Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Halloween Greeting 2017

The kids worked hard on their costumes this year!  Blossom made a peacock costume and Reed was Agent Pleakley as part of a Lilo & Stitch group costume.
Here's my creative kids:

Here's Reed's whole crew before they headed out:

A Colorado Ending to the Big Trip

Looks like I never finished up posting about our big trip!  There were some hiccups in our plan, but we made it back all in one piece and can't wait for another adventure.

On our way home from Oregon, we decided to spend a few days in Colorado.  Immediately when we crossed the Colorado state line, the darn transmission in the van broke ... again!  Yes, the new one :(  We had the van towed to Durango.  We didn't know this at first, but in the end it took 3.5 weeks to fix because of the warranty.  We made the best of our time and rented a car and camped around the state.

First, we visited my beautiful old stomping grounds of Durango.  We met up with friends and took a great day trip up to Silverton.

The hike was long and steep and little Blossom was a trooper and went right along with it!  We were even rewarded with a double rainbow on our way out!
After Durango, we camped in Pagosa Springs for a couple days, enjoying the hikes and hot springs.

Next, we headed up to Bobby's old stomping grounds of Nederland, just over the mountain from Boulder.  It was fun meeting all his old friends and exploring the sweet little town.
We were so excited (and a little freaked out) that a mama and baby moose decided to join us while we kayaked one morning
After a couple days in Nederland, we crossed the Rockies and went into the Western Slope of Colorado to a tiny town called Crawford.  An old friend of mine lived there and it was fantastic catching up with him and exploring this little gem of a town.  It was adjacent to an amazing National Park called Black Canyon of the Gunnison.  Very cool corner of the earth!

From Crawford, we headed South back to Durango.  Our van was not quite ready yet (that's really the story of those 3.5 weeks!), so we went back to Pagosa for a little more camping.  We spent some time tubing on the river and Blossom made her own creature comforts in the campground.
We finally got the van back and headed straight home!  Only days away from started classes for nursing, I was pretty anxious to get home.  It was a good way to get some real closure on our trip.  Though in hindsight, if I had known the repair would have taken so long, I would have honestly just rented a uhaul and towed the van back to Asheville for repairs.  I did love our Colorado leg of the trip though!


Monday, July 17, 2017

Portland and the Home of Giant Berries

Heading north from Silver Falls quickly brought us back into Portland.  It was the first place we stopped in Oregon, and we were ready to get more time with some good friends here.  This time in Portland, we were not feeling like we needed to do "big city stuff", because we'd already done it two months ago.
We got to explore a little more like locals.  Friends took us berry picking on Sauvie Island. 

I thought I'd seen some berries before, but I was so wrong!  The variety of berries that Oregon produces is just amazing!  Holding these gigantic boysen berries made me feel like a scene out of James and the Giant Peach.
After our baskets and bellies were full, we headed further up the island for some beach time on the Columbia River.
Seems like Blossom is a true beach girl at heart.  She at least did her best to thoroughly soak in her last days in Oregon.
The next morning, we all woke up to the smell of berry pies coming out of the oven!  I am not ashamed to say that I ate pistachios and warm berry pie for dinner tonight.  No regrets.
We are sad to be leaving these friends and amazing Portland hosts.  We are also sad that it is our last night in Oregon.  Time to head home.  Not straight home, mind you... but a nearly 3,000 miles of driving awaits us, so we're reluctantly going to get started.
Loved Oregon so much.  It's definitely secured a place in our hearts.

We need a break!

All this vacationing has worn us out!  After Rainbow Gathering, OCF and a little meltdown from a 6 year old, we decided some down time was needed.  Back to the woods we headed...
We grabbed a camp spot on the river, at the trailhead to Bagby Hot Springs.  Not quite as magical as Cougar, but a perfect way to relax and clean up a bit, too! 
 The hike in to the hot springs was 1.5 miles and so beautiful!
 Blossom quickly made a campsite friend, and as they played all day, Bobby slept and I finished my Tom Robbins book (such a fun book, but a very slow read - it took me about 6 weeks to get through!).  It was the break we all needed to unwind.

After a couple nights at Bagby, we trekked about an hour West to Silver Falls State Park.  We camped here for 2 more nights and explored the beautiful waterfalls that are all such short hikes from one another.
Blossom and I were both enamored with all the wildflowers here.
She even took to drawing imaginary pictures of them as we walked the trails.
Blossom sure was a trooper, even though she didn't feel like one every day.  So much to see at this park left her sometimes feeling like she was all done with hiking!  But she kept finding new fun discoveries around each corner that helped her continue on.
This was such a lovely park!  It was also very crowded with other Summer travelers, and a good transition back to the road.


After we left the Rainbow Gathering, we drove the 4 hours back to Bend, picked up the van, returned the rental car, did a load of laundry, restocked the cooler and drove another 4 hours to Eugene.  We were headed to spend the weekend at the Oregon Country Fair.  By the time our tent was set up in the Fair campground and we finally collapsed on our sleeping mats, it was midnight.

The Oregon Country Fair (OCF) did not disappoint!

So much art, music, food.  We tried to walk and see everything on the first day and found that to be pretty impossible!  The next two days were spent at a slower pace exploring more nooks and crannies of the property and meeting up with friends to see music.
 Blossom loved all of it!  She was pulled around in the wagon since the crowds could get pretty intense at times, and I wanted to keep her close.  This saved all her energy for climbing tree houses, dancing and finding special treats like a live action video game!
We really loved this festival and can't wait to come back another year!


This picture is of Blossom as happy as a clam... in the backseat of a tow truck.  The rest of us were not grinning so big.  We left Eugene excited to camp at Crater Lake.  We drove through beautiful mountains and almost made it to the lake when our van decided to quit.  We had it towed an hour to Bend, Oregon to find out it needed a new transmission.

We ended up spending the week walking around Bend.
We visited the farmers market, played in the river, explored parks and a Makers Studio, drank lots of Humm Kombucha (seriously... so good!), and even saw a movie at a brewery.  We probably spent a nearly equal amount of time snacking on serviceberries from seemingly untouched trees outside the brewery.

It seemed like a great town, but we were ready to go by the end of the week.  Unfortunately, our van was not ready for us yet.  With a holiday weekend approaching, we were looking at spending another 4 or 5 days a motel.  One of the big reasons we came to the Oregon was to attend the Rainbow Gathering and it started that Saturday.  We decided to rent a car and hit the road.  4 hours later and we were pulling a wagon of camping supplies in to the Malheur National Forest in Eastern Oregon.
Was so nice to unplug for the week and just join community.  We stayed until Thursday and came back to Bend to a fixed up van, ready to hit the road!

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Loving It!

I could think of no better post title - we really love it out here!
We hardly crossed the border into Oregon before we set up camp at Valley of the Rogue State Park outside of Medford/Ashland area.  Not our favorite state park, but still had a nice little Rogue River trail to wander down (and take breaks in the shade - it was so hot here!)
All of our days were spent in or around Ashland.  Lithia Park runs right through town and has so many sweet places to explore!
We decided to come up to Eugene for the weekend to check out the famous Eugene Farmer's Market and Saturday Market.  Those were definitely fun!  We also really enjoyed exploring the city parks.  One had giant games and toys set out every weekday with live music and food trucks.  Blossom built herself an RV with these huge blocks.
Other parks had interesting statues.  Here's ZB with Rosa Parks at the Eugene Bus Station:
And we couldn't leave without visiting Voodoo Donuts, especially since we didn't do the one in Portland.  Hard to decide with this mesmerizing rotating donut case!
It was still very hot here (about 100 degrees during the day), so water time was a must.  The downtown parks are right on the Willamette river, so perfect for a little cooling off.

We definitely had the most enjoyable days actually getting out of town, though!  Our favorite spot was about an hour away at Cougar Hot Springs and Cougar Reservoir.  A short and beautiful 1/2 mile hike through Sequoia trees led to 3 rocks pools that cascaded into each other.  The hottest was at the top (about 110 degrees), cooling by a few degrees in each lower pool.  We mostly stayed in the lowest pool.  We met great people, relaxed in the magical forest and would love to come back here again!
Blossom is making friends everywhere she goes!
We had hoped to swim in the reservoir, but when we finished at the hot springs, it started lightening over the water, so we decided to head back into town.  But it was so beautiful, with such clear water and towering mountains, it was hard to not dive in!

Tomorrow morning, we are headed out of the city and back into the woods.  We will go explore Crater Lake before heading to Central Oregon to the Bend area.  Much love!

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