Monday, October 1, 2007

The Continuing Story

I toyed with the idea of posting a few adventure pictures each day this week, but ultimately decided that I would overwhelm you with them all (well, not all, but all that I will be posting) today as I have other things to do and hopefully post this week. So, while practicing extreme procrastination and avoiding the 'to do' list, I will inundate you with pictures (and captions!).

The great thing about blogs is that, unlike the old slide shows of the family vacation to Yellowstone, you can feel free to completely ignore this horrendously long offering of photos or even skim through them in 2 or 3 seconds. Go ahead, you won't hurt my feelings!

Our last 'family vacation' was over a year and a half ago. We took a long weekend to the mountains in the snow with Luke- 1 1/2, and Levi- 3. After that, Russ changed jobs, had multiple business trips out of state, I was pregnant then gave birth to a very fussy baby, and we moved to our house in the country. We then spent a few months doing projects on our old house and selling it. This spring and summer has been one project after another at our new place. We were due for a vacation.

The only night we've spent away from home (as a family) was in January for my grandmother's funeral. All three boys were terribly sick. We were awake all night with a 2 year old and baby who could hardly breathe. Luke slept on the hotel bathroom floor with the hot shower running for steam. The day after we got home, Leif ended up in urgent care because his breaths were so fast and shallow.

In the few weeks before leaving on this current adventure, Luke had a sudden asthma attack (in the middle of the night) and a cold, a bee sting, the stomach flu, and a lovely outbreak of poison ivy rash. You should have seen the 'pharmacy' that I subsequently packed in the trailer.

The day before leaving, Levi came down with a bad cold, Leif was starting to get sick and not napping well, Russ spent two hours under the house unclogging the kitchen drain pipes after working all day, and I had my own set of issues.

Amazingly, we left home by noon on Saturday and headed over to the Oregon Coast where we visited our old haunts. Russ and I lived in Winchester Bay overlooking the ocean when we were first married. This view was within a very short walking distance from our little beach house:

The Umpqua Lighthouse is directly behind us.

Just a short walk down the road is Lake Marie. It is a positively gorgeous little lake, with a mile trail winding around its perimeter. You feel like you are in a quiet and secluded mountain area, but with the faint sound of ocean waves and a sandy shoreline. We made it all the way around the lake--perfect for getting out a bit of energy:

We made it down to Bandon that evening and finally found an RV park to stay at for the night. It was our first night in the camp trailer. Obviously we were really roughing it:

The next morning we visited the West Coast Game Park Safari.
We saw lions, tigers, and bears, oh my!
Many animals wandered around un-caged.
Luke and I were able to pet Sultan, a rare white tiger cub.

As we headed down the coast, we took a short detour for a lunch break. It was one of those unplanned, memorable moments. We watched para surfers while eating:

Crescent City, California was the next stop. I had a few things planned, but the boys were having so much fun on the beach during low tide. I had to throw the plans out the window and just enjoy the afternoon. The whole point was to be out and about, having fun! I love this picture. Russ and Leif both found interesting things to look at:

There was a lot of digging:
More digging:
Some nature watching:
And more digging:
We barely made it to a campground that evening. All three boys were sick by that point. I was wondering if we would make it all 8 days. The next morning we got a late start, visited my cousin and his family, then headed down through the Redwoods. It was the most peaceful, magical drive! We stopped and took a hike. I couldn't believe how quiet it was.
There were so many interesting little spots for the boys to discover:

After the Redwoods and a terrifying drive over the curviest, steepest road imaginable, we arrived again at the California coast. We stopped at the first 'campground.' There was hardly a soul to be seen. We walked down a long set of steps in the hillside and spent the evening on the beach.
We did a bit of climbing:
And more digging:
Some walking:
And just plain looking cute:
Then we watched the sun set. Breathtaking!

The next morning, Russ took the 3 boys on a long walk while I cleaned up the trailer and got ready for our day:

We drove south to Petaluma, just short of San Francisco. The weather had finally warmed up. I was ecstatic to find a huge, wonderful campground with a gorgeously blue swimming pool. All of us were feeling the grime of the road and the new heat of the day, so we jumped on in.

Russ got a work-out throwing the boys in the water:
Levi just learned to 'swim' this summer. I was glad he was able to get a little more water time.
And check out this bathing beauty!!

The next day we drove into San Francisco. The weather was amazing. Levi and Luke really enjoyed the Golden Gate Bridge:

We spent some time at Pier 39:

We really enjoyed the views of the city, and I was very thankful we had chosen that day for SF when we traveled back over the Golden Gate Bridge the next day on our way to Filoli Estate:
One day made a big difference!

The weather was delightful at Filoli, though:
I had a lovely time walking through the gardens:
And the estate:
(Levi enjoyed dancing in the ballroom.)
Less than a mile down the road is one of the most beautiful spots on earth:
(The Pulgas Water Temple)
I was thrilled to be staying at the same campground three nights in a row. It seems sacreligous (as a girl who grew up tent camping with no electricity or running water other than the ice-cold creek) to say this, but one of my favorite things about this campground was the huge play structure right by our trailer. Levi and Luke got a lot of mileage out of it, and I was thankful that they could entertain themselves for a few minutes without a great deal of parental effort.
Friday came, and it was time to head home. We had a loooooong drive ahead of us. Wine country is gorgeous, though:
Another one of those unexpected delights: a large rest area with lush green grass and large grove of olive trees for climbing. Russ decided that we need to plant a grove of olive trees...
Friday was a long day. We were desperate for entertainment:

We played a lot of peek-a-boo:
And, unfortunately, there was a lot of this:
And not nearly enough of this:
But the views of Shasta Mountain were spectacular, and we did indeed arrive home on Saturday afternoon. 8 days, 7 nights with 3 sick little boys (1, 3, and 5) in a Suburban and little camp trailer. By golly, I'm proud of us! Now, if only I could find my way out of the mountain of laundry....


Barb said...

That photo of your littlest on the beach is THE cutest!

Anonymous said...

Wow! What a chronicle! Beautiful photos and wonderful times!

heather said...

What a great adventure! Thanks for sharing it.