Oregon Reflections – Day 1, travel from Virginia to Oregon
(FYI – this part is not really ministry related. It’s just a retelling of our journey but because this is not only my blog but my journal, and it was kind of like a honeymoon trip for us, I wanted to write it all down so I never forget the details.)
After careful planning and help from many people, we were ready to head to the airport to catch our 12:30 flight. The kids had been dropped off at school, Raspberry (our dog) was at the kennel for boarding, our neighbor was watching Fizzy until Chris’s Mom got here around lunch time to settle in for the week, people from our church would be stopping by with a few meals, Larry (our dear friend and neighbor) was all set to come over and help Nana with the kids when he was able, and our old neighbor, Steve, generously agreed to be our airport taxi service.
We left home at 8:45AM, arrived at the airport around 11:30AM and got checked in. Neither one of us had flown since our honeymoon, 15 years ago, so the automated check-in and security check were new things for us. Everything went very smoothly until we got our seating assignments…middle seats in rows opposite each other. Our first trip together since our honeymoon and we couldn’t even sit together??? To say I was bummed would be an understatement (I even shed a few tears). I asked if we were allowed to change seats once we boarded and they said sure, as long as the other party agreed. It was a full flight, so I carefully calculated that I had 4 opportunities for someone to graciously give up their window or aisle seat and accept a middle seat for the flight. I prayed and God gave me peace about it. We were towards the rear of the plane, therefor, some of the last people to board. The very first person I asked agreed to switch – yay!!!! On to Denver...where I knew I would have the same seat problem once again. Once again, God came through and someone switched. Both times we ended up sitting next to very nice people and chatted with them for the majority of the flights.
We landed in Portland at about 4:45PM, with the 3 hour time difference, it was 7:45PM at home and we had a 3 hour drive ahead of us. Our dear friend, Dana, who felt led to join us at the clinic, had flown up from California and was about an hour or so behind us. We easily navigated to the rental car counter and headed out to the parking lot to choose our vehicle. We had reserved a mid-size car, but there was only one left so they let us upgrade for free. We ended up with a small SUV and it was awesome!!! After plugging in the hotel address on my phone, we set out to drive from Portland to Bend.
What a beautiful drive! I was totally in awe of God’s creation! Neither Chris nor I had ever been west of the Mississippi River, it was so different than anything we had experienced before. After starting in the city of Portland, we headed southeast towards Bend. The drive took us into beautiful, dense forest areas and Mt. Hood would loom in the distance around various turns.
The first thing I noticed was that some of the pine trees were HUGE. I mean HUGE! At least twice as tall as what I’m used to. As we drove on, I looked out the window at one point and was almost startled by the flowing, green, hair on the trees. It took a few minutes for my brain to understand that I was seeing moss on and in the trees. It was so cool! Very much like the Spanish moss of the South, but more on the bark than hanging in the branches. I later learned that that part of the trip was through a temperate rainforest! I had no clue that such a thing even existed!
As we came through the mountains, the land became flatter and more farm like. There were hardly any roads coming off of the main road and I imagined that the people who live there must be very prepared. No running to WalMart for every last minute whim and forgotten item! We drove through a Native American Reservation which appeared to be farmland and a rundown little town featuring a casino.
The landscape was ever changing. We could look out one side of the car and see green grass covering every rise, fall, nook, and cranny of the hills like a blanket; and look out the other side and see rocky outcroppings that looked like what I imagine Arizona to look like.
Bend sits in high desert terrain. Again, something I had never seen. It wasn’t like a desert full of sand, but it sure was dry! It is great work to grow hay out there, but there seemed to be an abundant water supply deep underground. The ground was rocky with sage bushes scattered about and there were much more evergreen trees than deciduous trees. We arrived at the hotel around 9PM and barely got settled in before nodding off to sleep. The clinic was set to begin at noon the next day.