Monday, May 24, 2010

update to Monday morning, May 24th

Cardenas, Chihuahua, Mexico

It's Monday morning and it's another sunny day. The rooster is crowing and every now and then the 2 hens come singing by my back door looking for another scrap, the unfamiliar birds are chirping away, the remains of late last night's wind storm is strewn about in the yard. At 10:30 there's still a cool breeze coming in the screened front door keeping Paul & I quite comfortable in this little oasis from the heat. Trooper is alert for that cat that may come by again any minute. I just hope that the locked screen door holds. On the other hand, he was quite disconcerted when the rooster strutted by and crowed in his face.

Since we last 'blogged' our life has a bit of routine, thanks to the 2 meetings and Saturday/Sunday morning service. Where we would be I don't know if it wasn't for the GPS. Once in the city, there are no visible land marks, except for the sun which tends to keep moving. There are big traffic circles everywhere with 6-8 roads running off it. The circles are so big, we have to count which street to turn down as the GPS usually isn't quite up to speed. And you know Five Corners in White Rock? Well, here it's eight corners! And some have ALTO and some don't! We always feel we're risking our neck when we boot it across an intersection. However, drivers are courteous but don't wait for any Canadian that hesitates, that's for sure. We'll get the hang of it.

Just about every day we go to the house and are happy to see the gradual progress. As of this Wednesday it will be four weeks that we've been 'living out of a suitcase' ~ a little longer than we tho't. Consequently, until we can move in, we are in limbo, out of our comfort zone. Every day sees us running back & forth from Cardenas to Delicias so the mileage is noticeable, plus it's usually the time of day when it's really hot. We're so thankful to retreat into this little air-conditioned house.

Today, we're going to leave shortly and take Trooper tho' it's not always easy because of the heat. However, he likes his park across the street from the house – we'll have to give it a name – and we don't have much else to do except go to Alexis' house to connect with the internet and send this blog and a few e-mails, etc. The Soto's, Alexis family, are terrified of dogs but they are getting very comfortable with him. Marie, the mom, invites him into the shaded carport and gingerly brings him water when we go inside.

Found a great place to buy delicious BBQ'd chicken after the meeting yesterday. It also came with separate side orders of yummy mashed potatoes, and a few other choices. We entered it in the GPS so that we will find it again.

As to the main reason we're here, we have three potential Bible studies! The first is an older couple that we called on back in January. They welcomed us with open arms Sunday morning, and are very pleased that we will come back later this week to start our discussions about what the Bible really teaches. The second is a 18 yr old boy, (who is 6'5” and has a pretty good beard) his name is Julio and he came to the meeting Thursday with his Mom, who is inactive. The other elder noticed that he seemed to take to Paul, and he usually goes outside right away but this time he kept hanging around to talk to Paul. They talked about his family, even music, and the kinds of governments in Canada and the US, and then Paul told him he really needs to have his own Bible study. At first he hesitated, but then seemed more open to the idea. Paul invited to come over to our new house when its ready. Paul plans to take Julio along as a guide and interpreter when he has to go to other towns to give talks in the future. We'll see how that one goes. And as for me, Saturday Miguel the other elder was doing approach work somewhere, and he talked to a man who said he had a friend who really needs to talk to Jehovah's Witnesses. She is a 38 yr old American from Florida and he gave Miguel her address. Sounds a little strange, but we follow up on everyone. So calling at her house, there was no one home, and we left a note with Miguel's phone number. She soon phoned, and agreed for us to go call on her. She even asked about the meetings. So I will try to develop this call.
Miguel feels that in just the one week that we 'foreigners' have been here, there are signs things are starting to move forward. A couple in Spanish who speak English quite well heard we have arrived and they are going to think about coming into English now. But most important is the folks in the territory who we are looking for. Miguel says they are impressed with Canadians who would move down here just to help them learn the Truth in English.
We have enjoyed the meeting Thursday and Sunday. Paul has his suits and jackets somewhere in the trailer still, so he is in shirtsleeves, but they still need him on the platform.
The local Spanish congs. Had their circuit assembly Sat. And Sunday, and they used an open-air baseball stadium. They get it free in exchange for cleaning the place up. There is a roof over most of the seating, and that's good because it has been 38 degrees celsius.

Well, I'll try to blog a little more often as these are becoming increasingly lengthy. Until we get the internet set up, I type it up in a document first, then paste. Kinda not the same.

Hope to see some e-mails from you when I get to Soto's house. May Jehovah keep you safe and bless you all as He is us.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Well girls, here it is Tuesday evening, May 18, and Sandi is far behind in her Blog, so she has asked Paul to do an update for you.
Sandi's last blog took you to our departure from Bennie and Sharon Jones' home in Los Lunas, south of Albuquerque. It took us just a few hours to haul this heavy trailer down to Las Cruces, only 45 min. North of El Paso, and we spent the night there before crossing the Mexican border Sunday morning.
We met Brother Jesus Esparza and his wife Elena at El Paso, at an intersection, and they led us to the border crossing at Santa Theresa, 30 min down the road, so that we would not have to haul our trailer thru Juarez Mexico. They felt we would be a target going thru town. So we followed them, and we arrived at a nice quiet border crossing about 9:30 am.
(Brother and Sister Esparza are the couple about our age who lived in Delicias and have a house outside of town at Lazaro Cardenas, but they had to move back to El Paso. We met them in January at the English District Convention at Monterrey, Mx. They left town right after the convention, so they had given us the keys to their house, still furnished, and said we could stay there while we checked out Delicias, and we did so. We sure appreciated their hospitality, and now they are again helping us to cross the border, and giving us their house again to use until our own house in Delicias is ready. It looks like another two weeks, by the way, as the builder still has lots to do, tiling, cabinets, inside doors, etc. But I will tell you more about the house shortly.).

At the border crossing: We learned that there are several departments to deal with crossing into Mexico, unlike the Canadians and US folks who are on top of everything. One wicket sold us our 6 month permits to be tourists, another sold us a 6 month permit for our Explorer and trailer, then a third dept looked at my list of contents of my trailer. It was all itemized carefully, and Brother Esparza had it translated for me, but forgot to bring along the translation! He didn`t seem too worried, so I didn`t worry either. He helped me each step of the way as my spokesman and translator, and it seemed to make such a difference. The guys at this third department were so easy-going, he looked at my English-only list of contents, decided to charge me $128 US duty, and that was that! No search, no questions, and no one cared about our dog Trooper either.
Then we drove thru a green-light red-light lane, and got a green light. Perhaps a red light would have resulted in a big search, I don`t know. But we drove on. Some soldiers were there with their big guns, and sandbagged positions too, but we drove on. Down the road a few miles we met a checkpoint of the military again, they pulled us over, we had to get out, and one guy searched under the seats, in the glovebox, in the back while petting Trooper, and then he wanted to see inside the trailer. Whoa! I indicated to him, as I unlocked the padlock, that it was full to the top, and he just had a look, rummaged a little bit as I guess they are supposed to look for weapons being smuggled, and that was that! Meanwhile, We now had a different brother with us, as Esparzas left us at the border, and Miguel Garcia met us and took over as our guide and translator. We sure were cared for well this day! Anyway, while the soldiers were searching the truck and trailer briefly, and us standing around, Miguel chats with one soldier, tells him who we are, gives him the magazines I had on the dash, one English and one Spanish, as the soldier said he had a buddy who reads English. So we left with waves from all the soldiers, and drove on.

If this soldier-talk is upsetting to you, remember we are in a war zone now, the war is between the government of Mexico and the Drug Cartels. If Americans and Canadians stopped using drugs, Mexico would not have this war going on, so no one should look down on Mexico. Mexico has the courage to declare war on the Cartels, and the Cartels are fighting with guns imported from the US. So its an international problem, and frankly only Jehovah`s government, His Kingdom, can solve this mess. People in Vancouver, in Surrey, in White Rock are not safe, its just a lot more open down here. But there go Jehovah`s people preaching about the Kingdom, walking among all these crazy violent people, and until Jehovah`s organization tells us to back off, we will continue to go out among them and do our job. We can`t hide from this crazy world, we keep going until our Governing Body tells us to change what we do. And so far they are saying to exercise caution, but proceed with vigor.

Before we go down the road, may I take you back to the border again. As you can see, we now have been transferred from the care of the Esparzas to the care of Miguel Garcia from Delicias. Miguel gave a public talk at one of the 4 English congregations in Juarez on Saturday evening, stayed over night, and planned to ride back to Delicias with us. (He had taken a bus up to Juarez so he could ride with us to go home). So when Miguel meets us at the border, a nice English-speaking Mexican family of 5 came to the border too, to meet us and to wish us well. So we had a big gaggle of brothers and sisters around us as we dealt with all the border authorities. They must have surely wondered about us. What a beautiful worldwide brotherhood we have as Witnesses, the only organization in the world like this. We are so blessed. Remember Malachi 3:10, which says if we test Jehovah out by obeying his directions even tho we are full of fear and apprehension, He will pour out a blessing on us even now, and much more in the future. Sandi and I were in awe this day, as we felt we were taken by the hand thru a foreign language bureaucracy, led thru rather intimidating military checks that again would have had a communication problem if we had been alone, and then sent off by a nice family of Witnesses we had never met before this day, as they came to the border to meet us. We are so blessed.
There was another checkpoint about 40 miles into Mexico, it was actually called Customs, and the guy just checked the permit and sticker we now had on the windshield of the Explorer. That was it, and we headed into the 5 hour trip to Delicias. It took us more than 5 hours, stopping for two meals, letting Trooper have a walk or two along the way, and the trailer is very heavy. When we got to a tollbooth with about 50 miles to go, I paid the toll, then pulled over toward a rest area and bathrooms, and found I had a flat tire on the trailer. Oh man, this was not easy to change, as the trailer was overheavy, and the problem was a jack that could not do the job. But this happened in a good spot, and Sandi could get out of the sun with Trooper while Miguel found a guy with a bigger jack, and we got the tire changed.
We made it into our temporary home, in Lazaro Cardenas, near dusk, and the neighbours were waiting for us as we pulled in to the fenced yard of the little duplex. Remember Esparzas had lent us their place, and the neighbours were Witnesses too, and we had met them back in January, so it was another reunion, and they had the AC running in the house for us, and Miguel got a ride on to Delicias with someone else, and we were home for the night, safely, after a long and tiring day.

Monday, May 17

Well, Monday morning we were eager to see the new house, and get oriented, so we dropped the trailer in the fenced backyard of the house in Cardenas and headed for Delicias, 30 min down the road. Within 5 minutes we met the usual roadblock checkpoint of the Federales, the Federal Police, heavily armed with machine guns and ready for anything. It can be intimidating for sure for us Canadians, but I find the most intimidating is the language issues. I know how to deal with authorities respectfully, but I can`t do it when I can`t speak their language. I`ve got to get this language thing fixed within the next year, I feel like such a baby. Anyway, the roadblock. A large officer, one of the leaders I think, stopped us, and asked where we were going, where we were from, and I told him in mixed English and Spanish that we were staying in the home of Jesus Esparza in Cardenas, and going to see our new house in Delicias. I showed him the printed address of the new house I carried with me. He shoved out his right hand, palm up, and I asked, Passport, no, oh maybe he wants cash, no, he wanted to shake my hand! We laughed, we shook, he asked if I was a Pastor in our Church and pointed to the Watchtower I keep on the dash, I said I was an elder, a minister, and he nodded. He asked if I like Tequila, he told us to buy the white Tequila, not the yellow Tequila, and add lime, and salt, etc. Can you believe this, a heavily armed man stopping us on the road telling us in broken English how to mix a Tequila drink, and then apologizing for his poor English. This place has a way of picking you up just when you start to get stressed and or discouraged. That made our morning.
Then we arrived at the house. A little disappointing, as there is still much work to be done, and it will take a couple of weeks I am sure. But, there were positives too, as the house has electric garage doors, remote controlled from the car, just like Canada, and the washer, dryer, and Air Conditioner are being installed, we just need to buy the fridge and stove, and of course another bedroom set, another couch, and other stuff that we had planned on buying. The floor in the huge garage is tiled too, and very nice. Sandi and the builder, Pedro, were discussing the colours for the house interior, and I took Trooper for a nice grassy walk in his new park, right across the street. The park has a central monument or something, with paths all over, and it covers a city block or more. There are about 10 Witness families very close around the park, and there`s also a doctor and a lawyer who are neighbours, according to Pedro the builder. Pedro`s parents live down the street, he lives a couple of doors away, and many others who he says will get together to welcome us after we are finally moved in in a couple of weeks. So a nice feeling of community right on the street, and we went to Pedro`s house for refreshments before we left. Miguel Garcia our friend and translator was with us through this whole day, as he had taken the day off work as an electrician to spend the time helping us. We did a couple of errands and headed back to Cardenas outside of town.
To our surprise there was a carload of girls in their 20s who had heard we had arrived and who could not wait to come see Sandi, so they had driven out to Cardenas to see us and were waiting when we arrived at the little dusty place.

Tuesday, May 18

Today is Tuesday, and we both felt a little out of sorts as we got up, feeling overwhelmed and a little frustrated that we can`t even unpack our clothes that are in the trailer, until the new house is ready. We are just killing time in a way. I have two parts on the meeting program Thursday night, and I don`t even have a suit or sportsjacket, they are packed in the trailer somewhere. So I will be giving my Bible Highlights talk and the Service Meeting part in a shirt and tie, and pants too I guess, and mogasins instead of dress shoes, but that`s OK with this little congregation that has been waiting a long few months for the new couple to arrive. Our arrival has legitimized the cong., they say, as some didn`t take it seriously until now that a Canadian English couple has arrived permanently. One brother we met at the new house contruction site said his wife speaks good English and they had thought about going into the English cong., but now that we arrived, they were going to talk about it again.

So back to this morning, we drove into Delicias again, the 30 minute drive, and met the Federal Police roadblock again, the machinegun brigade, and I thought that we would have to go thru the whole interrogation again with a different officer, but I guess the big guy yesterday had told the others about the Canadians in town, as we slowed down, a different guy looked at the plates and at us, smiled broadly and waved us on, and the guy from yesterday was busy across the road checking a truck, he spots us, and waves vigorously, with a big smile. So that picked us up a little, as really the communication issues are what bother me the most. That, and the problem we have caring for Trooper while in this little town of Cardenas.
I am not sugarcoating this blog, and am telling it like it is. It is a rough place, dangerous in some ways, and the Police guy told us to use extreme caution. So we can`t walk Trooper after dark, I take him out for a walk before dusk, all the loose dogs everywhere come after us barking and growling, its like walking a gauntlet, but Trooper handles it calmly, and I just keep sauntering down the middle of the road until we get past the crazy packs of dogs, They come within 4 to 6 feet sometimes, and they have not attacked, and the last thing we want is for Trooper to get bit by one of these dogs and get infected. I am prepared to kick any of them that get too close, but so far a sharp word or two, and a threatening move by me, and they shy away. But I have to walk him, Monday we took him in the Explorer all day, and looked for grassy places for him, and it was hard to find. So today we left him in the airconditioned house after walking him around Cardenas, but it will be so much better for him when we are in the new house and he has the park. (I tried taking him in the Explorer and looking for vacant lots for him to explore, but they are full of sharp things, even little burrs that hurt his feet, and he is such a spoiled city slicker dog that he needs nice grass to walk on. I can`t wait to get into the new house with the park across the street.)
We looked at furniture stores, shopped at Sorianas, a competitor of Walmart which is here too, and then we returned to Cardenas, had a rest, its 36 degrees celcius, and then walked Trooper again, had a meal with the neighours, spoke broken English and Spanish around the table, learned the little 10 yr old boy is getting baptized this coming weekend, and we had a nice day overall.
Actually, we now have an arrangement with the sister next door in our little temporary duplex home in Cardenas, she makes us one nice meal each day, sometimes we will eat with them, sometimes she will bring it over to us, but its just whatever they are having that day, and we are able to help them financially so that its not a burden for them. They are very poor, but tried to refuse any payment for the meals. Of course, we insisted, and its a fine arrangement for all of us. It takes the pressure off Sandi, as this house was empty and we didn't want to stock the place with all the things it takes to prepare full meals. We make ourselves a little breakfast, we usually are out at lunchtime, and then come home to the neighbours nice meal for us. We even get in a siesta nap from 4 til 5:30 maybe, so life is not too tough.

Conclusion for today:

We know there will be problems, maybe some serious ones, but life is like that anywhere. We are out of our comfort zone, for sure, but we pray every day that we can survive this huge change for us and show others back home that it is possible to make a big change like this and still live to talk about it.

Sandi will no doubt write again soon, but we don`t have an internet connection in Cardenas, so we wrote this in a document and will try to cut and paste it into the blog tomorrow morning when we go to a brother`s house in Delicias. (He has wireless internet, so we can connect there with our laptop.) If this method works, Sandi will keep up her comments for a while, until we are settled and life becomes routine. By then you`ll be tired of reading this anyway.

We don`t have our house phone and high-speed internet installed yet of course, but our Mexican cell phone is, from Canada, 011-52-1-639-109-6389. Our email will continue as before,, and

No one should worry about us, we are just fine. Jehovah and his people are taking care of us, and we are never alone, not even for a minute. Jehovah is here, we can feel it.

Dan and Katina, if you are reading this, we love you dearly. Maritza and Santiago, we love you and think about you every day. Bill and Carol, we`ll see you late in June. Miriam, Trooper misses you, and we do too. Dale, come down and see us when you can. Randy and Frances, we hope you keep in touch too.

Good night to our wonderful family, Mom and Dale and her family, Paula and Brad, Savannah and Bronson, and to Scott who has been so generous and supportive. Hi to Kayla, and to all our dear beloved brothers and sisters in the faith. We love you all and think about you constantly.

Written by Paul

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Los Lunas to Las Cruces, NM

We reluctantly hit the road again this Saturday morning. The trip to Las Cruces was uneventful, a good thing I guess, and now we are just 45 minutes from El Paso. Tomorrow morning, around 9:30 a.m. - 12 hours from now - we will be crossing the border into Mexico with Brother Esparsa. We talked to him earlier tonight and everything is on schedule.

We really enjoyed our stay with Bennie and Sharon: found a TJ Max store which had lots of interesting stuff. Paul is obviously still feeling insecure as he's still buying underwear! Ate lunch at a Red Lobster which was a treat for us all. The next day, we had a slower pace and we're able to have some quiet time do our mtg. preparations. With the weekly Bible reading assignment, we took turns reading and used the reference Bible at the same time which was nice to do together. Then later went to their Thursday night meeting enjoying it very much. The friends we met were as warm and friendly as the ones back home. I am always so appreciative of our amazing brotherhood. After the meeting, Bennie & Sharon had invited a few couples over so we had wine and snacks and they were enthused and excited about our move. It was late when we got to bed but we managed to get up and go out in the field ministry Friday morning. And, just like at home, we all stopped for coffee at Starbucks. [Interestingly about 10 sisters work at this Starbucks, because while they only get about $10 hr., they get health benefits!] Just as the morning was coming to an end on one of the backroads, just as Bennie promised, we spotted a real Roadrunner. Funny little thing and unmistakable likeness to the cartoon character which is all most of us have ever seen.

You know Jones' are such dog people and really fussed over Trooper, not even hardly minding when he drooled on the floor. Sharon was forever giving him treats. I think Trooper tho't he was at last 'home' because he sure didn't want to get in the truck to leave. I wouldn't be a bit surprised to hear that they get themselves a pup soon. You could tell they'd really missed having a dog around.

So we spent our last evening together savoring Bennie's fabulous Jumbolia [mispelled] and later while hoping for a pretty sunset, sat out on their patio warmed by the fire built in their fire box. So relaxing. We said goodnight to Bennie early as he had to leave around 4 a.m. to go to Aztec and work on an RBC roofing project. In the morning we phoned Olga & Percy and co-ordinated our plans to attend the Annual General Meeting in Jersey City as they, too, have rec'd their invitations in the mail. After some last minute laundry, we collected all our stuff - I hope - left around 11:00 but not before some sisters working the territory walked by and introduced themselves. We were saddened to say goodbye, but at the same time, we're excited and a little bits nervous to get across the border.

So its off to bed now. Paul's already packed it in he's pretty tired. Tomorrow we get up really early as we have to figure out how to repack the back of the truck so that I can sit in the back, with Miguel riding up front. Trooper's gonna be squished. Don't know when we'll next have a wireless connection as we won't be staying in any hotels from now on. But we'll call Paula & Scott as soon as we're safely across and heading for Delicias. Good nite Y'all. Good nite, Miriam.

.......and Good nite all you Clarkes, Camerons, and Prossers. Our love to you each and every one of you.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sharon & Bennie's in Los Lunas

If feels so good to be off the road for a few days. Actually have unpack our suitcases, which is the first since we left home 2 weeks ago today.
We had a very windy & dusty drive from Gallup. Before we left, Trooper had another go at those gophers - visual confirmed - but he came up 'empty'. Hit the road around 10:30 and some of the red dust storms we went thru were pretty daunting. The sand was drifting across the road just like a white-out in a snow storm. Finished the last of the 2010 Yearbook just as we got into town. When we arrived here, Bennie met us at Greenwals, and we followed him a few short miles to their home. What a lovely area. Their subdivision is quite new, Santa Fe style. Crazy about all the soft sandstone shades of the houses. Paul loves it. All the fronts are landscaped with fine red pebbles - that sometimes blow away - curvey sidewalks and appropriate spikey plants, roses, lilac, etc. Bennie is faithfully watering some newly seeded grass out back and had a nice choice of interesting bushes. Very nice. It was windy when we got here, but after supper we all went for a walk [to find a suitable bush for Trooper] and the air was calm and cooling. Miriam, you`ll be interested to know that there is a tree here that is a cross between a desert willow and a catalpa tree, called a Chatalpa tree. It`s not flowering yet, but even so the hummingbirds were all over them. I`ll try to find one. This morning we awoke to beautiful sunshine and the bluest sky I've seen in a long time. Sharon says that just as someone had reassured her, she actually enjoys a cloudy day! Can this be true? So we sat outside a bit, relaxed and read, while Bennie & Paul are trying to track down, with success, a place that will tomorrow be able to install air suspension balloons on our leaf springs [I probably don't have that right]. That way if there's a lot of shooting going on in Juarez, we'll just inflate the things and sail over the border. James Bond, eat your heart out!
So now Sharon & I have plans to S H O P towing 2 men.

Oh!! Oh!! Oh!! I forgot to mention. BIG NEWS. We`ve been accepted to attend the Annual Meeting in New Jersey, Oct 2. We`re hooking up with Hymers so they are booking our accommations, and most are confirmed. Yahoo! What a privilege. Can`t believe it.

Take care, everyone.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Gallup, New Mexico

We made it safely to Gallup today. Our Best Western is actually on the quiet outskirts of town which I think is good. This dusty town is very poor, lots of pawn shops, Navajo smoke shops, and a general feeling of.....'glad we'll be in Los Lunas tomorrow'.
Paul was able to park at the back of the spacious lot outside our window. The window comes right down to the floor so we put Trooper's bed in front of it and he watches - just like at 'home'. At first we had the curtains open and some guy tho't he'd peek inside until Trooper almost hit the glass barking at him. Good dog, Trooper.
I hardly slept at all last night and not feeling well today. It's just not as easy to be on the road day after day as it may have been in the past. We're only 1 1/2 hrs. from Jones but needed to rest up a bit and wash all the bugs off the truck, thus the stop.
Right out back of the parking lot is an open deserted area with weeds and a few large mounds of dumped dirt. So I tho't first thing after we arrived I'd let Trooper out and he could check it out. Well, he was over there in a shot as he must have seen whatever critters have this incredible maze of burrows inside the mounds of dirt and everywhere in between. He was frantically digging and I could hear them signalling a warning to their clan. I think Trooper tho't he was really going to catch 'a squirrel' this time, but of course he didn't. [We'll check it out again in the morning.] The holes were as big as the ones we saw on the side of the road a few days back, so I think they're marmotts.
Watched tv tonight. Had room service for dinner from nice adjoining restaurant. Lotsa salsa on the menu lately.
Have any of you, who are reading this, have a short explanation of how to make a comment on this blog? as a few are still asking. Do you have to have a gmail account? where it asks for your Profile?

Goodnight, Savannah


Can you believe it? we woke up to rain? But that was an hour and a half ago, and it is now a beautiful sunny morning with perfects temperatures. About to go and test the continental breakfast. Truck/trailer all set and ready to go. Have a good day everyone.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Provo to Monticello

This is our 2nd night in Utah. We took Hwy 191 and reached Monticello around 4 pm - that's with a few stops and a missed turn that took us 10 miles further. I think we missed the turn because Paul had let me out of the car to check out some orange spikey flowers which I took pictures of. Betcha I don't get to do that again. Later we passed an earlier consideration, Moab, for a place to stay. It had 47,000 people and a KHall, and lots of interesting shopping, river rafting & other touristy stuff. A very pretty city. However, we continued on over dale, and desert, thru dust and dirt. Alas we arrived in this very windy, almost dead town of 1700. Spring has just come to this little place, so we must be quite high. The 'Best' Western is now relegated to a Wayward Inn Motel but Rich promised no bed bugs as some of the 'other' hotels boast, and a continental breakfast which we have yet to experience. The dinner we had at the diner, which opened up for us patrons at 5pm, made Shari's of the other night resemble Martha Stewart's. If anyone asks, stop in Moab!

Today, we decided no more Country Music and, thanks to the combined efforts of Scott and Savannah, we listened to 2 1/2 hours of the Yearbook downloaded into my iPod, which we hooked into the 7" flat-screen stereo system. It was easy to absorb the events related about Unganda while passing thru scenery composed of endless sage brush and red earth. While we travelled along countless long stretches of highway, there were miles and miles of towering rims and gorges, similar in all the magnificent colors of the Grand Canyon. And to my delight, in amongst it all, were acres of big splashes of a bright yellow ground cover. So much beauty in even this uninhabited wilderness to Jehovah's glory.

Tonight our 'rig' is parked right outside our door and we feel safe. Trooper continues to be vigilante to any activity outside.

Tomorrow we will slip thru the bottom south-east corner of Colorado and run down to Gallup, NMex. From there it is just a short 1 1/2 hours to Benni & Sharon's who are waiting for us, so if all goes as scheduled, arrive there around noon on Tuesday. Every night & every morning we are so thankful to Jehovah that all has gone well, and that, as Paul says, "there's nothing to blog about because nothing has happened." [Hope you are finding this somewhat interesting just the same.] Love to you all.

Good night, Scott.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Provo, Utah

Wow! are we road weary. We got up and left what we tho't would be really early, but the old grey mare ain't what she used to be. So left around 9 again. The Hwy north of Salt Lake City is pretty ugly and a steady climb for miles & miles. So, around 10:30 I had my first nap of the day. Once in Utah we watched for a Travel Info Ctr as we weren't sure about Hwy 191 going south past SLC - if it would be too mountainous for our 'rig'. The fellow assured us that it was excellent roads and much shorter, as the way we'd picked out went south, then southwest to Las Vegas and then east to NMex. We've cut off a lot of miles as a result. Cancelled our previous reservations and found ourselves in Provo around 3:00. Had a quick bite to eat, and we all 3 crashed for naps. Trooper's woofing woke us up again as new people w/dog settled in across the hall. They were sniffing their identifies to each other under our door. [The dogs, that is.]

As we got closer to SLC, we headed for downtown where I had GPS'd the first Coldwater Creek I could find since Seattle. I'd seen a tan knee-length linen skirt on-line that I tho't would be good for service and hoped to get. The outdoor mall where I found the store was absolutely lovely. Reminded me of a much better version of the new mall in our area that has Winners, except that it was on 2 levels. Very appealing. Also was at a similar mall with Ed'n Lou years ago in San Fransisco. Can't remember the name but it was down near the Pier, began with G. Chocolates of the same name. Quite famous.

Anwaz, downtown SLC was very pretty but quiet for a Saturday afternoon. We found a 30 min., long. parking spot a few blocks away from The Gateway Mall and so with instructions not to take an hour, I headed for the store! Well! I hit pay-dirt!!!! The store was having it's one-day-a-year 35% off everything sale, plus 50% off all accessories and another 35% off that. So what's a gal gonna do? I shopped and tried on [no limit to how many items you could take into the changing room - woohooo!] as fast as I could and it only took me an hour and a half - well, so, it wasn't an hour [she said defensively]. In the meantime, Paul & Trooper were still resting in the shady 30 min. spot. All was well and I'd had a blast. The cashier line-ups were really long and I got chatting with the lady behind me, told her where we were going and why. [She was probably Morman, ya think?] Anywaz, as I was heading for the door she called out 'Goodbye, Miss Canada, and good luck.'

Just finished a rather late night dinner at Ruby River Steakhouse attached to our La Quintas Hotel. Had one of the best steak dinners ever. It's one of those restaurants where you have galvanized pails of peanuts on high top tables. Shells are dropped on the floor and cheer loudly for their basketball team on the sports tv - the team was just playing down the road - nothing tooooo national.

Well, it was good to get off the road early, tho it's 10:25 MST. Hope to get to Monticello, Utah on 191 tomorrow.

Goodnite, Bronson.

PS: didn't get the tan skirt, but, not to worry, I did alright.

A wake-up in Twin Falls, Ida

Day 3: a beautiful sunny morning and our truck & trailer are waiting outside for us. We`ll be leaving in a bit.

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Dalles to Twin Falls

"Two wheels on our wagon, and we're still rollin' along.
The Cherokees are after me......"

Remember that song? I think it was written while they crossed the bottom half of Oregon like we did today - honestly I don't know how those old wagon trains followed that Oregon Trail that we criss-crossed. Didn't see any Cherokees but saw lots of prairie dogs and those big ones that looked like a third of the size of Trooper. What were they? There was one bunch of about 7 that were all sunning themselves around this very large hole right on the side of the Hwy.
Anywaz you can tell I've got a lot of time to look out the window! We also listened to a lot of old cowboy songs from the 50's & 60's so I'm feeling kinda bunchy? thus the wagon song.

It was a long day today and we tho't of stopping earlier but decided to keep on driving to our reservation here at the Best Western. It's a nice city and hotel. Rooms that allow dogs are also just as clean as any other - glad to say. The truck is running just fine & the trailer just tags along. Each night we've parked the truck/trailer near our bottom floor room, putting on the alarm, wheel lock, & club. Yes, we were relieved to see it still parked there this morning when Paul did a check at 4:30 a.m. with the remote. So we will trust it's safe tonight, too. We walked up the street to Maxie's Tomato for a nice glass of wine and seafood pasta & salad. MUCH better than last night.

That's it. Oh, and we heard the Canucks/Chicago score. Just as well we couldn't find it, nor hear it. As Scott says: Pathetic.

Just heard from Migel that the house is ready to be painted. Yikes, but they're going to wait. How do you say soft buttery yellow leaning toward brown sorta?

We hope to get to Cedar City, Utah tomorrow. May cut it a little shorter if necessary.

Goodnight John Boy.....

Thursday, May 6, 2010

White Rock to The Dalles, Oregon

Well, we arrived safely, without incident, in The Dalles, Oregon as scheduled! Thank you for your prayers.

This morning we saw Savannah off to school. She got up before I had a chance to sing the "Red Red Robin" song to her. A family treat! Then Scott & Kayla came over to Paula's at 8 a.m. to see us. Suzy also phoned one last time and with a few extra people around it made it a bit easier to leave, tho' for a long time I will have this haunting picture in my mind of Paula holding Daisy tight and crying as we drove away.

We decided to take the Nexus lane going thru the border and the guy in the booth was a little flustered and pulled us over to be checked out. While we went inside with Trooper, who found a pole at the entrance to relieve himself!!!, we joined a bunch of other people waiting in line to be processed. Finally it was our turn. They didn't care a hooch about Trooper, but they x-rayed our truck & trailer, wanted to know what kind of dog food we had. Thankfully we knew it was made in the U.S. Anywaz, after 1/2 hour we were on our way, which is about how long the line-up was to go thru the regular lanes. By then it was 10:00 a.m. and while we tho't it was a late-ish start to get on the I-5, we arrived here around 5:45. We stopped a couple of times for washroom breaks and Trooper had a good time checking out all the doggy news in the unfamiliar rest stops. He's a good passenger.

We followed the Columbia River upstream along from Portland to this destination. It was sunny, quite a beautiful day, with interesting scenery. Tomorrow we expect to reach Twin Falls, Idaho which is north of Salt Lake City. That'll be interesting as we've never been to Utah.

Haven't had any fine dining experiences, as I know some of you are wondering. However, there were a few special occasions just before we left that I mustn't leave out. When we went to Merritt earlier this week, Brenda Grenon - my dear little Ukrainian buddy - made a delicious lunch of fresh homemade pyroghies smothered in extra onions and bacon with sour creme [and a salad on the side]. With all that butter that they were later sauteed in, we were thankful that she'd made them with whole wheat flour! [you couldn't tell as they were every bit as good.] And then....when Suzy came over she'd managed to sneak a few of our family favourite cookies, Gingersnaps, out of her house as well as a few morsels of her cinnamon buns that Justin had left behind. We brought these goodies with us. So, let's see, tonight we ate at Shari's........not to be recommended. Should I go into the details of the menu? Bill? I really should have arm wrestled that big pizza delivery guy I passed in the hallway on our way out for supper. Whatever he had in the bag smelled so delicias!

Well, tomorrow's another day. We thank you all again for your support and well wishes. May Jehovah bless every one of you.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Time is flying by much too quickly. MONDAY morning we left Sechelt after a terrifically high wind storm that left fresh snow on the surrounding mountains at Gibsons. It was a beautiful sight but really cold. We arrived at the kids house around noon and Paul went and got the trailer hitch reinforced. TUESDAY we got up early and headed for Merritt to get Trooper. The Coquihalla had just had over a foot of snow and we drover thru hard rain, a lot of hail, sleet, and sometimes sunshine! Crazy weather, eh? Sort of a BC send off. Said our goodbyes to Miriam, tho' we're being optimistic and hope she makes it down to Delicias early October. On the way home we stopped in Abbotsford to see Jill & Cec. Finished the day with Chinese food at Paula's and Scott & Kayla joined us. Brad & Bronson are going on a school camping trip to Elphinston Mtn, Gibsons, [that's where we saw the fresh snow on the mtns. yesterday] early tomorrow a.m. so we said our goodbyes with hugs & kisses & hoping to seem them late summer and we were all off to bed.
WEDNESDAY, today, we had a lot of last minute things to do, but slept in and relaxed. Savannah didn't have school 'til after lunch so we sat around, us 3 generations of 'Cameron/Clarke' women and had a really nice morning together. Took Trooper to the vet for his International letter required for Mexico - he was terrified as usual. Then, we visited Grammy and, after a bunch of little errands, Paul helped Paula deliver Bronsons papers - he's on the camping trip remember - and Savannah & I went to Clancy's Tea Cozy for high tea, a favourite spot of ours. We each took some crazy pictures of each other, that I'd put on the blog if I knew how, and I really appreciated this special time with her. By the time we got home, Paula had gone to work at the golf club, so we had left-overs and ice cream as no one felt hungry. We're now packing up, trying to find any convenient hidey-hole in the Explorer to stuff some of the items we have in the back of the truck. I don't know how we ended up with so much in there with us: One very large suit case, 1 small carpet bag, 2 service cases, 1 lap-top & case, sm wicker basket of dog food/dish/lease, etc, lg beach basket with 2 purses & newly acquired photo album tucked inside, 2 person emergency kit, shoes, 6 oyster shells, atlas book, 5 BCAA state travel guides, one dog bed with 2 blankets, one medium sized dog, and a pillow & blankey for me. Sheesh! Oh! I almost forgot, a 3-tiered cement water feature layered between a carpet runner and a fluffy shower mat.
I'm so not looking forward to tomorrow morning. It's going to be awful. But I'm not going to think about it right now and instead, go downstairs and watch the taped American Idol with Savannah ..............goodnight everyone.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sunday afternoon in Sechelt and it's a cozy rainy day inside with Douglas'. Maybe we'll get a game of hearts going.

We're calling Douglas' The Mexico Halfway House. We went to their meeting this morning and realized that the last time we'd been to this KHall was the visit with Douglas' which started us on this great adventure. Couldn't help but feel strengthened by the decisions we've made when discussing par.9 in the Watchtower. We really feel Jehovah has blessed us so much already. Their were a lot of visitors this morning and they sent their love along with us to our respective congregations ~ that's a 4,000 mile haul for us!

Tonight, our last night in Sechelt, we're going out for dinner to Rockwater Resort - a posh little place nestled in a smuggler's cove, a popular wedding reception place. So it's kind of a dressy-up place [too bad I have to take Paul] with a great menu ~ sure to be a fine dining experience. We'll catch the 10:20 ferry tomorrow morning and head for Paula's.

Did you hear who came for dinner last night? Thomas Zeeman [we knew him in Montreal when he was a teenager] & his wife Colleen. They live in Powell River now, which is just another ferry ride further from Sechelt. Douglas's met them a month ago and realized we were their common friends, so they just had to have us all over together. It was a nice surprise. Colleen was Colleen Moody in Vernon about 8 years ago when she met Thomas. She knows/remembers Miriam. They married about 7 years ago and lived in Prince Rupert for a while so they know Fred & Elaine Johnson & Elsie as well. Colleen is the mother of Sarah Ryter [who became a BeautiControl Consultant under me and got her red mustang convertible last March]. Small world!

So, as is probably going to be the case, I skip a day or two and have to relay events backwards. But not much happened on Friday except that Paul discovered I hadn't packed him a stitch of underwear, while someone picked up all my make-up that was in a clear zippered bag and put it in a box with my bathroom stuff - I'm hoping. I don't know which was worse, to discover Paul had to go commando or I had to go face-naked! Anywaz, we went shopping and remedied all that.