Spring is Coming
“I woke up with the birds chirping, just like at the old house.” My husband said.
“The sound of spring.” The image of spring flowers appeared in front of my eyes behind my eye mask.
Lynton got up and opened the blinds in our bedroom. I couldn’t wait to look out the window. The gentle light green broke out of the bare branches in the front and back of our new home and in the neighborhood. In less than two months, the view on the street outside of our office had a makeover.
Outside of another window in my neighbor’s yard, there was a vertical tube birdfeeder with visitors flying back and forth between the feeder and the bushes. I looked over our backyard to search for a spot where I could put a birdfeeder. There are no bushes on all three sides of the yard. On the south side of the yard, there are four pine trees. Two of them reach into the sky. In purchasing our home, I mentioned to the home inspector that I wanted to plant flowers, fruits, and vegetables. He reminded me that the south side of the yard doesn’t get too much sun until summer. It may not get full sun even in the summer because of the tall trees. Oh, well, I was going to landscape the backyard, but it seems like I better observe my backyard before making planting plans.
Many organizations keep track of newcomers. I received two brochures, one is about the Pacific Northwest Native Plants and the other one is “Help Stop Invasive Plants.” My daughter pointed out to me that there are blackberry bushes behind the west side of our fence. I had seen the invasion of blackberry bushes. We hired a gardener to trim back the blackberries. I study the two brochures carefully to help me plan my garden. Many plants that grow well in my California home won’t survive in the cold here in Oregon. I have seen no hummingbirds in our neighborhood. There are hummingbirds in my daughter’s backyard, so I know it’s a matter of attracting them. I want to plant some flowers to attract hummingbirds.
The sight of the coming spring made me forget the dreary trip we had gone through less than two weeks ago. This is a quick update, not to worry you but to remind me to press on under difficult circumstances.
We went to California on February 17. We rented a car, stayed in a hotel by the Ontario Airport, and attended Lynton’s niece’s wedding on the 18th. After the wedding, we went to Fullerton to stay in a hotel close to our storage. The next day, Sunday, Lynton rented a 26’ U-Haul. Now we had a moving truck and a car. We could see that the moving truck was not big enough to hold everything from our three storage units. Mentally, we sorted out what to take and what to leave behind. I wanted to give some furniture to a thrift store or Salvation Army, but nowhere close by to accept furniture donations. In the press of time, we had to take them to the dump. Lynton rented a small U-Haul to take the discarded items to the dump. Now we had three vehicles.
On Monday, the day of loading, the four experienced moving helpers wasted no time in fitting everything into the 26’ truck, like fitting the puzzle pieces together. Everything we wanted to keep fit to the ceiling and all the way to the door of the truck. Everything we wanted to discard also barely fit all the way to the door of the small truck! Miracles!
We had two trucks and a car at the storage facility and needed to get them out of the gated area before 6:00 p.m. We needed to take the small truck to the dump before 4:00 pm and then return it to U-Haul before 5:00 pm. We had to drop off the rental car by 7:00 pm. By the end of the day, we should keep only the moving truck. Lynton was playing chess in his head and tried to figure out which move should go first. He tried to explain to me but finally asked me to take the car to follow him.
How would you do it from 3:30 to 7:00 pm to get the two trucks and one car out of the storage (by two people), take the small truck to the dump by 4:00 pm, return it to U-Haul by 5:00 pm, return the car before 7:00 pm, and keep only the 26’ truck when done? All the locations are within a 15 to 20 minutes’ drive! You’ll get a price by solving this puzzle!
We did it! Miracles!
We woke up at 4:00 am on Tuesday, February 21, and hit the road at 4:30 am to get out of Downtown Los Angeles to beat the commuters. We didn’t take breakfast or lunch breaks. Whenever stopping by to fill the tank, we grabbed some drinks and snacks. Lynton was full of energy and motivated to go through this trip and go home as quickly as possible. The drive and the weather were good until about 45 minutes before reaching Redding, California, where we wanted to spend a night. The gusty wind blew from the left side of the truck. I checked the weather app, and it showed the wind was 21 mph. It surely felt stronger than that. The fully loaded truck was swaying. I gripped the door handle and pulled it toward me as if I could pull the truck back from flipping over to the right.
Lynton concentrated on keeping the truck stayed in the lane. Did it come across his mind that, “How much longer?” I didn’t ask him. But I read him the info: wind – 21 mph, time to Redding – 30 minutes… We made it to Redding, checked into the Red Lion Hotel, and walked across the street to have dinner at the Applebee restaurant. We went to bed early to hit the road again before 6:00 am the next day. He wanted to get through Mount Shasta as early as possible.
After our California home closed escrow on December 7, 2022, we took two days to drive to Portland, Oregon. Lynton wanted to be familiar with the road to prepare for the moving trip. He expected to drive through Mount Shasta in the cold even though it’s only over 4000’ in elevation. The summit of Mount Shasta was gorgeous when we first entered the area.
As expected, it snowed. Further into the mountain, at 24 degrees Fahrenheit, the snow froze on the windshield. I turned the defrost into a full blast, but it didn’t melt the ice. There was no rest area or shoulder to stop for miles and miles. Even if we could stop, we didn’t have an ice scraper to take care of the windshield. The defrost helped a bit of thin out the ice for a few inches. Lynton ducked down, but could barely see where he was heading.
Again, I kept him informed of the weather and the distance to the next town. After about 50 miles, we arrived at the bottom of Mount Shasta. Lynton pulled the truck over at a parking lot. I walked across the street to a convenience store looking for an ice scraper. By the time I went back to the truck, Lynton took care of the ice on the windshield using a chisel in his tool chest in the truck!
The Southern Oregon part of the road wasn’t any easier. It snowed steadily for 240 miles from Ashland to Salem.
There was a heavy rainstorm for 46 miles from Salem to Portland. The rainstorm was worse than snow, with splashes and low visibility.
We finally pulled the truck onto the curb in front of our house. It was a huge relief that we got home safely. I made myself a cup of hot tea and looked out the window. About 45 minutes after we got home, it started snowing. I examined it for a few minutes. It looked like a mixture of rain and snow.
By 5:00 pm, I texted Mercy, “Is it snowing by your house?” “Yes, Mom. Autumn is in her ice-skating class. She and Nora will play in the snow when she gets home.
The news the next day reported that Portland got 10.8 inches of snow, the second highest since February 1943 when there were 14.4 inches of snow. Many cars got stranded everywhere.
We were thankful beyond imagination that we were spared from being stranded somewhere on the freeway with a big truck.
Miracles! Miracles! Miracles!