Monday, October 16, 2006


October 14th we left Panama City Beach, Florida and in a single day crossed through Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, and then finally stopped in Houston, Texas. Traveling across the south with its many waterways and swamps was fascinating. In some areas it seemed there was water everywhere. I've never seen anything like it.

Thick tangled forests with trees swathed in Spanish moss and vines, hemmed in the highway much of the time. Some places looked mysterious, others were almost spooky. I couldn't help wondering what might be slithering beneath the surface of the swamps.

It was beautiful, but I didn't like the odor. Some sections along the way stank. Think about a time when you left veggies in the fridge too long--that's the smell. My daughter said it's the swamps. Still, I enjoyed the journey. We crossed the Mississippi and it was big and muddy, hence the name--The Big Muddy.

The night of the 14th we went to bed in a Houston hotel. The weather forecast was downright frightening, so we decided to get up early and try to beat some of the bad weather coming in from the Gulf. When we headed out, clouds hung low over the land and it rained off and on, but nothing serious was going on.

The countryside along Highway 10 was mostly rolling grasslands with trees and grazing cattle. The landscape outside of San Antonio actually looked like Roseburg, Oregon, my home.

West of San Antonio the weather deteriorated. I wasn't worried, thinking it was just a bit of rain and interesting-looking clouds. I soon realized it was more than that. The clouds looked peculiar and their movement was not like any I'd seen before. A pulsating buzz interrupted the music on the radio and I expected an announcement saying, "This is a test . . ." Instead the buzz became a wail accompanied by a message announcing a tornado warning for our county. We were fifty miles from any town so there was no place to find shelter. I prayed and kept driving, keeping an eye on the sky.

Finally, we moved out of the storm and into the sun. I don't know that I've ever seen anything so beautiful. Broad flat lands were framed by hills and mountains and to the west monstrous thunderheads were stacked up. We stopped in a small town called Fort Stockton and found a hotel for the night.

Storms to the west and east skirted the town, which happened to be on the Weather Channel's only tornado watch box (another new experience for me). We slept and woke to blue, cloudless skies.

Today while we traveled across western Texas and into New Mexico the radio broadcast severe weather alerts for Houston and other areas of southern Texas, places we'd driven through the previous day. They were hit hard with flooding, high winds, and tornados. I'm so glad to be in Los Lunas, New Mexico.

Throughout this trip we've traveled in what feels like a God-made bubble of fair weather. There has been every kind of bad weather before us and behind us and yet we've traveled in good weather for 6200 miles, except for a few dark miles yesterday.

One word describes Texas--BIG. It has big cities, big country, big storms, and a big sky.

I held my breath as we passed through San Antonio and Houston. The freeway systems were daunting with overpasses and underpasses so complex it felt as if we were driving through a wriggling octopus. Big cities are a bit overwhelming for me. I'm used to my quiet mountain in southern Oregon.

New Mexico is dry. Just looking at the terrain makes me feel parched. There's a lot of open lonely country with distant mountains lying in a desert haze. Unexpectedly a lake or small farming community appears in the rugged terrain, seeming misplaced. And yet, it is so beautiful that I am reminded of God's power and how he created all this just by speaking it into existence. And then He saw what He'd made and was pleased.

Tomorrow we plan to visit the Grand Canyon. I can't imagine what I will feel when I see one of the grandest of God's creations.

I'll stay in touch.




  1. Anonymous4:04 PM

    Hey guys!! I am so glad you got to make this trip. It is a once in a lifetime adventure. I was almost in tears the whole time I was reading your blogs. I guess it just made me feel so far away from you. And yes, Dad is an amazing man. He to is a once in a lifetime. I love you guys!

    P.S. Please don't lose my camera!!!

    Your lovely daughter,

  2. Anonymous6:02 AM

    Greg and Bonnie

    What love and faith you both have.
    Such generous spirits and I'm so blessed to have been given a part of that. I've loved every moment of reading the blogs and seeing through your eyes the beauty and blessings God has given you along the way. Such a wonderful adventure for 2 such wonderful people.

    Love you both, Vicci