Dear friends and family,
We last emailed you on December 7 from Bremerton, Washington, where we lived for over three months with Steve’s mom and dad in the house Steve grew up in. We brought a scrawny hemlock back from our property in Snohomish County, decorated it, and laughed as it lost all its needles, becoming the world’s ugliest Christmas tree. Yet our household – five people of highly diverse ages plus a gray-and-white cat Mom and Dad got at the animal shelter - was content. Ginny’s mom, Lois, came up for Christmas, and we saw lots of Ginny’s sister, Carley, and her boyfriend, Matt. We visited old friends at every chance, but still failed to see half of the people we meant to see.
We had plenty of projects to keep us busy. Every couple weeks we drove the loop around the Puget Sound, taking care of issues at the Snohomish County property and the City of Pacific house, with assorted visits in Seattle and Pierce County. Dad, who is ninety now, got a bad cold which debilitated him. Finally his appetite came back and he regained some weight. He is on hospice now due to congestive heart failure. Steve and his siblings discussed how to help their parents as they “age in place.” On January 19 we attended a memorial service in Seattle for Steve’s departed best friend, Jim Hogg.
On January 22, with some sadness, we left Bremerton. We visited a few of Ginny’s friends and relatives in Portland and Steve’s nephew in Ashland, then continued to Los Angeles, where we stayed with Lois and grandma Dorothy.
On February 2 we hit the road again, sleeping in the back of our station wagon in Walmart parking lots as we drove east. On this trip we preferred to drive late into the night with the heater on than to find a nice wilderness campsite at dusk. We encountered snow in New Mexico and overnight lows of 9º F. in West Texas. Our two sleeping bags and one blanket weren’t enough that night! George doesn’t like to travel non-stop, and it was too cold to recreate outdoors, so a couple times a day we followed out GPS to libraries in various small town. God bless our libraries for their enlightenment and child-friendliness! We rested for a couple days at the house of Steve’s friend Brenda, in Shreveport, Louisiana, then continued to Larry and Karen’s in Stone Mountain, near Atlanta, arriving on the 11th.
We are back in our old bedroom here. We have child-proofed the house by erecting a low barrier so George can’t get into the radio/electronics room. George is crawling and pulling himself up on everything now. He just turned 11 months old and is happy, curious, and active. We are making new cushion covers for our boat and completing last-minute preparations for our return to Thurston.
On February 26th we fly back to Goiania, Brazil. Our boat is several hours from there by bus. Then we transport it to the Araguaia River, which will take us several months to descend. At its mouth, which it shares with that of the Amazon, we may have to split up if we are to get Thurston back to the U.S.
A few new photos at: https://picasaweb.google.com/ginnygoon/USA2013
Lots of love,
Steve, Ginny, & George