We started off this morning from a WalMart in Yakima, WA. We drove across eastern Washington which continued to be desert. I knew that eastern Washington was a good deal drier than Washington on the western side of the Cascades, but I had no idea that it would be desert. We finally made it through Washington and into Idaho. The aridness began to change around Couer d’Alene, ID as we entered a beautiful national forest and drove beside the Couer d’Alene River for just a bit.
While driving down the interstate in Idaho, we had the most marvelous experience. We saw a state park sign for The Old Mission. Charlie and I both wondered what that was, and then I saw a beautiful old church located just off I-90 east of Couer d’Alene where we were driving. I asked him if we could get off and take a look. It turned out that this was The Old Mission. I got out and went to investigate. I quickly discovered that this was an old Catholic mission church established by the Jesuits. I gave Charlie the thumbs up for everyone to hop out so that we could go find out what this was all about. What a jewel we did find! We went down to the information center first where a lady explained that there was a nice museum explaining some of the history of the Salesh Native Americans and the Jesuits in the area. Fr. Pierre-Jean De Smet arrived here to evangelize to the natives, and eventually the Sacred Heart mission church was built along with a residence for the priests. After Charlie came in, we realized that we only had about 1 hour to take all of this treasure trove in. We spent about 20 minutes in the museum, 20 minutes in a film, and 20 minutes seeing the church and rectory. We learned that the church was built between 1850 and 1853 by members of the Coeur d’Alene tribe and Catholic missionaries. Today, it is the oldest standing building in Idaho. Each year on the feast of the Assumption, the Couer d’Alene tribe makes a pilgrimage back to the Sacred Heart mission church for an outdoor Mass and celebration. I wish that we had had more time there. Ryon was really taking the time to read a lot of the exhibits in the museum, and I really hated rushing him through that. The old church was so beautiful. The pews were no longer there, but the beautiful wood floors and walls were there (Dad, you will have to tell me what kind of wood that was – I think it was probably some kind of evergreen tree). It was such a blessing that we found it.
After departing from the old mission church, we continued driving east through Idaho and into Montana. The area was just so beautiful. In Montana, we finally left the interstate and began driving up a highway along a gorgeous river with these beautiful railroad trestle bridges. It wasn’t long before we were in country where there were large tracts of land with cattle grazing. However, the land was once again fairly dry. Anything that was green was being irrigated.
The kids are doing pretty decent on this trip. We are still having the usual bickering between certain children who shall remain nameless. It would also be nice if some of the older children would act a little more mature and quit picking on some of the other children. However, sometimes you here kids just having a great time together in the back. I enjoy watching some of the older kids encouraging the younger ones in whatever they are attempting to do. We have been enjoying some read-aloud books while Charlie is driving. I’ve now finished a couple of them and am beginning to think that I probably didn’t bring enough read-alouds with us. Of course that just gives me an excuse to pick up a book or two somewhere for us to enjoy.
I love finding special places that aren’t part of a plan. If there are Cracker Barrels around try them for your read alouds. You can pick them up at one store and return them at another. Walmart should offer that service for their parking lot campers!
I like the photo of Annette in church. Is Dominic offering to hear her confession? My guess at the wood flooring/walls would be Doug Fir.
I believe that Gonzaga University (Jesuit) is in Spokane. Bing Crosby went there and they have a good basketball program. You may have driven right by it. I have often wondered about the history of the Jesuits in that area and how Gonzaga was established. I hope that Gran and I get to find out in about 4 weeks. We fly into Spokane and drive to Coeur d’Alene. I am a little concerned about following you guys out there as I hope that you leave the place in one piece and still standing for us! We are looking for a place to stay so if you see a good Walmart let us know.
Get the Harry Potter series I think the older kids would love it I’m just finishing the series now.😉
Regarding bickering: I threatened to fly somebody home from Phoenix for a serious infraction! (an older kid). Now I can’t even remember what he/she did! The kids were amazingly good for all the hours in the car. In particular they cooperated when John wans’t with us on the way to CA. Mainly the older kids (read girls) tend to have strong thoughts on everything, including how fast to drive the switchbacks through narrow Rocky Mt roads!
My other, more reasonable stategy (and I only had to do this twice in 30 days), is just to stop the car and get out. They can fight it out. I run, do squats, pretend to sleep on a bench, etc…if when I return to the car there is ANY fussing left, I leave them again and run around a field or something like that. Eventually they pull it together. I mean a half hour sitting still in nowhere Kansas is quite effective. (during that stop, I returned to the car raving about the wonderful rich, black soil I had found on my walk…they were sooooo interested;) I just won’t let them stress me out or ruin the drive…and amazingly they don’t.
It sounds like your crew is doing phenomenally well for kids whose entire way of life has changed for a while. That’s the Holy Spirit at work!
Love the church pictures…what little Saints. These side trips, and your enthusiasm for the churches teach the kids the value YOU place on your faith. It’s beautiful and encouraging.