Friday, August 08, 2008

Travels - North Dakota to New Mexico and everything in between.

I am seated at a tune-up shop in El Paso, Texas, just miles from the Mexico border. The past week has been full of randomness and wonder, and I am amazed by God. The interviews for California nursing jobs never did happen, since both positions were filled before I could even compete with them. No matter. When my siblings and I left for vacation in Texas, I had no idea where I'd end up. We made it to Kerrville just in time for Sarah's dad's 50th birthday party. It was such a raucous event that we secretly hoped the police would show up! I was delighted. After a day of rest (and a good amount of belly flops in the pool), eight of us "younger" people piled into two cars and headed to Big Bend for an overnight camping trip. Who knew such rugged beauty lived in Texas? We saw three tiny baby bears and their mama as we drove that night, and the most stunning starry sky I've seen in the Northern hemisphere. An obnoxious snorer in a nearby tent thwarted our sleeping efforts late into the night. This, however, was a very good thing as our bag of coal caught fire and we were still awake to put it out before things got ugly. During a long hike the next morning we met a different baby bear and its mama... directly in front of us on the trail! A strange mix of excitement and fear tingled all over me and I was thankful for the four men in our company all being 6'4 or taller. I could hide:) We also had the privilege of spotting a snake, a roadrunner, a jackrabbit (HUGE ears), and a deer. Not to mention a "mountain lion" that turned out to be a squirrel. It looked scary from a distance, trust me:).

It was time to go west even farther to Bloys Camp Meeting... an odd, once a year tradition that has been taking place since 1890. Sarah's descendants helped start it, and today 1200 people pack out tin cabins for a week of family time and rich tradition. The rules have been in place since the start and include such gems as "hold all applause during church services" (optional chapel was held three times a day) and "no taking photos on Sundays". I was thrilled with the whole rustic affair, from chasing the spiders out of our cabin at the beginning of the week to wiggling through hardly touched caves to hours of volleyball to sitting on the front porch watching my mom learn how to knit and listening to the men debate politics and religion. With hardly any cell phone service, the job search continued, and I was offered positions in Denver Colorado and Billings, Montana. I accepted Billings and start on August 25th. Yesterday my siblings flew home with my parents and I was left with my car, two weeks before starting my new position, and lots of country to be explored. While falling asleep last night with fiddlers in the background imploring Ol' Dan Tucker to "git oudda the way" I excitedly planned. Today I'm making my way to Phoenix to see my dear friend Megan. Just as soon as the kind mechanics here are finished prodding, filling, balancing and rotating, I'll be back on the road. 2500 miles and 6 states down, LOTS more to come!

Our cabin

Porch sitters!!!

Preparing myself to squeeze through a tiny hole into a very dark unknown.

If Keith can do it, I can do it!!!

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