From Phoenix to Portland. Four days of driving. On the road to Oregon.
The first day was exciting, reflective, and brutal in the desert sun. Thankfully, we landed in St. George, Utah where we were reunited with old friends. Pastor Greg and MerriEllen Wright graciously opened their home and their hearts to us. As always, their love and genuine care for us was refreshing. My friend and mentor, Lois, came for a visit. We sat on the back balcony and shared tears and smiles as we recounted the ways God was pruning the dead branches in our hearts to make His Life grow in us.
Before we left, I was able to stop by and give my friend Virginia a hug. It wasn’t the long dinner we had planned, but I’m glad we could at least have a short reunion.
The second day, we reveled in the beauty of central Utah and finally reached a grassy, tree-laden park near Salt Lake City. Brynn (& Mommy & Daddy) were ecstatic. We swam in the grass, and the guys tried playing basketball with a new friend.
To keep the boys occupied, we bought a DVD player for the car. They also liked some of the things I had picked up at Target’s Dollar Spot. Window clings were a hit with Cooper, and Silas devoured the invisible ink activity book. But they loved the slime best of all.
We drove on and on through Utah and Idaho and just across the border into Oregon for our third night. Southeastern Idaho reminded us a lot of the farmlands on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. When we stopped at a tiny gas station and general store in Idaho, both boys were amazed at the trees. While tall, they weren’t extraordinary, but these Arizona boys were stopped cold. “Mom, you have to see this!” Cooper shouted. “This tree is huge!”
On the fourth and final day, we came through eastern Oregon down along the Columbia River. I was taken aback by the size of the river. I had forgotten how a river looks with water in it, let alone how big a river can be. We entered Portland with expectancy, happy anticipation, and weariness from travel. The first thing we did was to drive by our new rental home and Stephen’s new office building for the first time.
A Dutch Brothers coffee and sushi celebration were in order. We celebrated both the end of our journey, our new life in Portland, and the closing on our Arizona house. That night we picked up Ryan from the airport since he generously offered to come to Portland to help us unpack.
While we didn’t get the stereotypical dysentery on the Oregon Trail, our bodies and our little people had a rocky physical adjustment to make after such a journey. The kids all came down with fevers, Mommy contracted a cold, and the stress and emotional upheaval hit once we landed in our new house. I can’t imagine how much rougher the trip and transition would have been had Jon not come to help us. He was amazing! He drove the Penske truck the entire way, and then collapsed with exhaustion. Thank you, Jon, for loving us so well. Our trip wasn’t THE Oregon Trail, but it was ours, and we’re loving living this story.