Archive for October, 2005

Oct. 11, Tues. Back to Oregon

Tues., Oct. 11      Back to Oregon

Today had a wonderful beginning and a very unexpected ending. 

Our daughter came home last night, and it was wondeful to see her!  I told her she had done a great job taking care of everything.  “Mom,” she said,  “the plants all died.  It was so hot, and I wan’t home enough to water them.”  I told her no problem–I can plant more.

She was going on a photo shoot at the historic Petaluma Adobe this morning, as part of a school project, and she invited me to join her, so I ended up carrying all the camera gear (that’s OK, I’ve gotten good at carrying stuff!) and we had a nice ramble and conversation as she took picture after picture. 

Just after we got home, came a totally unexpected phone call from Oregon.  It was our other daughter who is a student at Oregon State in Corvallis.  “Mom,” she said sadly, “Grandpa just died this morning.”  I was shocked.  My dad was 84 years old, and had been doing much better since he moved into an assisted living place in Corvallis, just after we started our PCT hike.  I had been planning to call him today to tell him we were safely back, and tell him about our trip.

So Bill and I were now pulling things out of drawers and closets and throwing them into suitcases (not packs!), not knowing how long we’d be gone.  We left for Oregon as soon as we could, and it was very strange to be driving BACK up the road we’d just driven HOME on, the day before.

But we know we will see my Dad again.  He put his trust in the lord Jesus Christ the summer after I did, after watching the ENORMOUS and wonderful change that had happened first to me, then to my mom.  He was so impressed that he quietly went to see the pastor of the church my mom and I had been going to, and said, “Something amazing has been happening to my daughter and then my wife.  I don’t know what it is–they say that they know Jesus now, and He is changing them.  Whatever it is, I want to get in on it, too.  What can I do?”  Well, the pastor was VERY glad to show him in the Bible “what to do”, and my dad came home “all new in Christ.”  So even though I was very sad about his passing, and I did cry some on the way to Oregon, because I will miss him very much, and I didn’t get to tell him about our trip, or show him our pictures, I know I’ll see him in Heaven, and we’ll have plenty of time then to talk about the PCT and anything else we want to talk about!  I was glad that he could finish his life’s “trail” without pain, just quietly falling asleep and then waking up with the Lord instead of waking up here on earth.  May we all be so blessed when it’s our turn to “cross the river.”

We spent the next week in Oegon, working on all the details of the funeral, and going through acres of stuff at my dad’s house,  till we were finally able to REALLY go home to stay…..till the NEXT time we do the PCT!  We already have a motto, “Do It Again in 2010!”

 

Oct. 10, Mon.– Going home

Mon. Oct. 10     Going home to Petaluma

Bill and I were up very early this morning, eager to go home–we hoped!  We ate our last leftover trail breakfast of granola and powdered milk before heading out into a clear, fresh, nippy fall morning.  At the bus stop, it ws fun to peoplewatch–SOU students on bikes, commuters going to work, etc.  Pretty soon we were on our way to Medford’s transit plaza, transferred to our last bus, then came a short walk to Hertz to see what we could arrange about getting a car TODAY. 

We explained to the Hertz folks that we’d just finished a 5-month hike from Mexico to Canada, and that when Bill made the reservation we were fresh off the trail and got the date wrong.  The Hertz people were super-nice and said it was no problem at all–they had a car we could use, and there would be no extra fee for coming in early.  Whew! They said it would be a little while before the car was ready–and we said, “No problem!” to that, too, because we’d spotted a restaurant next door and were thinking, “REAL breakfast!”  That granola back in Ashland was just a snack!  We had hiker hunger, full-bore!

A scan of the restaurant menu showed a very promising possibility–the “Mega-Breakfast.”  It sounded great.  So we ordered one for each of us.  The waitress hesitated.  “That’s an awful lot of food,” she said.  “Are you sure youcan eat that much?”  We assured her that we could, and it wasn’t long before she was making trip after trip to our table, with many plates.  Basically, the Mega-Breakfast was some of EVERYTHING.  We ate pancakes, bacon, sausage, hashbrowns, eggs, biscuits & gravy, and coffee. Bill finished ALL of his, and I ate all but part of one biscuit.  We were stuffed, but boy it was good!  We figured it was our last time to pig out, since from now on, we’ll not be doing 20-something miles a day over hill and dale!  The waitress was absolutely amazed at us.

We strolled next door to Hertz again, climbed into the car, and at last, we were truly headed HOME.  It was a time of great joy for us both, and again, deep and profound gratefulness to God.  We whizzed along I-5, past the beautiful fall trees, white Mt. Shasta, the snow-dusted peaks of the Siskyous, and down into our own home state of California till we were cruising through the Sacramento Valley with its farms and orchards and towns.  Up and over the final hill and we could see the north end of San Francisco Bay in the distance, then through the salt marshes with all the egrets and herons and ducks, and then we were headed north up the Petaluma River valley for HOME.

It was an amazing feeling to pull up in the driveway of our house.  We just sat there for a moment and again told the Lord, “Thankyou, thankyou for all You have done!”  Our daughter who had been taking care of everything for us was off at school, but she had put up a “welcome home” sign on the front door, and we were were SO GLAD to walk thrugh our own door and know that we’d not have to be searching for water anymore or searching for a campsite, or trying to find the trail.  We were HOME!  We have truly enjoyed our PCT adventure, but are glad to be done. 

Thankyou, Lord!  And thankyou again!