“Duck Diving” is a surfing term. When paddling out and a wave is coming your way that is foaming and screaming threats of washing you all the way back to shore, you duck dive, which means you paddle as fast as you can, start a pushup and then push the nose of the board down, guiding it underwater and forward, underneath the threatening wave. That usually works.
Duck diving is how our drive across America felt like. In our ’98 Buick we were pulling a 5×8 foot trailer with the minimum amount of stuff we thought we’d need to get started over in Chula Vista, CA. Just north of Jacksonville I noticed the heat gauge was a bit higher than usual, but no where near hot and probably not to be worried about.
Our first stop was Greenville, SC, where Leah and family lives. 80 miles from her house the engine was hotter but still not to the warning track, but it simply turned itself off—on the Interstate. I guided it to the shoulder and stopped. We had the car towed to Leah’s and no we don’t have AAA but we did have Progressive insurance and they towed it—but for only 15 miles. The rest was on us. Thank God we had it. We dove under that wave of opposition but the Buick was dead and is now at rest in Leah’s backyard, hoping one day Rob will tinker around with it and raise it from its grave.
We were there 5 days dealing with the Buick and had to rent a moving truck, load our junk in there and head west again. We are so grateful for those broke down days because we had a great time exploring Greenville with Leah & family.
Behind schedule, we went to Mobile to one of our best friends ever—I’ve known her (another Jackie), since I was 14. She has a granddaughter, Cassie, and Cassie was about to inherit a 2006 Hyundai Elantra from Jackie but opted to give it to us instead. Their family got together and took a vote and we did indeed become the owners of a Hyundai. Hyundai now on dolly behind truck, we headed west again. How grateful we were to see that car in our rear view mirror. We weren’t exactly sure what we were going to do about a car once we got here. God did.
Leaving Mobile you go across Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana in just a few hours and think, “CA is just on the other side of Texas. I’ll be there in no time.” When you see a sign that says your city of destination is 827 miles and it’s still in Texas, it’s a bit challenging. But first we had to get through Houston during rush hour with our car clinging for life to the back of the truck. I thought Orlando had traffic challenges but it’s like driving through Whigham, GA, in comparison. Never heard of Whigham, right? No traffic at all. We did get through eventually to a smaller town and pulled into the Everest Motel, tongues hanging out and worn out from the day’s drive. Little did we know what a dive it was. Beautiful on the outside. We slept on top of the bedspread and got out as early as possible.
Our 2nd day in Texas was gorgeous. We were on I-10 with the sun behind us and mountains surrounding us the whole day. When we stopped for gas or food we were greeted by friendly people and blessed by cooler weather (than Florida) and God’s presence. The roads were good, the traffic light and our spirits refreshed by God’s grace. We streamed an Orthodox Liturgy I have on Google Music and were able to join in for the next 1.5 hours, worshipping and interceding and God’s presence was so in the cab of that truck we nearly stopped right there to live. We spent the night a bit past San Antonio in a Motel 6 (cleaner for sure). Their rooms are bit crammed with stuff and the microwave sat on a stand and was about 5 feet high. The cat, who traveled with us, got up there somehow (she is so fat I don’t know how she jumps) and leapt unto the bed while we were sleeping and hit me like a 22 pound cat would feel. I thought someone was making off with me in the night; Jackie jumped up, heart racing and wondering who was trying to mug me. Cat fled, we went back to bed, she did it again and should be dead, but we were able to laugh and she continued the journey with us.
Our 3rd day in Texas was shorter and still filled with the glory of God, friendly people and a pleasant goodbye to us as we pulled into Arizona. We were again blessed by mountains and beauty and cool weather, though it was warming up as we headed toward the deserts ahead. We made it all the way to El Centro, CA and decided to call it a day, leaving a 4-hour drive for the final day of travel. California was not that pretty to begin with. There was mostly scrub bushes in patches of dirt, a 55MPH speed limit on the Freeway (It had been 80 through Texas and 75 in Arizona) and HOT. We had A/C in the truck and it ran…and ran. We got through that and hit the sand dunes and that was pretty cool (actually hot) so we felt a little better; then we got into the mountains and were once again refreshed by the beauty. The roads, going up and down and up and down, put quite a strain on the truck, but we made it here on Friday the 14th. The Brewsters met us, took us to our new condo and we had two fold-up single beds and two bar stools Leah gave us and that was our furniture in total.
Twice a year a community (comprised of multi-million dollar houses) has garage sales. It just happened that the 15th was one of those days. We kept the moving truck and went garage sailing with Ron and Jeanette. Our couch in FL was sold for $250 and we furnished our condo with $225. We were able to get a love seat, couch, 3 dressers, night stand, 2 coffee tables, queen size bed, a swivel chair, a rocking chair that is ancient, and a small bookshelf. It took us all day to load and then unload and get it up the stairs, but on our 2nd day we were ready to live. We still need a table to eat at and and chairs, but we are patient.
The first week was settling in and it was a lot of running around. Today, the 21st, we are going to see Nathan and Becka, who are in town at a BeachBody conference, and will then roll to Monday and get into the work of the ministry we came here to be involved with, Homes of Hope. Next blog, I’ll give you an update. May need a month or so.