Sunday, December 6, 2009

Pre-Embarkation month

Our trip:
A word I have heard used to describe one's departure location is "Launch". We launched from two places really: South Bend, where all our stuff was loaded onto a container and shipped; and Trixy's parents home in Virginia.

What follows is [mildly] rambling recap...

Pre-embarkation:
In the Seventh-day Adventist missionary system, each missionary family has a pre-embarkation month. This is the time where the family says their good-byes. Our month started with packing our container.

We spent time first in Virginia with Trixy's parents. I gave the sermon, November 7, at the home church of Trixy's parents. November 12 we were on the road, driving to Louisville Kentucky for the Global Mission Health Conference. The rolling hills of Virginia gave way to the mountains and gorges of West Virginia and finally to the hills of Kentucky. At GMHC we enjoyed several speakers and breakout sessions as well as visiting one last time with some of our South Bend friends.

As we left Louisville on Nov 14, even before entering Indiana on our drive to Topeka that night, Michael W Smith's song, "Friends" played randomly on our iPod. It seemed fitting to have that song as we said good-bye to Laura (who will be serving as a Missionary doctor in the Congo next year, through World Medical Missions).

We were driving our Honda Civic EX coupe. I have owned that since it was brand new in July of 1996. With the bridge over the Ohio River from Kentucky to Indiana in sight we turned 211,000 miles. By trip's end we would have over 213,000 miles.

As we past the interchange of I-64 and 57 in Illinois we phoned friend Ted, to say "hi". Ted, his wife, and dog were living just 23 miles south (they have since moved to AZ). As we were trying to make Topeka by the end of the day we didn't stop. However we did stop just west of St Louis MO for dinner and drove the 2nd half of our drive in the dark, making Topeka by 9 pm or so.

From there we drove to Denver. Our weather had been very rainy only during our drive in Virginia eventually becoming sunny and warm through Kansas City. From there it was drizzle. The morning we left Topeka, it was a heavy drizzle to outright rain. The temps were much cooler and snow was forecast. About 100 miles from the Colorado state line, it began to snow. It got, what I call "sloshy". Slushy, but worse. We had strong winds and the snow was heavy / thick from time to time. By the time we came to Colorado the worst had past. The roads got much better as we closed in on Denver. It was when we came close to our friends' home that the snow got deeper on the sides of the road and we encountered a patch of ice.

We enjoyed our visit with Dan and Kristi. This visit also included dinner with friends Joe and Desiree, and Stori & Scott. We had thought we would go to a Cheesecake Factory, but Stori suggested we come to California Cafe where Scott worked. It wasn't until I saw the menu that I came to know that Scott is the Executive Chef. The food was great, exceeded only by the fellowship.

Our drive to Cedar City was uneventful. As always the drive to Grand Junction is simply stellar. Then it gets a tad boring until you close in on the Green River area. In the morning, on our way out of town, we went to Zion National Park. This was Trixy's first visit. We left there to have lunch in St George, before heading to Riverside CA.

The drive from St George is pretty until you leave the Virgin River Gorge. From there to Victorville CA is pretty much mind numbing. I honestly don't know how I used to drive through there. I guess the past 3+ years of mid-west trees have imprinted themselves.

Our time in the Loma Linda area was jam packed: Thursday, a trip to the Apple store at Victoria Gardens and REI nearby; a quick visit with Dr Richard Hart, bumping into Tony Zuccharelli, followed by dinner with Dr Hart's wife Judy and my brother David at Mu's Thai in Redlands; Friday we stopped in to see Andrew Haglund (and were guided to his office by Gail Heinrich), met with Jerry Daly at the warehouse, lunch with Dave and Anna Gisldorf and his parents at Deli Palace, dinner at Jose's followed by Trixy and I presenting at a vesper program at LLU; we had a quiet Sabbath morning/afternoon with Carl and Jenny Christman/Kao (our hosts) for breakfast and a walk around Mt Rubidoux and Fairmont Park. An evening going away party with friends; Sunday morning we sold the Civic just before lunch with my cousin Bob and his wife Marta at Victoria Gardens; Monday we (Trixy, my parents and I) had an afternoon tour of the Centennial Complex with my brother David as host. We bumped into many people we knew (the PDX folk: Nancy, Kathy, Becky; Paul McMillian; old Media services pals Mary and Jeremy), dinner at OSF in Riverside with Carl, Jenny, and Gaby. Tuesday we returned our rental car and headed off to Fresno with David and our parents having dinner at the OSF there.

Wednesday morning, after some shopping, we headed off to Sonora. Thanksgiving at my brother Tim's is something of a tradition. I think we have only been once in the six years we have been married. But before that I had been going up there for most of the previous 18 years. So this was a real treat. All the immediate Colwell family was there. After a quick off road foray we had Thanksgiving dinner. Friend Claire came over from Sacramento on Friday for several hours. Sabbath was church, lunch and then we headed for the Modesto City/County airport and returned to VA.

Trixy's parents met us at the airport. After a short nap we got up to visit with Kevin's gal pal Kim before she headed back to AZ. We wrapped up our packing, vet visit, etc. All too quickly on Tuesday it was time to head to the airport for our flight out.