Along for the Ride — Part 1

The sealed note from Helen to Blaine (Photo by Blaine Howerton)

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By Blaine Howerton, Publisher
North Forty News

When I came up with this headline, I decided to write a series of articles to suit the headline. It’s usually in reverse (content first, then headline). But, in this case, the fact is — I am “along for the ride” in many ways. It’s going to take weeks to write about just a few.

The first ride came to mind on the last Saturday of October. That’s when Helen, a proud reader of North Forty News in Rist Canyon, officially signed over ownership of her 1990 Winnebago to me. When I first met Helen (to look at the RV she said she wanted me to have), we both felt like we had known each other for years. We talked for a few hours about life and living in the mountains. Then we spent a few minutes looking at the prized possession she wanted to put into my care.

The Winnebago is in great shape for its age! It doesn’t need much work. Helen drove it to town for years, periodically, keeping it going. She kept it clean, won battles with mice, and fixed and maintained it through the years. But the bottom line: Helen could no longer use it. And she didn’t want it to “rot on the mountain” (as she put it).

During our time together, Helen remembered camping with her grandchildren in the RV. She didn’t want just anyone to have it. She wanted someone who would find it helpful, take care of it, and create new memories.

It turns out Helen, and I are neighbors! We only live 1.8 miles from each other. Who knew?

Two weeks later, she signed the title, and I’m now the proud owner.

Helen handed me a sealed note and asked me to read it as I pulled out of the driveway. It read:


Listen to the music of the

sounds as you gently pull away

and know that a part of me, in

spirit, goes with you.


I got emotional.

I said a prayer, put the Winnebago in gear and headed down Rist canyon. As I took the curves gently down the canyon, I thought about how close Helen and I got in that short period. I thought about how I would send her pictures and go back for visits with her. She had already helped me create unforgettable new memories! I will never forget that day.

That was the first day I had ever driven a Winnebago. And wow, it’s a blast! I can see many hours in the driver’s seat with my sons beside me. There will be stressful vacations (on the road) and craziness, but those things will be part of the memories. And I’ll cherish and share them with my new “old friend” Helen.

I’m “along for the ride” with North Forty News.

Local Journalism creates much more than words on a page or screen. It fosters countless relationships. 

North Forty News brings entire communities together. There is more value than can be computed in what North Forty News does, which is one of the biggest reasons why it must continue for multiple generations!

For weeks, I have been writing about our goal to bring 1,000 new subscribers to North Forty News by January. And we are on our way. We need 964 more to be exact. We need to keep trying! We need our communities to support this organization through a subscription.

You might ask: “What will a subscription do for me?” My answer: “You don’t know yet, but it will be great.” You could read a single article (among the hundreds we will produce over the next year) that could change your life, literally! If you subscribe, you will get all the issues.

North Forty News has changed my life for the better time and time again. It continues to do so, even while (at times) I find myself fighting to keep it going.

So, if you’re already a subscriber, give it as a gift. If you own a business, subscribe to it and give it as a gift to your clients. And, if you want to gift or buy bulk subscriptions (with your own ideas), get in touch (! I can create a custom program to make it more affordable in bulk.

We MUST bring 1,000 new subscribers to North Forty News by January!

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