Miles Driven: 611
Montana looked like cowboy country. Fields of grass and grain mixed with cow, horse, and bison ranches. The farmland and big sky were beautiful. Montana became Idaho and the grain fields continued. We drove through the cute lake-side city of Coeur d’Alene and turned south towards Lewiston to see another of mom’s old friends from her days at Mattel, Elaine. Lewiston sits on the Idaho state line with Washington. Just across the boarder is Clarkston. Get it? Lewis and Clark. We had to come down a very long and steep grade from the high prairie bluffs into the lower oasis where Lewiston and Clarkston are situated. I think we passed seven runaway truck ramps!
Elaine was very kind to let us stay with her on our journey. And as always, I really enjoy hearing the stories of when my mom was my age.
Miles Driven: 401
We had a lovely breakfast at Elaine’s favorite diner joint, Waffles and More. We crossed the Snake River into Washington for a bit before driving into Oregon. East Oregon was covered in dry farmland. But the second we hit the Cascade Mountains and crossed into the Columbia River Gorge at The Dalles Dam, the pine trees began to sprout up and we saw signs for waterfalls. The river was busy with sail boats and parasails.
We passed through our future home, Portland, and made our way to my Uncle Martin and Aunt MaryEllen’s home in Salem (our home base while we find a place to rent in Portland). We also made perfect time to see my Uncle Rupert and Aunt Diane, who were visiting from the east coast, for one more day before they flew back.
Total Miles: 10,510
The End. (but not really)
The saga continues…
We spent the next two weeks staying with my generous family, checking Craigslist every morning, and driving back and forth to Portland in search of a place to live. This was much more difficult than I expected and finding our new home to rent almost seems like fate when I look back. Any perspective house did not meet all of our criteria (ie. Allows cats, has washer and dryer hook ups) and then rented before we really had time to think and follow up. While looking at one house that was not quite right, the landlord’s wife gave us a flyer for her home that she also was renting and we had not seen the ad for. After taking a look and liking the location and layout and checking off all of our needs, we applied. And waited. And somehow, we got the very cute, blue, 1915 bungalow. Move in date set for September 1st.
After signing the lease, we had just over two weeks to kill before moving in. We drove down to Stockton to visit our good friends Katie, Andy and Heidi, then over to San Francisco to attend our friend Beth’s wedding and explore the city a little. Then back to my hometown to prepare for the move. Our dear friend Luanne was also so generous to host us while we booked the rental truck and began the packing process. It was good to see our friends and church family again before heading off.
The drive back to Portland took two days and involved mom driving our 16ft truck with one car towed and me following in the other car with the two cats. Packing and the entire drive went mostly smooth. We are back at Uncle Martin’s for one more night. Tomorrow is move in day!!!
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What a blessing these last three months have been. We were given such a great opportunity to make a change in our lives and try something new. The road trip was eye opening to the diversity in landscape, people, food and culture that spans our country. America is so beautiful as it changes from coast to coast. Rolling hills, valleys, deserts, red rocks, rocky mountains, farmland, bayous, forests, fields and prairie. All of these landscapes offer something unique to our country. Everyone needs to experience America at some point in their lives by visiting the national parks and learning about its history. Plus, the whole trip was just plain, old fun!
And let me just say, thank you SO much to our friends and family who hosted us along the way. Thank you for feeding us, giving us a place to sleep, and letting us do laundry. We love you all so much. And please know that you always welcome in our home too.
Here is to a new adventure!
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The Grand Totals:
31 States + 1 territory
12,406 miles driven (CA and back again)
# of bug bites: countless
cheapest gas: $3.19 in Alabama
most expensive gas: $4.29 in California
favorite place: you can never pick just one spot in America the Beautiful