The End of Cali and Forward to Seattle

Auburn, California has some beautiful parks and we were able to hike in two: the Auburn State Recreation Area to Clementine Lake and a city park trail to Hidden Falls.  The hike to Clementine Lake and Dam has the state’s highest bridge, the Foresthill Bridge.  The bridge stands 730 feet in height and stretches 2,428 feet across the American River where it was constructed in 1973 to join the towns of Auburn and Foresthill across a reservoir that was never completed.  The lake was quite beautiful and calm and we actually made it back to our car before the downpour that lasted several days.  When the sun came out again, we hiked to Hidden Falls.

After nearly two weeks of sitting around in our trailer when it was raining, hanging out with relatives (and their German exchange student Julia), with interspersed hiking, we wondered if and when we would get our truck.  The day finally arrived and all I will say is that the FORD dealer in Auburn could have been more accommodating for people who were driving through town and were having work done on a Warranty.  It would seem to me that they would want those passing through to have fond memories of their little town rather than feel as though we were inhibiting their work with the locals.  Even the day they told us we would receive our truck, they delayed the time which only gave us about 4 hours to begin our trek toward … Seattle.  

We arrived after dark, something we vowed never to do, at a sweet place called Lakeshore Villa.  The owner was so accommodating that she waited for us to arrive even though she ‘closed’ 1/2 hour before.  It was a cute, little place by Shasta Lake built in the 1950s.  I could actually imagine people camping there when everything was ‘new’ and not ‘retro’.  A short walk to Shasta lake in the morning refreshed us for the day’s drive ahead.  From the Villa we continued to head north and it finally felt as if we were really, actually, heading toward Alaska.  

During the drive we had a beautiful view of Mount Shasta that appeared to be venting steam.  It is not a dormant volcano, but the one that may be the next Mount St. Helens.  Our next overnight was at an RV park near Portland.  It was like a huge parking lot and our site was on “Alaska Road.”   When we opened our trailer, low and behold, one of the curtain rods had fallen from the window and landed on the leather couch.  Had I not put some pillows and a blanket on it, I would have had holes from the screws!  We are learning that all the bumping and thumping makes for things to twist, turn and come loose.  Though these trailers look like they are made sturdy and strong, they have their issues. 

Once we crossed into Washington state, we decided to take a detour to the Mount St. Helen’s Visitor Center.  Unfortunately, it was foggy and rainy so we couldn’t see the mountain, but we did follow the history of events and watch the little video.  It’s very strange to think the eruption of this volcano and much of what I remember seeing as evening news footage is now ‘history’.  It was such a part of my life with ash falling on my car in Denver as much as living five miles downwind from Three Mile Island, also now on the history channel.

Our final stop in the U.S. was in Seattle.  We had made plans to meet with our friend and former exchange student, Hugo Brito, from Brasil.  He was in Seattle for the 2017 Coffee Expo as his family are coffee farmers in Minas Gerais, one of the states in Brasil.  For many years they were in a co-op, but now he is traveling the world to market their coffee independently.  It was quite the coincidence that he would be there as we were passing through.  We hadn’t seen him since we visited his family in Brasil five years ago.  Finding an RV park became the issue.  Every place I called was full and had no spaces for our large rig.  One place finally called back and said someone left early and we could have the ‘big rig’ site.  It was only 15 miles from Seattle and an Uber would only be about $20 so we decided to go with it no matter what.

When we arrived at this park in Bellevue, it was literally a parking lot for RVs that were squished together.  When the owner saw the size of our rig (already he knew it was 42 feet, but not a fifth wheel), he was a little overwhelmed.  Fortunately, they guide everyone to and into their site.  Let’s remember, we are NEW at driving a fifth wheel and when he began to circle us around the exterior of the park, he had to direct every turn my husband made.  When we finally got to the site, two people, one in the front and one in the back,  slowly guided my husband into the site in such a way that we could actually get out the next morning.  It left us in a twisted-arched position, but hey, we could park and go into the city and see Hugo!

The Uber rides were interesting as always.  It seems we always get foreigners and the discussions are enlightening as far as immigrants are concerned.  One seemed to take us a long route while the other got us back to our RV in less than 15 minutes.  Both spoke English, but with thick accents: Asian and Pakistani.

We were to meet Hugo at the Starbucks Reserve store near the convention center.  He arrived looking much older – he was 15-16 when he was at our house and 22 when we saw him in Brasil – and with some Brasilian friends.  We all went to the Cheesecake Factory for dinner and talked in English and some Portugues.  Afterwards, the three of us had drinks at the Hard Rock Cafe and then wandered to the original Starbucks, the Pike Public Market, the monorail, and rode it to the Space Needle at night.  We had such a wonderful time reminiscing about the past in Nebraska and our visit with his family and all of his friends we had met in Brasil.  We look forward to seeing him again, somewhere, anywhere, and even maybe at his wedding if he ever decides to get married!  Saying good-bye was more like ‘see you again’ and wasn’t nearly as sad as saying good-bye 10 years ago.   He flew next morning from Seattle to Japan; we headed north to the border of Canada!

Carmel Matzah Crunch

4-6 unsalted matzahs

1 cup butter

1 cup brown sugar

12 ounces chocolate chips

1 cup almonds, slivered

Line cookie sheet with baking parchment or waxed paper. Cover with matzot. Be sure to cover the entire cookie sheet..cut extra pieces to fit. Preheat oven to 375˙.

Melt butter in heavy pan and add brown sugar. Stirring till mixture comes to a boil. Continue stirring for 3 min longer. Remove and pour immediately over Matzah. Spread if necessary to cover.

Place in oven and immediately reduce heat to 350˙. Bake for 15 minutes. Check to make sure it is not burning. If it seem to be browning too quickly reduce heat to 325˙.

Remove from oven and sprinkle caramel covered matzah with chocolate chips and let stand until fully melted. Spread evenly. Cover with almond slivers and let cool. When cool enough place in freezer.

After well chilled in freezer remove from cookie sheet and peel off wax paper. Break into pieces and store in air tight container in refrigerator.

Do you know the way to San Jose? (and Monterey)

Heading out to San Francisco … not the right song and it wasn’t for the Labor Day weekend, but Passover with our son.  Upon arrival to his apartment, he treated us to an amazing lunch at Hobee’s Restaurant known for their huge portions of coffee cake.  I had an amazing treat pre-Passover of a Walnut Peach Coffeecake the size of Texas!

Our first full day in San Jose was preparation for the Passover.  As I was only making a simple lamb stew with store-bought macaroons and a bottle of sweet wine we bought in Israel called “Moshe’s Kiddush Wine,”  my husband and I decided on a hike.  We were not prepared, however, for seven miles, and though it was a beautiful hike along the Guadaloupe River to the south San Francisco Bay, the concrete path really tore our feet apart.  We were thankful, once again, for the chiropractic adjustments from our son that brought us some relief from the aching bones and muscles.

Pesach was quiet and simple with just my husband, son and I (and Marrowlyn Monroe watching on).  I was reminded that my son has celebrated Passover since he was born, making this is 22nd year.  Instead of using our Haggadah  to explain everything we were doing because we already knew, we decided to only read the Scriptures.  They made for interesting discussion, especially when it came to the ‘chametz’ or ‘soured dough.’  My son said that to remove ‘soured dough’ would have been a very difficult thing for the Israelites because every meal included bread of some sort; it was the staple of life.  Without the ‘bread of life,’  they had to completely trust God for their provision.  As a symbol of sin, they, as well as us, are reminded of how permeating sin is in our lives and how difficult it is to live without bread.  Knowing that Yeshua is the unleavened, sinless bread of life, made the concept even more powerful as he lived his whole life without ‘soured dough’.

On the first day of Unleavened Bread, my husband and I took the lightrail into downtown San Jose. We found a sweet place to eat called Cafe Eden.  The best part was the schwarma, a wrap that my husband loved when we were in Israel, and was served with unleavened bread!  For dessert we went to the San Pedro Public Market and bought a ‘death by chocolate’ cake and enjoyed the outdoors of the market.  Upon returning to where my son lives, I had a clinic appointment at Palmer Chiropractic with a sweet young woman and intern named Anne Marie.  That evening, after a wonderful dinner that my son made, we headed into San Francisco for ice cream at a favorite childhood place of none other than that intern!  I had the best chocolate chunk peanut butter ice cream – wasn’t sure about the mango.

Our final full-day, my son skipped a class and took us to Monterey.  Of course, the whole world is aware that Monterey has an aquarium, but that wasn’t on our ‘to see’ list.  Instead, we got to walk down Cannery Row.  For those who may never have seen the movie with Nick Nolte and Debra Winger, you should.  It’s one of our favorites.  As we walked down the street of restaurants and souvenir shops, we encountered a little side trail and walked out to the ocean.  The little side trail had descriptions that talked about Ed Ricketts, the first true marine biologist who studied ocean life in the the nearby tide pools in the early 1900s.  When we returned to the street, we saw the front of the building with an old wooden staircase leading up to the door.  Since there was no chain, I walked up the steps to have my picture taken.  The door opened.  A man says, “Hi”.  I responded that I thought it was okay to climb the stairs and he said, “Of course it is.  Would you like to come in?  There’s an older gentleman here who was good friends with ‘Doc’ Ricketts.”  Amazing!  We went in and met Frank Wright, the 97-year-old friend of Ed Ricketts, who married his wife in the back of the building where we had just walked.  He had never met John Steinbeck who had collaborated with Ricketts on several projects, including the combining of several novels for the movie Cannery Row, but was responsible for keeping and selling the old lab to the city of Monterey for posterity.  (I’m going to be reading a lot of Steinbeck in the next few months!)  We wandered around the historic areas of Monterey and ate, none other than fish n’ chips on the pier.  We returned ‘home’ just in time for my son to play his first softball game and watch him hit two home runs!  Yay!  Saying ‘goodbye’ is difficult as we never know when we will see him again.  He has another 1 1/2 years before graduating from Palmer Chiropractic as a D.C. and then has plans to continue onto chiropractic radiology with an internship at Stanford Medical Center.

The ‘bad news’ … our truck needs a completely new engine.  We will be ‘stuck’ in Auburn for hopefully not more than another week.  A part that is needed cannot be found in the contiguous United States which is ridiculous for a truck made in the USofA.  We had plans to meet  a friend from Brasil in Seattle; hopefully, we will still have the opportunity before he leaves for Japan.  For praying friends, please pray for us and this situation.  Our relatives are very generous to allow us to stay here, but we also don’t want to outwear our welcome.   Sitting when we should be traveling to make our deadline in Alaska is highly stressful.  We know that God has a plan and a better one than the original so we continue eating unleavened bread (Carmel Matzah Crunch), wishing our truck was fixed, collecting eggs,  and waiting for the day we receive the ‘it’s finished’ phone call.   In the meantime, our trailer is parked in a beautiful place and the warranty we bought will pay for everything from being displaced to meals.  God is truly our Provider!

Tomorrow is the Feast of Firstfruits and with it comes the hope of the resurrection of the dead and the soon return of our Messiah to straighten up the mess we have created of ourselves and this world.  Without Yeshua, we would all be lost and dying, but because of his sacrifice on Passover, his life of ‘unleavened bread’, we can have life to the fullest now and in the coming Kingdom be resurrected into glory!  Halleluyah!

©2017 Tentstake Ministries

Loveland to Cali and it’s Shabbat!

With a huge snowstorm forecasted in the Sierras, we decided to leave Colorado a day earlier than planned in order to miss the storm.  What we didn’t expect was a snowstorm in Loveland during the night.  Hoping to make an early start, we welcomed the morning with ice covering everything – meaning even two inches on top of the trailer and the slideouts.  With two inches of ice on the slides, they can’t shut.  Thankfully, our daughter decided to come say ‘good bye’ and when she saw her daddy on the roof of the trailer chopping ice and using the push broom to remove it, she wanted to help.

Four hours later, we were finally on  Interstate 80 crossing Wyoming. For anyone who travels this route to Salt Lake City, you know two things: one, there is wind, always high winds and two, there are tractor trailer trucks non-stop passing and racing for first in line to slow down.   As this is our first real venture with the truck and trailer, we were a little overwhelmed – or my husband was since he was driving.

Within the first two hours, a nice truck drivin’ lady decides to move to the left lane to give entrance one the interstate to another tractor trailer.  We’re not sure what happened but she obviously didn’t see us and nearly pushed us into the median.  My husband had to seriously swerve with a 42-foot trailer and not catch the median grass/drop off.  A little adrenaline rush to say the least and when we passed her, she waved with a nice smile as if she had no clue she nearly caused a serious accident.

Our first stop for the night was at a little RV park right off I-80 in Coalville, Utah.   By the time we reached our destination, we were ready to be off the road.  However, that was not to be the case.  Unless we unhitched our trailer, they had no room for our 42-foot rig.  At our daughter’s suggestion, we drove 20 more miles further to Rockport State Park, then another 10 miles around the reservoir to the only RV campground.  As we pulled in near sunset,  we knew it was going to be TIGHT.  A nice gentleman, who we thought was the campground host but was not, showed us a  pull through site and said he thought we could fit.  He was right!  AND, the view from our dining table window was spectacular!

We started the next morning through Salt Lake City traffic and then across the Salt Flats.  This area has significance to our lives as my husband rolled and totaled his car on the flats at the beginning of our relationship.  It’s always a long haul across this area remembering where he lost his favorite car – a little Subaru – many, many years ago.  When we stopped to touch the salt water, I was reminded once again of our Dead Sea visit and how sharp the little salt mounds are.  The views are quite different, but the ‘deadness’ of the salt water is the same.  It was at this stop that we saw our ‘little’ Sadie sitting with the big trucks …. 

We continued traveling on Interstate 80 toward the Sierras.  All weather reports included rain mixed with snow.  Passing through Reno, we met some people from Truckee who said it was really bad at the top and we may even need chains – something we didn’t have.  Well, we were blessed by the living God!  Though it rained hard the whole way up and the 40 miles down, we did not encounter snow.  We did encounter speed limits of 55 for those vehicles towing trailers and tractor trailers.  With the deluge of rain, yellow flashing signs said to go even slower.  Of course, we were the ONLY ones going slow, being passed by not only cars, but those towing horses, trailers and boats and every tractor trailer this side of the divide.   After 12 hours on the road – our promise to ourselves is only 6 – we arrived at our destination in California.  The rain continued to pelt us as we tried to park the trailer.  We didn’t have any light to get it leveled so we had to wait until the next morning.  Sleeping was interesting as our bed tilted downhill and I woke up in the middle of the bed.  (If you are interested in staying here in Auburn, let me know.  They have two awesome Airbnb rentals!)

In the drenching rain the next morning, we managed to unhitch the truck and level the trailer.  During our descent of the pass by Lake Tahoe, an ‘engine check’ light came on in the truck.   My husband took it to a dealer and found out that one of the cylinders blew – on a diesel truck with only 60,000 miles!  The good news – they have all next week to work on it as we are heading to San Jose to visit our son.  They gave us a rental car through the warranty so we won’t have to drive our huge truck in all that traffic.  AND, we bought a bumper to bumper warranty and so the fix will be Free.99.  

At this point, I will add that we have an airplane we are trying to sell.  It seemed as though we have had many buyers, but then the offers fall through.   This time, there apparently is a lien on the airplane from 1977.  The bank doesn’t exist any more and Bank of America that bought the bank doesn’t have records back that far.  Did I mention that it continues to rain, rain, rain? 

Tonight is the Sabbath and we are spending it with our family who has been so gracious to share their ‘land’ with us.   We look forward to our rest tomorrow and hope that nothing more happens in our saga of crazy events. 

Shabbat Shalom!