to search for food in the desert

With only a few days left of our vacation,
the days which would be the thousand mile drive home,
we made an adventurous decision,
go a new way.
The drive we had made over a dozen times,
from Eastern Washington to the central coast of California,
was beautiful, breathtakingly beautiful,
but this time,
with our (only three at the time) children,
we decided to explore and take
the 395 all the way through Oregon into California,
and it was completely unknown to us.

Dawn broke,
and we were already on the road,
and this mama made lighthearted talk,
looking for a Starbucks to wake up to,
and yet we drove,
town after town,
too small to have one,
too small for much of anything.
Finally a town with a gas station and a drive thru
Burger King,
would have to do for breakfast and coffee this morning,
though the grumbling was high,
the hunger was worse.
We filled up, ate, and drove,
through brown hills, and
brown hills and, yes,
some more brown hills.
Oh, and lots of sage brush.

Hours later when bathroom break and gas was needed,
we came upon a tiny filling station in a not-even-on-our-map town,
and stop,
searching for somewhere to get lunch,
but this little station is the only thing around and contains nothing but
with which our car is filled.
We look at our map, notice a town, a town in BOLD print,
and we know that means a good sized town,
about a hundred miles away,
and we all decide to wait for the town,
sick on snack food,
desiring real food,
we set our sights on the bold town WAGON TIRE,
and move on.

We drive through nothing,
just brown hills and occasionally an old battered barn,
passing landmarks from our map,
knowing that Wagon Tire must be getting close,
and the hunger is so strong but we all try
to make the best of it.
Turning a bend we see miles of nothing,
just flat brown land and I wonder aloud,
"where is Wagon Tire?  I can't imagine there being a big town
out here, but the map says there is.  Where can it be?"

And still we drive on,
until finally,
in the distance we see a barn,
a REAL barn,
as in well kept and still in use,
and I shout,
"yes!  That must be the first sign of Wagon Tire.
Come on Wagon Tire!"
Spirits are lifted in the car,
and we begin talk on lunch, now almost dinner time,
what we will be eating,
hamburgers, french fries,
some want pasta, it doesn't matter,
we just want some food,
and now we have almost reached the barn,
the barn, with a "Welcome to Wagon Tire" sign right in front,
and I catch my breath as I read aloud small words underneath,
"Population: 2"

(let me tell you, cafe, motel, gas, gifts...had to be a joke...none, anywhere.
I just imagine some ole couple sitting in their house,
laughing at everyone drive by confused)

We all look at each other, trying to process what has just happened,
and then, suddenly,
our minivan of 5 bursts out in laughter,
loud, gut busting laughter.
Our only hope of food for hundreds of miles, and
population 2.
And yet, what can you do but laugh?
So on we drive, eating our crackers, dry cereal,
cookies, and everything we are so sick of,
but laughing nonetheless.

I think of it now as I find myself waiting,
eagerly anticipating times of solitude for prayer,
and moments of quiet to rest in God's presence,
and as I wait for them I dwell in anxiety,
just trying to make it through to the next moment,
when I can be still,
and yet, like dependence on Wagon Tire,
they don't come.
My anxiety worsens, I just need that dose of Peace,
and when is it going to come?
Right in the midst,
I notice it...
twins digging in the garden, talking of their hard work,
bookworm daughter reading up a tree, legs dangling from the leaves,
cool wind blowing, bathing me in relief from the heat from
that amazing, glorious sunshine,
baby pointing at gray squirrels running by, saying "oooooohhhhh"
with a face of awe,
sensitive artist child lost in his world of make believe, sword fighting
invisible assailants,
irises blooming everywhere I look, dousing our land with hues of purple,
dear elder neighbor watering his plants as he does so diligently,
everyday, with a wave and a smile on his face,
butterflies... everywhere,
and I whisper praise and gratitude,
realizing this, here, now is His presence,
and His peace can rain on me in all moments,
not just the ones I set apart,
if I would only notice Him and let Him rain on me.
And then,
just as in Wagon Tire,
I laugh.

(Those were gifts 463-475)

***and just in case you are wondering, we actually drove another five hours before we found a town with food.  It was 8pm when we made it to a grocery store in a little town in Northern CA, we bought stuff for sandwiches, which we promptly made and ate and then began our drive again, searching for a hotel in the dark.  We had a wonderful time, but were so hungry and exhausted by the time we finally stopped that night around 11.  Needless to say, we probably would not drive the 395 through Oregon again.  But many wonderful memories were made, as well as some humorous stories.


  1. We have done this before too... taken a scenic different route... to find pop 2 towns. LOL. Great stuff, something I am sure you will all never forget.

  2. We have taken lots of road trips also, and I know the searching for the motel in the dark well. I bet those sandwiches tasted really good :-D Glad you made some happy family memories.

  3. Oh, Amy, our family has had trips like these. Boy, the stories we could tell! Like the time the side door window just fell out of our moving van on a highway during a torrential rainstorm, which followed us all the way home for 12hours. 3 children, 2 puppies, exhausted parents--all soaking wet and laughing, which came after grumbling. Great memories, and God is faithful.

  4. WOW! That's quite a trip! :)

    I have some free Easter / "He Is Risen" blog buttons if you would like one to display on your blog during Holy Week! They are on my blog and free to anyone who would like one. :-)

    Celebrating His resurrection,