Monday, September 19 Home!

Friday, September 23rd, 2016

SUMMARY:  Avis is the only car rental company that does not charge a dropoff fee for one-way rentals, so that’s where our friend took us this morning at the Portland Airport.  We ended up with a new gray Kia, and as Bill put it, “flogged that poor horse” as fast as we dared, all the way back to Petaluma.  It’s a very familiar route along Interstate 5, and made us feel as if we really were headed home.

Back in California at last, the rice harvest was underway in the Sacramento Valley, and it was hot!  97 degrees!  What a change from the cold in northern Montana!

But once we were back near San Francisco Bay, it cooled down, and what a joy to come back into Petaluma and see our house again, looking OK.  Inside, I expected to see spider webs and dust bunnies everywhere, but no–everything was fine.  But we had no time to waste–we needed to return the Kia to Avis at the Santa Rosa Airport.

So we started up one of our other cars, and drove in the sunset light, then the dark, till we finally located Avis (not easy) and turned in the Kia.   By the time we got home again, it was after 10:00 pm.  Tired doesn’t even come near describing how we felt, but we stopped off to pick up some artisan bread, cheese and fruit for a late supper, California style.

Home.  We are finally home.  The CDT is almost like a dream–but we still have lots of scratches, bruises and sore muscles to prove that we really did do it.    And thank you, thank you, Father God, for walking with us all the way!

DETAILS:  Our friend John gave us a ride to the Avis car rental at the Portland Airport.  Good thing he is a Portlander–he knew a way to avoid the commute traffic!  Avis is the only car rental company that does not charge a horrendous fee for one-way rentals.  Good for them!  We ended up with a cute gray KIA “Sportage”, and we left the airport at around 8:30 am with one goal:  Make it to the Santa Rosa, CA airport BEFORE 9:30 pm!  That meant we really had to push it.  Fixit drove as fast as he dared.  “I’m really flogging this poor horse”, he said.

It was cloudy and chilly, even foggy, through most of the Willamette Valley.  We could not see the Cascades at all, and could not even see the Coast Range, not even Mary’s Peak, which is a sizeable mountain west of Corvallis.  We cheered when we saw several new hazelnut orchards along I-5–that means more nuts to make Nutella, which we ate gobs of on the trail!  The tall, beautiful oak and maple trees had just a hint of fall color, unlike the full-on brilliance of fall foliage in Montana.

By 11:00 we were starving hungry and made a pit stop at Subway for sandwiches, before pushing on.  As we got into the Siskiyou mountains of southern Oregon, the clouds began to lift, and by the time we reached the CA border, the sun was out and the sky was blue.  All the rivers we crossed–the Umpqua, the Klamath, the Sacramento–seemed to be running well, with plenty of water.  And best of all, the forests were GREEN–no beetle kill!  No miles and miles of gray, dead trees, like we saw in Colorado, Wyoming and even Montana.

Down from the mountains, then into the Sacramento Valley, where there were many new orchards, mostly of nuts–almonds, pistachios and walnuts, plus new vineyards.  The rice harvest was underway, and the rice paddies were a beautiful shade of gold and green.  The sunflower fields were already harvested, and so was the corn.  I love looking at all the different crops and watching what’s happening on the farms.  It was HOT, though–97 degrees.  What a change from the chill of northern Montana!

Finally we were able to head west on I-80, and we cheered again when we spotted the blue of San Francisco Bay, and soon we were back in Sonoma County with its vineyards and farms, then finally on our own street, and into our own driveway.  My first thought was, “Whew, the garden survived!”  But we had no time to waste.  We tossed our packs into the house, took a deep breath, prayed, and….our own car, which had been just sitting all summer, started right up!  Whew!  The sun was going down, and we still had quite a way to go before we would be at the Santa Rosa Airport.   Fixit drove off in the KIA, with me following, and before long, we were driving in the dark, heading north.

When we reached the airport, we had an awful time trying to figure out where to go, where to turn in the KIA.  It was almost 9:00 pm, and nobody was around in the rental car parking areas.  Finally we figured it out, got the KIA squared away, and FINALLY we were REALLY headed HOME.  It was 10:00 pm by the time we were back in Petaluma, but we stopped off to grab food for a California supper–artisan bread, cheese, fruit.  We scarfed it up and collapsed into our own bed.  What’s weird is that our whole CDT summer just seemed like a dream.  Did we really do it?  Well, the proof was we were bone-thin, full of scratches and bruises, and very tired.  Yes, we DID it!

Thank you, Lord!  It was great!




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