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Heartwarming Small-Town Romances and Thrilling Mysteries

Last fall, when we left Boise, we’d planned to return soon on a trip to Oregon. Hubby’s mother who passed away last October left her minivan to our son. We left our car and motorhome in Boise and moved to Rapid City, intending to return shortly with his minivan and pick up our vehicles. Then Oregon shut their borders, ruining our plans. All winter long, I enjoyed the heated seats in the minivan but felt guilty when I drove it. It wasn’t my vehicle, after all. My little car sat out in the elements of a storage lot after always being sheltered in a garage.

Now that spring had come and we were vaccinated, it was time to get the van to its rightful owner. To keep from exposing our grandsons, we isolated ourselves here for a week or two before leaving. On our way to Oregon, we kept our interactions to a minimum. We did whatever it took to be able to hug those boys. We traveled the interstate highways which is my favorite way to see the country. We stopped in Dillon, Montana long enough to say hello to a friend who recently lost her husband (she’s vaccinated so it was okay). Snow on the mountains made the drive very scenic.

Traveling down the Columbia River Gorge is always a thrill for me. There’s something about that mighty river that tugs on my heartstrings (see my blog from March 2015). I was sad because I’m not sure when I’ll ever make that drive again. We stopped at Multnomah Falls but stayed only a few minutes. We needed to get through Portland before the traffic picked up.

We spent four days at my son’s house. The grandsons have grown so much in the almost year and a half since we’d seen them. The oldest had matured a lot and plays the piano well. The five-year-old, well, he’s still looking for trouble to get into. Being with them was both exhausting and fulfilling at the same time. It was hard to get enough. Leaving there wasn’t easy for the same reason: we don’t know when we’ll see them again.

Our route back to Boise took us through the Cascade Mountains and across the desert of eastern Oregon. The mountains were gorgeous but very crowded. The traffic was so heavy! When we emerged onto the desert, the traffic was thin and the scenery boring. We were happy to get back to Boise. Once there, I had to cram all I wanted to do into two days. I spent nearly a whole day reconnecting with friends, going to eat at restaurants (first time since last year) and visiting at a coffee shop until they closed. Plus, there was Costco. My credit card was smoking when we left there. Leaving Boise was hard because I don’t know when we’ll get back to see those people again.

The weather for the trip was beautiful up until the day we left to go home. We drove the motorhome and towed our car. It rained on us in Montana, but we got over the pass before it turned to snow. We hit a lot of rain the next day. As we neared the Wyoming border, thunderstorms kicked up. Hubby has a weather radar app on his phone so we watched where they were and drove accordingly. Several times, we stopped and waited at rest stops until a cell went over the road ahead of us. That slowed our progress considerably. We ended up spending the night at a rest area 75 miles from home because darkness, high winds, and large hail lay between us and there.

Overall, the trip was great. I’ve had many hugs in the past two weeks. Being a hugger, I loved every one of them. Now we’re back to getting settled in our new home and establishing a routine. That includes lots of phone calls to those I left behind. Virtual hugs are better than no hugs at all.

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