Saturday, July 31, 2010

We're in San Jose, California

     We have now traveled over 3,000 miles since leaving Puebla, Mexico on Monday morning. As we were heading into Gilroy, the garlic capital of the world and we could tell just by smelling the garlic. It was a good day of travel but everyone is ready for a break. We will be staying a few days in San Jose. Jim worked 29 years for his friend, Adrian, before we left to go to Mexico and we will be visiting him and his family as well as other friends.
     Today we started out in Arizona and soon crossed over into California. We traveled through some very hot areas as we went through the Mojave Desert. God has blessed us with very good weather this trip. Although we have run into some very heavy rains, the temperatures have been cool which is very good for traveling. We are so thankful!
     Our daughter, Kristen, is getting very excited for our return to Oregon. She plans on having her family there at the house when we arrive in the Portland area. Jim's mom is pretty excited also. She is already planning dinner for our arrival. We are getting very excited to see everyone also. I have grand babies that I am (we are) longing to hold and hug and kiss.
     It is wonderful to have had this opportunity to see the country by driving through it. We drove on the historic Route 66 today (and yesterday) and watched the movie Cars which was fun. After that, we'd go by semi-trucks and say, “We got ourselves a nodder.” If you haven't seen the movie, you might not understand that.
     While driving along I-5 in California, we came across a caravan of vans with the first one we saw had “Mexico or Bust” written on the back window. The vans farther up had “Honk if you Love Jesus” written on them. We were honking and giving them a thumbs up whenever we passed them. One of vehicles had a sign on it saying Covenant to Mexico Missions. With that, we came to the conclusion that they must have been returning from a mission trip to Mexico.
     Tonight, we are having dinner at Red Robin. We have not eaten there in over 15 months. Once we reach home, the eating our will be few and far between so we are eating at a couple of our favorite places along the way.   Next, it is off to the hotel and for a swim.  We'll keep updating you as we go.
      Again, we want to thank all of you for your prayers. I can't say enough that we have felt them along the way and throughout the last 15 months.
This picture was from last night.  It was not the hotel we stayed at but it was cool that it was called Motel 66.
The scenery today was not as impressive but it was still pretty.
See the Route 66 sign?

And we entered California.
I liked the stair case look of this land scape.
We went through desert and then came to orchards.
San Luis Resevoir

We Made It to the Grand Canyon

     This morning started out a little different than we had planned. Jim went out to load the van with our suitcases and saw that a tire was low. After inspecting the tire, he discovered it had been punctured by a nail. Being Friday, he figured he could find a place that was open to fix it. He was wondering where a tire place might be and looked across the street and saw a big tire sign. Isn't God good? He is carrying us on this trip and for that we are truly grateful.      The rest of the day was pretty uneventful although we again hit some amazingly heavy rains. We had quite a few stops and I was wondering if we would really see the Grand Canyon today. We did not plan for it to be a long stop, we just wanted the kids to see it, which we finally did around 6:30. What an amazing sight. God is the creator of such beautiful landscapes, from the mountains, to the valleys, to the canyons. We are in awe of His wonders.
     Tonight, both kids are wanted to drive farther so we are doing some night driving. It will be our latest night and I am not sure where we will end up. In fact, I am writing this blog while we are driving so that whenever we do stop, it will be easier to get information to you. Jim actually enjoys driving at night and we have been able to see a beautiful sunset because of it.
     10:15 PM: Well, we are now stopping for the night in Kingman, Arizona. Tomorrow, we hope to make it to San Jose, California where we will spend a couple of days.
     Thank you again for all of your prayers. We do feel them and we are really looking forward to reconnecting with everyone. I am also getting very excited to meet our youngest grandson who was born in June.

Different scenery on the way to the Grand Canyon.
We were not expecting the forest and it reminded us of Oregon.
More rain, we can't seem to get away from it.
The Grand Canyon
The sunset on the way out from the Grand Canyon

Friday, July 30, 2010

Off to See the Grand Canyon

We gained two hours last night.  We crossed over yesterday to the Mountain Time Zone which helped us gain an hour of travel time.  That was awesome but it was quite funny when we got into bed last night and the clock was an hour behind our watches.  We were going to change the hotel clock but I decided to call the front desk to see what time it was.  Sure enough, it was not 10:30 but 9:30.  I had totally forgotten that Arizona does not do Day Light Savings Time.  So, we gained another hour and for our family and friends in California and Oregon, we are on the same time zone now.  It was good for us to be in bed at 9:30 last night, even though to our bodies it was 11:30.  The great thing was getting up this morning and letting the kids know that it was almost like sleeping in.  Everyone is up now and although it is only 7:30, we can tell the kids that to them, it is like 9:30.  Erin said, "Wow, It's like I slept in this morning!"  LOL!

We have another long day of travel ahead of us, but this afternoon, we will be stopping to see the Grand Canyon.  We will be within 100 miles of it and we just cannot be that close without detouring to see it.  Please continue to pray for travel safetly and health.  We are all doing well so far.  My Fibromyalgia is acting up a little and my muscles have been sore with the lack of movement but God is getting me through.  Thank you for all of your prayers and we look forward to seeing family and friends again.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

We're in Willcox, Arizona

This morning we got up and were on our way about 9:30 after having breakfast.  We started out today in Texas, went through part of New Mexico, including El Paso where we had our last view of Mexico.  It was amazing, after having lived in Mexico for 14-1/2 months, to look across and know the poverty that those across the river were living in. Our hearts will always go out to the Mexican people.  We continued on and stopped for the night in Willcox, Arizona.  It was also a day of beautiful landscape sights.  Here are some pictures from our day.
Interesting landscape in Texas
We stopped at a very neat rest area just inside the New Mexico border.
I think Jonathan wants to shoot some snakes.

When traveling for 600 miles in a day, sometimes you just have to be silly.
We got hit by a major rain storm.  Jim could hardly see this truck that was passing us.
This was the storm from a distance.  Amazing...we could actually see the line of where the rain began.
A little ways down the road, there was a beautiful rainbow...
and another one farther down the road.
Crossing over into Arizona
What a beautiful view as the sun was setting.
OK...Arizona has some BIG bugs!!!
That's all for today.  Tomorrow, we hope to make it to the Grand Canyon.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

We're In Sonora, Texas

     Last night we stayed in a hotel in Matamoros. It was a very strange thing to drive into a hotel parking lot and see a dozen Federal Police trucks including an armored truck there and the Federal Police standing around with their machine guns. Okay, I didn't write about this last night because I didn't want to cause alarm to any of our family or friends. Apparently, the Federal Police live there so there was nothing to be alarmed about. It actually made us feel quite safe.
     It was pouring rain when we woke up and we believe the rain may have played to our advantage, much like the H1N1 did when we traveled to Mexico. We were told to be prepared for long delays but the whole process took only about 30–40 minutes from start to finish. Crossing the border went very well. We paid our toll to cross the bridge and then asked the question about where to turn in our FM3s (our missionary visas). It was actually on the other side so we needed to turn around. They opened a gate and we had to make a u-turn back to the immigration office. The officials stamped our FM3s stating that we were not returning and we left them with them. Next we turned in our car tag and we were on our way after we paid the toll again. LOL!  At customs, on the US side, they looked at the stuff in our car, asked a few questions and we were on our way entering the United States of America. It was the first time the kids and I have been in the USA since we crossed in May of 2009.
     Culture shock already... what is this language we are hearing? How do you order a meal in English? Wendy's, do they still exist? Apparently they do because we ate lunch there. It was the first place Jonathan wanted to eat. Erin wants to eat at Taco Bell. We have spent the last 14 ½ months with awesome tacos in Mexico and she wants Taco Bell.

     We continued the day traveling through Texas. Wow, this is a big state! We stopped for dinner in Junction, Texas and ate at Dairy Queen, another place we haven't eaten at in a very long time. We are now stopping for the night in Sonora, Texas. The kids are ready to get out of the car. We traveled about 550 miles today. Not bad since it took time to go through immigration and customs this morning. Tomorrow we will be heading to New Mexico. After some rain this morning, the weather has been pretty good for travel.
The pouring rain outside our room this morning.
The Federal Police

We are in the United States of America.
Our first pictures back in the USA
I know, it's weird, but this sign was in English so I had to take a picture.
A highway with no topes (speedbumps), three lanes and they have lines between the lanes. 

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tonight, We're in Matamoros

We had another great day of travel today.  It was a shorter day which was nice also.  We left Ciudad Victoria around 12:30 this afternoon and arrived in Matamoros around 4:00.  We were able to visit Esperanza Viva Matamoros for a short time.  We so enjoyed our visit with Elias and Vania (his daughter).  We missed visiting with Flora, Elias's wife, because she is visiting her mother in Oaxaca.  Now we are at our hotel and Jim and the kids are swimming. I am sitting in an airconditioned room which is really nice.  It is quite warm here and very humid. 
Scenery on the road today.
As we entered Matamoros we saw flooding as a results of releasing water from several dams.
Visiting with Elias and Vania was a highlight of the day.
Swimming at the hotel.
Prayer requests for tomorrow:
* Please pray that turning in our FM3 visas to immigration will go quickly and smoothly.
* That everything will go well in customs on the US side.
* Safe travel as we continue on our journey.