Tuesday, April 22, 2008


Well we have arrived and are settled in for a while – actually we have our RV parked on the street outside Kevin’s house. It works well but we will be moving to an RV park for at least a few days later in the week.

So in the words of Elmer Fudd we are "westing" in the west after 2200 miles (3400km) of living like a turtle with our home travelling with us.

After a warm day of rest in Miles City we traveled on through Montana – had snow overnight in Bozeman (Walmart)

Wednesday we pushed through into Idaho

– getting through the Lookout and 4th of July Passes.

(The picture was taken just west Lookout pass looking back up towards the summit ).

There was lots of snow on the side of the roads through the mountains but we got through it all without any serious rain or snow -- and that was a blessing.

We spent the night in a campground on the side of a mountain about 25 miles east of Coeur D'Alene looking at snow out of our window.

The campground was set back into a north facing ravine and just a few hundred feet up the slope the snow was still quite deep.

Out in the open in front of the campground looking over Lake Coeur D'Alene was quite pleasant (although a little chilly) Thursday morning)

The highlight of the climbing is the 10 mile long hill climbing up out of the Columbia River valley. We chugged along at 30 miles per hour the whole way up -- I guess it was good that it wasn’t in the heat of summer this time. We did climb that hill in July 2004 but then were weren’t towing anything – and that makes all the difference.

I almost broke an ankle getting out of the RV to take this picture at the overlook on the east side of the Columbia River valley. I was part way out the steps when I realized I had not changed into my “outside” shoes – I tried to stop - lost my

sandal - fell off the bottom step and was hopping down a slope in my sock feet getting pricked with thistles – yelling :OW, ow, ow!!” – my loving wife expressed her concern by laughing her head off – I guess you had to see it to see the humor – I sure wasn’t laughing but then again I wasn’t hurt either.

We arrived in Seattle Thursday evening and had dessert with my nephew Evan and his wife Angie. They had just returned from a 1st anniversary delayed honeymoon in Ireland and filled us with stories of their adventures in the emerald isle.

Friday we finished the journey to Coquitlam and have been enjoying our time especially with Will – he hardly missed a beat and took to us right away even though it had been six months since we saw them last at Melissa’s wedding.

It has been (relatively) cold since we got here – it even snowed on Friday night. To-day is the first day in the “double digits” 12-13C (low-50’sF). We enjoyed Sunday morning services at South Burnaby and spent Sunday afternoon at the Greater Vancouver Zoo. Yesterday we enjoyed Will while his parents worked.

To-day I have had some time to get caught up on a few things – although there is a mountain of email sitting in the inbox that needs to be processed – mostly reading material and some” junk” but it all adds up.

I am fairly current with my discussion lists and I’ve also been dabbling with Facebook and I’m still wondering if I can keep it in balance. So far I’ve had to pick and choose who to interact with and how much. I find it is more like meeting

people in the mall – sometimes you just nod and go by – sometimes you stop and say “hello” and sometimes you have a longer visit – maybe even sit down for coffee. Blogs generally are more like dropping in for coffee and a chat.

Speaking of blogs I did make a quick stop at a number of my more favorite blog sites – This report only scratches the surface of those I would like to spend some time with --

For you popcorn lovers Dee Andrews gives the definitive answers.

Neva is back blogging after her recent surgery and asks “Are Christians hungry for God’s food the way newly hatched baby birds are born hungry”? Or do we let our appetites become distorted by the things that Satan and the world have to offer?

Bobby Cohoon challenges us to speak with our actions in a post that includes this admonitions

Sure we are to preach and teach, but we are also to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ. St. Francis of Assisi once said, “Always preach the gospel— if necessary, use words.” What is your most powerful preaching your words or your actions?

My niece Lene tagged me back in February – but I think she forgot to tell me (or else I missed her tag) – I just was at her “Snuggles ‘n Squishes” blog

Here are the Rules: Post the rules on your blog, and then give your answers. List one fact about yourself for each letter in your middle name. Each fact must begin with a letter from your middle name. If you do not have a middle name, use your maiden name(or create a middle name).Once you are tagged, update your blog with your middle name and your answers. At the end of your post, tag one person for each letter of you middle name. Leave them a comment on their blog telling them that they have been tagged, and that they need to come read your blog for details.

This could be difficult for me because I have 2 “middle” Clifford Franklin (for a total of 16 letters) so I guess I’ll cheat and use the short form Cliff from the first one (As an aside my full name is Charles Clifford Franklin – my mother used to say I was named after 3 of my uncles – but I’ve also heard (and suspected) that there was a connection to my grandfather’s political views – if you are unfamiliar with the CCF party in Canadian politics you could research it)

C – Well that’s the first letter of my “main” name - I also answer to Charles but please don’t call me “Chuck” or “Chas” (not sure why but those nicknames don’t appeal to me)

L – That’s easy L is for Linda the love of my life.

I – well maybe is for IT (Information Technology) which is what I did for 30 years plus in my business career

F- OK now it’s getting tougher – I’m NOT fair – although I have blue eyes and my hair (what little is left)can become quite light at the end of a summer in the sun. Facts might be a good one – I’m analytical by nature and always want to have the facts before I make decisions – although I tend to err on 2 sides – ‘paralysis by analysis’ – missing the boat because I wait too long or “jump to conclusions” without looking at all the facts that are available.

F – (again) – Fortunate – I had the fortune of being born to Godly parents who instilled in me a strong sense of love for God and I have been fortunate to have a great wife – great kids and good health in most of my immediate family – God is gracious and I know his love is there even when things aren’t so good but I am grateful for the fortune I have in the world and the great fortune that waits in eternity.

Who to tag? I don’t think I’ll tag anyone in particular. If you are inclined to be “tagged” please do so—I’d appreciate you leaving a comment telling me that you did so.

God Bless


Monday, April 14, 2008

Warm at last

As I write I’m sitting in a KOA in Miles City MT where the temperaturehas soared above 80F (26C) to-day. Quite a change from a week ago when we were still dealing with freezing temperatures overnight. And there is NO snow—I suspect that there is still some snow on the ground at home.

But it has been a bit of a challenge getting to this point. We spent 3 days last week organizing, cleaning up on personal business, loading up the “BBB”, instructing our house sitter and all the things needed for the trip.

Tuesday night we went to Thessalon to have dinner with Linda’s Mom at her sister Arliss’ place. Wednesday night we attended services and said “farewells” to our church friends.

Thursday morning I did the car hookup and we were on the road – we had to stop in Sault Michigan for gas and to take on provisions – didn’t do that before we crossed the border because of all the restrictions on meats and fruits. So it was after noon before we were really on the road.

We kept hearing of serious winter storm warnings to the west and we hoped to get clear of Duluth before it hit. We almost made it but in hindsight we would have been better to “go to ground” in Superior.

We had just climbed the bluff going south out of Duluth on I-35 when the storm hit and it came with a vengeance-- by the time we traveled the 20 miles to Rte 210 it was very bad – fortunately there was a Casino at the exit and we were able to get off into the parking lot.

On top of that – for some reason somewhere after Superior, my car braking system had triggered and stayed on (and the warning light - wireless transmitter didn't turn on). So I had dragged the car with the brakes on for a while –the hubs were really hot when I stopped– so in a way the storm at that time was a Godsend because if I had kept going might well have done serious damage or even caused a fire. It doesn’t appear to have done any permanent damage although I think the rotors are warped and will need to be replaced.
It was a wild night – windy – and the plows in the parking lot clunking and “beeping” as they backed –plus furnace kicking on & off at a steady pace so we didn’t get a lot of sleep. (I forgot to take any pictures Friday morning with all the activity checking the car brakes and digging out of the snow banks but this one taken in Brainerd late Friday gives some idea of the amount of snow).

However, we survived and around noon on Friday it had cleared enough that we ventured on to Brainerd MN – for a WALMART night.

Saturday we drove in sunshine heading west across Minnesota to North Dakota. (210/10)

The snow extended as far west as FARGO and people were still digging out as shown in this picture at the Frazee Rest stop.

At Jamestown , the snow was gone and we hiked around the WALMART parking lot before pressing on to Bismarck where we stayed at a KOA— electricity, showers and INTERNET !!!

(Another lesson learned here – the instructions are to pull the accessories power relay fuse on the car when I’m towing because I have to leave the key on in the accessory position to avoid locking the steering. I thought maybe if I had the radio & heater turned off it would be OK to leave the fuse in – well I guess I was wrong because I arrived in Bismarck with a dead battery – and discovered I had left my battery charger at home.

I got a boost from the campground owner and borrowed a charger to charge overnight – yesterday I pulled the fuse and last night I ran the car for 15-20 minutes just to be on the safe side. There’s just too much mechanical equipment involved in this rig to avoid having some problems – or maybe I’m just to dumb and not careful enough to do things right – whatever the reason Linda was a little discouraged about these mishaps – hopefully we will get them out of oursystem and things will be smoother from here on out.)

Last night I flushed the antifreeze out of the BBB’s water lines and filled the hot water tank, and put some water in the fresh water tank – so we are now completely operational – and self-contained for showers and other such mundane things.

With the down day and INTERNET I decided to visit some friends in “blogland”

DeeAndrews asks ”What’s your favorite food” (April 14), gives a wise quote from Thomas Carlyle about sticking to the job at hand (April 11) and provides a lovely story (from 28 years ago) about her son when he was 10 called “Close to an Angel” (April 9) .

I was startled to find that my friend Neva – Dancing in the Light had surgery last week for a spinal cyst – that thankfully was benign and removed successfully – Praise God!!

I dropped by John Dobb’s Out here Hope Remains – I hadn’t been there for a long time and he is such a prolific (and excellent) writer that I need to go back and spend several hours to even begin to mine some of the morsels of wisdom he leaves there to “chew on”. One post that caught my attention was an “Open Letter to Miley Cyrus” encouraging her to remain true to her values as she moves into young adulthood as a star. There might be some wisdom found there for any father who is bringing a young daughter through the early teens.

Well – a closing thought

Yesterday we enjoyed great sunshine and a hike in the Painted Canyon of the North Dakota Bad Lands.

We had planned to attend services somewhere on Sunday but circumstances didn’t work out -- however – we did feel a strong sense of praise to God and wonder at his majesty as we meditated in the great cathedral of His creation.

What we missed was the encouragement of sharing our worship with other Christians.

I was reminded as we sat and looked out over the ruggedness of the canyon and the "burning hills" (lightening starts underground fires in the lignite) of the 8th Psalm

Psalm 8
1O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
You have set your glory above the heavens.
2 From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise
because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger.
3 When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
the son of man that you care for him?
5 You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.
6 You made him ruler over the works of your hands;

you put everything under his feet:
7 all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field,
8 the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea,
all that swim the paths of the seas.
9 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

We hiked to the bottom of the canyon about a mile round trip -- it was easy going down but it took a few rest stops on the way back up .

At the top we were treated with a herd of buffalograzing in the parking lot .
God is good
God Bless

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Spring has Sprung

The past few days I've been reminded of this little ditty.

Spring has sprung .. the grass has ris ..I wonder were the birdies is .. Oh look there's one flying in the sky ..Oh what is that in my eye ...I'm sure glad that cows don't fly.
(Well no grass yet!! and so far I've avoided flying objects!!! )
It has melted enough and gotten warm enough that I've removed the "rhode house" in the back (this is the small mansion that I built to protect Linda's rhododendrum's from the winter snow.

As noted in the following excerpt from the Sault Star, we have had the 2nd highest amount of snow in 47 years including a serious winter storm (4 inches of snow) on April 1 ( some April Fool’s day - who says God doesn’t have a sense of humor )-. (For those not quite converted to metric 450 cm is about 177 inches or 14 feet of snowfall)

THE SAULT STAR (Byline Dan Bellerose)
We’ve tirelessly shoveled and snow blown our way onto the medal podium Sault Ste. Marie.
Tuesday’s 10.7-centimetre snowfall brought our winter of 2007-2008 accumulation to 450.8 cm, according to Environment Canada, the second-snowiest of the past 47 winters, since 1961-1962, as far back as such data is readily available.

With the snow-accumulation silver securely around our necks we are an improbable 60 cm short of gold, the monster 511-cm winter of 1995-1996, with a little over three weeks remaining in our seven-month winter weather watch.
This marks the seventh time in 47 winters that snowfall at Environment Canada’s Sault Airport climate station has exceeded 400 cm, including three of the past seven.

Finally, the past 4 days have had the scent of spring. The snow has disappeared at a tremendous rate—our roof is almost free of snow and the lawn has bare patches and we have heard our first robins. There is new hope that this long winter is behind us.
But the banks still have a ways to go before we’ll be snow free and the dirt that accumulates as the snow melts will be cleaned up) .

Life has continued to be hectic for past 3 weeks.
We took a break and made a trip to visit Chris, Tammye, Hunter and Camdyn over the Easter weekend and for the last week of March.
It was Hunter & Camdyn’s March break so we were able to have the pleasure of being there with the kids while Chris & Tammye were at work. I did a little bit of work around the house - helping CHris put down some interlocking "tile" flooring in his basement.
We did our annual “Birthday lunch with Grandma & Grandpa”.
For Hunter, it was late since his birthday is February 10
For Camdyn it was early since her birthday is May 3 and,in addition to the lunch she got a visit to "ToysRus" to select her present. (Hunter had already received a cheque by mail)
We also took them to see “Horton hears a Who” – It was interesting to see the animated version of this Dr. Seuss classic that I had read countless times to our children as they were growing up.

Last week we spent 2 more days sorting and organizing at Martha’s house and Saturday afternoon 9 of the 10 children were there and all of the items in the house were either allocated to one of the children or marked for recycle. (Silly me - I neglected to take my camera so none of was captured on "film" for posterity which is sad but can't be changed)
It was a bittersweet time – lots of laughter as some item triggered a memory of the younger years growing up together but also the sadness of marking the end of an era. Linda had prepared a chili dinner and it was a goodtime together but as one of her brother’s remarked “This is the last time we will be able to come to Mom’s house” for a family gathering” so there was nostalgia and even a few tears as well..

In a way, the family breaks into 3 parts for Linda (& I because I have been close to this family for 46 years and they seem more like my own brothers & sisters than “just in-laws”).

Anyhow the 5 oldest Linda, Terry, Frank, Carol & Dan - 2 girls, 3 boys – 10 year spread) are really the core family of brothers & sisters that Linda grew up with.

The next 3 (Joe, Theresa,& Arliss) are more like “next generation” – Linda always referred to Joe as “her boy” because, when he was born, she was old enough to be expected to help her mother look after the house and the other kids. The next oldest had some health problems and with 5 children already “underfoot” her mother was very busy so Linda took Joe under her wing and spent a lot of time with him. The next 2 girls were born during the time we were dating and – as Linda sometimes reminds them – we often babysat them and were there feeding them, changing diapers, setting up the presents at Christmas time -- etc.

The 2 youngest (Erin & Stephanie) were born after we were married and away from home so we weren’t around for their early years. Linda’s Mom was 8 months pregnant with Erin when we got married and Stephanie was born 6 months after our oldest son Chris (When he was a teenager he once was asked at a social event about the lovely young lady he was with -- and he said this is my aunt - which really floored the person who thought he had brought a date)

The good news is that we are done with the house closing project and have started thinking (again) about heading west.

In addition to, the “housecleaning” Linda & I continued to be involved in the counseling situation that I mentioned last post. Hopefully, our advise and support has been helpful – time will tell.

The time has been very stressful for Linda and she has had to watch her BP – she has been monitoring it constantly because it has a tendency to “spike”. She has to back off and take time some time in her “quiet place” to get it back down.

However, we are finally packing up the “beast” and Lord willing we will be on the road tomorrow morning. The past 2 days I have been out running errands to finialize our preparations while Linda has been washing, cleaning and packing. All that remains is to load – which is no small job but we know it can be done in a matter of hours.

Of course there are no certainties- yesterday morning I had a call from my Dad and had to go over to be with him. He was experiencing some pain but eventually we (after phone consultation with my sister who is a nurse) concluded it was the result of too much activity – At 91 he had been on the go steady for 5 days with no breaks – on a schedule that would have wiped me out so mostly he needed to rest.

To my friends in “bitland” – I’m sorry I haven’t been able to come by and the few times I have it has been mostly “hit & run”. I miss our visits and hopefully as we travel I will find hot spots in the evening and will be able to catch up with “y’all”

I’ll close with this thought that I posted to our church family list yesterday.

This week I am concentrating on Hebrews 6:13-20 (The Message)
13-18When God made his promise to Abraham, he backed it to the hilt, putting his own reputation on the line. He said, "I promise that I'll bless you with everything I have—bless and bless and bless!" Abraham stuck it out and got everything that had been promised to him. When people make promises, they guarantee them by appeal to some authority above them so that if there is any question that they'll make good on the promise, the authority will back them up. When God wanted to guarantee his promises, he gave his word, a rock-solid guarantee—God can't break his word. And because his word cannot change, the promise is likewise unchangeable.

18-20We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It's an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us, in the order of Melchizedek.

The main point that I want to make more real to myself this week is that Jesus gives us hope - no matter what circumstances we are in -- and because God promised it, I can count on Him as an "unbreakable spiritual lifeline"

When I feel challenged - when I begin to wonder "Where is God and Why is this happening?" I can have the assurance that he is there and all I have to do is reach out and "hold on" -- I want people to see that confidence in everything I say & do this week.
God Bless