Life Verse:

"...I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly." -- JESUS in John 10:10

Monday, June 15, 2009

GWE - Days 4, 5, 6, 7

Thursday, June 11, 2009 (Day 4)

Morning Bible Reading from Psalm 148. Let all of Creation praise The LORD. May life praise HIM as well! The landscape in the panhandle of Texas and thus far throughout New Mexico has been dramatic. I have seen the Arizona desert, but Kathy has never been to the Southwest. I enjoyed her ooohs and ahhs. She took quite a few pictures through the window of the Explorer as we headed west on I-40.

Thank YOU, LORD, for another safe day. (The golf ball incident on I-40 could have been serious, but once again YOU took care of us!) We pray for YOUR continued protection and guidance.

Looking forward today to seeing the Painted Desert/Petrified Forest and arriving at our Grand Canyon campsite in Flagstaff.

00:21CDT (22:21MST)

At Campsite #31, Dead Horse Ranch AZ State Park! It has been a wonderful and exciting day. I thought I would have to wire Kathy’s mouth closed as it continually dropped open at the wondrous sites we saw.

The high desert between Albuq. NM and Flagstaff, AZ was impressive in its own but the Petrified Forest NP was so special. Kathy was enamored with the petroglyphs. I was enthralled at the immensity and quantity of the petrified logs – there was a vast forest of huge trees in this area.

The drive down AZ-89A from Flagstaff to Dead Horse Ranch State Park was a white-knuckle excitement coupled with astonishment as we serpentined our way down the valley from 7000’ to less than 5000’. The Red Rock country around Sedona defied adequate description. It is one of my favorite areas of GOD’s Creation (my list does keep growing though!).

We set up camp without much difficulty, even though it was largely done after dark. We’re looking forward to a day at the Grand Canyon tomorrow!

Thank YOU, LORD, for blessing our day. Guide us throughout the Great Western Expedition – may we honor and glorify YOU; may we be refreshed and renewed; may we grow closer to YOU and to each other.

Friday, June 12, 2009 (Day 5)

Psalms 149-150 this morning. YOU are great and awesome, LORD. YOU have protected us through these 1600 miles and quite a few potential serious situations! I’m thinking a lot about my family and my family of faith this morning. Praying for each one. I am especially asking GOD to care and guide you while I am away.

Spectacular scenery today! We visited Montezuma’s Castle National Monument on our way to the Grand Canyon. This is the second time I have visited this site and I still find myself pondering the questions of what happened to these people and how did they live. To walk in this once thriving neighborhood now deserted gives one pause to consider important matters.

The Grand Canyon was all anyone would expect. My second time here but Kathy’s first. I thought her mouth was going to permanently stay open. She literally cried as she gazed over the vista from Mather Point. There is something intangible, spiritual about this sight. To gaze over this majestic scene and not be touched by the greatness and love of its CREATOR is beyond my ability to comprehend. Standing on the rim of the Grand Canyon helps one view himself in proper perspective.

Something I learned about myself on the way back from the Grand Canyon was that I was tense and afraid. I was fearful of road trouble, of breaking down so far away from home. As the thought gelled in my consciousness, the words of Psalms 56:3 flooded in: “What time I am afraid, I will trust in YOU.” This thought was immediately followed by a view of the mountains surrounding Flagstaff as the words of Psalms 121 flowed through my thoughts! Thank YOU for such love and protection!

Kathy and I made an important decision last night. We want to allow more “down time” – time to rest and recuperate. Being on the road too much can be counter-productive. So in that vein, we elected to camp another night at Dead Horse Ranch AZ State Park and forego the leg of the trip to San Diego. We will be spending some restful time at Dead Horse Ranch State Park tomorrow and then heading to Sequoia National Park on Sunday.

Thank you all for praying for us and thinking about us. I will update this blog as I have internet access (which is sporadic). Yes there are many, many pictures to show!

Saturday, June 13, 2009 (Day 6)

At Dead Horse Ranch AZ State Park. Reading from Psalms 68 this morning. Notice v.35 says “YOU are more awesome than YOUR creation.” After seeing the Grand Canyon one realizes just a little better the immensity of that thought. If this truly awe inspiring sight, in its grandeur and majesty, does not rise to the level of GOD’s majesty, then ponder on how majestic and awesome GOD truly must be!

Today was mostly a rest day (it was surely needed). We spent the day at Dead Horse Ranch State Park, lounging around camp and doing some errands.

We came prepared to fly fish on the expedition and AZ accommodated us by providing a “Free Fishing Day” today. The lakes at Dead Horse Ranch SP are like blue jewels surrounded by the limestone hills of the area. Each lake is ringed by impressive stands of cattails and all three also have islands in the center that provide shelter to numerous birds. Strategically located between the three lakes is a horseshoe drive picnic area complete with nice shade and ample parking/picnic areas. Kathy and I both enjoyed the opportunity to fly fish these lakes. (Please note for future reference that this type of terrain/lake-front is not the best place to fly fish!) At the end of the evening, the score was Fish-2, Kathy/Larry-0. We both lost one fly each and caught NO fish. It seemed as though the fish were “playing” with us. They would roll with the flies but not actually bite them. Maybe the Arizona fish don’t fall for the same tricks as the Alabama fish do!

Day’s end was spent in camp with a nice roaring campfire and Kathy’s Hobo burgers.

Sunday, June 14, 2009 (Day 7)

It really did not seem right to me to be away from my Family of Faith on a Sunday. Know that you all are in my prayers and thoughts. I found myself especially praying for the services today; that GOD would be magnified and glorified in each of you. Thank you all for your prayers and love.

After we passed the exit to the Grand Canyon on I-40 West, I began entering new territory for me. This is the farthest west either one of us has been. (And we’re still chasing the setting sun!)

I will say that I was surprised that the road signage along I-40 in California is not as good as it was in any of the other states I have travelled through. Hopefully it will get better as we leave the desert and enter the Sierra Nevada foothills.

We spent the day travelling through the high desert – a pleasant drive with several ascents and descents. All along the route we were treated to vistas of mountains, desert hills, mesas, and washes. This high desert is populated by numerous small desert shrubs and the occasional Yucca and Palo Verde. The predominate colors are sandy brown, pale green, and grays. Make no mistake though, this desert is alive. If you take time to look and listen you will be greeted with ample evidence that GOD did not forget about life in HIS deserts. Birds, reptiles, and rodents are in great abundance. Small desert wildflowers bloom in a seemingly impossible situation, adding splashes of red, purple, blue, and yellow to the overall brownish-gray panorama.

We stopped at the Newberry Mountain RV Park for the evening. Camping on the high desert should be an experience. The wind gusts across the open landscape unhindered by trees or much of anything else.

Our destination tomorrow is Three Rivers, CA – the gateway to the Sequoia National Park! This is the place I have been dreaming about for a long time…

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