Sunday, September 18, 2005

North to Alaska, Part 1

Well, folks without cell service or email for the last several hundred miles, I am just now getting something on the ol' blog...hope you enjoy.

Day 1 Friday, September 9th:

Woo Hoo! We made it really far today…all the way to Lockney! We finally left at 4:00 in the afternoon. I couldn’t believe how much we accrued since the movers came…all those “last minute items that we will quickly pack up” turned out to be a lot of STUFF! With our 16 foot trailer, loaded with kayak, jeep, welder, bike, air tank, extra gas tanks, mucho luggage, and of course our newly acquired metal bench made by a master welder, we set off…
The dogs were set up in the truck with their doggy condo, water and food. They had no idea what they were getting into, but boy, they were excited.

We pulled into Lockney at 7:00 pm to a lovely fried fish dinner. Debora and Jay Don, the ever willing hosts were ready for us. Jaylee even told me that “her and momma spent ALL DAY cleaning and cleaning.” (Thanks, Deb J) Van, one of their elders and Glenn were also there for dinner. After much talking, praying, and talking, we fell into bed (ours was a lovely princess bed, complete with a net canopy) late that night at 1:00.

Day 2 Saturday, September 10th:
The next morning, Jeff and Jay Don went hunting while I went to Jay Don’s office to print out our route and research my maps. When I got back to the house, Jaylee let me know that she was sad about not sleeping in her bed. She did clarify though, she was not “serious sad”, but just “sad”. When asked, “what is serious sad?” She told me that “serious sad” was when your favorite doll got eaten by the dog, but “sad” was just “well, feeling sad.” I then gave her all of the change in my pocket as a tip for sharing her room and she was happy again. I am not sure if that was serious happy or just happy, but needless to say I was happy to see one of my favorite four year olds smile.

I called Van to ask about Manuelito Children’s Ranch in Gallup, and he convinced me we should stop and stay there. Every time we go to Lockney someone talks to us about the ranch. I am so glad we did. Amazing people, amazing work and a loving congregation. We got off from Lockney at 3:00 pm. Pulled into Gallup at 11:30 pm.

Wow! Mary Gray has the set up. Thankfully, she was already in bed, but her “guest wing” was ready. We came in very late to a comfortable bed, turned down, a bathroom full of toiletries and fresh towels, and thank you cards with a pen on the desk. Her and Mike had just returned from a weekend church retreat, but were more than happy to have us as guests. A call from elder Van paved the way, I am sure.

Day 3 Sunday, September 11th:
We awoke to a lovely crisp high desert morning. Absolutely beautiful! Bible class was wonderful. We talked about Colossians 3:21 “Fathers do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged.” There was a wise man there named Dick Felts (cool, huh Dad?) that gave some of the most encouraging advise. He said that children need fences (boundaries), but all fences don’t need to be barbed wire.

The congregation was warm and loving. Almost everyone came and introduced themselves and welcomed us. We were greatly blessed by the saints at Gallup. The minister’s wife came and introduced herself. Her name was Razzle. When I questioned to make sure I had heard right, she said, “yeah, like razzle dazzle.” That is awesome! Her name was very fitting. We finished off a great morning of worship with lunch at the Corral, Golden that is.

We then went and spent some time with Merle and Annette and their kids. They are house parents at the ranch. What a couple! Thank you, Lord for people that love others like this couple. Merle is a West Texas cowboy transplanted in northern Mexico. He and his wife have been at the ranch for 14 years. They have loved on and raised countless kids. They reminded Jeff and me of Jim and Gretchen. In fact, I could totally see Jim and Gretchen involved in a ministry like this some day. (Guys, watch out…we started praying).

We got off from Gallup around 1:30 and headed to Moab, UT. We stopped in Shiprock, near the border of NM and CO at a McDonald’s to get a drink and have a bathroom stop. There Jeff met a woman named Carmen who was trying to sell some pottery in order to get gas money to go to Farmington. She had three bright-eyed children with her; two girls and a boy, all under the age of 4. The pottery was made by her husband and her son, Tryston. One pot was decorated by Navajo rain and the other with the bear claw, symbolizing courage. Amy purchased one and I purchased the other. She described the process of making the pots (because of course, Jeff had asked:) and how they get the color to adhere to the clay with a solution of juniper berries and spinach. She seemed anxious and just as I was thinking to ask her if we could pray for her, Jeff asked. I asked her what we could pray for and she became emotional as she told us her problem. She was from one tribe (Navajo) and her husband from another (Acoma). In their ten years of marriage her family had never accepted him. Daily things were progressing to violence and enmity. She was traveling to Farmington on a lead for an apartment. The clan concept that Mike had told us about was poignantly expressed in this woman’s life. The idea of “leaving and cleaving” would have been foreign to her. Jeff prayed a prayer to the Creator of all that we feel and see around us, and described God’s majesty through his creation. Just as I was thinking, I hope he gets around to thanking God for Jesus, he did…he basically told of the gospel through his prayer. Carmen thanked us in tears. Funny, how the Spirit works on people.

We stopped along the way in Colorado to get groceries. Different folks around these parts. In the check-out line, a man behind us overheard Amy telling the checker we were on our way to AK. He took the opportunity to tell us we need to help promote alternative energy systems by helping Alaskans to see the available resource in the dramatic tides. He emphatically told us, the tides rise and fall 10 feet at a time! Good information to know. We then met two Indians in the parking lot. Jeff talked to them for a while and as they were leaving he said, “take it easy…” the Indian remarked, “always.”

We pulled into the Moab KOA a little before 9:00 pm.

Day 4 Monday, September 12th:
We awoke to an amazing sight: red rock formations surrounding our camp site with rustling cotton woods dispersed throughout the camp ground. We ate breakfast: oatmeal, strawberry bread, and hot tea. We made our way to Arches National Park. Absolutely awe inspiring and breathe taking. With great reverence I looked upon God’s creation. He is so mighty and so creative…the diversity that we have seen in just four states is evidence. We hiked the longest trail, the Double O. We saw the Landscape Arch and the Double O arches, along with countless other formations. Jeff climbed many places he wasn’t supposed to…oh, what a discussion we had! (No, not that kind, Cary) Poor Amy played referee. I was so mad hiking back, I was at a full sprint. It is amazing how much ground you cover when angry. For some reason all the anxiety regarding the move exploded on the dusty terrain of Utah. It was quite cathartic.

We ended the day at the Moab Brewery and Restaurant for a delicious Reuben, hamburger, and some kind of veggie enchiladas (Amy).

Day 5 Tuesday, September 13th:
We started the day with a larruping breakfast at the Jailhouse Café. One of the best breakfasts I have had in a long time. We finally rolled out at about 11:00 am and proceeded to Hoback Junction, WY. On to Idaho, Idaho, Idaho-ho-ho. Funny thing: as we were leaving Utah, one of the last barns had very organized mormon graffitti. It was blocked off and very colorful. Mine and Amy's favorite quote was, "Goose Elder Jones from down under." We had many theories as to what exactly that meant... but were glad to know that even mormons have a sense of humor.

We got into Hoback after a loooong drive round 11:00 pm. This was after we accidentally left our coolers on the side of the road. L The Hoback Junction KOA is the favorite so far. The cabins overlooked the Snake River. As you fell asleep you heard the rushing river below. This was our first frost. We had to get out the hay for the dogs.

Day 6 Wednesday, September 14th:
In the morning we arose and drove to Yellowstone, after stopping in Jackson Hole for tire chains and breakfast. In Yellowstone, we stopped at Old Faithful and the Grand Prismatic stream. We saw moose, elk, many bison, mule deer, pronghorn deer, and some kind of weird bird. The Madison River was beautiful. Jeff of course drove very slowly and stopped to take pictures of everything. We stayed the night at West Yellowstone KOA: the world’s largest and most visited KOA. We were in cabin 121. We cooked an amazing dinner of salmon and vegetables. Link was depressed…I think he is tired of being cooped up in the truck. He had a bit of a scare, when we were pulled over on an incline. I told him to get down from the tool box and when he did he fell out of the truck. Startled, I anxiously called for him and he went around the truck into traffic. Luckily the oncoming car was stopping to look at the elk as well.

Day 6 Thursday, September 15th:
Amy and Jeff took Link for a hike up “Elk poo” mountain. They were looking for a place to hike with Link. So far, all of the national and state parks we have visited don’t allow dogs on the trails. Jeff, the wooer that he is, stopped at a ranch that had a sign posted: “Positively No Trespassing!” He approached the rancher that was splitting logs and said, “We are from Texas, we were wondering if we could trespass and hike your mountain?” The rancher laughed and said, “yes”. I stayed back at the cabin with Scout. At about 4:30 pm they dragged back into camp. Amy and Link looked they had been rode hard and rung out wet. Jeff said Amy kept up well, he was impressed. From the look of their climb, it was straight up. Amy said that Jeff’s idea of a switchback was four feet to the left and three to the right.


mrs. mayo said...

I LOVED reading all of this! I'm so glad to hear everything is going great. I'm so jealous of everything you are getting to see. It sounds awesome. Continue safely on your journey - you are in our prayers!

Patrick said...

What an incredible adventure. Praise God for a life of action. Keep us posted, so I can live vicariously through your expeditions.

Sara said...


This sounds like an incredible journey. If only our drive to Paducah had been that exciting.:) Glad to hear that you are getting to relax a bit! We are praying for your new adventure.

Sara (and Mike)