There’s nothing like driving through parts of Idaho and Wyoming to make us incredibly grateful for where we live. (Although I still think West Texas is the worst place I’ve ever been). I mean where’s a Starbucks when you need one? They’re on every other corner in Portland but you get into no-mans-land Idaho or Wyoming and there is NOTHING for miles upon miles. If Starbucks put a store in the median every hundred miles they would be making bank, not to mention travelers very happy. Throw a mama a latte! (See it even made Isaac fall asleep and that’s hard to do.)
It really is quite astonishing how many different climates and landscapes we’ve driven through in the course of just 24 hours. From the lush green, flower infested city, through the beautiful Columbia Gorge, passing waterfalls, through farmland, to dry, dusty landscapes that look so desolate and lonely. On to the thick forests and mountains of Utah and back again to dry, flat land that looks like it could be on the moon. We live in a diverse country that’s for sure.
Since we had to pull Jenna out of school two weeks early we decided we should do some schooling along the way (Not that they learn the last two weeks. She’s missing mostly field trips and play days.). A lot of our journey has been along the Oregon Trail so we had her do some research on it before we left. We’ve planned some of our breaks around the historic sites along the way. It gave the kids something to look forward to and something cool to learn. We’ve all learned a few new things together. One of the signs said that they packed mostly flour, bacon, lard, coffee, sugar, beans, and apples or peaches. Now that sounds like the important staples to me.
When I was in the third grade we studied the Oregon Trail and even went on a two day Oregon Trail trip. It was experiential learning at it’s best. We had to wear long skirts and bonnets, we walked 16 miles over the course of our two days, had only rationed cups of water, food similar to what the pioneers would have eaten (also rationed proportions) and slept out under the stars. The wagon they normally used wasn’t in good enough shape to pull that year so we just had a truck and trailer instead (kind of a bummer). I’m pretty sure you could never do that in a school today. They’d probably label it child abuse. I call it a memorable experience that’s for sure. Although, I was scarred mostly by my friends hiding my bonnet on a water break and a man on the trip having to go back and look for it thinking I had dropped it, only to find out it was a joke. Mean girls. I also had a skirt that when the sun shone through it you could see through it and I was mortified. Those are the things that little girls remember for a lifetime. I grew a deep appreciation for the life I was living comfortably at home. I was so glad that I hadn’t been born in the days of the pioneers, but thankful they forged the way for the rest of us.
Even on this trip as I’ve been tempted to complain about my aching back or headache from my pulsing sinuses and cough I think back to what it would’ve been like on a long, rough, dusty trail. The constant pains they would have had and the daily risking of their lives. I’m so thankful that I have an SUV to drive me 70 mph through a relatively smooth, paved road and an arsenal of Tylenol, Sudafed, and nighttime cold/flu medicine. I surely would have died along the trail back then.
It’s easy to think “Oh I couldn’t have done that, lived in those times, or wouldn’t have wanted to go through that.” But no matter what time and place in history God chooses for us to live in He gives us the strength to do it and we get to experience something that others can’t. It’s all God’s grace and His weaving His greater story through it all.
All in all this has been a great two days. The most exciting/scary moment was when we were passing a semi. We were trying to pass it because rubber kept flying off a tire. As we pulled up directly parallel with it the tire blew and made a loud pop. I almost wet myself from being startled. I’m just so thankful that nothing worse came of it.
Tomorrow our long journey will end in Fort Collins. More exciting and challenging days lie ahead.