Western Roads

From Sunday through Sunday to Sunday we travelled

to the West Coast and back,

California coast

out through the northwest and back through the south.

Two weeks, nineteen states, and 6,800 miles later,

we were home

with our hearts stretched wide.

Oregon coast

God is so good.

You know?

Mesa Verde, CO

I don’t know where to start, and can’t capture it all.

We spent several days in a beach house on the Oregon coast with Ryan’s siblings and parents,

All the Cliff Zook grandchildren except one!

a weekend in cabins with his extended Zook relations,

Preparing to raft the river. Many mishaps later, we survived. 🙂 Such fun!

and a weekend in Ohio with most of my siblings and parents.

Grandpa John is coaching the grands before his traditional treasure hunt.

I could share family shots…

Hot springs, WY
Pacific Ocean, OR
Inside the top of the St. Louis Arch, MO

…or effect shots…

Elevation 8500 feet, CO
Haystack Rock, OR
Private fireworks, compliments of my brothers. Cambridge, OH.
Mt. Hood, WA
The Doorway to Bliss. Redwoods, CA.

…or the coolest cell phone picture I’ve ever taken…

Her first run into the Pacific Ocean. I was running too when I took this picture!

but they still don’t capture it.

Everything we looked at was free and big and wild.

We saw bison, elk, black tailed deer, a coyote in the night, hundreds of tiny baby prawns, a whale spout and tail, and a pet llama.

We watched our kids enjoy wonderful cousin time (both sides).

We shared a 50th anniversary celebration with Ryan’s parents.

We grieved the lymphoma diagnosis of my much-loved brother Andi.

There were hard times, like when someone looked too deep into the Sapphire Pool and came emotionally unglued, or when the van needed new spark plugs unexpectedly and lost us a few hours, or when we all got furious at each other, en route.

Most of the time, we were at our happiest. So much to praise for. So much good.

We savored wonderful foods – trademark saltwater taffy, Dutch Bros Coffee, Native American fry bread, grilled meats, and (on the CA coast) the best fresh seafood I’ve ever had – mine was calamari steak strips.

(And not to be too falsely gourmet: we also ate a couple of bushels of cheap American snack food, keeping ourselves sane on the trip.)

Fisherman’s Restaurant, CA.

The northwest is my favorite place in America, always –

the peerless rocks and ridges of Oregon,

the tear-stinging beauty of Wyoming,

the morning sun on the grasslands of South Dakota.

Our special stop points, for those who want recommendations,

were Mt. Rushmore (SD) and Yellowstone National Park (WY/MT),

Horse Thief Butte (WA),

Multnomah Falls, Tillamook Creamery, Cascade Head, and Haystack Rock, (OR),

Redwood National Park (CA), the Grand Canyon (AZ), Four Corners (UT, CO, AZ, NM),

and Mesa Verde (CO), where the old Native dwellings wait quietly,

and the St. Louis Arch (MO).

View from the top.

We are happy to be home!

With that, I am starting an open-ended breaktime from blogging and social media, to clear the clutter in my mind and to focus on other things that matter. We have decisions to make, new routines and stages to adjust to, and many humans to love. My husband thinks I might be back in a month. I’m thinking more like the end of the year. We will see who is right! 😉

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1 year ago

I support your break…. but I hope your husband is right!!! 😉

Last edited 9 months ago by The Boss
Mom Coblentz
1 year ago

Loved the update and pix!
Hurry back…I’ll miss you!!

Martha Byler
1 year ago

Certainly you need a break, I’m going to predict you’ll be back halfway in between what you say and what your husband predicts. ????

1 year ago

I loved seeing pictures of the west… planning to move there in about three weeks. This has fueled my excitement!

1 year ago

I think you will like the break. Maybe you will not want to come back. That is ok. At least if you don’t go back to social media. Not if you stop blogging. Ahem. I mean, even if you need to stop blogging. ???? But I would be very sad if you did!

1 year ago

Your family is BEAUTIFUL.

1 year ago

Thanks for taking us along on your trip.
And thanks for taking care of yourself!

1 year ago

Thanks for the lovely photos! So wonderful to make connection with families here and there!

1 year ago

What a fun trip!
Hurry back! Will miss your posts!

1 year ago

This is wonderful to see as part of my heart is now in the west, specifically Oregon. Thank you for sharing your family, your pictures, your heart. Blessings as you take time off.

1 year ago

That family road trip looks like a Best of the Best! My family took a similar one when I was 7. Wonderful memories.

Your brother’s diagnosis… I’m so sorry! :’(

May God give you wisdom & clarity & grace for the decisions/adjustments.

1 year ago

We’ll miss you ???? But enjoy the break. I hope you find it restful and refreshing!

1 year ago

Greatly enjoyed the photo tour and made notes (literally) of your recommendations. I will miss your blog posts but I respect your boundaries and need for space/margin. We’ll be waiting here to welcome you back when the time is right. <3

1 year ago

Our family just returned from a west coast trip as well…hitting some of the same areas/locations you did! We made many great memories, too????
I’m sorry about Andy’s diagnosis ????
Wishing you a best rest of summer!

Sylvia Horst
1 year ago

Happy Blog Break to you!
I will miss hearing from you but…
The real people in front of you are way better (and messier) and enrich your life (not to mention giving you healthy dopamine boosts) way more than virtual people, so enjoy the in-person relationships to the fullest extent possible.
May God continue His miracles of healing in you and your loved ones.

1 year ago

I enjoyed all the pictures! You have a beautiful family! So sorry to hear about the diagnosis of Andi. The Coblentz family is all too familiar with the cancer journey. ????

1 year ago

Did you get to watch Mount Hood transplanting to a new state? 🙂 🙂

1 year ago
Reply to  CRS

???? You had to see it to believe it.

We drove the Columbia Gorge mostly on the OR side, but our closest view of / experience with the lovely Mt Hood was while hiking Horse Thief Butte, on the Washington side.


1 year ago

Thanks for sharing! Your family looks so relaxed. Vacation is such good bonding time; good times and not so good. Enjoy your break!

Danette Martin
1 year ago

Stunning photos! Gorgeous family! I will miss you here. Thanks for modeling selfcare well.

1 year ago

I loved seeing that small bit of your trip. We are currently traveling through the New England States with our whole family, 7 children ages 4-21. We’ve been all over the west and south, but we’ve never been up here before. It’s amazing! Highly recommended!

1 year ago

I enjoyed your post and reading about your travels! Nothing like making family memories to treasure for years to come. I could identify w the “furious at each other- moments”while on the road.????
So sorry to hear about Andy! Praying treatments will be successful!
Extended family time looks so fun!! I Recognize the cabin in Ohio, my sisters place… so fun!

1 year ago

We’ve entered the new year, it’s safe to come back now. 🙂 This space misses you!

1 year ago
Reply to  Mar

Thank you! This means a lot. ❤️ I wish I were being drawn back to it. Not yet…

Sylvia Horst
1 year ago
Reply to  Shari Zook

I agree. I miss hearing from you in this space and would absolutely love to read your writing again! But I know too that you need to do what is life-giving for you. So, you have permission (at least from me) to take care of yourself and enjoy your family and soak up the sunshine of Jesus’ love and just wait to come back until you are so ready to write again that you are bursting with the words you can’t wait for us to see!

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