Tag Archives: California

Let’s get started!

OK — the kiddos have been hugged, I’ve caught up with my email and financials (well, mostly), and I don’t need to think about the SOWER newsletter for at least another week. AND – I have good internet and Verizon signal! And that seems like a perfect mix to finally get this blog back on track!
Way back, when I wasn’t so far behind in this blogging thing, I had every intention of doing a post about how different the drive from Idaho to California was from the Curvy, Curvier, Curviest drive we had from Montana to Idaho. I was going to post pictures about how Straight the roads were
even though there were a couple of these signs to get my attention –
(Donner Pass on I80 in California)
But mostly our two day drive from southern Idaho to central California was beautiful and peaceful and without incident.
Just the way we like them!
And then I was going to say that if you wanted to see more “Road Ahead” pictures of that beautiful drive, you can check them out HERE!
But it seemed so long ago that I wasn’t sure if anyone would be interested.

But I knew I didn’t want to skip over our time at Sugar Pine Camp! We were officially there by ourselves,
but there was another SOWER couple who had been there all summer as “SOWERS on Assignment” – SOWERS who come for an extended time, usually with a specific job in mind. So while we weren’t necessarily working directly with them, it was great fun to hang out with them whenever we could!
Our work at Sugar Pine was pretty varied. I did some housekeeping, some office type chores, and lots and lots of laundry.
Gary did some electrical work, some A/C and refrigeration stuff, and then settled in (with lots of help from the other SOWER guy) with building a shed on the back of a staff house.
And if you were wondering how they were going to get into the shed….
Yeah, he’s smart like that!
Interestingly, except for the T-1-11 on the outside, all the lumber used in the shed was milled right on the property. That was pretty cool!
So it was a busy and beautiful month. There were retreats going on every weekend, and even during the week there were groups coming and going. (Hence, my housekeeping and on-going laundry duties!).
But for all the activities, it was a very peaceful spot.

Once again, it was a great month. We were in a beautiful part of the country (more on that later), serving at a dynamic ministry “Impacting Lives for Christ”, enlarging our SOWER family, and enjoying a nice quiet month after such a ‘social’ month back in Idaho (which is always welcomed by my sweet introvert hubby!).

Just checking in!

We’ve left Idaho, and we’re settled in Oakhurst, California (see the So Where are We Now page for more details), and I have lots and lots of stuff to write about. And lots of pictures to share.

Sadly though, I have very bad internet so it might be a bit before I get an official post done. So this is just to say –

We are alive.
We are well.
We are busy.

I’ll do my best to get some real ‘catch-up’ soon!

Thanks for your patience! Here’s a Windshield Shot to hold you over…..
On our way!! Yosemite here we come! #ontheroadagain
(Starting out in Idaho)

10 Things I think I forgot to mention

10. Way back in February (yes, that was quite a few ‘yesterdays’ ago) we took a little field trip to Robson Ranch and Mining Camp, a ghost town remnant of the booming mining industry that helped settle the Wickenburg area of Arizona.
It was an interesting day –a little history,
a little hiking (complete with some petroglyphs that I personally never found but were documented by others in our group),
and some beautiful scenery.
Here’s a link to my set of pictures from the day – Robson Mining Ranch

9. In March we checked out St. Anthony’s Coptic Monastery outside of Barstow, CA. This was WAY OUT THERE.
(It’s that little white dot on the left, halfway up! And we had already driven about 1/2 hour on that dirt road.)
And we really weren’t sure just what to expect. What we found was a relatively new church that was quite ornate, a grouping of single-wide mobile homes (the monastery part), another older church (or two – it was hard to tell) and 5 (yes, 5) tour buses that had come up from Los Angeles. We were a bit out of our element (most of the other visitors were actually Coptic Christians and there on a pilgrimage of sorts) so aside from checking out the gift store (most items in Arabic) and taking pictures of the church, we chose not to linger.

8. Early Man Site. OK – here’s another head scratcher. Since we were already driving on dirt roads (finding the monastery) that day, we thought we’d find out just what this Early Man Site was all about.

Well, apparently although no human bones have been found, there have been discoveries of tools and tool making rocks. Again, it was a nice hike and some beautiful views of the San Bernardino Valley and the Mohave Desert. And I suppose if I was into archaeological digs, this could hold some interest. For us – not so much. (Just keeping it real!)
Here are just a couple more pictures.

7. Remember our Berdoo Canyon Adventure coming out of Joshua Tree Natl Park?
As we were navigating our way through that canyon, we had a certain ‘carrot’ hanging out in front of us – a date shake at the Shields Date Gardens.It kept us going, to be sure. However, by the time we emerged from the canyon, the sun was setting and the Date Garden was closed. “Hey, we’re adults,” I said. “I bet we can figure out how to make a date shake.” Without skipping a beat Jenny said, – “Tell him your dad has a gun.” Aren’t we hilarious! 😉

6. This past week my big sister had a birthday. Oh, it wasn’t one of those “Big Ones”, but it was still a birthday, and at our age, we should never take them for granted. So, although I sent her a card, called her, and wished her an official Facebook Happy Birthday – here’s one more – Happy Birthday, Elna! I can’t imagine a better big sister and I’m thankful for you each and every day! XOXOXOX

5. This past week my dear husband also had a birthday. Again, not a big decade jumping birthday, but as I said before, we celebrate each one! (Actually, we celebrate waking up and dressing ourselves. Just sayin’) So Happy Birthday (just a bit late) to the best man in my life! Love you, baby!

4. All three of our kids are either in the midst of or have already accomplished major life adjustments in the last several months. Job changes (no small thing when you have a family of 7), revitalizing a career that has been on hold for a couple of years, and moving across the country. I’m pretty darn proud of these courageous kiddos of mine, and I just want to say here in the Blog World – that I think you are ALL absolutely AMAZING!

3. Look where we’re parked for the next three weeks!
Lake Retreat parking.
Instead of tracking in sand, now we’re tracking in pine needles. But everything is so GREEN!!! And the trees are so HUGE!!!! Ah…….

2. Tomorrow I head east to Columbus! I’ll be spending next week loving on my Ohio kids (4) and grands (7), watching ball games, enjoying Mother’s Day with my kids (that hasn’t happened in about 12 years!), playing games and enjoying all of the beautiful family chaos that I miss so much! Less than 24hrs until my plane leaves!

1. Then next Friday, I leave Columbus and fly to PA for Girls Week ’16!!!! It’s another thing I will never take for granted – a week with my precious sisters! We’ll be bopping around the countryside, trying to fit as much family and fun (oh, and maybe a bit of shopping) in as we can! Not to mention talking, praying, talking, napping, coffee drinking, etc, There are even plans in the works to connect with most of my PA kids and grands, too – super excited about that!
The Sisters

So that’s the list. There are probably more than 10 things I forgot to mention, but at least this got some of the real ancient history off the table. And, it gave me a good chance to let you know that the next two weeks might be (ok, will be) pretty quiet. At least here at RV There Yet! (And probably here at Lake Retreat where Gary will be playing the bachelor till I return.)

We’ll catch up when I get back, ‘K?


Joy in the Journey

Cali to Wash 2016-14 words1

Sometimes we drive just to get to our destination. Sometimes it’s even a long drive. But this last week, while our drive was long (almost 1300 miles) and we were pointed at a final destination (Lake Retreat Camp in Ravensdale, WA (SE of Seattle)) we tried to take that road less traveled when it was possible and take time to stop and smell the roses (or walk in the snow as the case may be) along the way.
Want to come along?
Heading on our way! After 4 months in the desert we're excited to be heading to some trees! Washington, here we come! Oregon, we'll be enjoying you along the way. 🚍 🌳 #ontheroadagain
Although we did have to hop on to Interstate 5 for a bit to get through Sacramento, we mostly drove on Route 99 and then 97. Rte 97, in fact, took us from Weed, California right through Oregon and almost up to I90 in Washington. We drove through valleys, scaled (or so it seemed) mountains, crossed rivers and drove along beautiful lakes.
Along with the gallery of pictures below, HERE is a link to the album on Flickr. (I’ve put captions on most of the pictures, but apparently unless you click on each picture, you won’t be able to see them. I’ll have to talk to Flickr about that!)

Our two main stops were –
Lava Beds National Monument
Have you ever heard of this place?
It was very interesting – lots of lava, beautiful views
and lots of caves to explore. We weren’t really expecting to go spelunking, so we stuck with the one lighted cave (Mushpot) and one other that seemed pretty easy (Skull). As in no duck-walking or crawling easy. Yeah, we’re not into that. Of course, my phone died just as we were entering the Skull cave – so you’ll have to trust me that it was pretty cool!
The caves found in this park were created by flows of smooth lava thousands upon thousands of years ago. In another part of the park was a huge rock outcrop with petroglyphs –
I’ll confess that the petroglyphs were a little disappointing, but the rock itself was fabulous!
(Full album can be seen HERE!)
and (continuing the sentence back a couple of pictures!)
Crater Lake!
We’d heard about how stunning it was – and I’m sure there is a lot more to do in the summertime when things are actually open, 
but draped in the beauty of snow – this was still a crazy beautiful experience!
We are so glad we bundled up and stopped to see this amazing lake that was formed when a volcano erupted and collapsed upon itself. So beautiful!
More snowy pictures HERE!

We thoroughly enjoyed our drive from the desert to the beautiful Pacific Northwest. The scenery was varied, fuel prices were low(ish), our stops were outstanding, and arrival at Lake Retreat welcome!
Cali to Wash 2016-47

We caught sight of Mt. Rainier today on our way home from church –
Mt Rainier
Looks like there will be more ‘sploring in our future!

PS – Here’s a music video of the song “Joy in the Journey” by Michael Card. It’s not so much about RV travel (not at all, actually), but about our journey with Christ. It’s worth a listen if you have a minute (or 3).

Four Wheel Weekend

I suppose that most weekends, if you get in a vehicle, are four wheel weekends, but this past weekend we enjoyed some REAL 4-Wheeling adventures (along with some other more normal driving around kind of 4 wheel travel!). So let’s start with Friday (The official start of a SOWER weekend. Don’t hate me.)
Friday morning seven of us (Gary opted to stay home) piled into two 4 wheel drive vehicles and set off for some back road adventure!
Friday 4Wheelin-3
I was in the lead car, in the back seat, and Bill was driving (with wife Shirley in the passenger seat). They have both done extensive four-wheeling, and his jeep has seen more crazy roads than I can even imagine. Behind us was Terry (driving) and Alice with Don and Jenny in the back seat. Terry loves these off road adventures (Alice not so much) and we were all game for wherever the road might take us!
Friday 4Wheelin-1
It was a different experience for me (being in the back seat and not being in my own truck), but I did my best to not gasp too often (or too loudly!). We made our way through some pretty impressive landscape Friday 4Wheelin-4
and finally took a small break at the crest of a hill.
Friday 4Wheelin-8
Wait, I say – we’re going down that?
Yes, and then up the other side!
Friday 4Wheelin-7
Before we took the plunge (as it literally seemed to me), we paused for a quick photo op!
We ladies –
Friday 4Wheelin-9
And the macho men!
Friday 4Wheelin-10
Soon we were back in the cars, and headed toward some abandoned mine somewhere in dem dar hills!
Friday 4Wheelin-24
As the road became less and less navigable (or so it seemed to this back seat driver), the jeep went on ahead to scope out the terrain.
Friday 4Wheelin-16
Friday 4Wheelin-18
The road gave way and the jeep was really ‘off road’ at this point!
And much to the delight of Terry, he got to do the rescue!
The rest of the drive seemed almost sedate, and we even spotted an RV or two which had navigated the off-road-but-not-quite-as-off-road-as-us for some dry camping!
Friday 4Wheelin-25
(Apparently, during certain times of the years the less rugged areas are filled with campers of all descriptions and the air is full of the sound of dirt bikes and dune buggies!)
Friday 4Wheelin-26
We really had a great time (all vehicles returned home with only minimal damage), and it was fun to do some ‘4 Wheeling’ with friends!
Saturday was a bit more of a traditional 4 wheel adventure. Don & Jenny joined us for a big California loop – from Barstow to Mohave to Palmdale to Victorville and then back to camp, north of Barstow. We managed to fill the day with a stop at the 20 Mule Team Borax Visitor Center and Museum
Although Boron was originally mined in Death Valley and transported to Mohave via 20 Mule Team wagons, today it is mined in one of the largest open pit mines in the country in (you guessed it) Boron, CA.
It was a very interesting stop (and free!).
Then we tried to drive through Edwards Air Force Base. Somehow Jenny’s gym membership card just wasn’t enough of a credential to get us in. But we did get close!
(Yes, that’s the parking lot at the gate.)
From there it was on to Mohave,
a lovely stop at a SOWER project in Palmdale (Crosswinds Community Church) to say hello, and then a lingering stop at the Joe Davies Heritage Airpark right there in Palmdale.
This is the (or maybe one of the) 727’s that transported the space shuttle back to FL when it landed in the California desert.
Crazy big!
Next door were some early generations of the Blackbird stealth jet.
So much aviation history! Another very interesting (and free!) stop.
From there it was east to Victorville (and some food!), and then north back to camp. It was a 200+ mile day – but it was all good road, good sights, and good friends. My kind of Saturday.
Sunday, after church and a bite to eat in town, the 8 of us set out to explore Rainbow Canyon, a nearby natural area. It wasn’t quite the intense 4 wheelin’ that we did on Friday, but still had some interesting spots and some ‘other worldish’ scenery!

All in all – it was a great way to spend our last weekend in California. We start our trek to Washington State on Saturday, so Friday will be a busy day of getting ready to hit the road! And hopefully during our 5 days on the road I’ll have a chance to do a bit more catching up. I seem to be stuck on “Yesterday”!

You know there are more pictures – so if you’d like to see more, just click on the day below!