Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Southwest

A little less than a month ago we started out on an open-ended camping/road trip. The goal was to make a big circle through southern California, over to Nevada, then up to Utah and back home to Oregon.

I made a video of it. One month of travelling/camping condensed into 20 minutes. Watch it if you dare. : )

Our first stop was Sequoia National Park. We have a special fondness for sequoias, especially as we have about 15 of them around our house. This park boasts not only the largest sequoia alive today, but it also happens to be the largest tree in the whole world! I didn't get a great photo of it, but I did get this picture of David, on a hike, posing next to this great slab of rock with a face. Can you see it?
A friend of ours had recommended we stop at Red Rock Canyon, so I plugged it into our GPS and away we went. It wasn't until the second day there that we discovered we were actually at the wrong one! Who knew there were two Red Rock Canyons!?

This first one was actually Red Rock Canyon State Park, in California. The campground was quite lovely, and we enjoyed exploring the area on foot.

Here is Jacob in a little creek bed near the main red rock feature.
After the mixup with the first Red Rocks, we decided to take a drive through Death Valley, which is a LOT more interesting than it sounds! We managed to catch the tail end of a rare superbloom (which was terribly difficult to get good photos of).

We considered camping there, but everyone else was out to see the flowers too, and the campgrounds were full, even in the middle of the week. It was also about 80 degrees, and we had our little doggie with us, who wasn't allowed on trails. So we moved on.
Red Rock Canyon number 2 was next. This place is right outside of Las Vegas, and so QUITE popular. Despite that and the fact that we arrived at night (since we spent all day driving through Death Valley), we found decent camping.

We spent a few days there, during which time we explored the ancient, petrified sand dunes. From afar they look like giant piles of multi-colored poop. : )

Since we were so close to a big city, we drove in occasionally and took advantage of wifi at Starbucks to get some work done. We also (for grins) drove down "the strip" in Vegas. No we didn't stop. And no, I never want to go to Vegas ever again. Sorry if you love it.
One day at Red Rock 2 we took a hike up into Ice Box Canyon. It was shorts weather in the sun, and jacket weather in the canyon. Jacob got a bit cold, despite bounding constantly up and down the trail and over big rocks.
Our adventure dog, Lucy, is representing our next stop, Valley of Fire. We had THE most amazing campsite EVER here (will show this in the video).

I also got to paint some, for the first time on the trip. The boys were ready for some down-time, and I could literally walk about 50 feet to find good views. I'm not sure yet what's post worthy. But I had fun.
Zion was next, which was absolutely stunning, but also quite mobbed! Also dogs weren't allowed on trails or left in campers, so we moved on. Just outside of Zion we found some lovely cabins and decided to chill there for a couple of days. We were able to leave Lucy there and head back to explore a bit. The best hikes we found were off the beaten trail.
We were lucky to have the cabin, because on the last day it rained and rained and then snowed so hard it was horizontal.

At this point we decided to go home. We were all tired and ready to sleep in our own beds. But on the drive north we saw signs for Bryce Canyon and decided to stop and look around (wow!). And since we were so close to Grand Staircase Escalante (one of our planned stops) we decided to spend one day there to look around.
But this area turned out to be so cool, we decided to stay longer. We camped down a tiny dirt road, which was off another dirt road, which was about 26 miles down another dirt road, in the middle of absolutely nowhere! The views were spectacular.

We got to see a couple of VERY cool slot canyons. After climbing out of one, I saw what I'm fairly sure was a bobcat, slinking away. It was cool but also a little scary, especially for Jacob.
This was the road to the slot canyons, and our trusty Jeep that pulled us (in total) over 3,000 miles on this trip! We are happy to be home and to have these memories!

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Winter Wonderland

We recently decided to pull our son, Jacob, out of his school and home school for a while. Since David and I are both self-employed, we decided to take advantage of our un-rooted-ness and travel too! Our first stop? Lake Tahoe. We have some friends who have a second house there, and they graciously allowed us to stay for a week (thank you Randi & Mark!).

Here are a few of the "classes" we had in Tahoe:

Language Arts in Batman Pajamas

Measuring Snow Depth in Lengths of Boy

A Study of Gravity and Friction

(Thanks for the sleds, mom!)

P.E. with a View

We recently invested in our own snowshoes. What a great way to get exercise and see some very cool things. (thank you, Carol J., for introducing us to this!)

Identifying Animal Tracks 

Before we left home I printed out a ton of info about the winter animals in Tahoe, what they do to survive, and what their footprints looked like. Sadly, we only saw a few in person, and besides these snowshoe hare prints (which we were very excited about!), mostly only saw dog prints.

Reading like a Pro

Jacob read "Number the Stars" by Lois Lowry - historical fiction about WWII

Meanwhile I read "Want Not" by Jonathon Miles, which was long but very interesting, and a book about crocheting.


How to Move Stubborn Animals

This is Lucy, our little 10 lb. westiepoo. Her little legs sunk too deep in the snow to really get around by walking. So we devised other methods.

How to Pick Yourself Up After a Major Face Plant

There were a few of these. And it wasn't just Jacob doing them, though I'm not naming names.

How to Look Really Cool Next to the Inside Out Rainbow Unicorn

On the way home from Tahoe we stopped by PIXAR and got a tour from a friend of mine (thank you, Tia!) We got to see a bit of behind the scenes animation and learned a few secrets. But we were told, in no uncertain terms, that if we divulged any information we would be hunted down by the unicorn. Do you see how long her horn is? And you can't see it, but the end is rather pointy.

We like this world-schooling so far!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Fall in Oregon

Yesterday I spent the morning on a photo shoot with 2 friends, Pat and Lyle. We drove from Eugene toward the Cascade mountains, to an area called Westfir. We were drawn by the fall colors. We had a lovely time, and afterwards had a wonderful lunch at a little burger joint in Oakridge. Here are some of the photos I took simply for the sake of taking pictures:

Thanks for looking. : )

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Paradise in a Raptear

Recently we've been thinking that our giant (24ft) camper is just too much to haul around (seeing as how we haven't done anything with it except use it as a guest room for over a year!). So we bought ourselves a cute little teardrop trailer. -->
We got it from a local (Eugene) guy who has a company making them. This particular one was a prototype for his little family and includes a bunk bed inside for one small kid (which we happen to have, for a little while longer). The back opens up to form a galley kitchen. I forgot to get a picture of the extra shelf that attaches to the side. And you can't see the sink or double burner stove that pulls out, and all the storage for kitchen stuff.

Our maiden voyage with the "Raptear" as the seller called it, was to Paradise campground about an hour from Eugene, up in the mountains. We were camped right beside the McKenzie river, and these two cuties were my adventuring companions.
Sunday was Mother's Day, and my son and step-daughter had given me some very nice earrings shaped like bacon and eggs (because bacon and eggs are wonderful!). Right after we took this family pic, while on a hike, I realized they had both fallen out. So we all searched the ground as we walked back to camp. Jacob found one on the trail, and I found the other in camp. They were pretty small, so it was nothing short of a miracle!
At any rate, it was a short but lovely trip - just one night. The trailer worked great! It was cold outside but cozy inside. Unfortunately someone (I won't mention names) had to get out and pee in the middle of the night and inadvertently let out all the warm air, which made the rest of us very cold!! Lesson learned. We are looking forward to a longer trip in the summer when Jacob is out of school.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Bandon by the Sea

We spent the weekend camping near Bandon, a little town on the southern coast of Oregon. Since having lived in our camper for a whole month after the fire, we've regressed to tent camping. 13 years ago we spent our honeymoon in a tent and since then camping has been a big part of our life. It was like going home. Except we were in Oregon, not Texas, which is arguably friendlier for camping! No fire ants, no 100 degrees, no cactus, no scorpions ... shall I go on?

We spent a good part of the first day wandering the beach near the campground looking for rocks. I seem to have infected Jacob with my love for them, which warms the cockles of my heart. : ) Here are just a few from my new installment:

There is a magnificent display of haystacks (great big rocks in/near the ocean) in Bandon. We were still a ways from them when I took this picture, so you might not get a feel for their true size. Believe me when I say they are the size of buildings!
Here are a few fun shaped ones with a little rivulet running between.
And here's Jacob among some of the smaller rocks. Fortunately he ran into some boys about his age at the campground, so his social calender was set. Unfortunately, together they became a wild pack. Alone Jacob is a good kid. The pack pushed limits constantly, including trying to burn every single inappropriate thing (in the campfire) they could get their grubby little hands on. I'm so glad I have just one!
On the second day we got up early and went down to the beach for a super-duper low tide event that only happens once or twice a year during waking hours. We were able to get really close to this hole where the day before it was a tiny speck.
We also saw lots and lots of starfish, sea anemones, mussels, barnacles and other various sea creatures in the tide pools and clinging to the sides of the haystacks.
These 4 here looked to be doing some kind of crazy dance before they were exposed by the low tide. They seemed frozen in embarrassment.
The best part of the whole day (we all agreed) were the sea caves! It was so cool to see what the water can do to rock over time, and especially to see what most of the time is underwater.

We feel very fortunate that all this is only a 3 hour drive from where we live in Eugene. What lucky duckies we are!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Finished Quilt

It's done! Yay! I stiched in the ditch for the quilting part (my husband thought I made up that term but it's real). And I learned the most common way to finish the edge (binding) from a couple of Youtube videos, and it magically turned out perfect. The hardest part was figuring out how to get a good picture of it. If I could have laid it down outside I would have, but it was too wet.
Here it is laid out on the floor inside so you can see the whole design and a little of the purple back (no my squares did NOT all line up ... didn't know that was important until the end). As soon as I finished, Jacob said, "Can you make one for me?" So that is my next project. What I like about quilting is I can have it all out and do a little bit at a time - whenever I'm bored with everything else.


For the past couple of weeks Eugene has been frozen. The temperatures have been hovering just below freezing, day and night. And we've had lots of fog but no rain. Consequently we've had lots of moisture collecting up in the trees, among other places, and then freezing. It's been very cool to look at, so yesterday I spent about 2 hours outside taking pictures. It was fun but I nearly lost my fingers to frostbite. I guess I shouldn't joke when there are places suffering negative numbers right now! Anyway, here are a few of my pictures.