Terry and Janet

Terry and Janet

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Trip of Anxiety... Trip of Tender Mercies

If  you have followed my blog for a while you know that 
it is not my favorite thing to travel in a car for hours
up long, winding, pot holed roads.

I can't sleep... too uncomfortable.
The drive is like a workout.
You can get thrown around and beat up. 
You have to keep your torso tight
and hang on to the hand grips
or you bruise and bang your body up pretty good.

President Turk is a very fast driver.
He has people to see and things to do.

And of course, I won't eat or drink in the car.
There is no stopping to go to the bathroom
Not because the President is in a big hurry,
It's because there aren't bathrooms along the way to Huaraz.
I do not want to end up in an
awkwardly embarrassing moment with 
my missionaries.

When you don't eat or drink it adds to the upset stomach
that you get from the winding roads
and this creates car sickness.
I keep a bag next to me just in case.
This queasy feeling is not fun to have for hours
in a cooped up car.

By the way,,, I have been on every scary roller coaster in the United States.
I love rides that the bottom drops out from underneath you.
Free falling is fantastic and
I have never been car sick
... until Peru.

And one more thing....
We are climbing from sea level to a very high altitude
in a very short time. No time to acclimatize.
The altitude sickness is real for me.
I get light headed, dizzy, headaches and it gets hard to breathe.
This throws off my blood sugar and by the time I reach Huaraz
I am a wreck... but very happy to get out of the car.
And this is considered a good trip.

With all this background about me and my road trips,
May I tell you about a doozy of a drive on Thursday.
We were driving to Huaraz with the Assistants to have
our conferences with our missionaries that you read about in the last post.

The drive started out fine.  We were looking at about a 7 hour drive.
(The buses take 9 hours and drive through the night with our missionaries.)
When we had just driven about an hour we hit these big fires
on the sides of the road.  No big deal, they burn the fields all the time.
It is part of the sugarcane harvest.
But when we went  by these fires, there were huge flames and you could feel 
the heat and we were starting to get engulfed in the smoke.
It was so exciting I couldn't get good pictures because I was watching the flames
and trying to see the road ahead of us.

We moved on through the fires and now about 3 hours into the trip, President Turk says,
I want to get gas here because I can just top it off and we'll be on our way.
"No", I said, "Let's get going. You just filled it up.  We are fine on gas."
He said,  "No I want to top it off because my gas gauge is broken
and I want to know that we are completely full."
This would end up being a tender mercy.
He has had the car in twice to fix that broken gauge and 
they can't seem to get it right.
and if you know President Turk, this makes him crazy.

" If you are stopping at the last gas station before Huaraz,
I better just head to the little ladies room to be safe."
There was quite a line at the bathroom.
I was finally next to go in
and a lady walked up behind me with a little 
tiny dog on a Leash.
All of of sudden, blood curdling barks from these two dogs
right above my head about knocked me over.  
It scared me so bad.  I put my hands over my head because I 
thought that they were coming off the roof to eat that little dog
that was right next to me.

But that teeny tiny dog barked back at them with this high pitched 
little squeal of a bark
and did not back down.

After a while the big dogs stopped barking and started to snarl and drool
off the roof and it was now coming right down on me.
And as I turned around to go into the bathroom,
(it was finally my turn), a lady from behind came and tried
to go in right in front of me.
I have been here long enough to know
that if I am kind and just let it go
I will be eaten alive.  Been there - done that!
So, I put up my elbow and said... No, Perdoname...
There is no way 
you are going in front of me.  Lo Siento!
Just wait out here and babysit those ginormous dogs
on the roof for me.

Now back in the car, President says...
"that man over there just told me that there has been an
accident up ahead and we will
be waiting in traffic for two hours."

"NO!"  This is always my luck.
Horrible if you are holding your bladder
already for seven hours.

President asked if we wanted to just hang out in this little
 dinky town 
and eat lunch and just wait it out or go on....

"Let's ask the policemen up at the tole booth right there."
I said...

The policemen all said, "oh it is cleared up now, you can go on ahead.
Look the traffic is coming this way.  Go on it's fine."

"Oh good, let's just get going and get there all ready.
We have a few snacks and drinks.  We will be fine."

Off we went.   And sure enough.  not too much further we hit trucks and buses
stopped on the road.  We couldn't believe it and then all of a sudden, 
they started to move.  Yes, here we go, they must be letting one side go
 and then the other.  We went about a hundred yards and stopped again.

But after sitting there long enough watching all the little cars
speed by us on the right shoulder or 
pass quickly on the left and squeeze in between two big trucks or buses,
we got smart and followed them.  We made some great moves.
Our confidence grew as we were able
to get by many huge trucks and buses.
We were definitely saving hours of sitting on the road.
We were getting maybe a little too daring now.
There was no more shoulders to drive on and
now we had big trucks coming the other
way keeping us from passing and squeezing in between them.

We were next to some huge sand dunes on the right.
We saw truck drivers that were standing out of their trucks trying to help guide 
a four wheel drive truck off the rocky steep side of the road, down into the sand dunes
and onto a tiny dirt path that had been trailed by off roaders.
They got him down successfully and then looked at us and said...
"Come on, do it.  We will help you get down there."

Oh, there was no way we were going down that embankment,
into deep sand dunes
to hopefully make it to the little trail
and then who knows where that trail leads.

Wait a minute, I was wrong...
Remember, President Turk
has people to see and places to go
and now we were driving over the edge
and the truck drivers were cheering and guiding us out
into no man's land.

Before we knew it, we had made it to the dirt trail
and we were moving.
I was actually happy that we were moving
even if I didn't know where this road would take us.
It took us right up to where there was a huge head on collision with a bus and 
who knows what else.  It was so burned up your couldn't tell.
But we couldn't enter the road there.
We had to keep going on the dirt path
   and yes, it took us all the way back up
to the freeway passed the accident and in to freedom.
What a blessing.  We saved hours by our little moves.
But we were much later than we thought and it was getting dark.
We do not travel at night... it's  a rule.

We were behind a couple of buses that said Huaraz on the side
and President, without thinking, followed them.
I was starting to get very nauseas so
I kept the bag right next to me.
We ended up two hours passed our turnoff in the other direction.
We were in a pitch dark black canyon.
NO lights whatsoever and no cars, truck or buses anywhere to be seen.
He knew that we were on the wrong road now and he also knew
that our gas was very low and he didn't have a working gauge.
We all got very quiet and very prayerful.
We didn't know where we were.
I could see a truck way up high on the switchbacks
coming down into the canyon,
so we turned on our flashers and President pulled into
the center of the road
and we waited and waited for that truck.
When he got closer we flashed our lights, we waved our hands
and we tried to get him to stop...
but he drove on by.
We are told never, ever to stop to help anyone because
it could be a trap to rob you.
It was a long shot to get someone to stop and help us
especially way out where we were.
As we turned back to get into the car, we heard
the brakes of the truck screech.
He stopped.  YES!
Tender Mercy.
President and the assistants ran back to the truck
and were able to find out where we were and
the exact directions
to get us back on track.
This was a huge blessing because without his help
we would have definitely taken the wrong roads and
run out of gas somewhere
in the darkest place on earth.
We had another two hour drive to get to some gas,
that is if they were still open.
There were no big towns.  It was a tiny little group of homes
on the highway
that might have a place with gas.

It was deathly silent in the car for two hours as
 we would coast down the hills in neutral
and then climb slowly up the hills to save gas.
The first sight of lights off in the distance gave us a little hope.
We knew we could walk at least to those lights in the distance.
We made it to those lights, another tender mercy
and right on the corner were two men just standing there
and we asked them about a gas station and they said
Oh, there's no gas station but we have some gas.
Another tender mercy.
There were no pumps.
They brought out 3 buckets of gas. They funneled in about 6 gallons.
Well, we hoped it was gas.  But at this point, we didn't care.
I asked if there were bathrooms around because we were now
about 8 hours from our last stop.
They got a little lady that took me through a maze
of tiny dirt hallways with a flashlight.
I was very trusting.  She could have lead me
anywhere and I would have followed.
I thought, is she going to have to come into the
bathroom with me and hold that flashlight?
She didn't - Thank goodness.
It was funny because after we got the gas and we were on the right road
back to Huaraz... the mood in the car changed quickly.
There was talking and laughter and breathing
and of course much gratitude for
answers to prayers.

Twelve hours after we started our 6 1/2 hour journey
We made it safely to our destination.

Nothing was going to keep us from
our precious missionaries.

These trips are so wacky and adventurous
but always worth seeing and being with
the people on the other end.
We Love you!