21 Aug 2011

To The West & Return

Posted by Sam

ugust 21, 2011

Dear Friends,

We be home. And this time it sort of feels like home. Not in the driveway, exactly, but in North Carolina.

Our trip west, which began on July 13th, was amazingly smooth. Our boys made the trip possible for us. We count Kurt, Dave’s nephew, as one of our boys. He furnished his downstairs apartment in Bothell, WA, and loaned us his car. Kevin got us to Salt Lake City and Jason reserved the perfect truck for our haul, at $l,000 less than we were able to find. He also somehow found us a room in Logan, Utah which was full with a convention in town.

Once again, we weren’t able to see everyone we wanted to see. We selfishly spent time with son Kevin, Shelly and Morgan, plus Dave’s sister Carole and kids and my brother Steve and family. To our friends in Yelm, Eugene, Bend, Ashland, North Bend, Pahrump, Polson, Cove, Salem, Lake Oswego, Roosevelt and Preston … we hope to connect on another trip.

Following are the high spots of the 7 day trip from our storage unit in Utah to New Bern, NC in a Penske truck mainly full of Sam’s art supplies, books, fabric, photos and memorabilia, plus a few household furnishings and one box of Dave’s stuff.

Day 1. Logan to Rawlins, WY, the arm pit of the western world. We’ve been there before and vowed never to go back. We were just so tired. We ate at a dinner house that featured a full bar and chicken, but they had neither. “Sorry, the chikin is prolly on the same truck as the wahn and it din git har.”

Day 2. Nebraska. Flat. Green. Corn. We crossed the Platte River, the North Platte, a couple of Platte channels and the South Central North Platte (!)

Day 3. Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri. Went through the corner of Kansas because U.S. 29 is still flooded by the Missouri River.

Day 4. Missouri, Illinois. Good weather continues. Fertilizer signs advertise “MorCorn.” No kidding. Went through St. Louis at 2 PM Sunday but it was still a 9 on the Larry & Rachel Baker scale of Trailer Terror. Crossed the Big Muddy and neither of us saw it!

Day 5. Kentucky, Tennessee. Finally ran out of corn in the Daniel Boone National Forest. We braced ourselves to haul a heavy load over the Cumberland Gap but it was less than 4,000 ft. Kudzu, a voracious green vine, blankets the roadside. Like ivy on steroids, it covers everything in its path, hated but beautiful this time of year. Tennessee has us meandering through miles of knobs and hollers, with the faint sound of banjoes on the breeze….

Day 6. North Carolina. Soy beans and tobacco. The corn is planted, two feet high and burned brown. Too hot. No rain.

Dave’s ears have been sore and plugged for 5 weeks (he’s had treatment twice). It hurts his ears to talk loudly. I’m deaf in one ear (the ear on the side of his good eye, so we haven’t been able to hear one another this entire trip. It has been especially trying in the truck which has great, but noisy, A/C. I think we’ve handled it with patience that comes with caring, if not grace.

I lost two fillings on the trip and Dave’s belly hernia announced itself with the first box he picked up. We found a weightlifter’s belt that worked really well but next week we’ll get it checked and taken care of.

Jason helped us unload the truck into a storage unit in New Bern. When we finished we went to look at a house that was advertised in the paper that morning. It is just perfectly “us.” We still can’t believe it. The house is one huge open room with a couple of supporting posts and a galley kitchen, and cathedral ceiling. One wall is all window looking out over a nice deck and lawn running down to the Neuse River. Two bedrooms with white wood floors are attached to the big room; a beach house feel. The big room has light gray carpet, white walls, one half mirrored. The owners live next door, are very nice and will let their two Dachies visit. The back yard has 12 foot high hedges on both sides. The owner has a pad where he parks his boats and will let us park the bus and plug it in. No garage, but Dave is willing to trade the garage for the openness to the outdoors and the deck. 1702 River Drive, New Bern, NC 28560. We will move in after they clean and paint, within a couple of weeks, I think. You can google the address and see the front of the house. Very unimposing, but planter boxes all the way around; I can hardly wait!

We are very glad to be able to continue painting our own picture. The picture is changing but we are still able to handle the brushes. Some day we will probably just be color in the background of someone else’s picture, but not yet. And so the beat goes on.



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