Tweets by @morningblend56 According to Mary: July 2008

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

He Has To Try

He has to try.

This is the way it stands. The doctors have given their OK as long as Cal realizes that he will probably experience pain. As long as he can't re-injure anything and his bones will continue to heal on the bike ride, what's a little pain? Right? So...the final decision is up to him. As it stands, we will leave August 13 for Wyoming and start the trip August 15 - exactly 6 weeks from the day of his accident. And as he said in one of his blogs, he may have to reply on experience and a good attitude since all of his re-training will be done on the road.

Realizing that Cal can pull the plug at anytime, I am getting back into preparation mode, but there are very few things I will do differently. What took 6 months of thinking last time will only take a day or two. Now that's what I call a Learning Curve!

Here are a few more rules of the road that I picked up along the way.

Bagels work better than bread and cream cheese better than butter.
You don't need a spray shower.
Use as few dishes as necessary. Like NONE.
One coffee cup is all a person needs. (See blog entitled "PART ll").
Block ice is much better than cubed.
Nobody really cares what you look like.
It's important to hum Great is Thy Faithfulness while hitching up the camper.

...And there are a few other things that I learned that you'd rather not know about.

This time we will have some new things to learn about. Humidity. Mud. Rain. Pain. And People. (We will be in more populated areas out east.)
...And this time we will be developing our own route from biking maps...not following a preplanned trail which is an adventure in itself. I love maps.

One of the last things that Cal remembers seeing before he fell in Wyoming was a Smokey the Bear Cutout that held a sign that said that FIRE DANGER WAS...HIGH...TODAY. Cal and I both saw the sign and both thought, "How can it be 'high'? Wyoming has had more rain than usual this year!"

That will be our starting point to begin the adventure once again. See you there!

14 days and counting.


Sunday, July 27, 2008

On the Road Again?

On the road again
Like a couple of gypsies we go down the highway
We're the best of friends...

It's really hard for me to write a blog without the daily travel to keep me going, but if Cal has his way - it won't be that way for long. If he can get his doctor's ok, Cal is ready to hit the road again at the 6 week point. Of course, he has to prove to all of us that his shoulder will be able to take the pounding that it will receive while riding a bike, but his recovery has been amazing.

Some things will be easier this time. Cal finished the mountains and he can build up his muscles again riding in the plains. We still have the camper and all the equipment we need and the know-how to use it. Our jobs are still flexible at this point. However, we also have some new wrinkles to deal sister's wedding in Michigan Labor Day weekend and good old fashioned fear of getting back on the horse. Someone asked me if I will be more anxious this time...

...I'm sure that I will hover a bit more and that I will be glad to get to states that have better cell phone coverage, but I can't do this trip worrying about what might happen. I spent enough of my life worrying. God gets bigger as I get older.

Fall is my favorite season and I like the thought of traveling into late summer and then being home to enjoy October. I hope it happens. We'll know soon.

On the road again
Goin' places that I've never been
Seein' things that I may never see again,
And I can't wait to get on the road again.

Me and Willie.

Blessings to all of you - wherever you are.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Maybe I should change the subtitle of the blog to "Seeing Life - One Day At A Time" - now that I am once again "Mary - Humble Book Buyer" and not "Mary - Scout and Wagon Mistress." But before I change anything, I must tell you that Cal woke up this morning thinking he would like to complete the ride later this summer. This is the first time he has even entertained the possibility, and in the meantime, I had my good cry and gave up the trip for this year. My energy level has reached a new low. I'll be honest. It sounded crazy.

Another thing that I noted while traveling back to Iowa: Iowa is pretty. Not blow-away pretty like the mountains, but everyday pretty. Gentle and lush and rolling pretty. I grew up in Michigan and a tree covered landscape seems about right to me, but Iowa is pretty. That's nice to know.

I got an invitation to my oldest sister's wedding today to be held in August of this year in Michigan. My 90 year old father will be giving away the bride! Won't that be a picture!

Also in the meantime, we switched to cable instead of DSL and that will mean a new email address soon...

Thank you so much for all of your prayers and support in the last couple of weeks. We are overwhelmed with people who stopped us on the street just to ask how it was going...
love to all of you...


Monday, July 21, 2008

According to Mary - PART ll

Somethings never change. I still lose my coffee cup at work and I have 3 cups of coffee floating around the house at all times so I can take a sip when I need a "moment". Iced coffee has nothing on me...I've been drinking cold coffee for years.

This morning Cal is trying to go back to work for half a day. He is doing well but his shoulder tires easily and then the pain starts. I am fine...still a little listless and dreaming of other adventures - but take comfort in the fact that this is where road ended and this is where the adventure is to be found.

Friends have had interesting comments about the Accident. "God put up a really big STOP sign." (Although this accident happened in Wyoming where I saw stop signs that said WHOA instead. Ah, the wild west.) Another suggested Balaam and his Ass and I had a good laugh over a picture of Balaam flying over the ears of his stopped donkey the way that Cal flew over the bars of his bike. (Although I would hate for God to have been as annoyed with us as He was with Balaam. I pray that this is not so and that we were hearing him correctly. But if not, I am at peace with the fact that he got our attention and took care of the problem.) I trust that insight will be given when it is given. And here we are.

Here is a photo I took (and doctored up with a watercolor filter) of a little girl dancing to Steven Curtis Chapman "Dancing with Cinderella." It was a special performance for Father's Day at Florence Christian Church in Florence, Oregon, the first day of the trip.

Tomorrow is our 31st wedding anniversary. My memories are July afternoon, hot, and sick. Not pretty memories. We threw up all that 1st night.
But it had to get better. And it did.


Thursday, July 17, 2008


Well, Friends, the travel blog is over.

It was so wonderful to have you along. I can honestly say that it would not have been as much fun without you! I am humbly proud of my accomplishments. Mastering a cell phone (sort of), hitching up a trailer (sort of), following in the footsteps of Lewis and Clark (sort of) and experiencing the wild west (sort of). I think I am a little braver as a person. Sort of.

Cal continues to heal. And I am emerging back into life in Pella, Iowa.

Some of my friends and family found this blog a convenient way to keep track of me since I am not very good at keeping people up to date about my life. So to my extended family and friends, I say, stayed tuned. I am not sure what there will be to write about... but if I learned anything about discovery, it's that it's unexpected. And therein lies the fun.

Great is Thy Faithfulness!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Sermon

The blues have kicked in. Or maybe it's called reality. I think most of you know what I mean. Cal will not heal as fast as he expected and after enjoying an outdoor life, I feel caged and weary. Unpacking was not as much fun as packing. But all of this is to be expected...that's the advantage of living life with a therapist. The spiritual challenge is to live in thanksgiving and trust while feeling sad and impatient.

Cal has been to the doctor and we saw x-rays again. Yikes! Worse than we thought.

As for my dear friend, Cher... can we blame you for this too?

I wonder things like... why is my house so big? And why do I need all this stuff? Why is modern life so complicated? The simplicity of taking care of daily needs is a lesson I want to be able to transfer to Pella and I am not sure how or that I can.

But the Lessons of the Road...that there are angels all around....that I can be concerned but I do not need to be anxious... that the Godly Life in all its variety is a beautiful thing.... that CNN's strange tabloid of War and Hatred is all the more strange when all I experienced on this trip was kindness and helpfulness... and that most people are just trying to find some happiness...these are things I want to transfer to my daily life wherever it may be. Christ's description of people as a flock without a shepherd really fits and the result is compassion. We, as Christians, often think that it is so obvious and's not. We need to make it obvious by loving life and each other with understanding and kindness. Simple kindness cannot be overrated. We are all travelers.

End of sermon. On to life.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Home and Healing

Hi Everybody!
We are home in Pella. I'm sorry I didn't blog yesterday but after the doctor decided to let Cal leave the hospital - everything went so fast. His lung was stable - Thank you God.

We drove back to the area where the accident happened near Dubois, Wyoming before we started for home just to see if it would jog Cal's memory. He remembers EVERYTHING he saw....and then we know pretty much where it happened...but we still don't know why and may never know. There were no clues there.

The trip home went very well...thank you for your prayers. His pain was manageable. Our most difficult problem was getting him in and out the bed in the hotel. And now we are home. How strange it feels. So familiar and yet so "not right." We aren't supposed to be here!

Right now I am feeling a little lost and I don't think even a hot shower will cheer me up.

The boys, Jeff and Jeff, left the house in amazing shape. Thank you so much guys! (My Jeff started his new job in Sioux Falls on Monday.)

I am hoping the adventure is not over....but Cal has a lot of healing to do before we will know what happens next. But we are home and healing and have so much to be thankful for... especially your friendship.


Sunday, July 6, 2008

Another Day, Another X-ray

They are keeping Cal for another day...the doctor is uncomfortable sending him off with a iffy lung. Tomorrows x-ray will tell the doctor if he needs to put in a tube and and if he does, we will be in Lander for a couple more days. He doesn't want to send us off to an emergency and I think that is wise. We've had enough adventure for now.


Joy in the Journey

Thank you for coming alongside us.
Thank you for sharing our dream with us.
Your understanding and support means more than I can say out here in the middle of Wyoming. God has been so good to us with your notes and calls. I loved hearing from all of you.
You guys rock!

Joy in the Journey

Last Look - Wyoming

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Mountain Flower

4th of July in Wyoming

Officer Shane from Dubois, Wyoming

Quick Update

Cal walked!! They gave him a brace that holds his shoulders in place and it makes moving much less painful. I think they will release him from the hospital tomorrow. They gave him another shot of morphine and he is sleeping again. He looks much better than he did yesterday and spends most of his time sitting up. Stiffly, of course. His x-rays looked good. His body is in good shape because of all the biking he has done so that makes it easier for everyone...the doctors included.

I went back to Dubois and picked up his bike from the police office and met the officer who came after the 911 call. (Cal had a long ambulance ride over 50 - miles. They were quite concerned about how busted up he was and was glad that pain was his only problem. They said if he had not had his helmet on.... They said they thought the bike bounced a couple of times and yet the bike seems to be in pretty good shape. (I credit the gel seat Cal bought for the discomfort of his nether regions. )

Driving back over the hills of Wyoming to Dubois, I felt so sure that this ride will be completed some day. I slept well last night on a cot in Cal's room and seeing my husband sitting up and talking normally (after the morphine) was a real boost. I kept remembering what a great time we were having and how much I loved seeing the United States this way. I am sad and wish I were a little better at having a good cry, but this whole trip was built on the philosophy of "What is, is." This, too, is. I have felt angels all around us this trip and that has not changed. I have learned a lot about myself and God. Disappointment is part of that. When the darkness closes in Lord, still, I will say...



Sometimes we get to choose our adventures and sometimes they choose us. Cal is sitting up which yesterday seemed an impossibility. His stats fell a little during the night and they gave him oxygen because he was breathing shallowly, a common response to the pain. I think they are hoping to release him today but I think they are still wanting to do another x-ray because of a small pocket of air by his lungs called a pneumothorax that they are watching. We will make decisions about what happens next after we get permission to leave the hospital.
Keep posted.


Friday, July 4, 2008

Sad News

Sad news. Cal had a bicycle accident and is in the hospital. I would like to say something brave and deep right now, but all I can say is that Cal is very sad and disappointed that he will not be able to complete this ride....He broke this clavicle in two places and three ribs. He does not remember anything about the accident. The road was we don't know what happened. He is in pain and on morphine. I would like to call you all individually, but I decided that this would be the best way to let everyone know for now...I need to get back to my husband.

Pray for us.
All my love,

Thursday, July 3, 2008

A Double Celebration

Today is my birthday and today Cal completed his final mountain. It was not an easy day for either of us, in fact we were a little low today. For those of you who wonder if we ever get down...this was a down day. All the adrenaline has drained out of us, and we are weary for this last mountain. Cal will write about the climb - but oh! the celebration!!!! All the campgrounds where I had planned to stay were closed because of highway construction. I finally located a lodge that had small rv parking in the back. It was a desperate choice. After parking the camper, I drove back over Continental Divide, through construction, to tell Cal that I was at the Lava Mountain Lodge and Campground. The campground wasn't much, but the lodge had a restaurant that made my birthday a real celebration. I had the most wonderful Italian dinner- reminding me of our time in Italy - served by a cowgirl, with blues playing in the background. The cook was from New York. What a welcome and pleasant surprise to find in the middle of Wyoming by mistake. All I know is that I had a terrific birthday dinner topped off with a chocolate lava birthday cake complete with lighted candle and the mountains are done for Cal! Rejoice!!!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Gold Dust

Cal and I took another rest day and spent it wandering around Yellowstone National Park a little. We were there with our children when they were 13 and 10 and nothing has changed except the areas that were charred from the 1988 forest fires have little 15 foot trees growing. Yellowstone is a strange and interesting place, but it doesn't touch my heart like the forests of northern Idaho do. We are covered with yellow pollen from the pines trees. It blows so thick it looks like a gold dust storm. We are camping in yet another Forest Service Park. They are primitive but inexpensive and usually very pretty. This park is known for grizzly bears and I was disappointed that one did not visit us last night. I thought I heard some snuffling and growling but it was just Cal snoring.

One of the fun things about taking the "roads less traveled" is the tiny towns that support the areas. I have loved camping in the city parks and going to the general groceries stores. I am beginning to understand the importance of the small town in rural development.

Cal said that he is ready for the drama of the mountains to be done and looking forward to the routine of the plains. I have mixed feelings. Mountains are always special to me- but then I wasn't climbing them on a bike. Cal has two more big climbs before the plains of Wyoming, Nebraska and Iowa!

We fixed pancakes for supper tonight and I had another one of my "baths." Makes me feel like I am living in the old west. It's very pleasant in an old world kind of way. And maybe I'll see my grizzly tonight. We can always hope!

Glad that some of you know what Ents are.

Yours on the Long and Winding Road,

Old Faithful - Mary and Cal

Goodbye Montana - Hello Wyoming