Posts Tagged ‘road trips’

Even the 7th day of creation came to an end! So does our road trip of April 2011. Tomorrow we start a weekend of training, Sherrylee in Malibu and I in Seattle. Then we will be at the Pepperdine Bible Lectures until Friday next week and then will start on our way home.

So far, we have driven 3332 miles–and we are not quite finished.  Let me just bring this little series to an end though with these thoughts about driving long distances!

1.     If you can set your own agenda and if you have enough time so that you don’t have to rush from one spot to another, then driving is a very relaxing way to travel!

2.    If you can travel with your wife or your best friend or your family–or all of the above–then driving is a wonderful way to travel. The time to talk, to listen to each other, to be quiet together–it’s all almost vanished with the hectic of our lives!

3.   If you like to be spontaneous–like “turn around, Mark, and let’s talk to those cowboys!!”–that’s really hard to do in an airplane.  Or “let’s eat at that old stage coach stop in Eureka!” OK, but I thought you wanted to . . . . it doesn’t matter . . . . let’s eat there!”

4.   If you like really seeing where you are going.  Walking is the best, but next to walking, driving let’s you see so much more. I’ve flown over Utah several times but had no idea of its beauty until we drove through it on this trip.

5.   It can be cheaper–a lot cheaper–to drive. Even at $4.00/gallon, we got about 400 miles for $50. That’s a lot better than two airplane tickets!!

I’ve noticed that young families rarely think road trips are even possible any more.  When I was a boy, my family went yearly to Kansas from Fort Worth to visit grandparents–that’s about all the vacation my dad got from work.

Three times, however, we did 4-5 day trips through Texas–five of us in a non-air-conditioned car–but I remember the adventure, the excitement, singing in the car–all kinds of wonderful things about each of those trips.

Think about the memories you can make on a road trip with your kids–and maybe it will be more appealing to you.  You can play the alphabet game, the license plate game, 20 questions–especially on the Bible–and you can even sing together!  On our day trips to Yosemite with Anna and Olivia and we’ve cranked up the opening song of Phantom of the Opera and   until we are almost voiceless.  They even sang Roy Orbison with me–or to humor me, I’m not really sure.

What great times in the car. Go take a test drive some Sunday afternoon. Just drive 50 miles out into the country and stop somewhere unplanned for a snack and drive a different route home.  It may change your life!

Thanks for going on this great trip with Sherrylee and me. We’ve enjoyed it a lot.

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Sherrylee, Anna, Norah, and Olivia in Yosemite

We have always wanted to go to Yosemite, but to be able to see it for the first time with our daughter Emily and the three gkids was just more wonderfull-ness than can be described.

On Tuesday this week we all packed up and drove into the park. Only Sherrylee and little Norah got carsick on the winding, mountain roads!  But we stopped often enough to avoid in-car disasters.

Driving through Yosemite valley was breathtaking! Many of the roads in the park are not yet open, but we were able to do the entire valley loop, seeing Half Dome, Bridalveil Fall and many other lesser falls. They say the falls this year will be extraordinary because of all the snow during the winter.

Our favorite adventure was hiking up to the Lower Yosemite Fall—actually, hikingis an exaggeration. We walked a very well-paved path, the girls jumping on every boulder or trying to walk every downed log near the path.  At the bottom of the falls, the enveloping spray made the moment cold and damp—but one never to be forgotten.

On Wednesday, we decided to stay in the vacation rental in Groveland. As they drove in on Monday,  Anna (8) had seen the large Iron Door Saloon sign—the oldest saloon in California—and she declared, “Oh, I love saloons!”  She didn’t get that from her grandparents—but we had no choice but to eat there.

The girls spent most of the day collecting “jewels” which were really quartz stones in various colors. Olivia decided they were now rich—which her dad will be glad to hear!

Emily and Norah at the Lower Yosemite Falls

Sherrylee and I had rented the house through Friday, but Emily needed to get home Thursday to help Tim with the Good Friday service and preparations for Easter. We all wanted to see the giant sequoia, but they were too far away to do and return to our house in Groveland. Emily and I decided that she would  see the trees on Thursday on her way home, and we would finish our rental, then see them on Friday as we drove to her house.

Sherrylee heard the plan and thought we were crazy. She said we just needed to leave together—that being together was the most important thing—and she was right!

That’s what we did. We packed up a day early, left together and spent a wonderful couple of hours seeing creations of God that truly deserve the word awesome!

We only saw what we could easily walk to with the children, but to think that some of these trees were seedlings about the time Israel was going into captivity. Others could have been planted by King David—that’s how old these trees are.

One cluster of sequoia is called The Bachelor and Three Graces. Nobody wants to be alone. My understanding is that the sequoia are all connected via a root network. They are really a family of trees, quite interdependent on each other.  I like that.

It's not good for man to be alone!

You know, God didn’t create Yosemite alone. He had his co-parts, the Word and the Spirit, and maybe the angels—I don’t know about that. When he wanted to bless the world, he created a whole nation of people to walk out of Egypt. Jesus didn’t walk around by Himself either. Paul took an entourage wherever he went on his missionary journeys.

Driving through Utah, Nevada, and these sparsely settled areas in Northern California, we have seen many, many houses, trailers, double-wides that were miles from the next one. Sherry and I have asked aloud a hundred times, “What kind of person lives so alone? Do they have to? What kind of life do they live?”

It wasn’t good from the beginning for Man to be alone!  We need family, we need neighbors, and we need the community of saints.  God just doesn’t do things by Himself!

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Only once on the way to Pagosa Springs did we think we were going to die! From North Richland Hills, Texas to Pagosa Springs, Colorado is approximately 775 miles. Mapquest says it is thirteen hours drive time—and it is every bit of that!

Part one is Hwy 287 which is the highway from Fort Worth to Amarillo through Chillicothe, so if you read yesterday’s blog, you know that this is a stretch of small west Texas farming and ranching towns. Conditions are pretty treacherous right now because there has been no rain since October. The radio evangelist on Sunday morning began the service with a prayer for rain.  We should join him in that prayer.

(By the way, I saw an old Indian sign once that said: Rain dance tonight at the campsite—weather permitting!)

From Amarillo, Tx to Santa Fe, New Mexico changes to interstate highway, much of it 75 mph. Although the flat, dusty fields of west Texas give way to the small canyons and low mesas of western New Mexico there is still nothing to look at! The billboard guiding travelers to Fort Sumner and Billy the Kid’s grave wake you up momentarily—but no time for detours, if we are going to make it to Pagosa Springs today!

We love Santa Fe! A few years ago we had our LST Development Council meeting in Santa Fe and had such an enjoyable time with the old town and the surrounding history! But today we just saw the loop around it and enough adobe houses to wish for another time to come back.

The last 162 miles from Santa Fe to Pagosa Springs on Highway 84 have some breathtaking views. The ascent upwards begins in earnest, first with the low hills and then towards the snow-capped mountains of the Rockies. But it is R-E-M-O-T-E ! It is a stretch of highway that if I had known how uninhabited it was, I would have thought twice about driving it after dark in a car with 145,000 miles on it. I do worry sometimes about having car trouble in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere in the middle of no cell phone service—but Sherry laughs at me. She’s not afraid of anything!

Just as we crossed into Colorado about 8:30pm, driving about 60 mph—I don’t usually drive too fast—this huge buck starts across the road right in front of us. Sherry yells and throws her hands straight up—a very unproductive physical response to danger in my opinion! I start to break and swerve at the same time . . .

I’ve got two deer notches on the side of my car already. Once in college I hit a deer on an Arkansas highway, but I won that time and drove away from it. The second time was one night in Mississippi on the way to visit my girlfriend in Florida (Sherrylee). Another small deer ran in front, but this time it went under the wheels of the car and jerked the wheels around so that I lost control of the car and crossed over the highway and went off into the deep ditch on the opposite side of the road. I remember thinking, “Well, this is it!”—but it wasn’t. I wasn’t hurt, just scared, and was able to drive the car out of the ditch. I did have a hole in the radiator, punched by the antlers, I suppose, so I had to have that repaired before I could keep driving.  The thing about hitting deer in the deep South is that there is always someone eager to help you and take that deer home as the reward!

But this buck was twice as big as either of those dead deer—so just as I started to emergency brake and swerve, the smart buck also slammed on his brakes, turned around just on the shoulder of the road and ran back into the woods. We said, “Thank you, Lord!” It was neither our day— nor his!

We pulled into Pagosa Springs about 9:00pm, found the lovely lake house that friends of ours made available to us, unloaded the car, and did what we often do at night—turned on a movie (Notting Hill, if you must know!) and snuggled on the couch to unwind.

Safe travel is not something we take for granted—but something with which God blessed us once again. His guardian angels had to do a little work that we know of—and maybe some we didn’t—but we are thankful for all of it.

Tomorrow I’ll tell you about Pagosa Springs and the duel that was fought here between the champion of the Ute Indians and the champion of the Navajo.



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