July 24, 2002 - We woke
up this morning to incredible fog. We couldn't see the water from
the beach. It was eerie and beautiful. We drove off the Island
and hit perfect sunshine. I wanted to show you guys a totem pole, so we
drove an hour out of our way upon recommend of the camp ranger. What
a joke. There were three tiny florescent totems that belonged in
a K-mart catalogue. It began as 'that' kind of day and didn't get
much better. We had decided to drive highway 20 down through the
Island. We thought it would be coast driving with magnificent views
of the Juan de Fuca Straits. Well, we were wrong. It was 45
mph with even slooooooower traffic through depressing little towns.
Argh. What was suppose to be one hour of dramatic beauty was
three hours of agony. We even ended up at a seven dollar ferry that
we didn't plan on taking. That part, actually, ended up being a fun
part of the day. You kids loved the idea of driving the truck up
on a huge boat and you ran the length of this thing several times.
It was a short ferry and got us just north of Seattle. The plan was
to go right to our hotel (reserved the day before), enjoy the pool and
spend the next day in Seattle.
The facade at the Pike Place Market
The kids loved the Space Needle
As luck would have it, we
got the AAA map all messed up and spent an hour in Seattle rush hour traffic
getting lost. Mom and Dad were both at wits end and ready to claw
each other, so we just went downtown Seattle and decided we'd better enjoy
it since we were stuck there. We ended up having a really fun time.
We hit the Pike Place Market and lured you two through it with buckets
of raspberries. I was surprised at the vagrancy. The plentiful
numbers of drunk Native Americans was a very very sad thing to see.
You two LOVED the sea food booths. You spent almost half an hour
watching huge crabs crawl around in aerated tanks. The area was colorful
and bright and loud and fun. We enjoyed it. We got Dad some
grape leaves to improve his temper. We watched the harbor area, as
well, and walked up and down the waterfront park.
We went to the Space Needle
and did the typical tourist thing by going up it. Breck about expired
with excitement as you thought it was Cloud City from Star Wars.
The views were magnificent and we thought the whole thing was nicely done.
We had clear weather and couldn't have asked for a nicer time. We
thoroughly enjoyed the gardens around the base of the tower, as well.
By this time, traffic had calmed down (as had the two of us since I called
our hotel and found out why we were lost). We drove the clear and easy
ten minutes to our hotel and found it to be clean and the pool inviting
and warm. We played in the pool and spa for almost two hours.
Then you guys hopped into the tub for another hour while Dad drove to Denny's
for some dinner. After about twenty minutes of our first TV in a
long time, you fell asleep. A very full and exciting day.
July 25-26, 2002 - We
slept in this morning and enjoyed being in a bed after five nights of camping.
We showered, played and hung out until we were ready to leave. We
went to a grocery store, stocked up on all we needed and hit the road.
We took Interstate 5 straight south and headed to Oregon. We didn't have
a plan and only wanted to drive as far as you guys wanted that day.
We got as far as Tigurd, OR before you wanted to stop for lunch.
Local kids recommended the school playground, so we went there and had
a picnic lunch. You played and got all your energy out. We
hit the road again and ended up going as far as Lincoln City, Oregon, which
is on the coast. We got the VERY last campsite at a Devil's Lake
State Park. It was FULL of RV's from California and Washington.
I guess the Oregon coast draws a lot of tourists on the weekends.
We ended up staying at the site two nights, though we had to shift spots
(what a pain with a wet tent). We set up tent and got ready for two
very full days of Ocean beach fun. Our first beach was just north
of town. It was cool and windy. We ran and played and oohed
and aahed at the huge expanse of beach. The sand was white and the
tide was out. The waves lapped at your feet and it was just wild
enough to thrill you without being too scary for mom. There were huge cliffs
at the north end, so we walked all the way there: what a haul for two young
kids!. I ended up carrying Breck back all wrapped up in my sweatshirt.
We played so hard that you were almost falling into your sleeping bags
Our big ole country
The Pacific coast is picturesque but with COLD water!
We woke up the next morning
to mist. We went to the beach north of town, anyway, and played hard
there, too. To our delight, there were about 200 sea lions camped
out on the sand bar right across from us. I took too many pictures
and we all watched them frolic and roll around on the sand. Several
swam into the water and poked their noses up on 'our' side of the beach.
The day cleared and we had sun just in time for your afternoon naps.
Dad slept with you almost 2 1/2 hours while I went to the little museum
in town. That was a treat: I learned about Japanese floats (which
we later bought as our one tourist purchase of the trip) and the fact that
the Japanese had bombed Oregon several times during WWII. When I
got back to the campsite, I rattled and rolled you guys and hauled you
all back to the beach north of town. We had seen campfires all along
the beach the previous evening, so we knew we could do that if we wanted.
There was a 'pit' area open on the beach. Someone had put some driftwood
in a Y shape and built up a campfire with rocks. It was perfect for
sand play and fun during the day and wonderful for a fire for dinner and
marshmallow roasting after that. You kids played hard with
another family that was building a long river system from rain run off
from the cliffs. I think the dad's had as much fun as the kids.
I ran back to camp and got all that we would need to grill dinner.
We started a campfire on the beach about 6:00 and didn't leave it until
10:00 pm. We watched the sun set and enjoyed the moon and stars as
they came up over the beach. It was windy and cold, but we had our
sweaters and blanket, so were all snug as bugs in a rug. We
hit the tent and you guys were asleep before we could say good-night and
we love you.
July 27, 2002 - We had
agreed to meet at Marc and Mindy's house on the 27th of July. We
took down tent in Lincoln City and began the last leg of our journey to
Eugene. We stopped just east of town at a winery: Flying Dutchmen.
I had wanted to visit some Oregon wineries, so this was a treat for me.
We had missed most of them near McMinnville on our way to the coast.
We were surprised to find one so close to the ocean. They grew their
grapes in the valley and pressed them near the beach. There was a
lovely sitting area over-looking the Ocean with cliffs to the north and
white beach a hundred feet straight down. I sampled some wines (Oregon
is known for Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir) while Dad watched you guys outside
and then we switched. I bought four bottles and we hit the road again.
The drive was longer than we expected, but it was lovely so we didn't mind.
We ended up at Interstate 5 near Corvallis and hit the road south to Eugene.
We could see clear cut forest all around. A lot of farms, too.
I didn't know what to expect - but it was more similar to MN than I thought
it would be. We stopped at a Denny's for lunch and then called the
Schlossbergs. We got directions and showed up at their house about
4:00 pm. We were set for four days in Eugene!!
The Stutz and Schlossberg kids got along swimmingly
July 27 - Aug 1, 2002
- Eugene's pattern continued what we had begun in Provo: one special thing
a day with lots of down relax time. Marc is a professor of
Geographic Information Systems at U of Oregon. He took us for a stroll
around the neighborhood. The campus is lovely. It appeals to
educators and the environmentally minded. The flowers were incredible.
Mindy explained the long wet winters (rarely with snow) and short pleasant
summers. Lavender was everywhere, as were flowering trees.
The area reminded me of Ann Arbor without the wealth of the medical community.
Another day we cruised the downtown area. The Tuesday farmer's
market was wonderful. You guys ate beans and raspberries for hours.
We strolled the streets and Mindy and I went to a flower store while the
dads let you watch trains at the station. It reminded me of Rochester
without Mayo. Everything was clean, well-organized and maintained.
Another day we took the kids to the park and hit some community fun: Parks
and Rec had face-painting, jumping pit and snack.
We played a lot in the back yard
On the coast
One day we went to the beach
and hiked the Hobbit Trail. It was an easy hike with a gorgeous beach
at the end. We played there about three hours. The tide was
low - but rising. I saw a bunch of sea stars, but couldn't get you
guys to them before the tide became dangerous. Dad picked up a dead
one, though, and we are drying it (hopefully). Dad also found whole
sand dollars. Dad played horse with all you guys and tossed you around
the beach. On the drive back we stopped in Florence and had ice cream.
There were some boys who were crabbing and you all watched them with utter
fascination. We hung out for a bit and then headed home.
You were all very tired, so we hit the hay early. Another day Mindy
and I went out to dinner leaving the boys at home with the kids.
We also had Mexican at a build-you-own burrito place. Fun and yummy.
Marc and Mindy's neighborhood is lovely (as is their house) and we took
the kids for walks every day. One afternoon we went to Eugene Emeralds
baseball game. They lost in a dramatic last two innings, but we had
a great time. Marc tells me it is one the oldest wood stadiums in
the USA. Baseball must have impressed you guys because you guys and
Noah wanted to play nothing but that once we got home. Their back
yard is lovely and we spent hours there hitting the ball and playing in
the sandbox. Marc and Mindy are special friends and I am so glad
we got to spend some time with them in their new home.
Aug 1, 2002 -
Home Again Home Again, Jiggety Jig. The new Saturn had been
making funny noises ever since Flaming Gorge. Eugene was the first
stop between here and there that had a Saturn dealership. We should
have taken it in on Monday, but we waited until Wednesday. Bad decision.
Turns out the fuel pump is defective and can go at any minute. The
part has to be ordered from TN. They Fed Ex, but cannot guarantee
its arrival by the time our flight leaves at 3:00 from Portland.
Dave ends up driving us to the airport in Marc and Mindy's Volvo.
We make it in good time. The flight is via Seattle - eventful and
easy. This is the first flight Breck can remember and you are pretty
excited about the whole thing. Alea is tickled pink about the ear-popping
thing. You are happy to have free and easy access to gum. We
arrived in Minneapolis at 9:30. Grandma and Grandpa are waiting there
for us. We spend the night with them and grandma drives us home to
Rochester Friday morning. We arrive to a jungle. Weeds took
over the lawn! Our squash and pumpkin are crawling over the sidewalk,
into Dick's yard and all the way to our patio. The sunflowers are
ten feet tall and a Rabbit has given birth under our aspen tree.
I spend the next five days trying to mow the lawn and bring some semblance
of order to our house. We did take three hours out of Sunday night
because Breck (fresh out of the tub) wiped out on the wood floors and gashed
his head open on the couch arm rest. We ran to the emergency room
with Amy and five stitches were put in. You were very brave.
OOOOOh - you can't beat ice cream!
It is WONDERFUL to be home.