Saturday, May 26, 2012

The Last Day

Our last day was mostly driving.  We were supposed to see Mt. Hood, but it was shrouded in clouds.  In fact, it was the first day of our entire trip that rained.  I wanted to see the mountain, but driving through the forest in the rain is a nice drive, too.

Most of the drive was through dry terrain.  We saw a lot of these:

Oh, I forgot something.  The other children did buy a meal for the family, too.

This sister was so excited that she had enough money to buy burgers and apple pies for everyone!

I didn't take a picture of the 11 year old and wasn't going to take one of the 13 year old because it just wasn't as big of a deal for them.  After he was done ordering, however, he whined, "Where is the camera, Mom?  Aren't you going to take a picture of me??"

There you go, you big baby.  :)

The drive home was LONG.  We had been in small spaces and totally together for a long time.  Our driving games were worn out.  They had already watched the handful of movies we'd brought along.  There was nothing to anticipate and we had few rest stops.  

Driving into our area was a most blessed time.  We had covered rocky mountains, deserts, the ocean, big cities, caves, volcanic mountains, giant trees, and rolling farm land.  
Nothing compares to home.

Tossing the football and spreading out.

And best of all:
Our Puppy!

Vacations are wonderful, but there is nothing like coming home.

Thanks for coming along.

You may now exit our basement; the slideshow is over. 

Regular blogging will now commence.

We need to get our dancer to Summer Intensive on June 3rd or 4th.  If any of you are heading to Southeast Idaho or Utah and have an extra seat, could our son hitch a ride?  We would help with gas money.  He is great with kids and is used to being cramped.  It would make a huge difference for me and my backside!

Friday, May 25, 2012


When I was eight years old, my parents took us to the Oregon Caves in southern Oregon.  I had never been to a cave like that--one with formations.  It was the coolest thing I had ever seen.  Since that day, 27 years ago, I have been in many, many caves, (I think they are all cool) but still have a special place for the first.

They have a 42 inch minimum height restriction, so our youngest couldn't go.  She and Daddy wandered around the National Monument topside.

My four older children and I ventured in.  Many times the guide talked about preserving this or that "for our children and grandchildren."  It was neat to bring that home--I had come as a child and things were preserved so they could come.  This photo is where some of the earlier venturers signed the stones.  They also broke off stalactites as souvenirs.  We've come a way in terms of preserving!

I was surprised how much of the tour I remembered.  At one point, I even noticed where they had made a change in the route.  In fact, I'm almost positive that we exited where we used to start the tour.

Outside the exit--that used to be the entrance.
The kids loved it.

Another stop in Oregon included Crater Lake.

Justin did his 5th grade state report on Oregon.  He has wanted to visit Crater Lake ever since.  We finally got him there.

Before it became Crater Lake, it had been called Deep Blue Lake, Blue Lake and Lake Majesty--any of those three would have been more poetically accurate.  Crater Lake is so left brain.

Isn't it remarkable? And we were there on a bright, overcast day which caused a lot of reflection on the surface.  There was still too much snow to get any kind of close to the water.

There you go, Justin.  Thank you for doing your report on this place all those years ago that implanted the desire to see it.  It was a breathtaking stop.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Repeating History

Okay, I actually hate this picture of me, but the memory is funny so I hang onto it.  

This is my brothers and sister.  I'm guessing about 1987. The short story is that my dad got a new camera and was making his kids pose in all kinds of not-very-artistic ways.  But, we laughed the whole time.

Fast-forward 25 years.

I certainly hope that it is not the picture that my progeny mimics for generations.  I look ridiculous and I am NOT ridiculous.  Right Joe?  Mollie?  Levi?  

Fine. Maybe a little ridiculous. 

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Redwoods

“The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always. No one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable. From them comes silence and awe. It's not only their unbelievable stature, nor the color which seems to shift and vary under your eyes, no, they are not like any trees we know, they are ambassadors from another time.” 

The redwood forests must be seen and the milieu of the place felt.  

Steinbeck nailed it.  

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

THE Bridge

Yes, the Golden Gate Bridge.  

It was a bright, if somewhat foggy/smoggy day so we were able to see it well.

Odd fact:  The bridge is a toll bridge, but only when going south.  If you are headed north, as we were, you do not have to pay to drive across.

This bridge demands respect.  It has a majesty about it.

This is for Abraham and Alicia, both of whom will appreciate the photo.

We drove up to a viewpoint, then walked up another trail that took us to the highest point.  It was VERY windy (look at my earrings!) and exposed.

At the top, which is also a point that has a rather demanding view of the Pacific Ocean, was some WWII bunkerage.  It felt very X Files.

It was a little creepy, but was also reassuring to know that our coast was guarded.

They were building stations for some pretty massive guns.  They could shoot bullets? bombs? slugs? rockets? cannons? ammunition 26 miles out to sea.  That seems like a really long way.  When the war ended, they abandoned the projects.  The concrete and steel is still there.

I thought it looked like a fun place to have a dance.  

Man, we are checking off the national monuments!  

Golden Gate Bridge?  

Carmel by the Sea

One of my top priority stops, if we were going that way anyway, was the small town of Carmel.  I have been reading about this place for years.  I have seen every house and building on the internet.  I couldn't wait to see them with my own eyes.

It did not disappoint.  I could have spent a weekend there, but had to be content with a couple of hours.  

I was without the camera for some of the time so I don't have many pictures for you, but you don't need them; they are all on the internet already.

That night, when I got to my hotel room, I googled "Bavarian Architecture" and guess whose blog popped up?  Our architect!  

I love the colors of this place.  The gray-green with the trim just a shade darker.  I also love the shake roof, but am pretty sure code doesn't allow that in our neck of the woods.

Treats from the candy shop.

The town is filled with art galleries. My eight year old loved each one and while we didn't take the time to go inside any of them, we passed slowly by the windows.  The boy didn't appreciate them and did a bit of scoffing.  Then we saw this:

That is a sculpture of Nureyev.  We went inside and discover the gallery was full of ballet sculptures by a master sculpture.  They were likenesses of dancers from the Royal Ballet in London--many of whom Isaac knows well from his constant YouTube watching.

It was good for him to see that there is a gallery for everyone.

I wish I had more photos of this amazing town and I wish I had more time to spend there.  Next time I'll go without everyone else.  I'll walk more slowly and do it all day.  Still, I was glad for the time I had.  Can't wait to meet with our architect!!

The Big Sur

On our way up north, we decided to get there via The Big Sur Highway or California 1.  

The water was spectacular.  Here is another view, one without the girls.  Look at the variations of blue.

Once you are on the highway, you are committed.  The road is narrow and often dangerously close to a cliff which ends in a rocky ocean.  If you take this scenic drive (and I suggest you do) go from south to north.  It isn't nearly as scary being on the inside lane.

There are lots of places to pull off and enjoy the scenery.  This is a good thing because it is a long and winding road.  Everyone can tend toward car sickness if you don't stop frequently.  Also, the need to let the plethora of fancy sports cars pass the fuddy-duddies in the minivan is prevalent.

This looks like a good place for lunch!

Just about every day I packed sack lunches for the family.  It was a bit of a pain, but made the day run much smoother.  I'll write more about the food on our trip in another post.

My darling girls.

One of the cooler stops on our drive included watching the Elephant Seals.  We watched them for 45 minutes and could have watched longer.

They were all over the beach, though we are to understand this was a slow time of year.  They were odd and interesting and funny to watch.  Even more so than people watching at some of the tourist sites we visited along our journey, which is saying something.

There was an outside chance that we would see migrating whales, too.  We stopped several times to stare out into the deep blue in hopes of see a spout.  Being natives of the forest, we aren't sure if we saw one or not.  

My daughter took this photo of me.  Funny to see what I look like to her all of the time--looking up at me, that is.  It was windy on the coast, though it looks like I filled my shirt with pillows.  :)

We couldn't have picked a more beautiful day and the ocean put on her best dress.  
The Big Sur Highway gets two enthusiastic thumbs up.