as in Oregon.

We are glad to be parked here for a few days, especially after a number of back-to-back long days of driving. We all prefer shorter driving days, and longer stays....but sometimes you just do what ya gotta do.  And that's life.

Speaking of "that's life"  ~~ I was reading back through our journey-blogs ....and pondering.  ~~There were the long ones, the short ones, the teary ones, the ones that made me laugh out loud, the warm ones, the cold ones, the ones that sorta sounded like "blah blah blah details", the ones that held me on the edge of my seat, the yummy ones, the plain ones, the hard ones, each one having a different flavor and color.  Not everyday feels like this monumental WOOHOO moment. Some days are just, well, days.  No matter if you are in Maxine, or snuggled in "your" home, or on an African adventure.

....Which made me think back to The Grand Canyon, and something our shuttle-bus driver said. The sun was just beginning to set and she was pointing out the AMAZINGLY DAZZLING & BRILLIANT colors of the canyon walls.   As our jaws were dropped in awe, she said something like this...  "You are seeing The Canyon at the very best time. At noon, it really looks sort of flat, everything looks the same shade & color, and there is no dimension to it.  But at this time of day (& sunrise) the beauty of The Grand Canyon is really displayed, it becomes 3 dimensional, no, I would say way beyond that, 5 DIMENSIONAL.!!!  It is because of the shadows. The shadows bring out her beauty."
So as I sit pondering in Portland...  reading incrediblejourneytails backwards ....  it makes me feel extra-thankful for each day.  Because, it is each day together, that makes the whole picture 5 dimensional  & beautiful.

PS Portland Days....
Derek & Abby & Kai & Jack spent yesterday at the zoo, and continue to enjoy some family time. Keith and I are having some motel moments. AND for the few days we are here in Portland, we will get to spend some time with friends from Hawaii, Colorado, & PA.  We couldn't have planned it if we tried ~~ God is an amazing travel agent.  Yes HE is.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Indoor Malls mean YEEEE HAAAAA

From  Salt Lake City, Utah Ogden, Utah Twin Falls, Idaho Fruitland, Idaho Pendleton, Oregon Portland, Oregon.  Whew---- we've covered some territory.

I think the last time I wrote our tummies were still full from eating at the Red Iguana in Salt Lake City.  The next day we enjoyed leftovers (I must say Jack was especially HAPPY there was guacamole for lunch) and they tasted just as good.  Red Iguana is a MUST if you are in Salt Lake City ~~ the best.

We’ve had a few days of cold and snowy travel ~~ thankful for dry roads outside and warm temps INSIDE of Maxine.   After leaving the Salt Lake City area,  we stayed the night in Willard State Park, Ogden, Utah.  Of course it made me think of one of Chester's & my dearest friends, Willard, in Pennsylvania.

From there we had a longggggggggg day of travel.  By the time we got to Twin Falls, Idaho, we were ready to stretch our legs.  Indoor Malls have taken on a whole new meaning ~~ yes they mean  shopping, of course they mean shopping….but even more they mean INDOOR WARMTH AND  TONS OF SPACE TO RUN AROUND. and exercise.   It is like YEE HAHHHH.  After getting our energy level down to “normal” , and each of us getting a little alone time…..we hopped on board Maxine and pointed her west once again.

The last ½ hour of travel was in the dark and it was snowing and Abby sang and twanged to "On the Road Again" and Derek drove & laughed (listening to his wife belt out country western songs,) the kids were starting to go a little bonkers, Keith was helping Abby with kiddos (I think) but I am not exactly sure about that because I was in the reclining position back in the family suite sipping wine and reading magazines.  When we finally arrived in Fruitland, Idaho, at the Neat Retreat, we were all pooped with a capital P.  I called it Neat-o Burrito accidently, obviously I was still thinking of Red Iguana. 

The next morning, as in yesterday, after we woke up and had coffee…. We were blessed to spend part of the day with a dear dear friend, Sandy, who just happens to live in Fruitland.  We met her husband Eric, and his parents for the very first time, such wonderful people.   They have a big piece of Idaho farmland, and the DOGS WERE SO HAPPY about that.  Bailey and Chester ran and sniffed and played with new doggie friends.  Eric shared some homegrown Idaho potatoes with us, …and walnuts.  Yum.   I think I’m feeling the beginnings of a yummy Thanksgiving Dinner J.   By the way ~~~ I first met Sandy when she and her Mom (who worked with my Mom) came to Abby’s baby shower. Sandy had never been to a baby shower before ~~ and she remembers every detail.  We have been dear friends ever since.  Though we don’t get to see each other often,  after the first hug, it is like no time has passed.   We shared lunch together at one of their favorite spots, Idaho Pizza (where Eric and Sandy knew everyone ---- don’t you just love small towns?!)) & after lunch and lots of parking-lot-hugs, we were on the road again.  

~~We made it to Oregon (can you believe it) and to our campsite, just about sunset. We stayed last night (Tues) in Pendleton, where the RV Park had an indoor pool and hot tub.   So good to splash and play after driving & sitting for a long spell ~~ makes for a good night’s sleep.

After talking to a few truck drivers at our campsite --- we felt especially thankful once again for how God watches over us, travels with us.  We learned that the particular Oregon pass we were traveling over yesterday had been closed all morning due to unexpected, and early, ice and snow-packed roads.  There had been accidents on the east and west bound highways.  Because of God’s timing, sharing our morning with our friends in Fruitland, we did not get on the road until about 2:00pm ~~ by then the roads were dry and clear.  So thankful.

Today, as I type, we are traveling under sunshine, blue skies, and in warmer temps ~~ along the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon.   It is so absolutely gorgeous, and it is fall-again-in-Oregon and we continue to say oh wow.  We can hardly believe we are almost to the west coast,  and how far we have traveled thus far.  oh wow.  Such an incredible journey.

Thank you again for sharing it with us ~~ Love to all......from Diane and the family.  (Pups too of course)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Diners, Drive-ins, Dives, in Salt Lake City!

We had another culinary adventure today (though honestly, with Abby cooking, everyday is a culinary adventure). …. At any rate, we left our snowy campground at Fillmore, Utah, sometime this morning.  And sometime this afternoon we arrived in Salt Lake City.  Roads were dry and clear, sky was cloudy with patches of bright blue sky here and there, and the Wasatch Mountains looked like The Alps.
To back up a few months, before we left PA, a friend gave Derek and Abby Guy Fieri’s book, Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives.  Derek looked up Salt Lake City in Guy’s book, and sure enough there were a few restaurants in Salt Lake. We ended up at Red Iguana….Guy described the flavors as… “you get this sweet and heat, and my taste buds rocked.”  That about covers it for description.   We all ordered different plates  and shared tastes~~ seared ahi tacos, tamales, chili rellanos, enchiladas, sopapillas,  and Derek had a special that was sort of like Huevos Rancheros  to da Max, with mole (pronounced moh-lay…..think Holy Moly!  ..with a Mexican accent.) sauce.  The sauce is what Red Iguana is famous for, and it was slammin’. Totally.

We ordered some Guacamole to go with our chips ….I think Jack ate ¾ of it. Honest. He started with dipping chips in the Guac, and then just went to dipping fingers.  We now call him Guacamole Man --- (it will be interesting to see what comes out in his diapers in the next few hours).  He gives Red Iguana 5 star rating for sure.

We all give Red Iguana 2 thumbs up and a wink ~~ and thank you Rolando for taking such good care of us. Rolando rocks as the best waiter ever. Que Bueno!

We’re camped north of Salt Lake with full tummies.
Tomorrow we start headin’ west.
Adios y Buenos Noches.  Vaya con Dios!

The Latest Picture Links

From warm, sunny fun on the lake
a foot of SNOW!
(whazzz up with dat!)

Here's the story in pictures!
2 links:

Lake Mead & Las Vegas 

Zion National Park & SNOW! 

Saturday, November 10, 2012

7,900 ft & a snowpacked pass

We camped at the entrance to Zion National Park last night under partly starry skies.  And before the stars came out Chester & Bailey enjoyed a swim in the Virgin River that flowed muddy-red right next door to our campsite.  And then, much to their sadness...they had baths before bed.

This morning, Abby, Kai, and I, shopped in the campground gift shop 'til we heard Jack honking the horn.  Obviously he had some coaching telling us it was time to hit the dusty trail ;-) .  Rachel, the campground host and store clerk, told us girls we were welcome to stay as long as we wanted. We liked Rachel a lot

After our shopping time, us girls loaded into Maxine with the guys, & we all took a beautiful drive through Zion Natl Park.  Red mountains, amazing rock formations, bright blue sky, a dusting of snow on the ridges, fluffy white clouds, snow flurries, and a long tunnel ta boot!

So ....after we drove through Zion, those snow flurries got to be a bit more than flurries.  And those snow flurries/or snow storms/ had been happening for a long bit of in most of the day. And the temps had dropped into the low 30's.

And here we were driving Maxine over a snow-packed pass at 7,900 feet. (seriously, what in the world?)  Dori was freezing & shivering behind us, and icicles were hanging off the bicycles on the racks.  HOLY SCHNIKIES.

Derek was driving.......and I was riding shotgun (or as Kai says, holding the shotgun).  I told Derek, as we started heading down the pass.... err, I'm kinda nervous......   Abby told Chester she was glad he was along because we totally needed a therapy dog on this Utah Mountain Route.

 Derek took her slow and steady. Cool as a cucumber. (I never understood that saying, but he did a great job at the wheel :-)

We made it. Safe and sound to the bottom. Level ground and dry roads were a happy site.

We're now settled in a campground in Fillmore, Utah.  There is about a foot of snow on the ground and the KOA host shoveled our spot for us (so nice). Needless to say, we are the only ones here........they told us...... "You shoulda been here 2 days ago, it was 70 degrees!"   We knew that....but we were having too much fun at Lake Mead. 

We are snow-snuggled in for the night.  Late this afternoon, we played in the snow for a lil bit.  Til we froze our hineys off.  Kai did manage to get socks and boots on...and a few layers of clothing. The dogs romped and romped.  And then romped some more.

It's supposed to get down to 17 or 18 or 19 degrees tonight. We're way glad we have a heater and warm blankies.

And super thankful for those angels watching over us today, and everyday.

Everyday is an adventure, that's for sure.

Love to all from Fillmore, Utah. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

5,600 miles and still counting

This morning as we pulled out of our GORGEOUS lake-view Lake Mead camp spot, Keith said, "Well kids...we are at 5,600 miles."

Wow.  And we are still friends.  And still looking forward to the next few thousand.

We've been so spoiled with 80 degrees and sunshine at Lake Mead these past 5 days.  Shorts and slippahs. Yesterday afternoon the weather began to change, the lake turned to deep blue, white caps, and the wind began to blow. said a cold front is coming through, and they were pretty  much right on target. Last night the wind blew and whipped around (I was glad we were not holding down a tent --- been there done that so many times when we've watched camp chairs and shades relocate in a nano-second!).  Maxine swayed in the gusts like a champ and kept her tires on the ground all night long.  Good girl.

When morning came, Derek took an early morning bike ride with Jack, Chester and Bailey too. He rode part of this really cool train-track, now converted into bike trail, that goes to Hoover Dam through huge train tunnels. When he got back, the pups were pooped and his toes were cold (as I said, weather change) but he said it was a GREAT ride.

After packing up camp in the morning, WalMart grocery shopping, Maxine fill-up, lunch/snack, and Jack diaper change, Maxine was headed north about noon. Toward even colder temps.   Kai might have to trade in her bathing suit and sundresses for  leggings/ princess boots/ cardi /socks /scarf/ hat/ vest/ & pink fleece sweatshirt once again. We're hoping she will handle this well :-).  We're trying to be positive and smile about socks. The dogs are totally confused, they don't know whether to shed, or grow new fur.

Onward we go, toward the beauty of Utah....then Idaho....then Oregon....then down the coast toward "home".

“It is good to have an end to journey toward; 
but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”
― Ernest Hemingway

P.S.  I can't remember if I shared Mr. Hemingway's quote before, but it seemed to fit (again?).
(Keith and I are increasing our memory foam mattress from a 2" to a 4". Hoping that will help.) 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Coffee Please

Derek and Abby had a date night  (as in 24 hr date night) in Vegas at The Bellagio... They were telling us about the hotel (like acres of hotel....a whole city within a city hotel), and their room of those rooms where the bathroom is almost as big as Maxine.  And the ceiling is so tall Derek could do a morning reach-to-the-ceiling- stretch and not run into anything.  Where angels put chocolates at your bedside and fluff your pillows. And there is no ladder to climb to get to your bunk, errr, bed. (seriously, I was not jealous.  not at all)

While Mommy and Daddy played and rested and enjoyed we got to have fun with our grand kids.  We love being Papa and Gigi.   I especially love being Gigi in the afternoon and evening and late-morning.   

Obviously, EARLY morning is not my area of greatest gifting. But, when Jack woke up before sunrise I thought "i can do this, i can....i used to do this all the time, 30 years ago...."    After I gave Jack his bottle and snuggled him, I thought this was a great time for us both to go back to sleep. Jack wanted to talk.  And Play.  God Bless Keith .....who sprang into action and thought it would be fun to take Jack on an early morning sunrise bike ride.

So, Jack and Keith were off....and I settled in for a few more winks.  Yes!

Not Yes.  Kai was now awake and SO EXCITED to watch the sunrise with Gigi. (are you kidding me?) She sat on the edge of the bed , just waiting for the sun to come up.  SO EXCITED!  She had a notepad on her lap, and she pretended to write in her journal about everything she was seeing, and as she "wrote" she narrated every word with great joy and enthusiasm, and every sentence was punctuated with   "LOOK, Gigi"      "Gigi, LOOK, it is so beautiful"    "Gigi, LOOK, the sun is getting ready to rise".

I know most of you are thinking, who in their right mind would want to miss a sunrise memory making moment with their precious granddaughter.  I mean, hello.

I know.  I am a schmuck. I was tired.

Honestly though, I didn't want Kai to think I was a schmuck and a tired no fun Gigi.  And I really thought I was doing a good job of mumbling   "uh-huh" ~~ "oh wow"  ~~~ "yup" ~~ "oooh-ahhhh" at just the right intervals, until I heard,

 "GIGI, do you need some coffee?"

Seriously. Yes. 

She did get me laughing though...........
and I did catch the tail-end of the sunrise. 
 It was pretty dazzling, I must say.

A Purple Bucket and Ranger Eric

Yesterday we were at this sandy beach, playing in the sand and water with no sand toys.  Which was totally fine.  And then, ... we spied this bright purple something under a small pile of rocks. We pulled the rocks away and there was a small purple plastic bucket, and a hoe, AND a shovel.  Sand toys! It's true!  Like someone hid it there just for Kai and Jack to find. A hidden treasure on the beach. It was the best discover ever.

Today, Keith and I were taking Bailey and Chester for a swim on another beach ....a beach about a 1/2 mile walk from our campsite.  A ranger drove up.  Stopped.  Honestly our first thought was "rut-roh are we swimming in the no-dog section or what?"... ...  (Why is it that we think....rut-roh when we see an officer???)  Come to find out Ranger Eric just loved Golden Retrievers and wanted to stop and say HI and take time to visit a bit. He told us about his Golden Retriever named "Sport"  ~~~  Sport was a surprise Christmas present from his parents. Eric's Dad told him they were going to a sporting goods store to pick out a new bicycle. But instead, the sports-store turned into a drive to pick up a little furry golden pup. Sport, named after the sport's-store, was the BEST Christmas present ever and his dream come true. Sport lived til the golden age of 15,  and went to doggie heaven while Eric was serving in the military. :-(   

While the pups swam, Ranger Eric stayed...and we talked story for a long while about everything from families & dogs,  to parks & journeys & military & Psalm 23 & coyotes.  It was one of the highlights of our day.  Thank you Eric for your service to our country.  AND for taking time in your day to bless us.

Later in the evening, Ranger Eric took a bit more time... time to find our campsite, & to give our granddaughter an official Lake Mead National Park Junior Ranger Badge.  Just because he wanted to.  He had no idea what a huge moment it was for Kai when she became a Junior Ranger at the Grand Canyon. To think, NOW she has TWO National Park Badges... How cool is that?

Two days in a row....two treasures discovered on the shore.

Monday, November 5, 2012

YEE HAW Monday ;-)

Diane here...

What an incredible day.  Such a beautiful, glorious day.  Totally.

We spent the day on Lake Mead.  We rented one of those patio boats, we cruised and sauntered and zoomed around, and we soaked in the beauty of the lake and the desert shoreline.  And another generation fell in love with Lake Mead.

We said WOW a bazillion more times. We saw Hoover Dam from the lake side, (oh wow), we parked on a super-sandy beach and played and played and built a sand castle, and splashed and swam and got sunkissed and felt Sonkissed.  Derek and Kai went tubing, she hung on tightly to Daddy, and Daddy taught her how to speak boat language with her hands....faster/slower/ok/blow kisses/stop. Jack took a nap on the boat snuggled in his life vest (built in pillow).  The doggies swam swam swam, and then they swam s'more. We jumped off the boat and screamed (well, Abby and I did) and yelled HI-YAH. The water was still in 70's, and the air was the 80's.  Can you believe it?  We couldn't either. A surprisingly warm and  perfect November day.  We were all SO THANKFUL. Yee---Hah.

And one of the best parts for me..... is that ..... I grew up camping on this lake with my family, some of my most-favorite memories ever. Keith grew up camping here with his family.  Our families probably camped right next to each other, but we didn't know it :-).   And, when Keith and I were married we brought Abby and Nick here. Our golden retrievers have done the doggie paddle here.   And now to share it with Derek and Kai and Jack (and Chester and Bailey) for the very first time. It is so over-the-top, so much fun.  Another generation of lake-lovers.

So that was our day.

Now it p.m. is 7:16.  The dogs are sound asleep.  Kai and Jack and sound asleep. And the rest of us are fixen'-to-be-ready to head that way.   A full day.  And full hearts.

The view from our campsite... Maxine's Pad ;-)

Is she so cute or what?

Happy Camper

Nothing like driving the boat with Daddy ;-)
As Abby mentioned in her last post ~~sometimes we wonder if the next stop can get any better. It seems each stop IS "the best".  This is such an incredible journey, with such incredible surprises along the way.   And during this month of thankfulness, I, we, are so thankful!

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Not just another PAD

It’s amazing how you drive into a campground, everything is unfamiliar, you look around for something you can connect with that say’s “Yes, I can call this home for a few days”.  At first it looks like just another gravel slot, sewer hole, and electric & cable hook-up – it’s just another pad.  A week later it has become home.  Rugs laid out, awning balancing to offer shade, table cloth covering the picnic table, pumpkins & candles arranged on top. Camping chairs out, towels hung to dry, dogs leashed outside. We can make home anywhere!!  It’s just the times you go into Wal-Mart that leave you confused. And as you come out you wonder, where the heck am I?  Where did I park? And what car am I driving?! I know anyone can feel that way on any given day.  But it really is confusing when all the stores look the same on the inside and on the outside you don’t remember what town or state you are in, for that matter!  Yesterday we heard the sounds of giggles and splashes in the pool.  Felt the 80 degree warmth of the sun on our skin. And today, sun-kissed & freckled we hooked up Dori again to Maxine and pulled away, feeling a little sad saying good-bye, to ‘not just another pad’.

We stayed in Black Canyon City, Arizona for a whole week!  The longest we’ve stayed in one place.  It’s a local’s kind of town.  Looks like a place you’d find on Route 66.  Old businesses still trying to make it. Beni’s Pizza, Ron’s Market, The Rock Springs CafĂ©, which by the way has REALLY good pies! The Cafe is a place the locals come for breakfast, passers-by fuel up, tourists buy postcards and souvenirs.  However, we did learn that people, far & wide, come for these pies they make.  So of course we had to try them!  And YES, they were delicious!  (Boomer, there’s an apple pie coming your way!  You’ll have to put it to the test!) One morning Derek, Kai, Jack & I decided to go for breakfast – that was the place....the ONLY place! The waitresses greeted us with a smile, placed thick brown mugs of coffee in front of us and asked ‘what can I gettchya for breakfast, Hun?’  After we ordered, we heard Kai say “Daddy, look!  There’s a REAL cowboy!”  And sure enough, sitting up at the diner bar was a real cowboy! Hat, boots, buckle & all!  She was pretty excited!  Good local diner breakfast AND a real cowboy….doesn’t get much better than that!

From what we heard, our little campground was just getting back on its feet.  A run-down, drug-busted trailer park/RV park had been revived and given a face-lift just 3 weeks before we arrived. The residents were thankful for the new ownership that had began to give this little community new life, and we were too, because it meant there were clean bathrooms, showers and a pool, taboot! One by one the local residents found our way to our site to introduce themselves.  (they must not get too many out-a-towners!) They’d tell us stories about themselves….and others.  Mostly they just wanted to talk.  They were nice.  We saw snow-birds come and go as they stopped over for the night on their way to greener pastures.  By the end of the week we felt like a local!  People were waving to us, saying good morning, and hanging out a little longer at the pool.  I’m sure we were the talk of the campground and people wondered what our story was.  But I kinda wondered the same thing about them.  How did they get here?  Why did they stay?  Where did they come from?  What was THEIR story?  Everyone has a story.  Everyone is on their journey.  

 Here, in the little unlikely town in Arizona we found rest.  And here are some of our favorites:

Keith – the warmth of the sun, blue sky, soaking in the hot tub, mac & cheese

Diane – Warm. Sunshine. Pooltime. Seeing Derek finish his book.

Kai – swimming, swimming, swimming!  (Kai was super brave and super excited to learn to swim without her floaties!) She also loved riding on the little train at a park we discovered in the next town over. And she loved the HUGE, TALL cactus, the real cowboy, meeting Makenzie,Connor and Clay+ & NO CARDIES!

Jack – swimming, jumping into the pool, playing at a HUGE playground. another tooth poked through--the better to eat with, my dear!

Derek – Laying low, playing with the kids in the pool.  It was like a resort, having the pool almost all to ourselves.  Desert sky – the sunrise & the sunsets were beautiful.

Abby – swimming, laying out in the sun, reading a magazine (you know it’s the simple things!) watching Kai swim, watching Jack play. PS, I was on BEE ALERT!  There were a few buzzin’ around the pool and I look the liberty to decide their fate at any time they were in my or my family’s space.  The problem with THESE bees was that if you killed one, a half dozen more would come for backup.  NOT good when you have a bee’s graveyard under your lounge chair!  I guess they were out to get me…and did.  Those little buggers stung me.  Just one, but it was enough for me to run back for Benadryl and pray we didn’t have another emergency bee sting.  Thank the Lord didn’t I have a reaction.  But it did make me alittle leary of the pool for the rest of the day. =(  

Another highlight of our time in Arizona was seeing friends we haven’t seen in like FOREVER!  I got to connect with an old friend that I grew up with in Colorado.  After 11 years, it was as if no time had passed.  Except for the fact that we were both married with children now!  Thanks for having us all over, Molly!  It was so good to see your family and be in your home.   --- We also got to reconnect with some friends we all met in YWAM.  Great to see you Howard & Sue!  

We also had haircut time!  Everyone (but me) got cleaned up and perdied-up.  Fresh haircuts always make you feel so good!  Yes, I did bring my shears on the road! Gotta keep my family lookin’ good! On another note, Thursday was a sad day when I had to purchase ‘other’ shampoo because I ran out of my AVEDA.  It’s been 10 years since my hair has felt an inferior product!  AHH!  Father forgive me!

Ya know, looking back at my time in the Grand Canyon, I didn’t want to leave such a beautiful place.  The more I saw of the canyon, the more I wanted to see.  I thought how it could get any better! Then we found ourselves in this little stop-over town and decided to stay a WEEK, just because we wanted too.  And THAT was wonderful!  Unexpected treasures of warmth, pool time, and relaxation.  I don’t want to leave THIS either!  How could it get any better than this?!  Lately, I find myself thinking more about what’s next.  What lies ahead for us?  I’m starting to envision where we will live, what our new home will look like, where we will work, who our new friends will be. Where will we be for Thanksgiving?  What will Christmas be like this year?  Nothing will be the same as it was.  Everything looks different now.  But that’s ok.  Because that will be GOOD too.  Whatever is around the corner for us today, or tomorrow, it will be good.  It may look like just another pad, but eventually it becomes home.

Lake Mead & Hoover Dam here we come! Cruising along to the tune of Johnny Cash =)

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