Sunday, July 15, 2012

ROAD TRIP - PART 4

Vivian and I are now nearly at the end of our trip. By the time I post this to the blog, I guess the journey will be completely over and we will be home on our little farm. Right now, we are at our son Jesse and his wife Lisa’s place, having a couple of days to visit with them and play with James and Will, our two grandsons of 5 and 3. Fun days! (But there is a little caveat that I will mention later).
But first, I need to rewind in this trip about 3000 miles to the point where we were just entering the state of Washington to visit our friends in the mountains above Yakima. We first met Mark and Vicky when they and we were first preparing to leave for Venezuela. They were our friends and neighbors in that country, but we have not seen them since that time. Mark is now the director of a Christian camp in the pine-covered mountains of Washington. They have got a beautiful situation and as always, doing a very good job with their ministry.
After our time there, our plan was to go out to the Pacific and drive the Oregon coast down to see the redwoods. Vicky kindly arranged for Vivian and me to stay with her sister and husband, who live along that stretch of road. As we drove away from the camp, we rounded a bend to see the majestic Mount Rainier. The weather was beautiful, as it had been for us on the entire trip.
In fact, the weather had just cleared up the day before we got there. Vickie’s sister told us that many people visit the coast, but because of fog and clouds are never able to see anything. We had beautiful clear and blue skies for the whole drive and are very thankful for that fact.
Here is Vivian with one of the larger trees
Even with a broken arm, I was able to hoist one of them(I admit it was not the largest one)


I wrote in the last post about the redwoods. It is an astounding thing to walk among these giants. I have long wanted to see these noble trees of Northern California. I had seen many pictures, of course, but like most truly marvelous spectacles of nature, any photo or any painting can never even approach what it is to actually experience them and being in their presence.
We were glad next to see my nephew who lives and works in the Sacramento area of California. This is a big rice growing country, and my nephew works in this industry. He gave us a tour of their processing plant and showed us his new product. This is a new type of cooking rice where the factory first starts the sprouting process in the rice, but halts it before the actual sprout develops. This process releases more food energy when the rice is cooked and eaten. It is a new innovation and my nephew is greatly involved in it.
My cousin and her husband live less than an hour south, and we next went there. They have an almost unique business where they contract with different municipalities in fire prevention. There are many gullies and other almost inaccessible places in the San Francisco bay area that grow up in brush, causing a large fire danger. When you see houses in the west on the news that are burning, it is often because of this fire hazard. My cousin and husband have a business where they have huge herds of goats (6000 goats in total!), cared for by different shepherds. These guys put up temporary fences around these gullies where they then turn the goats loose to graze the brush, thus eliminating the fire danger.
There are a few people that are doing this in the area now, but my cousin, who is also a veterinarian, and her husband were really innovators in this. It is especially appropriate that this is so, since he is a veteran fire fighter in the area.
Followed by Larry the Cucumber
With this, we pointed out truck east on I-80 and headed toward home. On the last day of our journey, we were followed for many miles by the happiest car that I have ever seen. Every time I looked in my rear-view mirror, I saw this little face, smiling at me like Larry the Cucumber. This is also how this trip made me feel. It was a great adventure and very fantastic renewing old friendships and making new friends.
From the door of my cousin in California to the door of my son’s house is 2019 miles. We made no detours on the way home, other than driving around a couple of times near the freeway to find a hotel. It is good to be back here and it will be good to be home again.
My arm is feeling better and hopefully I will be able to get at some of the work that awaits me. On a sadder note, this morning I spilled some hot coffee on my little grandson James, giving him a burn. Grampa must learn to be more careful. I am praying that he will be ok with no scarring on that handsome little face. The doctor said he will be fine, but it is one of those moments you wish you could just take back.
Now, it is back to the farm for Vivian and me.

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Vivian planned this whole trip and did a great job. I told her that she should start a travel/concierge business, but she is not so keen to do so. I thought since the shoe factory closed down near our home (neither was she keen on that idea), this would be another employment opportunity for her. Nevertheless, in case she in fact does start a travel service, here is her first unsolicited testimonial.

DON FROM WISCONSIN SAYS:

I had Vivian from Vivian’s Travel Service plan a trip of a life time for me and my wife. Vivian arranged for everything on the whole trip to run smoothly, and even arranged for us to have fantastic weather. Vivian was willing to adjust the schedule as the trip progressed to suit my wife and me and we had experiences that I am sure we will never forget.
I highly recommend Vivian’s travel service for all of your travel needs. You will not be disappointed!

1 comment:

  1. No sling! :)
    Let me also attest to Vivian's artistic talent. She is willing to do commissions.

    ReplyDelete