After leaving Astoria (7/26/10) we drove across the Columbia River on a very looong bridge to visit the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center in Cape Disappointment State Park (WA).   In 1788, while in search of the Columbia River, English Captain Johh Meares missed the passage over the river bar and named the nearby headland Cape Disappointment for his failure in finding the river.  The Lewis and Clark Expedition then arrived in Cape Disappointment a few years later in 1805.  We spent a few hours at the Center learning about the Expedition.

On a side note, in the park there is a "Waikiki Beach".  It doesn't look much like the Waikiki Beach that I am familiar with!  Washington has a lot of drift wood on the beaches which Joe thinks is quite interesting.  There must be some sort of "wood" connection.  The day we were there we also got to see the Coast Guard in action rescuing a fallen hiker from the side of a cliff.  Exciting stuff!
Picture
 
 
From Portland we drove to Astoria, Oregon (on 7/24/10), to the family home of the Rohnes.  Hans, a friend from Tucson, grew up here and now his brother Dirk and his wife, Amanda live and work the farm.  They were so great to have us park our monster bus on their lawn and show us around.  They milk the cows twice a day, everyday.  They're part of the Tillamook co-op - they sell them all of their milk.

We borrowed Amanda's car and drove down the beautiful coast to Tillamook to visit the cheese factory.  The facility was nice, but it was crowded and there wasn't all that much to see.  We did sample the cheeses and found a few that we liked.  Emily particularly liked the "squeaky cheese" which is actually cheese curd.  It does squeak when you chew it.  Ewww.  Joe bought some pepper jack cheese that tastes like sausage (?) and we have been munching on that for a few days.  The highlight was then the ice cream.  We got 5 different flavors between us:  cake batter, chocolate and peanut butter, butter pecan, orange sherbert, and cookie dough.   I have never seen orange so orange!
Picture
Amanda and Dirk
Picture
Joe with my orange ice cream
Picture
We visited the Columbia River Maritime Museum and walked around the quaint town of Astoria.  Apparently the downtown area has made quite the comeback in the past few years and Astoria is a now a very desirable town to live in.   We particularly enjoyed the Sunday market with tons of food options!  Max is consumed with his clam chowder obsession.  He can only be distracted by the occasional fish n chips.  

Picture
The Astoria Column is something to see!  We climbed the 200 and something spiral stairs to get to the top only to realize we should have gone to the gift shop/visitor center FIRST to get the little gliders they give you for a $1 donation.  So after we came down Max wanted to go back up to send his glider down.  The rest of us vetoed this idea.  I suggested we keep them as a souvenir.  The views of the coastline, bridges and river were phenomenal from the top.  I snapped a few pictures before making my hasty exit back down the stairs.

Picture
Emily on the column
Picture
We came home from a long day of sightseeing and Nutmeg was waiting patiently in the driver's seat! 

Picture
bridge over the Columbia River
We've had the pleasure of attending quite a few different churches along the way.  It's always interesting to worship with different congregations and to hear God's word taught by such a variety of people.  We are encouraged by the young men that are proclaiming the gospel to people all over the country.

 
 
I almost forgot!  On our way to Portland we were lucky enough to cross paths with the beautiful Van Stelle girls.  We had a hearty breakfast at Elmer's and then sent them on their way back to Arizona.  Until we meet again...
Picture
 
 
We were actually in Portland last week over Emily's birthday,  just in case you are trying to figure out where we actually are on the day this is posted.  I'm a little behind, but I'm catching up.

Portland was our first try at public transportation in a big city.  We parked at the Lloyd Center mall and rode the Maxx line downtown.  We walked and walked and walked.  First stop HAD to be Powell's bookstore.  All it is cracked up to be!  The store covers a whole city block.  Spent over an hour browsing for books.  Found some deals and bought some books.  Kids then read some books.  And then the next day...we need more books!  We are utilizing the downloadable book, but still we are running out!  We are going to try some book exchanging in the next town.  As Mrs. Walker would say, "Readers are Leaders!"  
Picture
Picture
I'm pretty sure Max is spitting in this picture...awesome
Picture
Our friend, Grant, gave us a great tour of Portland.  Here we are at Multnomah Falls.  Then he took us to Guiseppe's Italian Restaurant for dinner, and I think their pizza was the best I've ever had.  Really.  A few years back, Grant saw my parents at this little place!  They were visiting Portland, and they got lost. They stopped into this place for dinner and Grant spotted them across the room.  That's about the time Grant came back into our lives after losing touch for a while.  We are glad to have him back and we had a great time with him.

Emily's Epic Entry into 14-dom

Picture
Picture
We celebrated Emily's 14th birthday in Portland. She exited the bus in the morning to be engaged in an epic silly string fight!

Grant chauffered us around to see his new log home, Mt. Hood, and some other fantastic sights.  He took us to see "Despicabe Me", which we all loved.  Favorite line from the movie:  "It's so fluffy!!!  I think I'm gonna die!!!"

Grants cabin has vertical logs...very unique.  It sits close to the Zig-Zag river in Rhododendron, OR.  Rustic and beautiful!

Picture
at Grant's cabin
Picture
Timberlake Lodge at Mt. Hood
Picture
Grant and Joe
Here we are at Mt. Hood, only a 40 minute drive from Portland.  Skiers and snowboarders had all the snow they needed.  Amazing.  In July!  The boys had a snowball fight while Em and i viewed the scenery from a distance.  We had lunch at the historic Timberlake Lodge.   Beautiful!

For Emily's birthday dessert, we couldn't find a cupcake shop, so we for dessert to alodge out near where we were parking for the night in Forest Grove, OR.  She had some delicious caramel brownie thing and Joe had a chocolate milkshake made with stout beer.  Interesting.  


We didn't get enough of Portland, so we will be back in a few weeks on our way back to California.  Check back for Portland - Round 2!

 
 
We stopped in Salem, Oregon for the day (last Monday, actually) to see Steve and Pam Brown and the Salem Baptist Temple.  Added bonus:  Cherith!  Steve and Pam had a significant influence on Joe and I as young people and then as young marrieds.  For us this is essentially the same time period (haha).  
Picture
 
 
On our way to the Redwoods we drove through San Francisco and the big red bus drove right over the big red bridge.  We took a few pictures of the bridge from the bus, but they ended up being blurry light pictures because it was dark out.   
Picture
On to the forest after a few scenic drives, and a stop at the "drive-thru" tree.  The bus wouldn't fit, although Joe was ready to try.  After a few pictures, he parked it and we had a picnic.  Then it was on to Kamp Klamath, a nice little RV park on the Klamath River where it meets the ocean.

Picture
Picture
Picture
While we were at the RV park we went on a killer bike ride.  We rode to the ocean and took our new faily picture (see above).  It was uphill from there, but we all made it.  Along the way there were lots of lookout stops where we saw whales and seals and lots of beautiful California coastline. Then there was the awesome 2 mile cruise down the hill!  Max and I took it at full speed.  Joe and Emily took it at...half speed.

Picture
Picture
Picture
It was Saturday night at the RV park and they were having a shindig.  Yes, a shindig.  The owner of the park was inviting everyone for all-you-can-eat salmon and/or chicken.  Of course we couldn't resist a shindig.  An old mountain man that works at the park was cutting the fresh caught salmon into filets on the deck all afternoon.  There were about 50 guests at the shindig and the salmon was amazing.  Max and Joe each had 2 or 3 pieces (I think).  The live music was very "authentic" including a washtub base.  Nothin' like getting to know the locals!
Picture
 
 
California is a big state.  We drove, and drove, and drove, and we were still in California.  But, it is spectacular!    And in an effort to get this travel blog a little more up to date, I will now present a photo montage (with commentary) of our journey through central and northern California.
Picture
The Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley.  Air Force 1, the Berlin Wall, miniature White House.  The Library is being remodeled, so some of the exhibits were not open, but overall a neat experience.  Max and Joe particularly enjoyed the motorcycle exhibit that was on display.

Picture
with a piece of the Berlin wall
Picture
feel the love...
Picture
Picture
Then we drove up the coast...not just any coast...Pacific Coast Highway!  What beautiful scenery!  Unfortunately, I was not feeling too hot for most of it - if you've ever driven this stretch of highway,  you know what I'm talkin' about!  Most of you would probably agree that Joe is a pretty good driver.  I obviously think he's the BEST, as I trust my life and the lives of my children to him on a daily basis.  BUT I will report that there are a few new dents and dings on the Bus as a result of the narrow road and sharp curves on the PCH.  :)

Picture
Nutmeg loved the beach
Picture
We finally got some sunshine! We stopped at Shell Beach in Pismo Beach, and then further up the coast we stopped in Calabria. Cute town! We were quite the spectacle, as usual, in our Big...Red...Bus.
Picture
Next we visited Watsonville where Tina's Aunt Sandy and cousin Bobby live.  Bobby grows apples and organic strawberries.  He took us on a tour of his fields, and we went to the strawberry fields where they were picking and packing them.  His strawberries are sold in Arizona Trader Joe's!  We picked some off the vine and ate them on the spot!  We also took a flat of them with us. 

Bobby asked me what kind of apples I like, and I said "Red Delicious".  He told me I was "old school"!  He said I need to eat Fujis. 

Picture
Picture
We spend the afternoon at the Santa Cruz Boardwalk.  It was a gorgeous sunny day and it wasn't too crowded.  The kids rode a few rides, and I tried to avoid all the delicious smelling food.  Joe indulged in garlic fries, in spite of our diet, and I think I could smell it (him) for 3 days! 

Along the way, we parked at a few Walmart's...free and nobody cares if we run the generator (it's loud).  See Emily's posts for more stories from Walmart!  There will be plenty, I'm sure.  Oh, and I'm not even sure when we were in Eureka...but we were there.

 
 
The Stones, Joe's Aunt Donna and Randy, are rolling with the punches these days.  People like Donna and Randy, who face battles that I cannot even begin to imagine, remind me that I am blessed beyond what I deserve. 
Picture
Favorite moment...when we pulled onto their street, they had orange cones in front of their house to save our spot for the bus!  So cute.  We had a great church service at Revival Church (oh, oh, oohh, Today is the Day) and then fun lunch at CPK.  It's good to see family.
 
 
Begin humming now....ok, so we're on our way down to Temecula after picking up the kids from camp, and we make our usual stop at Home Depot to gather supplies to fix something or other.  Emily and I are on the bus and there is a knock at the door.  Emily yells back to me, "Mom, it's some lady who knows us."  Interesting description.  Not sure what she is really saying, so I go to the door and it's Robin Petteys!  Robin and Leno are friends from church in Tucson, who have a place in Rancho Bernardo.  Apparently we were at "their" Home Depot!  So we followed Robin home and had a great visit.  We returned to their house later in the week for lunch and to dry some laundry. 

Chance?  Coincidence?  Is it really a small world?  No, God has ordered our steps!  And we are so thankful that God has blessed us with spiritual mothers and fathers who share their lives with us.
Picture
 
 
The sweet baby girl I birthed 14 years ago is not a baby anymore, and sweet?  Well, she has her moments!  We heard a sermon a few weeks back from a youth pastor who said that as parents we should be more concerned with our children's character and not so much their comfort.   Character over comfort.  I need to remember that in my own life!  Here are a few pics of our girl from the past few weeks.  She has been adjusting to life on the road like the rest of us, with her quick wit and new sunglasses.
Picture
with Grady
Picture
at Pismo Beach
Picture