I am settling down in the parsonage at Lostine Presbyterian Church, after an arduous two days of driving. How arduous was it? Let me tell you...
I drove the first three hundred miles positively dreaming, over Lake Shasta (shrouded in mist and drizzle in the early morning), singing my head off with CDs, reveling in little bits of sunshine that broke through the clouds... basically my biggest problem was whether to use the low-speed or medium-speed windshield wiper setting. But THEN (cue ominous music) I looked down at my dashboard for possibly the first time that morning ... and saw a curious little light come on next to the gas gauge... right. There I was in the middle of NOWHERE on I-5, and beyond the E-spells-empty. I passed an exit for an "airport road" and i was like... perfect, airports need gas, right? But the airport was miles away, it just happened to be the same road intersecting us. So, realizing I was in a barren wasteland, I hung out on I-5, settled down at 50 mph for gas efficiency and coasted along praying fervently for ten miles or so when I finally found a station (and I like to think I rolled in on, like, dude, my last DROP of gas).
The rest of the trip was even more arduous, I'm not sure I can properly describe it, but it involved being lost for a WHOLE TEN MINUTES in Corvallis, a really complicated series of adjusting and re-adjusting the straps on the luggage rack (let me tell you, if they're not tight they vibrate and sound like a kazoo), and that time I dropped my snack mix.
There wasn't even much weather to complain about. Along the Columbia River Gorge there was some wind gusting about and I wondered if my steering wheel was possessed by demons until I saw that everyone else was shaking as badly as I was (including the trees). Coming East I encountered an interesting form of weather known as Freezing Fog. This means, basically, fog, except possibly whiter and glarier (in my humble opinion), and when it touches trees it crystallizes. It doesn't precipitate or accumulate on the road, though, so my snow chains stayed in their packaging. darn.
This morning, however, the snow started falling and shall most likely continue all week.
I spent the day unpacking and discovering things in this lovely house. Some hospitality fairies readied the place for me, from fresh flowers and fruit on the table to travel-size shampoo in the bathroom. An entire frittatta in the fridge... a loaf of bread struck me as particularly poignant due to my habit of praying "give us this day our daily bread."
No internet yet. I'm posting from the general store, which has wireless. My cell phone kinda works. I get a couple more radio stations than I expected!!! And since this house is old, there is only one three-prong electrical outlet in the entire place, so that means when I need to plug in my computer... I'm typing this standing up in the kitchen.
In that way, it reminds me a lot of working in Uganda. With the exception that here, there are fewer than a dozen small children in my room at any given time, and my house is 23824 times larger. Also, I was not greeted with singing and dancing. Oh well.