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!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Gang Goes South

Checking in from a sweet airbnb rental with the Eel River in our backyard in Rio Dell (Humoldt County), CA!  3 weeks into this trip and we've found our rhythm, with only a couple kid meltdowns along the way.  The last week was spent along the coast, headed south to California to meet up with Reed's dad and send Reed off for the rest of his Summer.
From Portland, we headed West to a fun little coast town called Seaside.  The kids were practically rolling in the sand before we even got near the water.  The sand is so fine and soft down the PNW coast, not like our Southern Atlantic beaches at all!  And even when the chilly wind is making you wear a jacket, the sand is so warm under your bare feet.
Seaside was had a cute little strip right off the beach with arcades, a carousel, a cool aquarium and oh so many salt water taffy shops!  An embarrassing amount of taffy continued with us down the road (I think there's still some in the van).  This particular store had an impressive 170 flavors of taffy to choose from, the crew discovered some interesting ones!
We had planned to tent camp at the Sand Dunes, but there was a storm coming through, so we skipped that and just meandered down the coast for a few days, staying at random Hwy 101 beach motels.  It was nice having the extra time to explore lots of cool little pockets of the coast.
The first obligatory stop South of Seaside is Cannon Beach (Goonies Forever!).  Cold and windy and rainy weather made for a quick stop.
We went a little further South and checked really beautiful beaches and also things like the country's smallest lighthouse and the Octopus Tree (just the photo op my finger tentacle was waiting for)!

We got to go on a whale watching trip in Depoe Bay where a pod of gray whales lives off shore, so cool!  Blossom was not a huge fan of being out on the deck, but loved getting to see some whales, of course.
Exploring so many little state park beaches was great fun!  There are so many amazing places!  Rocky beaches, ones piled high with driftwood, ones straight off a cliff...
 That little white thing out on the rocks is Reed, who is exploring well past the fenced off area Hahaha!
 We explored a little ourselves here.  This was Cape Arago, which is a great place to see sea lions all on the rocks.  Blossom and I loved exploring our first tide pools and finding anemones and sea stars

We finally made it down to our next campground on the southern border of Oregon at Harris Beach State Park.  SO SO SO beautiful!!  Even the hike down to the beach was a fun little adventure with so many side hikes.  And so many tide pools!  It was hard to avoid stepping on anemones, they were everywhere!  We loved petting the sea stars and playing with hermit crabs.  The beaches here were just basically nature's playground!
 Soccer on the beach takes on a new challenge here where the ball constantly is drawn to the waves.

We all loved this campground and hope to come back again one day!  After a few days there, we packed up and headed South into California.  We spent a whole day driving and exploring around a road right near our Airbnb called Avenue of the Giants, just full of amazing Redwoods!

 This one is the biggest one in that forest, at 53.2' feet around and 362' tall!!!

Reed's dad met us here and took Reed back to St. Helena, CA for the next month.  We'll see him again when we return to Asheville.  For now, we are headed back North into Oregon, exploring to Medford/Ashland, Crater Lake, some hot springs, and maybe Eugene before heading a little East to Bend.  Love to you all!!!

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Gang Goes to Portland

My first Oregon post will pretty pretty short, as I want to get this posted before we are out of wi-fi range.  We went straight to Portland to stay in an Airbnb for a few days.  We are about to head down the coast and camp in state parks.

We've done all kinds of fun things like explore downtown, sample many delicious Portland donuts and kombuchas (yum!!), and check out cool parks.
This park was right in downtown and the rope and steel play structures resemble the many bridges going over the river right behind the park.
 This park is Rocky Butte, which was right near our Airbnb rental.  It had a fantastic view of downtown Portland, Mt. Hood and Mt Saint Helens.  ZB was especially excited for the latter!
The big city was pretty overwhelming for Bobby and I, honestly.  I'm excited to get back to camping.  But we did have fun while we were here.  ZB's favorite part was the Rose Garden in Washington Park.  600 varieties of roses in over 10,000 plantings!  She took a bunch of photos, which I'll post a sampling of here, including a nice one of the rest of our crew!

Headed West

Howdy!  We worked our butts off getting our house ready for Airbnb, and it's booked for nearly the whole time we'll be gone!  Clay decided to stay in Asheville while the rest of us road trip.  He just turned 17 and got a Summer job.  He'll be staying with friends, and skateboarding a lot - sounds like a great Summer!

We started off our road trip on Memorial Day weekend.  Bobby drove overnight and we reached Omaha in no time!  We loved visiting with Grandma, Bob and Uncle David and their sweet dogs.
We met up with one of my sweet friends from High School, who now has a daughter that's ZB's age!  They loved each other and we all went to the Joslyn Art Museum, they had a great kids area.

We walked a pedestrian bridge over the Missouri River (Iowa/Nebraska state line) in the gorgeous midwest sunset and got to wander around parks with fields just right for ZB to go wildflower hunting.

We ended our trip to Omaha by visiting the famous Henry Doorley Zoo.  We loved so many parts of it!  Blossom was especially tickled to be able to walk right up to one of the many wandering peacocks and snap a photo. And then, cool off in the Artic-themed splashpark.

We then packed up and headed West again!

First stop was Medicine Bow National Forest in Wyoming for some camping next to these amazing rock formations!  We all had a fun time hiking around and doing some bouldering. When we first arrived, there was a light rain and out came a double rainbow to greet us - so beautiful!

The following day, we headed to Idaho for 4 days of camping and enjoying various hot springs in the state.  Did you know that Idaho has the most hot springs in one state?  Pretty amazing!  We went to 3 of them, and camped right next to one.  What a great way to wake up in the morning!

 And P.S. - Thanks Mom & Bob for the new tires!!  This was the road in Boise National Forest that led to our campsite.  I'm not sure it really even captures how big those ruts were...The tires work well!
Before heading out of Idaho, we randomly met up with some good Asheville friends who were actually vacationing in Boise - what are the chances?!?
Loved this part of trip!

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