Monday, August 26, 2013

PART 1 - MOTORCYCLING THE USA - and what a ride it's been!

Me and My Bo - Dressed For The Slide....
We're doing it!!  We're into day #27 of our USA adventure.  The first 17 days were spent in Oregon visiting with family and friends, checking on our beautiful rented country home (thank you Michael and Karyn for being the best renters we could ever hope for!!! Oh, and for such a wonderful dinner too....), and going through our storage area to see what we would pick through and bring back to Ecuador. 

Going through our STUFF!!!  It made me crazy - truly!  We moved to Cuenca in December with eight suitcases, and here I was back home loading eight more suitcases to bring back to Cuenca with more STUFF!  It took me a couple of days of going through every stored box and carefully deciding what to choose and how to pack it.  Finally, the suitcases were loaded with clothes (Oh, did I have fun shopping and getting my St. Vinnie's fix!!!), and lots of other STUFF!!!  True story - That night, I had an anxiety attack about all the STUFF I had so painstakingly packed, and all that weight we would be dealing with.  We were Fed-Exing all of these suitcases to Florida where we would end up on our motorcycle trip before flying with them back to Cuenca. 

I woke up the next morning almost in tears and said to Bo, "I think I just wasted precious hours and days sorting through our STUFF, and I think I made a big mistake!"  As usual, his reply was encouraging, "It's okay, Hon.  We'll just take it all back and unpack it!  It's not a problem...."  Yikes!  The thought of going through the whole packing process in reverse made me even crazier, but that's exactly what I did.  Back at the house (our renters were away on vacation so we wouldn't disturb them), Bo set up some large tables, hoisted up these crazy HEAVY bags, and I began hours of unpacking every suitcase and putting STUFF back in their appropriate storage boxes.  Hours later, I felt free again - free from all the wants I continue to struggle with, and we now left our property with lighter bags filled with only the needs.  Another letting go for me.  What a process it continues to be in learning how to simplify my life.

The bags are finally ready for Fed-Ex to Florida!
It was a quick 17 days in Oregon - time flies when your getting ready for the trip of a lifetime.  New tires, brakes, and starter, and an oil change for the Valkyrie.  Lots of shopping before finding my comfortable "Dress For The Slide" gear.  Our luggage was finally shipped and on the way to Florida.  At last, the bike was loaded and ready!  On Saturday the 17th, we were off and heading east.  We rode for 7 straight days, stopping to see special friends and breathtaking sights along the way, and stopping often for my photography fix.  On Friday evening the 23rd, we reached  one of our main destinations, Bemidji, Minnesota.  What a joy to be off the bike for a few days, resting and visiting our dear friend Inger-Hava Katz.  She's the one who inspired the timing for this trip.  Her June e-mail sent to us in Cuenca expressed her heart-felt wish to see her dear friends Bo and Linda and to show us her beautiful flower garden she named "My Eden" before she goes to her home in Heaven to be with Jesus, her Lord and Savior.  She is now in her final stage of Cancer and receiving Hospice care, and we knew it would be our last visit together on this earth.

Our time here at Ben Israel has been restful and a blessing.  How wonderful our friendship is, yet we're sad to know that we won't have Inger here for many more days or weeks.  It was our desire to get here while she is still coherent and able to spend time with us.  We're thankful that God's timing is perfect and we have this sweet time with our precious friend.   

We also have internet access here, so I am happy to be able to update our family, friends, and faithful blog followers who have written to us and asked, "How are you?" and "Where are you???"  Riding has been absolutely wonderful but also tiring, so by the time we get to our daily evening destinations, we're exhausted, hungry, and ready for showers, and I'm too tired to blog!  How great it's been to stop and refresh ourselves here at Inger-Hava's home before going back on the road again, and also to be able to update everyone about our journey.  

For now, thank you to everyone who has stayed in touch with us.  I especially want to thank those who are faithfully praying for God's protection us.  The day before arriving to Bemidji, our bike stalled and fell over, and down we went with the bike landing on top of both of us.  We fell hard, and if not for our helmets and "Dress For The Slide" gear, we would have been severely injured.  Help came, the bike was lifted off of us, and the only damage was to Bo's computer (smashed), and his ego!!!  We were back on the bike and off we went......  I'm a firm believer in riding a motorcycle with the best of helmets!  

Here are a few photos so far of our trip of a lifetime....
More stories and photos to come.

Pictures Tell The Story!
The happiest day for me in Oregon was seeing my precious mom and knowing she still remembers Bo and me. 
We had lots of visits together and saying goodbye wasn't easy, but we know she's in a wonderful care facility and her encouraging words always set me free - "Do the things you love while you're still in the youth of your old age.  Do it now......"  And so we are!!  Thanks mom for your words of wisdom.

One of our greatest memories on this trip was staying at Talus Rock in Sandpoint, Idaho.  What an amazing lodge run by an amazing and generous family. Thank you, Heather for your kindness and generosity!
If you find yourself in this area of Idaho, you must stay here!!
We sat on the terrace overlooking the amazing grounds, sipping our coffee and tea before heading over to see our "Cuenca Friends" Andrea and Michael.

We had a fabulous organic breakfast together, sharing their future plans that will bring Andrea and Michael back to Cuenca, where we originally met. Yes, I had my long hair chopped off in Oregon before heading out on this long journey - an easy do! 
Our breakfast together was colorful and delicious - but food prices in the USA continue to shock us after being in Ecuador and paying Ecuadorian food prices. 
Thank you, Andrea and Michael, for a delicious "Welcome" dinner, for turning us on to Talus Rock Lodge, and for a "send off" breakfast morning together before we hit the road again - onward to Glacier National Park.  We miss you already, but soon we'll be together in Cuenca.
Okay, it's documented - Bo in a ball cap!  He has "hat" issues.  Friends in Eastern Oregon gifted us with these ball caps, and I keep convincing Bo his big melon looks great under a hat.  It will be great to cover up his "helmet head" during our rest stops.
GLACIER Rocks!!!  What a fabulous "Ride to the Sun" it was.
The weather was perfect - not too hot and clear blue skies.

It's a blast meeting other bikers along the way and sharing our journeys.  Bo, at the motorcycle parking area at Glacier's Visitor Lodge.
I couldn't get enough photos of these amazing rock formations.
I loved being able to pay only $10 for Bo and me to enter Glacier and for my free lifetime pass to any National Park in the USA because I'm over 62.  Otherwise, it would have cost us $25 for two on a motorcycle just for this park visit.
Busted!  This is what my Bo does while I take photos! 
Would you????
Seeing the country via motorcycle is breathtaking - riding in the wind is exhilarating!  I'm especially loving it more than I though I would.
Going through Theodore Roosevelt National Park "Painted Canyon" was an added treat.  We had to get off Route 2 because of construction and detour on to Hwy 95.  This was an unexpected breathtaking area we had never heard of.  Bo checks out the Atlas while I photograph the area.

Our Inger-Hava.  She is dear to our hearts, and we are blessed to be here with her.  She wrote, "I want to see you and show you my Eden before I die."  Here is dear Hava posing in front of part of her Eden garden for me.  Her wish has come true - to have us here!!  This photo makes us smile!  I can't believe we're here together, at last!
We've been with Inger-Hava for three days, and we're not sure when we'll leave.  Our journey will continue in the next few days.  For now, we continue to rest and enjoy our blessed time together.  Soon we'll be "On The Road Again" traveling the USA.