Jul 28 2009

Day??: On the Road Again

by andrew

Ok trying this from Renee’s iPod for the first time so it might be kind of dicey. We’re somewhere in the middle of the northern strip of Idaho and I should be asleep right now. Not sure exactly where… I wasn’t paying attention to the signs when we pulled off I-90… Just thankful for a wal-mart 3 hours earlier than planned. The truck was too.

We spent yesterday driving in 100F weather and today wasn’t much better in the high 90s. Seen lots of terrain since we left the West Coast but today we hit the real climbs. Down to 20mph in 1st gear for one mile stretch, and even with the long break running around the mall in Spokane, WA and the incessant use of the 4 water spray bottle fans from last night’s wal-mart we were all ready to stop a bit early (like the 7pm it was).

Oh did I mention we don’t have AC in the truck? The previous owner warned me before we bought it that it had a gradual leak in the AC system somewhere that he couldn’t find and that it would need to be recharged. Guess what I keep forgetting to do?

Well, it’s easy to forget when it was still in the low 50s at night and barely ever above 70F on the coast for two weeks. We had an amazing time… More to come on that with photos galore.

Meanwhile we’re working our way up to Dauphin, Manitoba, Canada with a stop for dinosaurs in Montana… and somewhere along the road laundry has to get done.

I’m falling asleep now… With the sound of I-90 out my north window and the sound of a truckers rig running out my south window. At least it’s cooler here in the mountains.

Today at bed time we asked the kids what they were thankful for from the day. Bennah thanked YHWH for an early stop. Reayah thanked YHWH for finding healthy food for supper at the mall. Zach thanked YHWH for the beatiful views we saw from the bridge. And Jaiden thanked YHWH for daddy… Wow… Humbling and inspiring… Spending this time with them is the rightest thing I’ve done in life since I admitted I was in love with Renee and decided to marry her.

Oh yeah and we had our 9th anniversary on the coast too.

Joy Shalom can’t put it into words yet, but we know that she’s thanking YHWH for her new top tooth that’s finally out after weeks of cutting… And we are too…

Ok. Literally cannot keep eyelids open any longer… Sleep now.

Jul 27 2009

Episode 3: Neskowin, OR

by andrew

Episode 3 of Journeys – a serial, rough-cut documentary composed of Motion Snapshots from our life on the road. July 2009: In this episode we play on the beach at Neskowin, Oregon.

Jul 16 2009

Winnipeg to the West Coast in Photos

by andrew

Thanks for all the comments on the last post. I realized a few hours after posting that I probably did the adventure a cursory injustice. In my haste to get it posted while I had a connection I left out the emphasis that all your comments made up for: it was a truly blessed trip! And even with the tire explosion and all, it was awesome. It defined why we’re doing this. It sounds crazy but I love flat tires! Not necessarily the specific inconvenience of having to change a flat in a potentially dangerous situation – but the general archetype of the Flat Tire! The unexpected! The Challenge! The reliance – the adventure of discovering how YHWH is going to get us out of that one. 🙂

And He did – all the provision was in place, and my praise to Him for the journey was grossly lacking from the last post. Sure I had to sweat a little and work a little, and I was tired when we arrived, and I hope I don’t have any other blow-outs as long as we travel, but I DID love it anyway. And YES – we are protected. Protection doesn’t mean we won’t have to deal with anything hard. But it means that if we put all of ourselves into LIFE and trust the outcome to YHWH then He will prove faithful every time.

So, yes, we definitely had fun that day. And we love and miss all of you reading too! Sorry we don’t have more time to say so personally, individually, but hopefully Father will give us time together down the road… literally… 🙂

Here are some excerpts from the overall trip from Winnipeg to the West Coast, including several of the mentionable moments I referred to in the last post:

Giant Wheel Turtle

This is a giant turtle made entirely out of old wheel hubs. It’s in Dunsieth, ND and was fun to see – I used to drive past it almost every weekend going from Minot, ND to Winnipeg to visit Renee when we were engaged back in 2000.


This was the view from our camp site at the KOA just a mile a way from the East Entrance to Glacier National Park.


Here we are in Glacier national Park. It was so amazingly breathtaking.


The only way to really try to capture it somewhat was to put some panoramic photos together. I did about 10 of them overall, and they turned out quite well. Some of them had as many as 20 individual images in them. Here’s one below composed from about 8 images. The original versions are well over a giga-pixel each. That is snow in the bottom of the frame. We found out later from other campers that just a week before we got there, the road through Glacier was still closed because of the snow. It had only started melting in earnest shortly before we visited. What a blessing that it was open when we were there!



These mountain goats came right up to me and asked if I’d be willing to do a photo shoot with them. They got really close… I probably took 200 shots of them all together. What a treat!


And here’s that crazy hail storm that ran into us on our first day of travel after we left the KOA and Glacier.


Check out the grape-size hail stones! Biggest I’ve ever seen. These pelted us for a good 10 minutes. It was intense, and a fantastically awesome thing to experience.


And of course – the tire incident. I wasn’t kidding – it literally exploded.


There! That’s better… It was a long hard journey from Winnipeg to the West Coast. By the time we got here, late, tired, and road-weary part of me was ready to be done driving for a long while, and I wasn’t looking forward to thinking about the next leg(s) of the journey. But then… we finally went to bed after setting up the trailer… and I woke up to this:


This is our site right on the river. I stepped out the next morning to the sound of baby birds chirping in a birdhouse mounted on that tree right outside our door. The sounds of the river. The smell of the ocean and the evergreen hills. And all the travel-weariness slipped away in an instant. We’ve been having adventures all up and down the coast, and our time at this site is drawing to a close. In a couple more days we’ll join my parents and brother, and sister and her family just up the coast at a beach house for the week.

And I have a ton of coast pictures to share… and a crazy adventure that I went on this morning… but that’s all I’ll say about that – you know, have to keep some suspense to keep the readers coming back.

Jul 12 2009

Day 92: Soothing Misty Oregon Coast

by andrew

We’re settled in here south of Lincoln City, OR – nestled in a valley that doesn’t have cell coverage (hence no internet), but offers instead a constant supply of beauty: evergreen-covered hills shrouded in foggy serenity, a vibrant-green river behind our home on wheels, mist from time to time for good measure, old soul trees blanketed in moss… almost enough to stave off the connection withdrawals. I’m posting this from the library in town. We’ve just finished our laundry and the kids are restless to leave, so I will have to keep it short.

Our trip from Minot, ND to Lincoln City, OR was the most adventurous yet.

  • Spent a few days soaking in the splendor of Glacier National Park… you should see the photos I got… I will have to post some if I remember to bring my photo disk drive with me sometime when I surface to get a connection.
  • North of Augusta, MT I pulled over to try to get some shots of an amazing lightening storm not too far to the west. Barely minutes after stopping, the massive storm blew our way and right through our location, pelting us with grape-sized hail… biggest I think I’ve ever been in. We were broadsided by the assault and I felt like looking for the cannons to return fire. Thankfully, the “historic site” pull-over we had taken had a huge hanging sign etched with the story of the place that shielded a section of our trailer. But the exposed portion of our rolled up awning got a bit shredded… still, nothing that a roll of white duct tape couldn’t cure later on.
  • Then, at an intersection an hour north of Helena, MT and 45 minutes east of Lincoln, MT we had to make a decision about which way to go with very little info… West was risky – possible crazy mountains and back hi-ways. South went to bigger interstates and cities, but was a far longer route. We decided to go West and had a couple major climbs, stopping at one point to let the line behind us pass while we cooled down, but ultimately we were glad we did it. It was a gorgeous drive and put us way ahead of schedule, getting into Missoula, MT late that evening.
  • On the last day of travel, home stretch, finish-line practically in sight, things got really interesting. Driving down the very scenic I-84 along the Columbia River just 10 miles east of Arlington, OR we ran over some kind of metal chunk that I totally didn’t see and our rear, passenger tire on the truck exploded. I’m not exaggerating. I know about the metal chunk because one of those hi-way safety vehicle came up behind us a few minutes later and the driver told me he had just picked it up off the road a few hundred feet back. So, with the trailer practically resting against the guardrail, and just enough room to fit beside the narrower truck, I changed the shredded rubber with our spare. Took a while… thankfully, the safety worker stayed behind us with his blinkers going and then led us into town down the road to a tire shop. We got two new rear tires (for now – though I would have bought a whole set if they had them… I love these new tires, about the best you can get, aggressive grip, 10-ply, best all-round road / gravel / rain tires you can find and very affordable)… and there was a post office in town so we took care of our Correction to Change of Address since that was going to my sister’s who has now also moved… and replaced a fuse I needed at the ACE Hardware across the street from the post office… and several hours later back on the road.
  • Had to stop one more time as we started swaying all over the road from the wind (I-84 hills are riddled with wind turbines which should give you an idea) to slap on our sway-control-bar (normally I leave it off because it hasn’t been too bad without it up until now and I prefer the extra maneuverability).
  • All told, that put us arriving at 10pm local time at our campground when it should have been like 4 or 5pm. But we made it. And are loving it.

I’ll have to get some of those photos from the adventure posted here… there are some reall great ones. Check back over the next few days – I’ll update this post with them… or maybe just do a new post with a bunch. We’ll see.

Jul 1 2009

Day 81: An 8-year Circle

by andrew

How many of you can say that you had the chance later on in life to meet the doctor who delivered you when you were born? Maybe there are more of you than I’d guess, but I certainly can’t. Well, today in a cool turn of events it worked out for Bennah (who just turned 8 a week ago) to meet the doctor that delivered him.

We got a good start departing Winnipeg this morning and got into Minot, ND with plenty of time to swing by the hospital where Bennah was born. We were just going to show the kids the building, but on a whim, I thought – what if Dr. A. F. is still working there? So, I went inside, picked up the phone labeled “Information” and asked the nice lady at the other end. Sure enough! And she forwarded me to OB to check on his availability. So, after 8 years and 4 more children, we got a chance to say hi to the kind gentlemen who helped us with our firstborn. Crazy. And of course, he remembered us too… well, our situation was rather unique afterall – Renee on bed rest for 5 months of the pregnancy, and our request for an 8th-day circumcision, and several other unique things about our story, but I’ll leave it at that.

Then, we went past our old apartment (the second floor of an old house and probably the most favorite place we ever lived… tied with the last house in Alexandria, VA maybe… of course, current “home” notwithstanding, which doesn’t count because it’s way too awesome to even be compared)… anyway, it’s still there and it looks exactly like it did the day we left. Same colors – everything. After 8 years.

Of course, the Wal-Mart in town has moved and been upgraded to a Super Center; picked up some necessary road supplies… but the Sammy’s is still here and pretty much all our original favorite places are intact. Both thrift stores. The coffee shop / used book store. The photolab Renee worked at for a while. Etc. Talk about memory lane. It was so much fun to share this all with our kids, even though they probably just wanted to get out and run around and squirt each other with the new water guns from Wal-Mart…

And as for Bennah – I’m sure he just wanted to try out his new bike seat. He just learned how to ride a bike. On literally his second try. And some friends blessed us with an awesome bike for him (they had extras) but it needed a new seat. Up until today he’s been riding it around the campground with a shoe over the post to act as a seat. After he took a few spins around the Roughrider Campground where we’re parked now in Minot, he said he actually likes the shoe better. But he never actually sat on it I don’t think. His bony bum isn’t very comfortable on the new seat that he can actually sit on… but he’ll get used to it.

Long day of driving tomorrow and I should have been in bed a while ago. But this had to get captured. It was another great day.