We've been "on the road" for exactly a week today.  Last Sunday we left Portland.

First we stopped to see my brother Joel in Milton-Freewater and to deliver a car.  Before starting our trip we owned a car and a van but we couldn't bring either with us, because neither is set up to easily tow behind a motorhome.  So we decided to sell them and buy replacement(s) when we arrive at our destination.  Joel made it easy on us.  He was looking for a newer replacement for his aging minivan and an all-wheel-drive vehicle to replace his car.  AWD is ideal for Eastern Oregon winters, and especially after the crazy winter this year, Joel was ready for it.  So he bought our van and car.  That was sure convenient for us and we were happy to deliver the car.  (He had already come and driven the van home.)  It gave us a good reason to see Joel and his family one last time before the move, as well as a chance to see their new home.

Joel and his wife Carra have been living in a spacious home on the edge of town for the last six years.  The front porch has not one but three sets of double french doors.  The sunsets over the orchards next door are breathtaking when viewed through the elegant wall of french doors.  But they are moving on with no regrets because (1) the new place is theirs and not a rental, and (2) they are simplifying their lives by moving into a smaller place.  Simplifying is a goal we have in common, and something we've been hearing a lot about lately.

Thus far the scenery is very familiar to us because of our many years living in Eastern Oregon, in the same circuit as Joel and Carra.

Gassing up at Pilot station, Stanfield, OR

Our first fuel-up after leaving Portland.  Time to change directions and head South to Medford.  Shiny and clean, but not for long!

Maryhill Stonehenge, viewed from the Oregon side of the Columbia River

A full-size Stonehenge replica (far right of window - on hill), just across the river from Biggs Junction, where we start heading South.  Notice several of the many power-generating windmills now lining this part of the Columbia basin.  They are a bit overexposed - you may have to tilt your screen to see them.

Gus-gus and Pablo take a snooze with Julie in the passenger seat

Enjoying a nap together in the sun

The weather for this leg of the trip was half sunny, half rainy.  During the sunny part a lot of bugs lost their lives when we came barrelling through their home territory.  But the rain washed all traces away and left us with a clear windshield.

Parked in walking distance of Dairy Queen

Pulled over for a short break along the main drag in Madras

I washed the rig before we left Milton-Freewater.  You wouldn't know it now.  We ran into snow between Madras and Medford, something we'd hoped to avoid by leaving this late in the year.  We slowed way down and made it through the pass without incident but the snowy part of our adventure left road residue up the back all the way to the top of the RV!  The photo I meant to post here was taken in full sun so it's overexposed.

In Medford we spent a couple hours visiting with Julie's good friend and bridesmaid Cassie.  Then it was time to hit the road again to make it in time to catch an evening meeting in Sparks, NV.  In fact we cut it pretty close.  We were happy to be able to shower, dress, and eat while driving down the road, because even so we made it just in time to walk in the door as the first song was starting.

The meeting program was top-notch, as we have discovered any time we visit a Kingdom Hall no matter where we go.  We feel so honored to be part of a worldwide organization with such a high standard of educational quality.  One highlight was watching a young sister give her first Initial Call tract presentation.  Her parents had worked so diligently with her in preparation that she sounded like a pro.

Our itinerary for the week in review:  Sunday-Tuesday, visiting Joel and his family.  Wednesday driving 8 hours to Medford.  Well, more like 9 with the snow.  Thursday 5 hours to Sparks.  Friday 8 hours to Las Vegas, and Saturday just a couple hours to get us to Kingman, Arizona where we are staying with our friends Larry and Paula.

We aren't killing ourselves driving long hours but we also aren't feeling like we have a lot of free time either.  Our goal of catching the CO visit here moved us to make sure we arrived yesterday.  We've decided 8 hours is a pretty good maximum for one day.  Otherwise we tend to get sore from sitting so long.  We're too young to feel this old!

Larry and Paula have a space with RV hookups next to their house

Our MH "docked" next to Larry and Paula's house

Tomorrow I'm taking a luxury I haven't enjoyed in quite some time:  An entire day devoted to puttering around the "house".  I've got a few things to work on in the RV that weren't so urgent that we had to complete them before leaving Portland, or things that have come up during the trip.

I enjoyed my RV projects in preparation for the trip, but they always happened with the knowledge that we had a limited number of days before we had to sell our house, move out, and complete our preparations for the road trip.  So in a way tomorrow will be the first day in a long time that I haven't been fighting some kind of deadline.  I'm determined to enjoy it!

Along the way Julie took advantage of her passenger time to draft her first blog post for this site.  It should be up soon and I dare say it's more entertaining than this one.