June 12, 2016-June 19, 2016
Memphis, Tennessee-Ontario, California
Range of miles: 18,714-21,002
We continued to pursue the setting sun as we made our way west from Richmond, Virginia to Ontario, California. Between Saturday night and all day Sunday, we managed to leave behind 841 miles of asphalt, We had bedded down for the night at a truck stop just outside of Memphis, Tennessee and began our Monday morning by counting the mosquito bites each of us had incurred while sleeping. BusyGirl won by a sizable margin. The humid heat kept us all from having a decent night sleep.
Team HTHL pushed through our weariness. Forrest kept the wheels turning while BusyGirl and I mindlessly stared at the lonesome highway that lay in front of us. However, about the time the sun was to dip behind the horizon, we found ourselves facing a big fat scary Midwest thunderstorm and tornado watch. Weather alerts blared on the radio every 15 minutes.
We tracked the storm cell on radar; we were headed right for the epicenter. Shelter on Highway 40 in Amarillo, Texas is non-existent. Our only option? Keep the wheels turning.
The skies darkened and flashes of light that were shaped more like nuclear explosions than lightening bolts, danced around the HTHL van and stopped our hearts from beating a few times. Rain pelted our windshield.
Forrest gripped the steering wheel with determined tension. I scanned the sky for rotating cloud patterns and posted a prayer request on HTHL’s Facebook page. (Thank you for praying!) BusyGirl buried her head and looked at puppy pictures on Pinterest. Later, she admitted that even the puppy pictures did not soothe her fears, and she had to resort to viewing baby panda pictures.
We endured the storm for an hour before we saw the crescent setting sun and dusky blue cloudless sky of New Mexico. We pulled into a truck stop grateful for God’s protection.
BusyGirl and I woke up early and slipped quietly out the car to allow Forrest to sleep a little longer. After getting coffee for me and milk for BusyGirl, she and I walked along the frontage road and reminisced about our journey, life choices, and talked about her future. I listened to her confidently share from her vantage point. It made me so proud to be her mom.
We returned to the HTHL van just as Forrest was just waking up. I was grateful he was able to get some extra rest. Unfortunately, I had bad news to give him, tire #4 needed replacing. A mechanic at the truck stop directed us to Bozo’s Garage. (Yup, that was the real name of the shop. Ya just can’t make this stuff up!) So, we visited Bozo. However, he didn’t have what we needed, and we ended up at Napa Auto Supply. It turns out the rim was busted. Forrest speculated it was from pushing the envelope a tad while facing the storm.
We were back on the road in about two hours. Making it to Ontario, California at the end of the day was now out of our reach.
We decided to make the best of it and make a few extra roadside stops along the way and experience some local culture. The southwest artistic flare shaped souvenir t-shirts, coffee mugs, and trinkets. I enjoyed the Kachina doll displays and ooohed and ahhhed over the turquoise jewelry. The Native American basket always captivates my attention.
For lunch, we decided to see if we could find a restaurant from Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. We found Cecilia’s Cafe located on Sixth St. in Albuquerque, New Mexico. It was fun eating at a place that Guy Fieri recommended. We mused it would be a worthy goal for next convention season to get a copy of Guy’s book and systematically visit all the diners, drive-in and dives! It’s nice to dream!
We scooted across Arizona and watched the terrain turn from desert to alpine and back to desert again. We could hardly contain our excitement as we approached the California border. We hadn’t set foot in our home state since February 20th.
We all shouted,”California!” at about 10:00 pm and rolled into Barstow at about midnight for one more night at a truck stop!
With just one hour from our destination, we drove on with two goals in mind. The first goal? A hot shower! We checked into our hotel and experienced once again that hot showers are a beautiful thing! Second goal? Lunch at California’s beloved hamburger joint, In-N-Out Burger.
We savored, we relished, and we devoured every bite. #itsaCaliforniaThing
We spent the rest of the day catching up on sleep and some HTHL business. I could feel a cold coming on; coughs were five minutes apart, and chest congestion was building.
The Great Homeschool Convention opened its doors to the public on Thursday evening. Lots of families took advantage of the free admission. The pitch of my voice climbed higher and higher as my vocal cords battled against infection. I sounded a lot like Micky Mouse. I was grateful Forrest and BusyGirl manned the HTHL booth so I could save my voice for both workshops.
Both workshops were well received and thankfully, I had just enough voice volume to deliver! Great Homeschool Convention even invited me back to speak next year!
What a treat! Cathy Duffy (pictured below) came by our booth to say hi! Cathy is the author of 102 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum and a homeschool pioneer. She has served homeschoolers back when I first started as a homeschool mom. I have to admit; I’m “star struck” every time I talk to her!
Here’s what she said about HTHL:
“Here to Help Learning’s Writing Program is perfect for the family or group class in need of an enthusiastic instructor. The courses are very easy-to-use and enjoyable for both students and adults. They also make it possible to teach children together if they are within a few grade levels of one another. The Christian aspects of the course—memory verses, mentions of faith and God throughout the courses, and activities that stress Christianity in action—are more thoroughly and effectively integrated than in most other Christian writing courses.” Cathy Duffy’s Review of Here to Help Learning
I gave Cathy a copy of our new filmed study guide, Island of the Blue Dolphins. You can look forward to her review in the future!
At the convention, I met my friend Bre. Her children are part of the Island of the Blue Dolphins Filmed Study Guide. I’m so sorry I didn’t get a picture with her. My head was still a little foggy from all the cold medicine I had ingested. One of our vendor friends, Dennis of Mr. D Math, gave me fresh pineapple to sooth my squeaky voice.
The convention came to a close and Team HTHL kicked into gear and achieved the fastest pack up time in our history, 45 minutes. Why the hurry? Our nephew was getting married, and we didn’t want to miss it! We arrived a little late but just in time to enjoy a fabulous meal with family and kick off our shoes to dance the night away. Doesn’t my nephew and his bride look stunning?
Some of our children were able to attend the wedding. Don’t they look great? It was a wonderful family celebration that lasted until midnight!
Sunday: Happy Father’s Day!
What a blessing to actually be with my Dad on Father’s Day! I can’t remember the last time it happened. My dad is a hardworking family man who made sure his family never lacked for anything. His adventurous spirit is contagious, and he has inspired many, including myself, to bravely take the road less traveled. He and my mom have been married for over 50 years!
It was so nice relaxing and having breakfast together. Later, we went to their local Farmer’s Market, and Dad and Mom bought some world famous Oxnard strawberries to bring to our cousin’s house.
My parents live only two blocks from the beach. Forrest and I couldn’t resist. We just had to put our toes in the sand. It was hard to believe that only last week, we were gazing on the Atlantic Ocean and now our toes were touching the Pacific. God had taken us from sea to shining sea. Once again, we were in awe of his goodness!
Throughout the day, Forrest received Father’s Day wishes from our kids. BusyGirl and her brother gave him the “Triple D” handbook for next year’s travel. It’s a perfect goal for a foodie lover like Forrest.
Forrest is one of the most selfless dads I know. He leads from his servant’s heart. He speaks out of the depths of God’s grace and isn’t fearful to have an open conversation about the hope of Christ with anyone. The glass is always half filled in his world! Our children reap the benefits of his positive outlook even when the chips are down. I love my man! So blessed to be doing life with him!
We spent the afternoon with family basking in post-wedding bliss by my cousin’s pool. Guitar sing-a-longs, healthy family ribbing, and reminiscing always pepper our time together. Tomorrow, we leave for our northern California home. I can already feel a flood of emotions slowly cresting.
From Our Home (On the Road) to Yours,
Thanks for joining us! Next homeschool convention? Christian Home Education Association of California (CHEA) July 7, 8, and 9th
CHEA Speaking Schedule:
July 7-CHEA Leadership Conference
10:15-11:15 am-Embracing Marketing Shifts in the Homeschool Community Q & A – Beth & Forrest Mora
3:00-4:00 pm-Recruiting, Investing in, and Inspiring Your Volunteers – Forrest & Beth Mora
11:30- 12:30 pm: Treating Allergies to Writing
4:00-5:00 pm: Finding Pieces to the Puzzle (Focus:Special Needs)
11:30-12:30 pm: Keeping Your Smart Cookie Challenged (Focus: Academically Gifted)
4:00 pm-5:00pm: Creating Community with Co-Ops
Follow our journey on HTHL’s Google Map (Click: HERE)