Sunday, July 28, 2013

BACK TO THE USA - We're going "home" to motorcycle cross-country!!!

We're going home  - for a visit!  Yes, Oregon will ALWAYS be home for me.  Many ex-pats can now call Cuenca "home," but I haven't arrived there yet.  We've been here for eight months now, and we're still learning how to live in another culture, how to adjust to less and live a more simplified life, how to keep our eyes on what today has to offer and not look to tomorrow or yesterday, and how to live in an apartment in the heart of the city instead of a house in the quiet solitude of the country surrounded by land.  Oh, and how to be "Jubilados!"  Not working has also been something we're learning to do.  It's been such a life-changing experience to repack our bags, simplify our lives, leave the familiarity of the USA and move to another country. 
GOOD PASTURE BRIDGE - McKenzie River Oregon
 A very dear friend of ours had a severe stroke the beginning of June, three days after he and his wife returned to their home in Cuenca after their two month vacation in the states.  One night they were at our apartment toasting their return back to us and three days later.......  "Suddenly!!"  Now both their lives have changed from what they thought it was going to be upon their return.  Our friend continues to improve "poco a poco," but the healing journey is going to take time, patience, and on-going costly medical care.  His wife is my hero - she is so strong and determined, and she is taking phenomenal care of her husband 24/7.  Their days of dancing together (which is how they met back in the states) and taking day hikes to their favorite places in the Cajas is now on hold.  He cannot talk and is partially paralyzed.  He has been through extreme pain and more unexpected medical procedures.  Yet, he always lights up and smiles when Bo and I go to visit him.  He is improving and getting stronger day by day.  He's a fighter, and he will prevail because of many continued prayers, his devoted wife's strength and wisdom, on-going physical and speech therapy, and family and friends who love him and are cheering him on.

I have been able to support his wife by accompanying her to the doctors and also to be with her when her husband was in the hospital.  I now know more medical words in Spanish than ever before.  It has also shown me the kind of medical care that one receives when entering the emergency room or is admitted to the hospital, and the final costs of emergency and in-hospital medical care in Cuenca.  I've seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of the health care here - but that is everywhere.  There are medical professionals who enter this field for the money, and their are the truly gifted, brilliant, and compassionate doctors and medical staff - the ones who truly care and make all the difference in the healing progress of their patients.  I have seen my friend being treated by doctors who act like they care and by doctors who truly care and actually know what they are doing.  Again, it has nothing to do with Cuenca or Ecuador.  It's all about the gift and wisdom and compassion of the physicians and caregivers.

This sudden and unexpected illness of my friend has caused me to do a lot of thinking lately - about the preciousness of LIFE!  Life is so precious and not forever - well at least not forever on this earth.  While we're on this earth, I want to focus on the important things and live for today because tomorrow may never come for us, or at least not as we expect it to - financially, relationally, nor health-wise.  Even if tomorrow comes, we may not have our health to do the things we love.
Bo and his much-missed Valkyrie!
 Therefore, God-willing, Bo and I have decided to live one of our dreams - to  motorcycle the USA cross-country on our Valkyrie and visit family and friends along the way.  We'll stop and see Glacier, the Grand Tetons, and the Badlands.  We'll visit a dear friend in Minnesota who is in her final stages of Cancer (I pray we make it there in time).  We'll see family and friends as we ride through many states, and then we'll visit the New England states and stay at Bed and Breakfasts to celebrate our anniversary and a replay on where we spent our honeymoon 22 years ago (Yikes, that long ago???).
September 21, 1991 -Until Death Do Us Part!

It's been a busy week, visiting our friends here in Cuenca and saying "Adios," for now, making lists, and taking care of last minute details as we get ready to pack and close up our apartment for our LONG journey back to Oregon.  I haven't seen my mom in eight long months, and that is going to be the highlight of my trip.  Bo and I adore her.
My beautiful mom - She's 87, has advanced dementia, and I pray to my dear Lord she still remembers me after not visiting with her for eight long months!

To visit friends and family will also be a joy.  I'm not especially looking forward to sorting through our STUFF, yet that is another task that we will focus on while in Oregon.  We had considered shipping a pallet or two back to Cuenca, but I finally came to my senses AGAIN (this is a hard part of my journey - not having my STUFF), and we are going to fly to Oregon with empty suitcases and bring back only our well-thought-through needs.  I continually remind myself (and Bo also reminds me) that a big part of leaving our lifestyle in Oregon was to truly SIMPLIFY OUR LIVES!!!  That means living with less here - and certainly without all the "wants."  I'm at peace about this.  The more STUFF we accumulate here, the less ease and freedom we have to "GO" should we decide to!!

It's going to be strange going back to our house that is rented, where our STUFF is in storage in one of the out buildings.  It's going to be even more strange to get in my Acura and drive again while we are visiting Oregon.  Yes, I miss my car and zipping around in it - but I don't miss paying for car insurance, gas, or car repairs!  It will also be difficult to go to our land and not be able to enter our home - since it's rented (to the best renters we could have ever asked for - so responsible and they love our home and care for it as we did.  Thank you Mike and Karyn).
Our beautiful Oregon home of 40 years! 

I look forward to staying with one of our special friends, and being only 1/2 mile from the Walterville Pond - a place I walked or jogged around in the early mornings.
The Walterville Pond at sunset
We'll take a drive up the scenic McKenzie Pass and see the Three Sisters mountains and many other breathtaking areas, such as Proxy Falls and many other rushing waters, and beautiful Eastern Oregon.  We'll also take an hour drive from home to see the incredible Pacific Northwest coast.

Three Sisters
Proxy Falls
Scenic waters
Eastern Oregon
Pacific Northwest Coast
Tomorrow evening we leave from Cuenca to Quito, spend the night, and on Tuesday morning we begin our long day journey from Miami to Oregon via LA.  We arrive in Eugene at 10:30 pm.  Because we purchased one-way tickets, our time is open, and we have 90 days to be out of Ecuador.  We return back to Cuenca the beginning of October, so we have lots of time to visit "home" and travel the USA.  It's going to be quite the adventure, but we are going to be flexible in case our plans do change. 
Prov. 16:9     
A man’s heart plans his way,
    But the LORD directs his steps.
I will blog about our USA journey, but that will always depend on where we are and, of course, internet access.  For now, may our readers continue to enjoy our blog, and get ready to follow OUR JOURNEY BACK TO THE US of A!!!

O BEAUTIFUL AMERICA, Here we come!!!!

O beautiful for spacious skies,
For amber waves of grain;
For purple mountain majesties
Above the fruited plain!
America! America!
God shed His grace on thee,
And crown thy good with brotherhood,
From sea to shining sea.

O beautiful for heroes proved
In liberating strife,
Who more than self their country loved,
And mercy more than life!
America! America!
May God thy gold refine,
Till all success be nobleness,
And every gain divine.

O beautiful for patriot dream
That sees beyond the years
Thine alabaster cities gleam,
Undimmed by human tears!
America! America!
God mend thine every flaw,
Confirm thy soul in self control,
Thy liberty in law.

Words: Katharine L. Bates, 1904.
Music: Materna, Sam­u­el A. Ward, 1882 (MI­DI, score).


  1. Hello there Linda- if you have a chance while you are in Florida please give Ted and I a call. We would love to see you both. I often wondered where you were and it is great knowing you are doing so well and enjoying life !!!

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  3. Just emailed you Linda

  4. I'm so excited for you...you do know we're taking all of Sept/Oct to ride Rt 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica and then up to Yosemite and back by whatever route the weather dictates. I doubt we can hook up, but it sure would be mighty fine to ride a few miles together. Sending you an email with our cell phones. Love you guys!!!

    1. Have a fabulous two months on the road as you motorcycle cross-country, you two! We also plan to take back and scenic roads, as we take our time and bask in the beauty of the USA. I do have your e-mail and cell #'s, and we'll be in touch. If we don't see you along this journey, we'll see you back in Cuenca in December - how cool is that? Chevere!!!!
      Love from your Cuenca pals,
      Linda and Bo

  5. I am so thankful that I started receiving your blogs. Each of them is a blessing! I love the beautiful photography, and I feel like I have grown to know you both and love you even though we have never met. God bless you on this cross-country motorcycle journey and as you visit even in Eugene.

    1. Hi Shadley,
      Thank you for your sweet words, always! Soon we'll be in beautiful Oregon - I am so looking forward to our journey back in the USA. It will be another fabulous vacation and adventure for both of us. I don't know how close you are to Eugene, but if you are, I would love to hook up with you so we can finally meet. Let us know. We always enjoy your comments, and I am glad you continue to enjoy our blog and my photography.
      Much love,


Leave us your comments and I will respond with any questions you may have. Enjoy our Blog! Linda (y Bo)