Friday, December 20, 2013

desert, mountains and valleys...

Let me 'wrap up' our road trip...
with a few photos of the last leg of the journey.

We left our favorite oasis in the desert (that would be Palm Springs)...
and drove north.

A one-and-a-half hour drive took us to the High Desert...
a wind-swept area just above the Mojave Desert.

My aunt lives here...
all on her own...
and seems to love it.

We paid her a visit on our way through...
and were recipients of her warm hospitality.

Did I say wind-swept?
They harness a lot of that wind in the high desert of California.

Who knew they parked planes out in the desert?
Edwards Air Force Base is located in this area...
about 90 miles north of LA.
It is home to the Air Force Test Center...
 the Air Force Research Lab...
and NASA's Flight Research Center.

We passed through the San Gabriel Mountains...
the San Joaquin Valley...

...and on through the Cascade Range.

Mt. Shasta loomed ahead in all her glory.
This volcanic mountain has not erupted for several centuries...
and is now considered a 'high-threat volcano'.

My thoughts immediately go to Mt. St. Helen's.
I can tell you exactly where I was when Mt. St. Helen's erupted on the morning of May 18, 1980.
I was standing in the walk-in closet on a Sunday morning debating as to what I would wear...
when I heard a loud boom and ran to look out the window.
There was nothing to be seen.

But some 500 kilometers to the south in Washington state
the deadliest and most destructive volcanic event in US history had just occurred.

We spent the last night of our road trip at a campground in Longview, Washington.
Since it was just a few miles from the Mt. St. Helen's / Silver Lake visitor centre...
we stopped in there.


It was well worth the visit.
One day we will return in the summer...
when the roads to the crater are open.

And that was our last stop on our road trip...
(except for a quick visit to American Girl in Lynnwood).

We have been back in the valley for a month...
in more ways than one.

We discovered that one can not stay on the mountain top.
Real life happens in the valley.
Real life is not always easy.

And so this Christmas includes things we had not planned on.

I am reminded of the verse I chose as my theme for 2013.

You make known to me the path of life;
    in your presence there is fullness of joy;
    at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 16:11 ESV

In His presence there is joy.
I will seek out His presence.


  1. What a trip you two had!
    We are waiting out the snow here by the ponds. It must seem strange to hear that 6 inches will snow us in, but there is just no snow removal equipment out here.
    The unexpected can be hard to deal with, but it can also be strengthening. I pray that you will have the strength to handle the things you'd not planned on.

  2. How wonderful to see the landscape change every so subtly until you are home again. There's a high-threat volcano out there? Oh. I had not heard. Course I "heard" about Mt. St. Helen's. That's fascinating that you heard it boom. I have been fascinated by all that has been learned about geology as a result of that earthquake. We must be thinking in similar terms today. We can always count on Him to see us through the unexpected. Have a restful and relaxing weekend.

  3. I remember hearing the St. Helen's boom as well; it sounded like someone slammed a door shut. Yes, life can be difficult, but we can depend on one who is unchanging.

  4. We weren't living in Washington yet when she blew but we visited Spokane a while afterwards and there was still ash all over the streets.
    A different Christmas this year for a lot of us. Love too you and yours...

  5. I remember that day as well because I was very pregnant (more than 2 weeks overdue) with our youngest son and I told my husband and my mom right about the time we heard the boom that I'd be going to the hospital the next morning and would not leave without that baby In my arms! He was born the next day.
    Thinking of you over the holidays, Judy - May God renew that inner joy each morning.

  6. God bless you in the valley Judy. The verse you chose or maybe God led you to for this year is fitting isn't it?
    Mt Shasta is beautiful. I'm thinking now where I was when the big boom of Mt St Helens happened. We were babysitting another family at their beautiful large home. I had stayed home from church and heard the boom. Seems like such a short while ago and yet a year after that Stuart was born.

  7. So many wonderful memories from your trip. Well documented here, Judy.
    God be with you in the valley..

  8. Beautiful desert and mountain top pictures on the last leg of your awesome trip! I pray that you are O.K. and that the lows in your valley this Christmas will make you strong and that you will find that joy! Hugs to you Judy!

  9. I've enjoyed following your journey back home...over the valleys, through the mountain tops...and then I stopped!..I recognize that mountain...and many wonderful memories fill my heart, as we drove to an elevation of 7000 feet. And now we are blanketed with white snow..It's so symbolic and may this white snow cover you with a blanket of peace and warmth for this year.

  10. I remember that Sunday morning of St. Helens too! It was all the buzz at church.
    And I'm thinking if there was a stop at American Girl, some grand girlie is going to have a special surprise this Christmas? Cause I'm pretty sure it wasn't for Elmer…although you should watch Conan O'Brien's visit to American Girl! LOL.

  11. On your interesting summer journey, you have shared so many beautiful scenes across our country...farmland, ocean views, mountain peaks, and now today, life from the desert. Isn't that how our life journeys are? I thought about it today as I saw your pictures of the desert life and then of the mountain peaks. And, even the mountain peaks can offer their vast beauty, until they erupt and change everything. I appreciate the many varied landscapes you have shared over your trip, and also for the many lessons it has opened for me. I enjoyed hearing about the many memories of Mt. St Helen's erupting. I never stopped and thought about how impacting that would have been for you all.
    Thank you for sharing it all with us.

    Wishing you some unexpected moments of real, heartfelt joy, this Christmas!


'The ornament of a house is the friends who frequent it.'
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson