Thursday, April 02, 2009

Winter Furlough Epic -- Part 7!

Hey! David and Andrew -- I'll bet you thought I forgot to post about you guys! Not a chance!!!!

These guys were in our youth group ever-so-long ago. They were two of the first three missionaries who came down to visit us here almost 3 years ago. David, Andrew and Tyler were sand-shoveling, brick-hauling machines. (Just so you know, we've never worked any team as hard as we worked you guys...especially in July!!!) Should I show pictures? Nah. Well...maybe just one or two.

Here are the 3 amigos putting together a small building in Alomito for the second time. The first time they put it together as a "temporary shed". That night the village was hit by a small tropical storm, and the building was flattened. The second time they put the building up, they made it a little sturdier. Temporary is fine, but 24 hours is a little too temporary -- even around here! It's still standing, and now it's being used as our friend Miguel's house.

That was almost three years ago. My, how time flies! Look at how little Andrew and Evie were!!! Tyler is now married and has a beautiful daughter. David and Andrew are both getting married this summer and are planning on honeymooning down here...right??? ;^)

Well, that was an interesting jaunt down memory lane. We did get to spend a little time visiting -- although not nearly enough -- and then we turned left on I5 and headed south again.

In route to California, we stopped in Roseburg just long enough for Sarah to take her drivers' test. She passed with flying colors. Neither Doug nor I could remember how many questions you were allowed to miss and still pass. It has, afterall, been a few years! We had told Sarah that she was allowed to miss a couple, so she said that when she missed a second question, she began to worry a bit. Apparently, she asked the guy later and he told her she could miss up to 7 (or something like that). Well, no matter! She has her learner's permit now!!!

We were now homeward bound. Driving north a couple of weeks earlier, I took this great photo of Mt. Shasta.

Driving south...we didn't see much mountain. In fact, there were some strectches of highway where we didn't see much of anything! We were one of the last cars to get over the Siskiyus before they closed the pass. Thank you, Lord! We met up with some folks traveling from Seattle a couple of days later who had been stuck in Yreka. They said it took them 9 hours to drive from Yreka to Sacramento once the pass was opened (that's normally about a 5 hour trip).

We arrived in Chico in time to visit CC Chico Saturday night -- which everyone was very happy about. Doug and the Jr. High youth leader took some time that afternoon to load up an old air hockey and pool table that they were donating to our ministry. Wa-HOO! [Side note: I don't know how much that air-hockey table was used in the youth room, but I think it's possible that it's being used more here! The kids from Boca love to come over and play air-hockey! It's trans-lingual!!!]

We shared at Chico Family Church on Sunday morning. We let the kids share from their hearts (which can be a scary thing -- you never know what kids are going to say!), showed some pictures of our ministry here and gave a bag of giant marshmallows to the kids in children's church. If you've never had a giant marshmallow, you're missing out. You'll just have to come down here and try one! I've never seen them in the States!

Then it was on to Sacramento to return our house on wheels. That RV was SUCH a blessing!!! We still miss it!

After the near-miss we had over the pass in Oregon, we thought it best to check the road reports to make sure the Grapevine was open. Everything looked good, so away we went!!!

Storm clouds were rolling in, though. As we neared Bakersfield we saw this:

The sign says, "I 5 closed 123 miles ahead due to snow. Use alternate route." Well, at least they gave advance warning!!! So we detoured through Kramer Junction. Kramer Junction has exactly one stoplight. This is the line waiting to turn right.

We thought our wait was bad, but it was nothing compared to the trucks waiting to turn left!
This leg of the trip wasn't as comfy as the first leg. We were a bit spoiled by the RV and being able to spread out, but we got cozy and made the best of it!

But we finally made it back to Grandma's house, fixed another little "fixit thing" that was giving her trouble, and then we piled back into the van for our last leg in the States -- bound for Tucson.

Well, our furlough epic is nearly finished, and we haven't had any serious "issues" -- aside from a couple of hours of pretty tense driving over a snowy pass and a significant detour around LA, which worked out fine, since we were heading to Riverside anyway. When you travel as many hours and as many miles with as much weight as we usually do, you just know that once in a while "things happen".

Thank you, Lord, for the angel driving the Harley who flagged us down just outside of Indio, California, to tell us that we had smoke coming off our trailer tire.
It was bad, but it would have been really bad if we hadn't stopped when we did.

Doug and Andrew strolled over to admire the various dune buggies until the wheel shop opened. During the course of the next 6 hours, Doug rebuilt the wheel bearings and got us back on the road. It wasn't a really easy fix and the man at the bearing store actually said, "Well, that's what you get when you use any old thing to make a trailer. Better to just use things for what they're intended." Well, I could argue that. That little-red-trailer-that-used-to-be-an-almond-sprayer has traveled many long, heavy miles over the past 20 years. I think it was entitled to new bearings once in its life!

So we did eventually make it to Tucson -- really late at night. We made pbj's and collapsed. Not until morning did we realize what a beautiful place we had landed in!

Only one more furlough post to go!!! Then we'll be caught up and you won't have to see anymore traveling photos...for 6 months!!!

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