Harder Family

Harder Family

Friday, August 23, 2019

Trip Out West

Psalm 19:1 "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands."

I am finally getting around to writing a post about our trip this summer out west. Life has been crazy since we returned from our trip. We have been busy unpacking and trying to get settled before out next school year begins. We will officially start school this year after Labor Day to give me more time to prepare.

I forgot how the west manages to take my breath away. Although the Midwest has its own beauty, there is nothing like the majesty of the huge mountains out west. Creation screamed God's name and His majesty!

Trip Summary: 
- Approximately 7,600 miles traveled
- 8 National Parks (3 new junior ranger badges)
- States Visited: KY, IN, IL, NE, WY, IA, UT, NV, CA, OR, WA, ID, MT, SD, MN, WI.
- Animals spotted: pronghorn, bison, black bear, elk, white swan, mule deer, bald eagles, seals, whale, chipmunk, ground squirrel, trout, rock fish, squirrel, rabbits, osprey, ducks, geese, cattle, wild horses, hawks, falcons, ravens, coyote, deer, chickens, goats, starfish, crabs, barnacles, salmon, rainbow trout, minks, quail, turkey, gulls, doves, giant slugs, silk worm, butterflies, koi fish, sea snails, goldfish, snails. 

Our trip out west started with a lot of driving. We drove to California in 3 days! Along the way we stopped to see Salt Lake in Salt Lake City; the Great Salt Flats, which ended up being covered in six inches of water; the Jelly Belly Factory; In-n-Out in Reno; and Donner's Pass. Our first stop was Santa Rosa to visit Wayne's sister, Karen and her family. We also managed to see a few friends while we were in town, as well as visit places that our part of our first years of marriage (see pictures below). We visited Muir Woods and the Golden Gate Bridge while in California!

Then we traveled to Grass Valley to visit Wayne's grandma and his aunts/uncles. From there we traveled through Chico to visit Wayne's other uncle and aunt as we headed up to Washington. We stopped at Crater Lake on our trip up to Washington. We then visited Wayne's parents for a few days before heading to Seattle for the day and then on to Canada for our mission trip.

Our trip to Copper Island was amazing, as it was last time. There is something special about working long, hard days knowing that it is a privilege to serve God! The kids were anxious at first to take the trip with another youth group. During the week, they ended up making amazing friends! We all left the week exhausted, but satisfied that we did our best to serve Jesus on the island. 

From Copper Island, we traveled back to Washington to spend some more time with Wayne's family. We managed to visit the Lewis and Clark National Park. We also took over a six mile hike at Silver Falls in Oregon and played at the beach at Frenchmen's Bar. The kids had an amazing time with their cousins.

From Washington, we traveled back home and stopped at Crater of the Moons on our way to Idaho. I was supposed to run a half marathon in Idaho, but it was canceled. We used the days there to visit Yellowstone (we drove around the entire park in one day) and the Grand Tetons. We will be visiting the Grand Tetons in the future again! From Idaho, we traveled to Mount Rushmore, Devil's Tower, and the Badlands. It was a great trip full of lots of family and memories, and many miles!!

Some people ask us what our kids do all day in the car when we drive for all those hours. The main thing they do is read, play games, sleep, and eat. We continue to make as many memories with our kids as possible. All of us should do that in our lives, but when you love someone who has a terminal cancer, you feel even more pressure to take lots of pictures and make as many memories with the kids as possible. We continue to trust God with Wayne. We know that God has numbered Wayne's days, not the doctors. 

I was able to meet up with my cousin Heidi and her family at Howarth Park.

Wayne and I celebrated 20 years of marriage this year, so we visited all of our old stomping grounds in Santa Rosa. We visited Yogurt Farms where Wayne proposed to me since that was our favorite place to go on dates. We also visited Cattlemen's and Fountain Grove Inn (which burnt in the fires) since that was where we celebrated our 1st anniversary. We also took a few walks around Spring Lake, which was another favorite for our cheap dates. 

Our first apartment in Santa Rosa.

Where Wayne and I went to college.

We visited Luther Burbank Center where we got married. They changed the beautiful chapel we got married into another small stage.

This is the location of our first "date". So many fun memories in Santa Rosa!

Crater Lake

Silver Falls hike with our family

Salt Lake

Salt Flats, which were covered in water. Normally there is white salt as far as you can see.

The hospital where Wayne was born.

Mission trip to Copper Island

Playing "Chopped" during our break. Above was my "7 Layer cake".

Crater of the Moon National Park


Grant Teton National Park

Devil's Tower National Park

Mount Rushmore

Badlands National Park

Prayer Requests:

1. Please continue to pray for my friends who have lost their loved ones to brain cancer.
2. Continue to pray for Emily as she goes through brain cancer treatments.
3. Pray for our kids as they prepare to start another school year.
4. Please pray for Wayne as he travels back and forth to Chicago to finish up our fixer upper. 
5. Pray for us as we all adjust to our new life in Kentucky.