California

O our God! We thank You and praise Your glorious name! 1 Chronicles 29:13


The last few days has found us flying along drinking in one incredible experience after another.

We’ve had a few disappointments: we ate lunch at Tehachapi. Tehachapi is one of the 7 wonders of the railroad world. It’s a place in the mountains where the tracks run in a circle and the train crosses over its self. We sat in the 88* sunshine for 2 hours and saw not one of the “36 trains daily” that had been promised. 


It felt good to be out of the van for a little. But somehow the desolate tracks didn’t quite fulfill the desire to see Tehachapi. 


Look closely-can you see Farren?


And then, somehow our trusty phone gps took us to the Sequoia National Forest instead of the National Park. And due to some communication errors, it was several miles of twisting beside a very full reservoir before the mistake was realized. It took a little bit to regain my sense of adventure after I realized my mistake. 

But soon we arrived at Sequoia in the gorgeous evening light, plus a breathtaking sunset minus the millions of tourists. Win Win. The girls hiked Moro Rock and Deb got some beautiful pictures.


The air cooled off to 57* and we drove with the windows down. The passengers in the back snuggled under blankets and I had a pretty good idea how cold they were when they started singing Christmas carols. I felt like I was alive again-we were at less than half the degrees from the day before.


As I watched the last light fade out of the sky, my heart was full of Praise to the One who makes all things good. Who takes even our disappointing days and turns them into something gorgeous.

Those feelings followed me through Yosemite, Golden Gate Bridge, the Redwoods and clear out of California.


Bridal Veil Falls and the mist





Another Farren Foto โ˜บ๏ธ

My soul cries out in awesome wonder, viewing countless stars- only God can number: how many million miles, up to the nearest star. I feel so very small, how can I see so far?

Almighty God, How great thou art! You have no ending, You have no start! I know by faith You’re real, for Your love I daily feel, Almighty God-I believe in You!



See you down the trail,

Kendra 

P.S

Bonus pics: Is it a mean trick to make somebody hold a pose until a wave washes in and gets them? ๐Ÿค” Perhaps. But the photo footage is priceless ๐Ÿ™ˆ

Blooms in my Desert

Have you experienced a desert?

“A desert is a barren area of landscape where little precipitation occurs and consequently living conditions are hostile for plant and animal life.” Thanks Wikipedia 

Our travels have us in “no mans land.”  We sailed along over the dry ground, reading signs that say “next 20 miles, turn off AC” and exclaiming over Farren’s outside thermometer reading 135* ๐Ÿ˜ณ. I was just amazed by the absence of life. 


No plants, No critters, just gravely dirt. One fly hit one of my girls, and she was surprised. A gnat landed on Lois and she “felt sorry for it, so I killed it.”  But really,  Death Valley has me traumatized.

As we traveled yesterday, and my passengers turned in for their Sunday afternoon naps, I entertained myself by thinking about how life brings desert seasons.


(Calico Ghost town was a booming silver mine in the 1880s until the silver market collapsed and the town deserted. We spent the night in a bunkhouse here. But saw no ghosts.)

Maybe something I thought was going to be a lush experience turns out to be only a red canyon with a river thru it.

(Horseshoe Bend was much more than that)


Grand Canyon

Or maybe the lights that glistened and enticed from afar were only a temporary distraction.


(Vegas at night. Crowds on the sidewalk, crowds in the streets. It was amazing to see the lights, and we were all glad to move on.)

Deborah shared Isaiah 35:1 with our group: “The wilderness and the solitary place shall be glad for them; and the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose.”

The following verses in that chapter are a beautiful picture of God’s provision in the desert place.

Our journey hit a desert. We ran into a medical emergency and my angelic sister Emily and friend Lucy with a combination of angel wings and Delta airlines flew to our aid. 

“You find out who your friends are. Somebody’s gonna drop everything, run out and crank up their car… Never stop to say ‘what’s in it for me?’ Or ‘its way too far’. They just show on up with a big ol heart…”

God bless them for being that bloom in our desert. (And all the rest of you who moved in to cover while plans changed.)

We continue on. Our group is a little smaller now, which makes us sad. But we face the next 2 weeks with excitement realizing again-that the Almighty, who sometimes allows our footsteps to wander thru dry places-will provide a way. 


May you find a bloom, and friends as sweet as mine, in your desert. 

See you down the trail,

Kendra

Bonus Pics:

Farren Foto- Hoover Dam at sunset โ˜บ๏ธ


Reprieve, Respite, Rest

I’m not sure what the #1 challenge in a trip like this is. But I’m pretty sure that rating somewhere in the top 10 is the fact that when you are traveling for a solid month-you are constantly on the move. And that can be rather exhausting. 

Every morning the same process occurs- jam all your clothes back into your unruly suitcase and watch the town disappear in the rear view. 

This is also among the top 10 favorite things of a western excursion. The ground that you can cover is incredible-if you just keep moving! 


So with that prelude- we rolled into the Montose/Delta, CO a bit travel worn. And we put down stakes for 2 whole nights! It felt really good to just be.

We are so thankful for Deb’s Kennell connection ๐Ÿ˜‰ Ervin, Rose and family showed us another very memorable time! We got in on a birthday party supper. *I love the various expressions on this pic


Deborah, who is struggling with a dog deficiency, got a bit of help ๐Ÿ™‚

 

We organized Farren and just relaxed. And for some relaxing means drinking coffee on the couch ๐Ÿ™‹๐Ÿป but for others:


Another highlight from our fun day was when our sweet Geigley friends took us fourwheeling through the adobe hills that border their property. I wish you could’ve heard the girls exclaim over this โ˜บ๏ธ


It was rather dusty. If you look closely you should see 3 ATVs , each proceeding a cloud of dust, at the bottom of the hills.

 

Heidi graciously provided supper for us, and we watched the evening sky in the Black Canyon. Such a beautiful evening!

Then, with the dawning of a new day, our itinerary demanded that we continue west. So we had a big day yesterday crossing both Bryce and Zion off the list. 

Photo credits- Deborah


There was a pretty major forest fire going on nearby, one of the roads was closed, the smoke turned the sun BRIGHT pink and everything looked yellow. We were glad to move on.


Zion was as impressive as ever. It’s mind boggling how big everything is out here. 

The girls have a little game going where they attempt to hold their breathe thru every tunnel. The tunnel that curves thru the inside of the rock mountain sure whipped them ๐Ÿ™‚ of course 1.2 miles at 25 mph is a significant amount of time. โ˜บ๏ธ


And this friendly fellow was clearly the spokesman for the group, he posed beside the road for us while the rest of the herd kept inhaling bushes in the background. ๐Ÿ™‚

So we journey on, with hearts full of happiness and memories of delicious home-cooked food not as far in the distant past. 

Bless you, dear people in the Western Rockies of beautiful Colorado for sharing with us!

See you down the trail,

Kendra 

Bonus Pic:

Farren the Ford’s Favorite Foto ๐Ÿ™‚ notice the smoke in the sky

Celebrating the Creation in Colorado

We are doing fine in Colorado!! This is the land where adventures never cease ๐Ÿ™‚ And the variety is a rather impressive line up:

Mesa Verde


Our first national park ๐Ÿ™‚ the cliff dwellers are a mystery. I didn’t know that they lived on top the Mesa most of their settlements existence, only moving below the cliff in the last 100 years (1190s) before migrating south in 1300. I tried to imagine scaling those cliffs to work in the flat fields above the dwellings. Wow! 

Another interesting note-because of the danger of falling rocks, the Spruce Treehouse Dwellings (pictured) are no longer accessible. 

Silverton Durango Narrow Gauge Railway


We enjoyed the fresh Rocky Mountain air with a side of cinders as we chugged along the Animas River.

 

The rainbow in the released steam was brilliant.


The hamburgers at the Grand Imperial Hotel in downtown Silverton were delicious and huge! Can I just say how much I love Silverton? It’s such a neat town nestled between such huge mountains. Gorgeous!


Wolf Creek Pass


I love this view! And CW McCalls famous “Wolf Creek Pass” trucking song doesn’t hurt this experience either… We eased down the other side and were thankful we didn’t have to deal with a run away truckload of chickens…:)

Great Sand Dunes National Park


We had planned to visit these Tuesday, but Monday morning we spotted them from the main road and thought if we were that close-we’d check it off the list. Note to self: being able to see something in the distance here is not the same as at home.

We flew into the park, dashed barefoot across the COLD stream and jumped in the sand in front of these impressive formations. I mailed the postcard that boasted how many acres are in the dunes without writing down the figure-but I think it said over 30,000. Wow

We ran back for Farren, and spent the next miles squashing mosquitoes and liberally applying anti itch cream. Persistent creatures.

And we looked neither to the left nor the right, because we had a train to catch.

Pikes Peak and the Cog Railway


The Cog was a welcome change from the cinders from the day before. We rolled up the steep summit at 10 mph and returned 8 mph. It was steep enough that the change in our 2 car train was equivalent to a 3 story building!


The view from the 14,115 ft elevation was the clearest I’ve seen. It wasn’t difficult to see 200 miles to the fields of Kansas. 

Considering our earlier experience with “America the Beautiful” (the singing road in Tejaras, NM) We noted with interest that the view from the Peak inspired the penning of those beautiful words.

New Horizons Ministry, Caรฑon City


We spent the night in Caรฑon City, and were given a tour of the different faces of the ministry. We met a nanny and her 3 month old, toured the “behind the scenes” organized sorting of donations at the thrift store, and favorite part- “subbing”. This beauty took us up on Skyline Drive, where we enjoyed a birds eye view of the city while watching the sunset. Thank you Audrey, for giving us such a memorable experience!  Blessings to you as you continue to serve!


This last week went so well, but we faced some questions with reports of a critically sick relative of one of “my girls”. There were several mornings I woke up to early morning texts and thought “this is the report that will make us decide if we are rushing home for a funeral.” We gave our itinerary, again, to the Great Physican, and felt His Peace in the beautiful evening sky on the most critical day. 

With hearts filled with Praise, we rejoice with each report of progress being made. We continue westward.

To be continued…

See you down the trail, 

Kendra

Bonus pics:

Found this along Main Street in Caรฑon.


Farren Foto: Garden of the Gods



Balance Rock, Garden of the Gods

You can take a farmer off the farm…

Howdy folks!

We tore across the wide open spaces at such a rate, that I’m posting a few days behind ๐Ÿค  so to catch you up briefly:

Kansas was wonderful. We drove along and farmed the entire route. Wheat harvest is in full swing, and we are keeping a running tally of combines spotted. Several of the ladies with me can spot a machine a mile away ๐Ÿ™‚ We understood the urgency as the farmers hurried along in front of a big wall of thunderheads. We cheered when we spotted a young lady running a grain cart. And if the farmers happened to notice the white ford full of fascinated ladies smiling from ear to ear will remain a mystery. But these are our people.


Boot Hill Musuem was full of history and transported us back to the era where Wyatt Erp ruled with an iron hand. We grieved over the graves in the cemetery that stated “unknown cowboy” and wondered at his family  that never received answers. 


We came acosss the most beautiful scene and stopped and feasted our eyes. We were even graciously given rides. Usually Friesen Harvesting runs four S670s but this day they had a machine and operator giving a hand to a neighbor who’s 15 year old son had been killed in a car crash. They were hitting their harvest with 10 machines, multiple trucks, and grain carts. What a neat way to offer encouragement! Isn’t the farming family a powerful gift? And we all smelled like chaff when we left. Oh beautiful harvest ๐Ÿ˜


Yay Texas!!!



We visited several dairies in TX and were again impressed by the management. It’s hard to fathom the amount of book work it takes to keep up with a 3,750 cow dairy. They sort cows every Friday, and can have 300 cows sorted into new pens in about 2 hours! This herd was doing really well with milk production at 68 lbs/cow. Also Jersey calves are the cutest


The feedlots are another source of fascination. So many thousand of cows! Notice the grain bins in the background? When we drove a little further, the middle rings of the main bin looked like someone had stuck a giant knife in it. There were still telltale piles of corn around the footer of the bin.


Rain had shut down Jason’s (Becky’s bro) crew, so we were honored he was able to join us for supper. We tried some local flair-Texas Roadhouse ๐Ÿ™‚ 


The road stretched on and on as we left our beloved farmland and traveled along the less travelled parts. 


Extra time allowed us to check out some random things we stumbled across-like the Billy the Kid Musuem. Clearly Deborah has practiced her tough face more than Lois. ๐Ÿ˜ 

This stop made me sad -a kid who got off on the wrong foot, made some bad choices, hurt a lot of people and eventually was shot the night before he was planning to elope to Mexico. There was a poem written about his kind polite gentle nature which I thought was sweet. Somehow when I learned that it was written by the Bonnie of Bonnie and Clyde- my view changed a little. But I guess they saw each other as people not just wanted criminals.



We didn’t count the freight trains on our route. But I had to laugh at Lois “I keep thinking I need to say ‘”look another train’, but I’m afraid that it’s getting boring!” I don’t think it’s exaggerating to say we saw 30 trains in less than 4 hours.


Yes what a beautiful land! 

And the most exciting part of New Mexico- (who am I kidding-each part is exciting. If these ladies keep up the current level of enthusiasm for each new adventure… โ˜บ๏ธ)

Click here for singing road
The singing road in Tejaras, NM on historic Route 66. I was really nervous when we didn’t see any signs anouncing this marvel. But someone had left a detailed review in the internet and we followed it exactly. And sure enough-2 Little blue signs with a music note and “slow down to 45 mph”.

If you notice the notes go a little sour part way through the song… I was listening instead of driving and got below 45 mph ๐Ÿ™ˆ so so neat!!

Anyhow, we are now breathing fresh Rocky Mountain air and have traded the 100* desert air for 60* freshness. 

And we are off to wander along the mountain streams and pretend that we are ranchers of this vast land โ˜บ๏ธ

You see, you can get the farmer off the farm, but it’s hard to get the farming out of the farmer ๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐ŸŒพ 

See you down the trail, 

Kendra 

P.S Farren Foto: #minime

The Voyage Begins

Bright and early Monday morning found virtuous mothers all over the Valley rolling out of bed and shedding a tear or two as they assisted their daughters in loading luggage into Farren the Ford… and we were off.

First stop was in Kentucky at the Ark Encounter. We were so impressed by the size of the structure. The amount of research that went into the exhibit is unfathomable. The age old story of a man and his 3 sons working for 100 years-by faith-to preserve life during the great flood came alive in a new way. 

I loved how they brought the parallel between the ark providing life for Noah, his family, and the animals to Christ’s death providing eternal life for all of us who make the choice to enter thru the Door. 


One of Noah’s sons working in the wood shop… notice the dove carving to the right of the pic


But what struck me the hardest was the world map with little red dots representing places where the population was less than 2% Christian. Africa had lots of red. India- solid red. This didn’t surprise me. But then I looked at North America-and saw WAY too much dots. Even in Northern Virginia. And the Truth is so easily accessible. 

“Jesus answered, โ€œI am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

So with more awareness of the need to present Christ to our neighbors-we headed on.

Next stop:


Gateway Arch- because of major construction at the bottom of the Arch- I had trouble finding parking, so Deb acted as tour guide, while I stayed with the van. I love her pic from the bird’s eye view. ๐Ÿ™‚

Another highlight: 


The Steamboat Arabia Musuem amazes me. In 1856 the heavily loaded steamer sank on the Missouri River.

In the late 1980s, a father and his 2 sons discovered her location. The river had sealed the vessel with silt, and had changed its course leaving the treasure buried in a corn field. 

So there is a complete general store on display. And 28 years later, they still have 60 tons of merchandise to clean and restore!

Be sure and notice the buttons in the front of the clothing section there-the Arabia had 3 million buttons on board when she sank-and they had cleaned all of them! 

Another fun fact: there were pickles, oysters, sardines, fruit preserves, butter, champagne, etc found on board and they tasted everything. 150 year old butter-I’m sure that was delicious ๐Ÿ™ˆ

P.S this story has Deborah so inspired, she’s ready to excavate in cornfields along Dry River-so if any of you have land to donate-I’m sure she’d be willing to split the profits with you ๐Ÿ˜

By our second night-we made it to Buhler, where we stayed in the Grand Staff Bed and Breakfast and thoroughly enjoyed our hostess. The next day found us exploring the town and imagining what it was like to drive your horse and wagon to town in the late 1800s. Even Farren got caught up in the spirit of our imaginings and parked at the last hitching rack in town. Enjoy this Farren Foto:

So we have a great start on our adventure. And even though we are over halfway, we are by no means halfway done:)


Following Noah’s example, we have began our voyage, as we hope to end it. And may it be said of me “and by faith Kendra…”

See you down the trail,

Kendra 

Trust God and Fear Not

To our friends scattered to and fro,

It seems like things have been a bit more quiet here on the blog smog (loving name given to my ramblings by my brother-in-law) Silence does not mean things are slow here on the home front. I’ve spent the last month soaking up the beautiful Valley springtime and traveling here and there for a day or two at a time.

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This spring has been so beautiful; the rain showers come and the clouds are fascinating to watch. The air is so clear after a rain. My heart rejoices as the sunshine dances back across the fields and the earth smiles.

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I watched the clouds move out after a rainy day recently. The white fog enveloped the mountains behind our house, but occasionally sunbeams would break through the clouds and shine on the green fields below. It was breathtaking watching the game of  cat and mouse taking place in the back of our property.

That scene pretty much sums up my life right now.

Years ago when I came up with the big idea to develop a blogging habit, my mom had one concern: “Don’t air the family laundry” Wise words, and I’ve attempted to take them to heart. So I hope that this post is not breaking that code.

This year has been an incredible journey for my nomadic heart- the adventures have been amazing. And as I look ahead on my calendar- 2017’s joyride is not nearly completed.

But the gray cloud covering my world is an ongoing health issue that is relentless. I was diagnosed with a form of ulcerative colitis. This condition is not the end of the world, but drains my energy and makes eating a chore. And traveling is not the best companion. Yet here I go.

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A church sign in PA this week read “Fear Not is quoted 365 times in the Bible, one for every day of the year” I researched this, and while that figure may be debatable, there are hundreds of commands to “Fear Not” and “Be not afraid”.

The opposite of fear is to trust, so I’m challenging myself to trust- unconditionally. There are so many times when God has provided for me above and beyond what I needed. Somehow, it’s easy to forget. So I’m compiling a list of verses on trust, and I intend to refer to them often with in the next few weeks.

Deborah and I leave shortly and spend a month touring the West with a group of ladies (stay tuned for more details) and I am so excited to see how God will provide for us!

We’d love to have you along vicariously. (Sorry the van is full, but you can follow along all sorts of ways, thanks to social media) And if you think about it, will you say a prayer? Pray that God will go before us, arrange our contacts, and give us-me especially- strength.

Isn’t it wonderful to rest knowing that God will make a way?

What is the cloud covering your world? I’d love it if you’d share your favorite trust verse with me!

Blessings,

Kendra

Bonus Pics:

Prov. 3:5,6 Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.

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 Joshua 1:9 Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.

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Isaiah 43:1 But now, this is what the LORD saysโ€” He who created you, Jacob, He who formed you, Israel: โ€œDo not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

P.S Aren’t River and Ingrid the cutest?

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Romans 15:13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit

Amen