Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Round Two

If you haven't been following Sam's Facebook link, you don't know that he's made it as far as Payette, Idaho.  He's met some wonderful and generous people already who have housed and fed both him and his horses.  He's only been turned away once, so far!

After Sam's Milton-Freewater send-off, the Bearded One and I headed back towards Bellingham.  We stopped briefly in Yakima and drove by the old Whitaker homestead which was depressing to say the least.  The owners have let all the gardens that Betty so tenderly tended go completely to seed, the house looks run down and instead of using the multiple driveways for parking their vehicles, they have torn up the front yard and planted them there.  So, so sad.  I couldn't bear to take photos of it all, so nothing to share on that front.  I want to remember it in its glory.

Next we headed for Ellensburg to spend the night and visit with Stacia, one of Jessi's good friends from high school and one of our "adopted" daughters.  She is a youth director at the Chestnut Street Baptist church there and we wanted to worship with her on Sunday.  We arrived around dinner time on Saturday and took her out for dinner in her "new to her" car.  We were so thrilled to see her new wheels, a 2008 Subaru Forester.  To understand our joy, you would have to know that ever since high school she has had to drive beat up, broken down, barely running vehicles that would maybe/maybe not make it to wherever she had to go.  She's on a tiny salary and they were all she could afford.  Her wonderful church family took up a collection and provided her with the funds to purchase a working car... hallelujah!  

Sunday after church we continued west on I-90 and made a not-to-be missed stop in Cle Elum to visit the bakery and the meat shop.  Cle Elum bakery is the only place we've ever found that makes the Italian delicacy known as torchetti.  They are a light, crispy, slightly sweet treat that is  

the perfect accompaniment for coffee or tea.  We cleaned them out, but as you can see, there weren't many left!

Next it was on to Roslyn to get some lunch at Village Pizza which Stacia highly recommended.  We were not disappointed and it was obvious by the number of folks taking up space that it's a well-loved community hangout.  And for those of you who are "Northern Exposure"  fans,

I couldn't leave without sharing the iconic mural from the show's opening

We managed to take the wrong road out of Roslyn that went on and on and on for half a hour until we came to the sign that said "road closed".  Hmmm, don't you think they could have told us that at the start of the road?  That added an hour to our return trip but we finally made it home and now I'm back at work and you won't hear from me again for months.  :)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

There and Back Again...

We spent my spring break making a circuitous route through parts of Oregon and Washington, visiting Jessi and Josh, working in her classroom and then venturing on to Milton-Freewater, OR, to participate in the send-off of Josh's Dad, Sam.  Sam is embarking on a 4-months+ long journey on horseback to the Atlantic Ocean, carrying both the American flag and his message about the Declaration of Independence and its implications for the future of America.  He's been preparing for this for over a year, and last Saturday was the departure date.  He's been training the two horses which he is using, one to ride, one to carry the special pack that he and a master saddle maker designed which is carrying his laptop, other electronic equipment and the solar panel which will power it all and, of course, his shelter, food, etc.  

All of Sam's family had gathered from all parts of the country to join with local friends to give Sam a great send-off.  The pastor from the Cowboy Church provided the blessing

and then Sam began packing up, and attaching the horses "hiking boots", in lieu of horseshoes

These will give the horses better protection on gravel and such.  The packs went on next:

Then it was time to head out!  He had a police escort and many friends who accompanied him to a local park and then he headed out solo from there

Sam anticipates that his horses can travel about 5 mph, so he's hoping to finish this trip by late August, but so far it's taking him a little longer than he thought.  If you want to follow Sam's journey you can do so on his Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/onenationride  He's already met some great folks who have extended hospitality to him  and he hopes to really experience the heartbeat of the melting pot of our country through its people.  

I was so impressed with the warmth, big-heartedness and generosity of Sam's friends in Milton-Freewater.  Rural America often gets a bad rap, being characterized as backwards and small-minded.  What I experienced were people who love each other, love their country, love God and are a little less distracted by pursuing the almighty dollar than their city-bred counterparts!  I'm so glad we made the effort to be a part of this adventure!  There's more to come, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Father of Invention

My father-in-law is a jack-of-all-trades; he can repair, fix, build, invent most anything including electrical, electronic and plumbing projects.  So it was no surprise when he showed us his new battery-free hearing aids...way to go Wayne.  I think Shark Tank should be your next stop!