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DC Bound

Thanks to the Angels along the Road

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On the evening of March 31, 2005, Brenna and I began our trek to the FDA hearings in Gaithersburg, MD, in our old 1984 Southwind motorhome.
The journey was impeded by a few challenges with the motorhome, but God had someone in place to answer our needs along the way.  The prayers of friends had gone before us and prepared the way.
In Kearney, NE, we faced the first challenge with a broken fan belt.  A local RV shop stopped what they were doing to get us on the road.
After leaving Kearney, we stopped for lunch in Bruning, NE, at Betty's Cafe.  If you are ever in that area, please tell them we sent you.  It is good home cooking and the company is friendly.  As I listened to their conversation about a school going up on the auction block, I dreamed of what could be done with the school for women damaged by silicone who needed a place to live.  Brenna was afraid I would put in a bid and hurried me out before I called the auctioneer to place a bid. :-)  Neither of us had a clue how we could get the money to fix it up.
In Concordia, KS, the air conditioner cover began to bang in the wind.  We slowly nursed the motorhome until we got to Salina, KS. During the night, the high winds came up and dropped the cover right in front of the door.  The next morning a shop fit us in to fix it and get us on our way.
After leaving Salina we began to experience a belch in the fuel system but could not find a shop close by to get it fixed.  We stopped at Walmart in Junction City, KS, and the staff there encouraged me to try STP in the tank.  We purchased 4 bottles, added 2 to the tank and headed out the next morning.  It ran like a top, until we got to Kansas City, MO.  There, along I 70, we had another problem and stalled right across the interstate from an RV dealership.  They sent a mobile mechanic to our rescue.
Thanks to Abe Thompson of Grain Valley, MO, the problem with the fuel line was fixed.  After the repairs were complete in Missouri we were faced with the daunting decision of turning back or going on.   We decided if the motorhome would go the next 100 miles without a problem, we would continue. The motorhome has been runnning great since Abe fixed it.  Thanks, Abe.
That night, the motorhome officially became known as Helen...named Helen Keller who beat the odds against the fates life had handed her.
Singing "Get thee behind me, Satan", we crossed MO, ILL, IND, OH, WV, PA, and MD without a problem.  We arrived at the hotel in Gaithersburg on April 10th at 4 PM.
As most visitors to the site know, Inamed was defeated at the panel level and Mentor was approved with nine conditions.  We are glad we had the opportunity to stand before a governmental panel as little Davids and speak up to the remaining silicone giants.
On the night of the 13th, tired and facing a long trip home in Helen, a waitress who had befriended us at the N DC Hilton, encouraged us to stay another night and start out the next morning.  It was wise advice.  Thank you Brenda for extending your hand in friendship and sharing your smile and joy of life with us.  If you are ever near the N DC Hilton in the evening, stop by and give Brenda a hug from the two Idaho travelers.
Brenna and I left Gaithersburg, MD on Thursday the 14th, heading across northern Maryland and West VA.  What beautiful scenery!  We are thankful for the chance to see this part of the country.  As we viewed the beautiful farms along the way, we were so grateful to a loving God who had given us strength for the journey and put us in the right place to get problems fixed when needed.
At Friendsville, MD, we encountered a problem with tires and a blow-out on the driver's rear side.  It was close to quitting time and our cell phone could not get a signal.  As we began our walk into town, a pickup began backing our way.  A gentleman by the name of Marlin Larson had come to see what he could do to help.  Marlin called a tire shop to have two new tires delivered and installed before dark.  Thank you, Marlin.  These two Idaho ladies have made the trip safe and sound.
We had one other major problem but that was not the problem of the motorhome.  Tired and exhausted, I pulled in to New Castle, IND to fuel up.  Brenna went inside and I fueled up.  Only when I tried to re-fuel the auxiliary tank did I realize I had just put 48 gallons of diesel in the motorhome.
Thanks to the night manager at Flying J, Jamie, she had the phone number of a person who could fix the problem.  When she called him, he was onsight working on a truck and came right over.  He was glad I had not started the motorhome as that would have presented a whole host of other problems.  He went home to get the equipment and came to drain the tank after he was finished with the other job.  For the night, we sat before the fuel pumps at Flying J.  The Flying J staff was wonderful to us and there was no fuss about our blocking a lane for the entire night.
As for the mobile mechanic, when we left, he gave me his card and said he would find someone anywhere in the nation if I had a break down along the way.  It didn't matter where I was.  His wife would search the internet for me within the organization they belong to that is dedicated to having certified mechanics to help people like me who have problems along the road.  Thanks, Dana and Deb, we made it safe and sound.
A wonderful historical place to visit is the Pioneer Arch in Kearney, NE.  Brenna and I stopped to spend the afternoon, re-living the history of the pioneer's journey west along the trail that eventually became known as the Lincoln Highway and is today called I 80.  The first pony express route came this way as well as the first telegraph lines and today's first fiber optic lines.  The arch begins on the north side of the interstate with the pioneers and takes you across the interstate and back into modern times.  Heading west?  This is well worth the stop.
We had one other minor problem across Wyoming.  The winds were high and the snow was coming in huge flakes, that pounded the windshield like baseballs.  We heard a strange noise and when Brenna looked out her window, she noticed the awning had come loose.
We were close to WY mile marker 260 near Elk Mountain, WY and got off at a shop there where they very kindly fixed the awning with bungie chords.  Thanks, folks,  I didn't get your name, but you know who you are and where you are.
We made it almost to Rock Springs without another mishap, then the awning came lose again about 25 miles from town.  We put on the hazard lights and slowly traveled to Rock Springs.  The awning did not rip.  Thank God for that.  I could not fix it in the high wind.
We spent the night in yet another Walmart parking lot.  The following morning, their staff sent me to a local RV shop to have it fixed.  We drove slowly to Don's RV shop, where they stabalized the awning frame and once again, we were on our way home.  He told me to go through Kemmerer, WY to escape the storm and winds.  Thanks for that advice.  It was a beautiful drive and the storms were all around us.  While we ran into some snow, it was not hard to drive through and the winds were much less than we had experienced across NE and WY.
Brenna and I arrived back in Idaho, safe and sound to our Boise home.  We are grateful for this chance to be in DC and speak on the dangers of silicone gel breast implants.  We have enjoyed the scenery along the way and have marveled at how awesome God is.
Helen has completed her mission for us.  Brenna and I have decided to get Helen ready and sell her.  She is running great now.  Her bugs have been worked out.  She will make someone a nice motorhome for traveling the countryside to view the wonders of God as we have done.
Some have thought us crazy for this trip. Friends not only cheered us on, they prayed each mile of the way...and when we called in, discouraged and feeling so alone, our friends lifted us up.
Whatever the reason for the trip, it was in God's plan and in his hands.  And Inamed and Mentor, take note, while this journey is over, you have not heard the last of us.
Thanks to all the angels along the way and for those angel friends who prayed for the success of this trip.
Pam and Brenna

One Woman's Journey to DC to Speak to Her Government