Six Months

Mid August marked the six month milestone for my year off.  I spent the first quarter of the year at home in Baton Rouge enjoying my city with a new level of freedom that was a good transition into this experimental year.  We spent the second quarter mostly traveling and planning all the logistics around trips.  So far in this third quarter we’ve made some of the last of our planned trips and we’re starting to build a routine.  The month was a time for a lot of reflection on where the first half of the year had taken me and my family and also on where we were going with the second half of this journey.

We have had an uncountable number of great experiences together and, as always, learned a lot.  Lots of new people to meet, new things to see and interesting stories to hear.  All from being in a new place and and from regional travel.  The high frequency travel portion of our year has, however, substantially ended after the South Beach camping trip.  And with the start of classes at Village Home, the focus is now shifting to learning and enjoying our time together in different ways.

We stayed good on our tight budget for the first half of the year, but in September we essentially went off budget.  It was somewhat of a vacation month.  I had read many other people’s stories on long-term career breaks and many suggest taking a vacation inside that time.  We did that with our trips in September and with our day to day undisciplined spending.  As odd as it might sound to take a vacation within the year off, it really is important to still take a step back from the new norm.  A vacation, however it comes, is a good way to change perspectives and see things differently again.

There were no routines yet this year outside Kelly’s Monday cooking job, and now we’re up to four days a week of part time class schedules.  Our commute together is a lot of fun now on the buses and trains to get to class.  Everyone is taking to the change with a lot of enthusiasm and joy.  It’s great to see.

The weather out here, being so different from Louisiana, is still fascinating.  We have already lost five hours of daylight since late June and we are only midway between the summer and winter solstice.  We’re in late September now and we have had hardly any rain all summer, only brilliantly clear blue skies.  So many days with no trace of clouds.  But now it’s turning grey, misty and cool and I expect that is what the next many months will mostly look like.  Everyone talks about the long, grey, rainy winters here that are only mildly cold.  I’m looking forward to seeing it first hand.  Still cautiously optimistic that it will be a comfortable winter here.

We covered a lot of ground in the first half and I’m sure this next half will be just as rewarding and transformative to us all.

Categories: Family Time, Learning, TRAVEL Oregon | Leave a comment

2014 Book List

This is a page created to help me remember which books I read or listened to this year in roughly the order I completed them in.  Each book helps mark a very specific time in the unfolding of this year.  I hope I didn’t forget any…

  1. The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion. by Jonathan Haidt
  2. Gulp!: The Seven Day Crash Course to Master Fear and Break Through Any Challenge.  by Gabriella Goddard
  3. How to Argue and Win Every Time:  At Home, At Work, In Court, Everywhere, Everyday.  by Gerry Spence
  4. Love and Power: The Psychology of Interpersonal Creativity.  by Paul Rosenfels
  5. Of Mice and Men.  by John Steinbeck
  6. I was Just Thinking – A Book of Essays selected by Elinor Parker
  7. Audio – Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.  by Robert M. Pirsig
  8. Audio – The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.  by Douglas Adams
  9. Capital: Volume 1: A Critique of Political Economy.  (50% complete) by Karl Marx
  10. The Communist Manifesto.  by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels
  11. Audio – Reminiscences of the Cuban Revolutionary War.  by Ernesto Che Guevara
  12. Audio – The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey.  by Ernesto Che Guevara
  13. The Catcher in The Rye.  by J. D. Salinger
  14. Meditations.  by Marcus Aurelius
  15. Audio – Never Give In: The Best of Winston Churchill’s Speeches.  by Winston S. Churchill
  16. Audio – Moby Dick.  by Herman Melville
  17. Audio – Great Expectations.  by Charles Dickens
  18. The General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money.  by John Maynard Keynes
  19. The Division of Labor in Society.  by Emile Durkheim
  20. An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of The Wealth of Nations.  by Adam Smith
Categories: Learning | 1 Comment

South Beach State Park, Oregon

We drove three hours from Portland down to Newport to the South Beach State Park for a two night camping trip.  Kelly coordinated this trip for us through the local unschool group that had this trip planned, possibly an annual trip with them.

The drive down to central Oregon is a very nice drive.  Lots of great scenery and it always feels good to be back out on the road for a long trip and driving into Newport was a very cool experience.  We went from driving through a mountain that was covered in pine and Douglas Fir, to very suddenly making a steep descent to the wide open coast in front of us.

All five of us together for two nights and three days was a lot of fun.  We never know how it’s going to turn out, but it’s always educational in so many ways.

The Northwest coast is cold.  So much colder than the South Beach we’re used to in Miami.  Temps here are  in the 50’s at night and in the 70’s during the day.  Pretty chilly at night, but we were in a yurt this time instead of a tent.  The yurt was basically a heavy duty tent with a wooden floor, a small table, and beds so we weren’t cold at night.

Everyone enjoys sitting by the campfire, so we bought some firewood at the campground and Tate and Luke used Luke’s flint and steel and his steel wool to start our fires at night.  Luke brought his big camping knife along too, so we shaved slivers of wood off the logs as kindling to help get the fire started.

Kelly rented a couple of bikes so she and I took a few rides around the campground.  It’s a big park with lots of paved hiking and biking trails through woods, up to the coast and then out to the town.  We stopped along a pier and watched everyone fishing and crabbing and we saw a couple of people cleaning their Dungeness crabs.

Rylee and I took a couple of rides around the park too and we stopped near the bay and watched the sea lions swimming around in packs.  When they’re swimming, they  look a lot like the dolphins we watched in the Gulf at Fourchon beach in Louisiana or Fort Morgan beach in Alabama.

On our drive home, we went through Salem, OR to see the state capitol.  Kelly always wants to see state capitol buildings and grounds.  I’m glad she like doing that.  We learn so much about our country and history at the capitol buldings with the interesting inscriptions, carvings, and displays.

We made it back home Sunday evening in time to get to bed early since everyone has to get up in the morning to start classes at Village Home.  Everyone is very excited about the start of the Village Home experience.

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Our Yurt

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Inside the Yurt

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Me and Tate enjoying the afternoon

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Breakfast

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Bridge to Newport

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Forest trails all over the park

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Seattle

We had a window this week to get in a short trip to Seattle, so we got on the Amtrak here in Portland and took the 3.5 hour ride up the coast.  It’s nice to have a train right here for a quick run to another big city for $34 per adult, each way.  And the best part is, I don’t have to drive.  We got to bring sandwiches and books on the train, so we ate together and everybody had a lot of quiet reading time and computer time since Tate brought his laptop.

The trains here are new, clean and comfortable and the train stations in Portland and Seattle were impressively fancy and big.  The trains were right on time and they run four or five times a day.  It’s very convenient.

I’ve taken lots of train trips, but my kids have never been on one, so this was an exciting first for them.  They are having lots of new experiences that are changing the way they see the world.  We haven’t been in a car at all in three weeks now.  Just walking, biking, buses, street cars and now the train.

We walked a lot on this trip too, so much that Tate had blisters and we had to get him some Space Needle socks to wear with his sandals.  But, we got to see a lot.  We walked through Pike Place Market where we saw them throw fish when people bought them and we saw the original Starbucks.  We walked to the West Lake Mall and took the monorail to the Space Needle.  Then on the way back out of town, we walked through Pioneer Square then through the massive crowds at the stadium where the Sea Hawks were kicking off at the same time as our train departure right next door at the King Street Amtrak Station.

All five of us made this trip, which is always a victory with so many conflicting priorities and interests now.  And even though it was a short trip, there are lots of logistics around activities, travel and food that we have to negotiate.  We always get closer when we all get to work together to have a good time.  It builds trust along with the memories.  The situations are not completely without conflict, but the minor, short lived conflict is always a good opportunity for everyone to practice diplomacy and patience.

With every passing day, I get lots and lots of reminders that spending this time together was a wise choice for us right now.  An education like no other.

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Portland Union Station

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Portland Union Station

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Portland Union Station

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Seattle King Street Station

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Rylee getting her drink at the first ever Starbucks

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CenturyLink Field

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View from the Space Needle. Mount Ranier in the left background. Perfect weather.

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Pike Place Market

Categories: Family Time, Getting Around, TRAVEL Washington | Leave a comment

California with Rylee and Luke

The redwoods have to be seen in person to be appreciated.  The pictures can’t describe walking through an old growth forest of 3000 year old trees.  It was a real gift getting to do this with two of my little kids.  Tate is already choosing to do his own thing mostly, so Kelly stayed home with him.  I’m lucky she’s such a supportive wife on a lot of this and was happy to stay behind and wish us well on our four day adventure.  I’ll have to get back down there with her one day too.

Aside from seeing the redwoods, the best times on this trip were seeing Rylee meet a couple of her internet friends in person and, while Rylee was off with friends, Luke and I getting to spend long stretches of time at parks together.  Luke and I got to read, lay in the grass, run around, and wrestle for hours and hours in the cool breeze and soft green California grass.  No hurry, nowhere else to be other than enjoying a blue sky day together.

On our drive back north, we stopped back by the Jedediah Smith Redwoods park for a couple of hours to climb on all the fallen giants and sit by the river in the sunshine.  Very relaxing and bonding.

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Here’s a short video:

 

 

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The cars

I saw this place recently and it reminded me of Dan, the apparent car expert, in Baton Rouge

I saw this place recently in Portland and it reminded me of Dan, the apparent car expert in Baton Rouge, who’s been identifying some of the cars in the pictures.  So I had to add this photo.

I took a few more car pictures on my walks and rides through town, and below are the last of those pictures I took.  Then I decided to stop taking pictures for a while, there are just so many cool cars out here.  now I’ve been just looking at them when I pass, stopping for a minute to enjoy, then continuing on down the road.

This is a great place for seeing vintage cars.  But, I’ve only seen one exotic new car, a Ferrari.  So in contrast, Miami was a great place for seeing lots of new luxury cars, but not many cool older cars.

 

Categories: Getting Around, TRAVEL Oregon | 3 Comments

Cannon Beach at Dawn

We left the apartment this morning at 4:00 am to make it to Cannon Beach for the 5:30 am low tide.  Low tide is the only time that it’s possible to walk all the way out to the Haystack rock, touch it, see all the wildlife in the tide pools, and get pretty close to one of the caves.

We found a spot to park on the street right above the rock near Gower Ave, but there were not many spots to spare even though it was dawn on a Thursday.  Maybe there is a better place to park, but we were near a couple of hotels and all their spots were full.

It was cold and windy out there with the temp in the mid 50’s.  We were barefoot and by the end of it, my feet and legs were a little numb, but we got to touch tons of starfish, sea anemone, and mussels.  The sand was very soft and fine and had a real smooth feel to it that was nice to walk in.  Luke enjoyed taking the leisurely walk and kicking the sand, Rylee loved seeing all the critters, and Kelly had fun taking some nice pictures.

Kelly made fresh banana nut muffins for the trip, so after a couple of hours on the beach, we had a nice breakfast snack  for our drive home and we were back in the apartment by 9:30 am.

We missed Tate on this short trip since he wanted to stay home.  Maybe he’ll catch the next outing with us, maybe he’ll continue with his interest in independent experiences.  I’m happy for him that he has so much focus on and fun at what he’s into right now.  It’s important that he is experiencing this depth of passion and interest.

This beach was well worth the short drive.

Pictures from Cannon Beach

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Categories: Family Time, TRAVEL Oregon | 2 Comments

Warp Speed

We’ve been on the go a lot over the last two weeks so it’s been a bit of blur, but I’ll try to capture some of what we did.

The first week, Kelly I took a bus out to see Cathedral Park one evening.  I thought it would be just a bridge viewing trip that would be short and fun, but the evening was a non-stop adventure from 7PM to 1AM.

After walking around below and on the bridge, we headed back home and our trek was a journey of random bus rides and a ~30 block walk past parts of town that I hadn’t seen before.  When we got home at 11, the kids still wanted to make good on the plan to get Tate a burger that evening, so we walked down Broadway to see if anyone was still open and we found that Broadway Grill was open until midnight.  All five of us out for a late night dinner was a real treat.  Lots of talking and laughing at dinner and on our slow walk back home.

Then this week, a friend of Rylee’s and her whole five member family spent three nights with us on the first leg of their annual three week road trip.  Ten of us stayed in the tiny apartment and it was very comfortable and fun.  I learned a lot from interacting every day with their family and I appreciate them spending this much time with us sharing their vacation experience.  They were a fun and adventurous bunch.  And when they had their fill of Portland on this trip, they were off to Washington, then to Montana and back to the open road again.

But while they were here, all of us walked clear across Northeast Portland one afternoon and biked to Mississippi Street on a different day.  We had one long day where we took a bus out to Forest Park for a five mile hike (counting the walk to and from bus stops) straight up the hill to the Pittock Mansion from the Lower Macleay trail head.  The hike was much more strenuous than I’d anticipated, but everyone made it with all smiles and we had great views throughout the day.  After the long hike, we hit the food trucks downtown then took the streetcar back to our side of town.  (Portland Hiker’s Description of this Forest Park trail)

Talking to our house guests about their family travels reignited my interest to get down to California again soon for some exploring of my own.  And, of course, Rylee now has a couple of friends down there who she eagerly wants to see so she’s pressing for a definite travel date now too.  So we are all planning and negotiating what our next California excursion will look like and when.

Kelly and I wrapped up the week with ride on the bike path on the east bank of the Willamette River from downtown, past OMSI to the end of the Springwater trail, away from the city through trees, wildflowers and a wildlife refuge.  I didn’t know that this scenic trail existed before today but it was one of the coolest rides we’ve been on.  Then Kelly, Tate, Rylee and I took an evening walk down Broadway to get homemade noodles from Frank’s Noodle House while Luke stayed home.  Later that evening Luke wanted to take a walk down 21st to the overpass to watch the trains go by, so Kelly, Luke and I went down there for a little while too on a cool, quiet evening.

Every time we try something new and different, we run across unexpected experiences that remind me how much fun it is to explore.

Heading into August now.  I don’t know what the weather will be like but we had a couple of surprisingly hot days here in July.  Hot meaning low 90’s with evenings in the 60s or 70s.  Not bad!

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Rylee’s Room Tour

I’ve been enjoying seeing some of the kids’ older videos on their abandoned YouTube channels.  Their videos are like little time capsules of where we were when they made them.  It’s fun seeing the world through their eyes.  Luke showed me some old ones today that he and Tate made a few years back and Rylee made this video last week.

 

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Car Collection

On all our slow trips through the Portland neighborhoods, I keep passing some really nice vintage cars so I started a car collection.  It’s a pretty low commitment collection that doesn’t cost me a dime, I don’t need a garage of my own to store these cars and I have no need or desire to own them.  I get to enjoy them every day for free while someone else restores, maintains and displays them.  Thank You! to all you local car lovers who put the cars out there for me and my family to enjoy.

I’ll keep adding to the picture gallery when I find new ones.

We had a new friend and car collector from Baton Rouge drive up for a few nights with his 70’s era Suburban.  He was one of the inspirations for me starting a collection of my own out here.

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All the way from Baton Rouge to Portland

Car Collection Pictures

 

 

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Forest Park

We made a quick run out to Forest Park on Tuesday.  Rylee and Kelly came along, Tate and Luke stayed home.  We used the extremely convenient public transportation system and rode the bus.  The #77 bus runs every 15-20 minutes at the bus stop two blocks from our apartment and, after a 20 minute meandering ride through really interesting parts of town, dropped us off about three blocks from the Lower Macleay Trailhead.  It’s listed as a short, easy hike, so it sounded perfect for a walk with Rylee and Kelly.  0.8 miles into the hike, the trail splits and at the split, we stopped to see the old stone house.  Rylee made some videos there, Kel took a bunch of pictures and I got to be an extra for Rylee.

This is a pretty nice place to take a walk.  It’s shady, cool and the ground is slightly wet with ferns and green moss covering a lot of the surroundings.  There were lots of really tall Douglas Firs and one just before the stone house that’s listed as a heritage tree.  It’s the tallest tree in the city limits and is off limits to saws forever.  It”s a pretty big tree with about a 5-6 foot diameter.

And it was all nearly free.  The bus ride was $2.50 ea for Kelly and I and $1.65 for Rylee.  No park entry fee.

 Forest Park Pictures

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Wide, quiet, cool forest trails

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Visiting the Stone House

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The shallow stream that parallels the trail

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Two weeks with my boys

I have just had a great and interesting two week stretch with my boys.

Tate, Luke and I have been home together without Kelly and Rylee, since the girls went back to Baton Rouge for two weeks.  This is the first time that we’ve ever spent this long of a stretch together exclusively.  I had a bunch of ideas for things to do together since it was just us, but I saw early on that the two boys are most content right now just being home and doing what they do here, without any interest to leave the house.  So, I made myself available for all their wants and needs, hung around the house a lot with them engaging their interests, and being grateful every time they invited me to take part in one of their games.

We had a four hour power outage one day and with the internet not working, they were interested in going out for food.  So, we had a nice walk down to our neighborhood sushi restaurant and we had a great time in there.  The power was out there too so it was fun being in the only restaurant that was still open and able to operate.  When we got home, the power was still out, so we played the magic card game to pass the time.

Luke came out a couple of times during the week to walk the dog with me too, otherwise, they stayed in.  But Luke and I got to play a lot of his xBox games together.  Elite Sniper, Call of Juarez.

Another one of the fun things we did was brainstorm together everyday on what we would eat.  That was a random fun activity for us.  We ate well, but we sure did miss Kelly’s good cooking (and we ate a lot of ice cream!)

I got to read a lot.  I went out to the park a couple of times, but mostly I read at home, trying to stay close to the boys.

The house was much quieter without the girls here too.

I enjoyed the two weeks with the boys.  Appreciating them, watching them, helping them, laughing with them.

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Rylee’s Travel Video

 

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A week in the neighborhood

We didn’t take any family road trips this week, but Kelly and Rylee flew back to Baton Rouge for 15 days so Rylee could spend time with the friends she misses from home.  But before they left, we spent a great week in our local area.

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I rode with Rylee and Kelly to the airport on their 8am train ride from our neighborhood to the airport. What a convenient way to travel!

We wake up every morning to cool air coming into the windows.  One or more of us takes the dog for a walk around the neighborhood.  It’s nice having no yard and having a dog that needs multiple walks every day to get us out and walking.  This neighborhood and the neighborhoods adjacent to this one are a great place to walk.  There are so many flowers out here and the air always smells sweet.  It’s also so nice to see all the front yard gardens around the neighborhood.  One condo building even claims that ALL the landscaping is edible.  Aside from the landscaping, there is also lots of free stuff around the neighborhoods.  Instead of donating or throwing things away, people frequently put their surplus stuff out on the curb with a “Free” sign on it.  It’s a nice way to share with neighbors.  I’ve seen dishes, furniture, cloths and toys.  It sits out for a couple of days and then they drop it in a dumpster.

Kelly and I took advantage of a clear day this week and headed downtown on the streetcar to go ride the Tram up to OHSU.  The streetcar goes all through downtown, then over to the waterfront Tram terminal.  At the top of the Tram ride, we got to stand on a big observation deck overlooking the city.  It was a clear day, a little hazy but we could see Mt. St. Helens on our left, Mt. Adams in front of us and Mt. Hood to our right.  That is the only place I’ve found so far to see all three mountains from one place.

Having been home a little more this week, Luke invited me to play a lot of xBox co-op games with him.  This week we revisited some old games that we used to play; Battle Block Theater and Dungeon Defenders.  I love playing with Luke.  He laughs so much and is a very helpful partner in the games.

With my enjoyment of being outside, I’ve gotten to walk to Holladay Park or bike to Grant Park several times this week to lay in the grass and read.  Both parks are awesome.  They have huge trees, soft green grass and lots of people around.  Holladay park is next to the Max line so there is a lot of variety in the types of people there; groups of teenagers, some homeless looking people, people headed to and from the mall and the religious folks handing out pamphlets.  Grant park is in an upscale suburb so there are lots of families out there.  Both excellent places to spend an afternoon reflecting.

And although we lost the cherries on the tree down the street, we ran across a huge blueberry bush in a neighbors front yard that was covered in berries.  We tasted a couple and they were out of this world good.  The bush is quite a few blocks away so it’s not a daily visit, but worth going out of our way a little bit for the experience.

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Rylee’s Summer Fun Vlog

Rylee made this vlog at Crater Lake.  It’s funny that the cover photo she used is from our January (Winter) beach time in Miami.  It’s been a year of flipping the seasons for us.

 

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Crater Lake

Well, this was another one of those once in a life-time kind of road trips.  I didn’t realize that a successful trip to Crater Lake is a big challenge and a major victory at every milestone.

I called to book a room at the 99 year old Crater Lake Lodge for Monday night, with the weather projected to be sunny on Tuesday morning.  Disappointingly,  there were no vacancies and the hotel was booked solid into September  – because of the short season and popularity of the hotel.  I called back three more times and luckily scored a cancellation room with two queen beds overlooking the lake!  The room was for Tuesday night instead of Monday.  The forecast was for clouds and rain all evening Tuesday, turning partly cloudy on Wednesday.  With this being the only night available at the lodge, we gave it a shot and we were off the next morning.

The drive up there was spectacular.  There were hills and mountains on either side of the interstate and dense pine forests while we crossed the Cascades.  We saw Diamond Peak, with the top of the peak  buried in clouds.

CRATER LAKE PICTURES

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A cool long, straight road leading into another thick pine covered part of the mountains.

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A short tunnel through the mountain.

The rim of Crater Lake was completely inside the clouds and we couldn’t see very far at all.  At the first look out point, it was a steep, almost vertical drop of hundreds of feet down to the lake and we could barely see ripples on the water.  We took in the view knowing that this could be as good as it gets.

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First lake view – Standing on the edge with a view straight down through the clouds. It almost looks like nothing, but we could just make out small ripples on the surface of the water. The temperature had dropped 20 degrees from when we left Portland.

Rim Drive was a small two lane road with extreme vertical drop-offs on both sides on the actual rim of the crater.  Rylee was my front seat passenger and with the near zero visibility and the drop-offs that disappeared into nothingness , Rylee was not enjoying the ride.  Mostly she covered her eyes and only looked up occasionally to see that the view was not changing.  We stopped at two more lookout points but the visibility was even worse and we couldn’t see past the railing.  Looking over the edge was like looking straight up into the sky on a cloudy day, nothing but grey.

The historic lodge was so cool to see in person.  It was huge in the landscape.  A rustic, mountain lodge appearance with plenty of snow still on the ground.  Kelly, Rylee and I played outside a little while Tate and Luke settled into the room.

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Made it to the lodge. Victorious!

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In front of the lodge getting ready to film some for Rylee’s summer fun vlog.

After a little fun in the snow, we went back inside the lodge.  We all sat in the big hall downstairs next to their huge fireplace and we had drinks, snacks and played a matching game that I brought along.  We stayed down there for a few hours then headed up to the room where Tate and Luke beat the crap out of me in a Japanese fighting game that Luke has on the laptop.  After that, Tate and Luke just sparred with each other.

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Rylee coming back from the vending machine to sit at the table with us.

 

I set my alarm for 5am for the unlikely event that the clouds would clear enough for me to see the sunrise from the window of our “Lakeview” room.  And of course, just whiteout.  So I went back to sleep hoping for some weather clearing before the family ran out of patience.  The forecast called for cloudy until 1PM turning partly cloudy after that.  So, there was still a chance.  Checkout time was at 11 but we planned to hang around until at least 1PM.

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The view from our window overlooking the lake. Wizard island would be visible in the center of this picture if we were not immersed in a cloud. You have to use your imagination here.

We brought our bags to the car then we all walked behind the hotel to the paved trail and, there it was, we could see the lake!  Barely, but we had a view!  The trip was already a cool trip before this since we made it to the lodge and actually got a room there, but now we got a glimpse and it felt really special.  Especially since I had already met a man in the elevator who said he saw the lake 12 years ago and was hoping to see it again but was giving up and leaving.

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The weather temporarily cleared for us all to see the lake early in the day!

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Haning out on the rear balcony of the lodge

So we took a short walk down the path then got in the car to attempt a drive up to the Phantom Ship Overlook.  We only made it to the parking lot at Sun Notch since the road beyond that was closed due to rock falls.  The map said it was a 0.5mi round trip moderate hike to the rim from the parking lot.  The sky was still completely grey and the kids were ready to head back. I put the car in reverse to start heading home, but Kelly stopped me. We decided since we were this close, give it a shot.  So I got out and asked if anyone wanted to try the short hike with me and, Kelly did.  It was a breathtaking hike through the forest, past snowy cliffs and then all of a sudden, up there at the rim, the clouds were hanging just above us in the sky and we had a totally clear view of the lake!  It felt like time stood still out there.  I had seen plenty of pictures, but actually standing there looking at that crystal clear lake with the royal blue water up there on the top of the caldera was an unbelievable experience.

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A perfect view of Crater Lake and the so-called Phantom Ship from Sun Notch. We almost did not take the walk up here since the view of the sky from the parking lot was still completely grey.

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The color contrasts were amazing out there. Extremely bule water, bright green trees, grey rocks and then patches of bright white snow.

It was hard to walk away from that place.  The scenery was out of this world, the air was cool and smelled like pine trees and there was not a big crowd.  Amazing.

On our way down, we met a couple making their way up.  The man was bent over, sucking on his inhaler and asked me if it was worth it for him to try to make it the rest of the way even with his extreme emphysema.  He told me a friend of his made the trek to Crater Lake twice and has not seen the lake and vowed to never try again.  I told him that the view up there was spectacular and you could see the entire panorama.  The weather was temporarily favorable and it was absolutely worth the walk up.  And if you collapse up there, you will die happy.  He looked excited and said it renewed his energy.  Off they went.

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We got to drive along the rim from the North Entrance all the way over to Sun Notch. The rest of the road was closed.  The northern part of Rim Drive from the North Junction to Cleetwood Cove must have been open too since we saw people in the tour boat which docks at Cleetwood Cove.

On our way home we drove along the West Rim Drive again to leave via the North Entrance.  We stopped at the overlooks again and, although the lake was still visible, the rest of the views were shrouded in mist.

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Leaving. One of the last views. Kelly took this cool picture on out way out along West Rim Drive.

We had already resolved to making another run at seeing Crater Lake if the sky had not opened up for us while we were there.  But now that we saw it, I still believe that it is certainly worth another trip out at some point in the future.  It will not be the same, with the level of anticipation of the place, the company of the family and our present places in life.  But well worth the risk and effort to see in person.  I’m so happy to have visited this place with my family.

CRATER LAKE PICTURES

 

 

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The Cherry Tree

Rylee and I took a walk to the grocery store last night at 9:30.  The same walk we take several times a week that brings us by the cherry tree next to the sidewalk.  We really enjoyed picking a couple of cherries every time we passed.  They were sweet, ripe, cool and fresh.  But this week someone picked all the cherries.  None left, so the cherry tree treat is gone now.

Another thing that changed abruptly this week was our Age of Empires battles.  I was enjoying playing against the Tate & Luke team, trying my best to beat them.  I finally beat them once and now they wont play with me.  Just like that, we’ve moved on from the Age of Empires battles.

These are good reminders for me to enjoy every passing moment as it is and as a stand alone great experience.

So I enjoyed sharing a bedroom with the boys last night.  I went to bed at around 11PM and Luke decided to go too.  He laid in the bed next to me and told me about an animated series he’s enjoying right now and then he just laid there for a while staring at the ceiling, thinking about some of the goings on in the show.  The night before he laid in bed reading a library book about the Aztecs while I listened to an audio book.

Then last night at 3am, Tate came to bed.  He’s not a stealth ninja when he comes in.  His entrance is more like a tidal wave that sweeps you up with its energy.  So I woke up with all the commotion.  I got to ask him about his role play world and he told me quite a lot.  It’s a pretty cool world, one that I’ve never experienced so it was fun hearing about it in his happy, energetic, descriptive delivery.  And then he was quiet again.

But I was still awake, so I watched the sun come up at 4:30am.  Boy the nights are short here.  It feels like I just watched the last of the sunlight disappear on our walk home from the grocery store a little after 10pm.  The days will get shorter from here on out since this weekend was the solstice.  It was cool seeing the extremes of this short night this far north.

Enjoying random moments with the family while I’m free from routine is a great experience.

 

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Rylee’s Fishing Vlog

 

Here’s Rylee’s vlog.

 

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Fishing at the Trout Farm

A Great Tuesday.

Kelly and I left the house at around noon to get some groceries for breakfast and to walk the dog.  After our late breakfast, we headed out to the Rainbow Trout Farm in Sandy, OR right near the base of Mount Hood.  It was grey and misting all day long, not quite raining and the temperature hovered between 55 and 60 degrees most of the afternoon.

This type of fishing could make anyone love fishing.  Stocked ponds full of trout, all the equipment we needed and fish cleaning.  Tate, Rylee and Luke got to catch all the fish they care to catch.  The place was unbelievably cool looking.  It was in a valley with a waterfall and huge trees all around and about ten ponds.  The ponds were all connected with little trails that weaved through the trees and you were free to go from pond to pond to find the fish you were interested in.  We spent a couple of hours out there filling the bucket with fish, then we headed back home.  A fun filled, short day.

Click here for pictures from today

 

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Getting ready for the freezer

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Beautiful place

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Exploring the farm

 

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Second big trout

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Last fish

 

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Bike Locks

I have U Locks on our remaining bikes now.  U Locks are better than cables and it looks like they are about equal to good quality hardened steel chains with big locks.  I still think the best deterrent is to just have a crappy looking bike and lock it up better than the rest of the bikes on the rack.  This is a work in progress for us still while we are in an apartment with outdoor, secluded bike storage.

On our walk home today I saw this mangled U Lock that reminded me that anything can be broken if you want it badly enough.

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Mangled U Lock

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Washington Park, Rose Test Garden and Japanese Garden

We woke up this morning and had a great breakfast.  It was the food that Kelly brought home from her job last night.  Some strawberry/rhubarb scones, quinoa salad and some sort of a Moroccan dish.  I probably have the details on the names wrong, but the food was great.

Kelly plotted out a bus route and we headed out around 1PM.  That sort of feels like a late start, but again, it gets dark so late so there is plenty of time.  The bus dropped us off 0.8 miles from the garden and we walked through the outskirts of downtown for the last leg, all uphill.  Crazy landscape here.

This park, like the others we’ve been to was unbelievable.  Very green, huge trees, perfect landscaping and then we happened to walk through the rose test garden, totally unplanned.  It was crazy to see that many roses in one place.  We smelled a lot of them.  There is a lot of variety in how they all smell.  Awesome experience.

Then we walked a little further uphill to the Japanese garden.  That was a great place to take a Tuesday afternoon walk.  I like the amount of nature I see every day now.

Kelly took a few pictures today.  I was in more of a just looking mood today and had very little interest in taking pictures myself.  I’m glad she took pictures though because they are always nice to see later on.

Washington Park Pictures

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My office view today

 

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Rylee’s Birthday – Sunday

A great birthday Sunday with all day fun.

Rylee had a grocery list for us on Saturday so we could have her birthday breakfast when we woke up on Sunday.  Fruit, yogurt and nuts.  By the time we all woke up on Sunday, Rylee had cut all the fruit, mixed it in a bowl, set out all the plates and silverware, then got us all together for a breakfast with her.  It was a lot of fun.

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Rylee’s birthday breakfast

Later that afternoon, Rylee wanted to go to Cha Cha Cha, a Mexican restaurant a few blocks away on Broadway with an early happy hour that she likes.  So, we all took a walk down there in the unbelievably great weather and talked about some of our early life memories that included Rylee.  It was a blast.  On the way home, we stopped at 7/11 for some ice cream and sat on the apartment steps and enjoyed it together.

Right at dusk, Rylee and I took a long walk around the neighborhood.  We stopped and smelled every flower that we came across and there are so many.  I’ve never smelled that many flowers on a walk before.  It was mind blowing.  So many different smells.  One tree with flowers smelled like tacos.

And also fit in a little solitude today.  Tiny-apartment-style solitude.

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Some solitude. Reading on the couch while everyone did their personal stuff.

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Mt Hood

We made it to Mt Hood and Multnomah Falls today.

The whole family came along and had a great time, the sky was clear, the weather was mild, we ate well and I talked to my parents and to a long time friend on the phone.

A perfect Wednesday.

Oh, and Kelly got car sick.  She’s not used to being in cars anymore.

Pictures

First stop, Multnomah Falls.  30 minutes from home.

First stop, Multnomah Falls. 30 minutes from home.

Cold spray from the viewing platform

Cold spray from the viewing platform

Rylee and Luke

Rylee and Luke in front of the Timberline Hotel, which is the outdoor scene of the Overlook Hotel from the movie The Shining

Fun in the snow all together

Fun in the snow all together

So close to the top of Mt Hood.

So close to the top of Mt Hood.

Snow in June

Snow in June

 

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Typical day – Good question

After that question yesterday, I spent a good part of the day enjoying myself by watching and observing, more so than I would on a typical day.

These days I’m staying up until 2 or 3 am most nights and sleeping until 10 or 11.  No schedule, no alarms and it looks like I’m hitting around 8 hours of sleep.  Tate and Luke are about the same, give or take a little bit.  I’m not sure about Kelly and Rylee, they are on a different pattern.

We start the morning with coffee.  If we’re out of fresh beans, I roast some.  Then we cook breakfast and plan our next steps.  Since we buy 1 to 2 days of groceries when we go, we usually include some kind of a food run into the day.  While we’re out we go to a park, library, bike shop or some other random place.  It’s not unlike what we were doing in Baton Rouge with our days.  Just here the people and places are all new.  At home, we cook, talk, play games, make videos and are still surprised every evening when the sun goes down that it’s already 9:30.  The sunlight thing keeps throwing me off by making it feel much earlier than it really is.

Rylee has been enjoying caeser salad lately, so she and I made the dressing yesterday afternoon from an internet recipe then she and I, and Kelly and Mia walked to the store for some lettuce.  We stopped and ate some cherries off a tree that was growing by the sidewalk down the road and then tasted some honeysuckle from a bush too.  Fun walk.

I’ve been planning a mountain outing for the last week or so.  We have three close choices, all of then I have to see at some point.  Mt.Hood – a normal looking volcano, Mt. St Helens – with a blown out side and then Crater Lake which is on the remnants of Mt Mazama – blown out center with a lake on top.  We’re going to start with Mt Hood today since the weather should be clear and it’s about a 1.5 hour drive from our base camp (apartment).

I try to stay conscious of my words and behavior with my family so I can have positive influence with them without using coercion or force.  They see my actions more than they hear what I say, so I am positive and calm and appreciate all the good in every day, even when my bike gets stolen.  We’re down two bikes now, but I’m learning how to secure them a little better.

I’m reading and writing a lot.  I get it in where I can which is usually between 10 pm and midnight.  After that, a couple of games with Tate and Luke.  We’ve been battling it out on Age of Empires lately.  Me against the two of them.  I still can’t beat them but I’ll keep trying!

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End of May

It’s been a great month of May and, once again, we have gotten in a lot of living this month.  It’s hard to believe that we’ve packed this much into just this month.  All the change is fun.  The contrasts are everywhere with all the new situations we’re experiencing.

I like the beer here.  Not a lot of beer in a day, but some every day or every other day.  I knew this town had a lot of micro breweries, but there is also a lot of local Portland and outlying Oregon cities’ beer in the stores.  The shelves are packed with pints of local full flavored beer.  I haven’t bought the same one twice yet and they are all very good.  I’m attempting to keep track of what I am drinking as I go so I can hone it down to a top five for myself.  It’ll be tougher than I thought because there are so many.  A good problem to have.  I don’t think I’ll ever get to try them all.

Aside from the beer, a lot of the stuff in the stores here is made locally.  I didn’t see it on this scale at home.  The produce, the mattresses, potato chips, and all sorts of other things are made here and packaged to show where it was made.  That, and the shops are mostly small businesses and not a lot of big stores.  It seems like there’s a priority to local production and consumption here.

The outdoors is completely different, almost like another planet.  Here we are approaching June and its in the low 50’s at night, just cracking into the 70’s when the sun is out in the afternoon, and yesterday Rylee and I left ice skating, biked home in the rain and we were getting pelted with sleet.  Baton Rouge was already getting pretty hot when we left, swinging between the upper 60’s at night into the 80’s in the afternoon.  The rain here is weird.  It doesn’t really rain that much but on the grey days it’s more like a prolonged heavy mist.  Not a real rain.  The trees are also so different here.  Tall sequoias and firs, some big birches and another common tree that looks like some sort of a maple.  No oak trees or crepe myrtles and no St.Augustine and Centipede grass.

The people are all different.  The biggest change is that we don’t see any of our regular well known people from home at all, of course.  Instead, we’re meeting an entire crop of new people.  This weekend was a little bit of a new people overload for me, in a super fun way, but intense.  The Unschool group up here who we met over the weekend was an interesting mix of people and it was a huge group.  That circle of people was one of the primary draws for us to come here and it was great to actually meet these folks and see them interacting with their families.  A lot of very positive, supportive and trusting parenting.  Meeting this many new people at once is fun and I’m looking forward to getting to know them even more.  Click here for pictures from the Life Is Good Conference.

Living in 1000 sq ft with four other people is still great.  It was hard to know what to expect when we were coming from 2600 sq ft and four bedrooms down to 1000/2bed, but it has been all positive so far.  The small space gets us in the same room for most of every day.  A great way to really get to know each other.  We see each others interests, hobbies, hear each other and have to be respectful of each other and the shared space.  Sharing one bathroom is fine too.  We have not yet had a bathroom emergency or scheduling conflict.  It just works itself out.  And after spending four days together in a hotel room again this past weekend, the apartment feels huge.  I don’t miss the big house right now.

It’s a pretty wild experience spending this much time with my family, available for all the little things.  It’s a pretty busy life most days and now I see why so many retirees I’ve talked to say that they don’t know how they ever had time for a job.  I love getting to know Kelly, Tate, Rylee and Luke in ways that I didn’t know existed.  I remind myself every day to savor the moment.

In our driving safety talks at work we always talked about the pitfalls of being in automatic mode and not being alert and aware on the road.  Well, all this change is a good way to get out of automatic mode in life overall for a while.

Rolling into June now.

 

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Unschool Family Conference

 

Kelly’s vlog

 

 

Rylee’s vlog

 

 

 

Categories: Family Time, Learning, TRAVEL Washington | 2 Comments

Sunday Fun

It rained all day on Sunday, and it was great.  Kelly was out all day preparing food at her barter job and the kids and I stayed in all day.  Rylee taught me how to edit movies, Luke and I made a new gasket for the steam engine and Tate and I tried to get through some old Call of Duty missions that we still can’t beat.  I also got to read a good bit again.  It’s been a few weeks now since I’ve spent any noticeable time reading.

Today, Rylee and Luke are sick.  They are going on day two of a little respiratory ailment.  Kelly, Tate and I still feel fine.

Here’s the video compilation Rylee helped me with.  Thanks, Rylee!

 

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First full week in PDX

Today is Friday, the end of our first full Friday to Friday week here.  We arrived last Wednesday and spent the next two days lugging our remaining housewares up to the apartment.  After that final push into the apartment, we’ve been pretty settled.  Kelly is always so good at making our new places feel like home right away.  And we’ve had our share of new places over the years.  She immediately personalizes with her decorations and, by the first morning she’s already cooking an awesome meal.

I’ve gotten more exercise in the last week than I have gotten in a long time.  From taking the long walk up the stairs several times a day to a bunch of long bike rides around town, I’m getting in a lot of leg work.  I ice skated for the first time in my life last week too, and now I get out there for a couple of hours with Rylee when she goes.

My birthday yesterday was great.  We all biked to one of the neighborhood parks here.  We’ve always enjoyed doing that together.  We all played on the see saws for most of our time there and some of us spent some time playing with the frisbee.  Lots of laughs and good times.  Later in the evening, Kelly and I rode the Wilamet Greenway bike trail from one end to the other.  Great views of a great city.  The trail is for bikers and pedestrians only, so it felt very safe and there were tons of people out on the trail and at all the parks, open areas and sports fields along the way.

The bike ride to the park was a victory since we are down one bike.  When we went out to get on our bikes we realized that Luke’s bike got stolen overnight.  I was a little lax in locking it up.  I just ran the lock through the front wheel instead of looping it through the frame.  So, they disconnected the front wheel, left it behind and made off with his bike.  He was disappointed but ok with it.

The weather this week has been weird again.  It was sunny and hot for a couple of days and today it’s grey and cool again.  Jacket weather again.

Since we wrapped up our road trip, settled into this apartment and everyone seems happy here, I’ve been thinking a lot about work and getting a job this week.  I have to keep reminding myself that I am taking a year off.  The whole year.  It’s surprising how tempting it is to go run out and look for a job as a way to provide daily certainty and purpose instead of figuring out how to fill that void with something other than the job right now.  It is taking some self discipline to shift my thinking away from job right now.  I am enjoying the process, however, of seeing things in a whole new way.  Portland is an inspiring town with some remnant pioneering spirit.

Victory on the apartment too.  We are still here.  I wasn’t sure we’d make it through the first week with our unusual rental situation.  But, here we are and we’re still enjoying getting to know this neighborhood.

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All that remains of Luke’s nice Trek bike. We bought the bike last summer around the time we got to Capitol Heights. We enjoyed lots of rides together using that bike.

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Great time at Grant Park

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Great time at Grant Park

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We’ve seen a couple of these poetry posts around town. I always stop to read them. Good thoughts someone cares to share.

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Ice skating at the Lloyd Center Mall

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Typical scene at intersections. Lots of bikes.

 

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Joe’s 40th bday sunset ride

Yesterday was my wonderful hubby’s bday – his 40th!!!! For his birthday, I gave him a spectacular view of the sunset along a bike path skirting the banks of the Willamette River. Joe’s bday last year was the weekend we put our house on the market to get ready for this crazy adventure heading West. What a difference a year makes!
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Mount Tabor Ride

I think my hubby is trying to kill me!! He got a wild hair to ride to Mt. Tabor Park (one of only 2 volcanoes within city limits in the country, and a park since 1909) to get a good view of Mt. Hood. After I got a big pot of red beans cooking (bringing the South into the North, baby!!) we headed out. The ride was only 4 miles, but it was ALL UPHILL!!! I wound up walking my bike as much as riding it. The views were *almost* worth it, though.  The ride back was mostly downhill (phew), and we found a nice “bike route” on the way back. A wonderful outing – even with the sore quads!!

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Mount Hood

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Mount Tabor Park

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On Mount Tabor – Biked Here!

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Mt Tabor

Kelly and I rode to Mount Tabor on our bikes.  It was about four miles and mostly at a slight incline with a few big hills.  Fun ride but difficult.  We’ll be conditioning more every day and eventually it should be a quick easy ride.

The views up there are unbelievable.  The huge trees are shockingly big and have very dense cover.  Hardly any light filters through to the ground.  The views of Mt. Hood are unreal too.  It’s so huge in the landscape.

As great as the views are, I can say that our views around Baton Rouge were just as spectacular, just very different.  I’m glad we took the time to really explore Baton Rouge on our bikes and enjoy the scenery before we left.  I would not have been able to fully appreciate the natural scenery here had I not first taken it all in at home and appreciated that first.

 

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Front view off Mt Tabor

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View behind us on Mt Tabor

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Biking Adventures in Portland, take one

Joe and I took our first long bike ride in Portland today. It. Was. Amazing!! We wound up riding past The Moda Center during a Portland/San Antonio playoff NBA basketball game! It was crazy, all the people everywhere, and all of the bikes. I have never seen that many bikes out riding before, unless it was a race. I actually waited at many stop lights surrounded by bicycles, bicycle traffic, I love it!!

We walked our bikes over the Steel bridge into downtown. The view was incredible. We went inside the Portland Union Station – a breathtaking, historic train station still being used. We came back across the river via the Broadway Bridge, and I’m proud to say I bicylced it all the way over without stopping! Whew! Then we managed to find Mississippi Street for a nice cruise down a very hip area. We saw a restaurant for just mac and cheese! Yum.

No one told me about all the hills in this town!! I channeled my inner Elly Blue and convinced myself I love bicycling the hills for the strength they are building in me (and I walked up a couple of hills, too!). We managed to find our way back to NE 21st through some incredible neighborhoods (Irvington!! Sullivan’s Gulch!!).

The bike lane on NE Multnomah was my favorite one we went on, it was separated from the car traffic by a buffer area and felt safe. All of the very impressive commuter cyclists in this town (you take hills like nothing!) were patient with this slow, slightly lost cyclist – and I appreciated it! All in all, it was an epic adventure and I can’t wait to explore this city more.

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Saturday Market

We took the light rail train to two Saturday Markets today.  One was a huge arts market with bands and food and the other was the huge farmers market at Portland State University.  We walked a couple of blocks to the rail line that goes in all four directions from here.  Pretty convenient.  There’s an easy to read map, a pass dispenser and a monitor letting you know when the next train arrives.

The weather today is just like the last two days.  Cold, grey and misting light drizzle then occasionally blinding sunshine and temperature spikes.  Lots of variety within each day so far.

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Light Rail ride to the markets

 

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Portland

Day 1

The last leg of this road trip.  A bittersweet time.  We’re all ready to see what Portland is like but we’re enjoying the road trip and hate for it to come to an end.  Rylee even said today that this is the closest our family has ever been.  That makes all the pains, risk and second guessing so worth it.

The scenery on the Boise to Oregon ride was about the same as the Salt Lake City to Boise stretch.  It only started to change when we got about four hours out from Portland.  We started to see lots of pine trees on the mountains and then, pretty suddenly, we were right in the middle of a heavily forested mountain.  It was pretty amazing.  Then we hit the Columbia River Gorge for most of the rest of the ride.  That was unbelievably cool looking too.  We were down inside the gorge right next to the river, flanked on both sides by steep, rocky cliffs and a couple of small hydroelectric dams.  Then we hit forested mountains again and this time with waterfalls.

We got to Portland with eager anticipation of what this apartment would actually be like.  Kelly got this place on Craigslist and had one of her new Portland Facebook friends go look at it, pay a deposit and pick up keys.  Crazy how she pulled this off.  The place was great.  It was just like the pictures showed inside and out.  We were all relived that it worked out to this point.

We had to circle the block a few times with our van/trailer combo, that now seemed even more ridiculously huge, to find street parking.  This apartment, like most others in this area, has no parking.  All parking is on the street which makes the streets very hard to drive down.  They are two way streets the same size as Baton Rouge streets, but with cars parked on both sides so you can barely just drive one car down the center.  It’s pretty awesome because it gets everyone out on their bikes or on foot.

I expected to see pedestrians and bikers, but it exceeded my expectations.  People are out on the streets everywhere.  In every neighborhood and on every street.  We don’t go five minutes without seeing people out on the sidewalks.

Day 2 & 3

Unloading the trailer was another good family bonding experience.  We are three floors up so I knew right away that Kelly and I could not, should not, do it on our own.  Kelly rallied me and the kids and came up with a manageable plan that had us all working together to get it done.  We did it in two waves with a long overnight break in between and every time Kelly and I ventured out for a walk, we’d stop and grab a box on our way up too.  Thank goodness for her plan because my typical MO is to bear down and get it all done in one big push.  I guess there is a time and a place for each style.  That loaded trailer was for some reason a major monkey on my back.  Getting it unloaded and returned to Uhaul felt sooooo good.  It’s much easier to park now and we can put things in their place.  I like order and completion.

Tate and Luke have each ventured out once for a walk.  Luke even ice skated with Rylee today.  Rylee has gone out a bunch already.  To the grocery store, to a restaurant, to the mall and ice skating several times.  She keeps telling me how much she loves it here.  Nice!

I love it so far too.  The air feels good.  It’s cool and smells great.  All the flowers are in bloom right now.  Our first day was clear and sunny, the next two days, grey and misty all day long.  The cool mist feels really good.  So different from what I am used to.  The neighborhoods are densely populated with houses and apartments all in the same neighborhood right next to each other.  Then there are all the commercial establishments right down the road.  Lots of local shops along with a few larger stores and a mall.  All within a ten minute walk in any direction.  This place is crazy.  The neighborhoods look great too.  All the landscaping is immaculate.

Our fingers are crossed that we stay in this apartment for more than a few days.  We still have to legitimize the lease arrangement since this Craigslist Sublease is a bit questionable at this point.  If it was meant to be it will be, otherwise we’re off to our next adventure.

Road Trip Pictures

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Columbia River Gorge – Road leading to Portland

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First time wheels on the ground in Portland. The car and trailer are parked a block away from the apartment here. The first spot we found that was long enough.

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Double parked, unloading wave 1.

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Setting up the kitchen

Categories: Travel Idaho, TRAVEL Oregon | 2 Comments

Our First Portland Apartment

A few pics of our adorable new apartment!! We’ve downsized to 2 bedrooms, 1 bath and 1000 sq feet, and I couldn’t be happier. We are in a walk-up, 3rd floor 1920’s building – no a/c and no dishwasher (2 things I’ve never lived without) and it’s just perfect! Adorning the windows in the living room and kitchen are the awesome Tibetan Prayer Flags, each panel handmade for us by my Mt. Everest family – they are special to my heart, and I’m so lucky to get to look at them every day.

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The front entrance, which leads to a small vestibule.

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The view down the hall to the bedrooms and bathroom. I love the cool doorknobs, and an old fashion telephone by the door that works great for a leash/key holder!

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Our little espresso/breakfast nook in the kitchen. There are 3 big, bright windows in the kitchen, a nice change from our last dark kitchen.

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Tate’s computer area, where he does crazy, magical things in the great big virtual world!

 

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A view from the doorway into the living room.

Categories: The Homestead | Leave a comment

Boise

We had another spectacular drive today.  We left the huge mountains of Salt Lake City to drive through the green hills and farmland of Idaho.  We took a short detour to see the Snake River Gorge and Shoshone Falls in Twin Falls Idaho.  The deep rock cliffs were cool to see in person and the kids loved it.  It’s always a good sign when they ask for the camera.  Then we continued on to Boise to our downtown motel.  The stars were all aligned this time to let us get the bikes out to explore.  Boise is awesome on a bike.  We rode on the bikepath along the river called a greenbelt or greenway.  Very nice.  Wide, bikes and pedestrians only and gets you from one end of the city to the other.

Then we’re off to Portland!

Road Trip Pictures

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Salt Lake Mountains

 

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Shoshone Falls

 

 

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Boise Greenway

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Boise Greenway

 

Categories: Travel Idaho, Travel Utah | Leave a comment

Salt Lake City

Road Trip Pictures

Today was a day of mostly driving, crossing the continental divide and crossing the Rockies at a relatively tame place in Wyoming.  We got on the road at 9 am and after many refueling and resnacking stops, made it to Salt Lake City by 6PM.

We drove across the entire bottom section of Wyoming today and, there is not much out there.  Just wide open space, sparsely populated and just like in the state’s earlier days, the railroad seems to play a major role in the rest of the towns that we drove through like Laramie and Rawlins.  The view from the road was spectacular though throughout today’s drive.  The horizon was covered with round brownish-green mountaintops, eventually turning into rocky brown flat mountains.  Down in Colorado, the mountains were much more jagged and rocky.

Once we got into Utah, the mountains got a lot greener and we started seeing trees again.  There were lots of little farming communities in the valleys in Utah and lots of snow on the ground in the high places.  Right outside Salt Lake City, the highway started to slant down and we had about a 20 minute steep downhill run.  That was my first time doing a long downhill drive like that but fortunately Kelly had her war stories to share about downhill driving with no brakes so I made sure to engine brake and take it slow.

By the time we got to alt Lake City, everyone was pretty tired.  We had a great ride.  Lots of laughing, audio books and reading out loud.  But even with the fun ride and the awesome scenery, everyone was ready to get out of the car for a while.  Fortunately, we had enough daylight left to walk around downtown, temple square and to get a view of the capitol in the fading daylight before trying to find dinner and a hotel.  And here we are now in the hotel, getting ready for a good nights sleep and for a shorter drive to Boise tomorrow.

Road Trip Pictures

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Crossing Wyoming

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Crossing into Utah

 

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Temple Square

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Temple Square

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The Capitol at twilight

Categories: TRAVEL Wyoming | Tags: | Leave a comment

Boulder and Chyenne

Tate got us on the road promptly at 9am this morning so we could stay on schedule to get him to wifi in Chyenne by 1PM.  So, we left Denver and were in Boulder by 9:40am.  With only an hour set aside to seeing Boulder on a Sunday morning, we took a short driver around part of the University of Colorado Boulder to give any future students among us an idea of the place, then we took the most picturesque family walk that I could have imagined at the base of the Rockies.  I was shocked at how cool that town looked  with all the little shops and awesome natural scenery.  The town is so close to huge sections of granite that it feels like you could throw a rock and hit the mountain.

We had a chance to practice some of our ninja negotiating skills while we were there.  At the end of the Boulder walk, the situation somehow evolved to where three people wanted something completely different for the balance of the day.  It took the better part of an hour to work through it until everyone had given what they could, stood firm where they felt they needed to and made concessions.  And we were back on track, headed to Chyenne.  Later than we originally planned, but in time for everyone’s needs to be satisfied.

In Chyenne, we explored the town some, spent some time on the capitol grounds and some time in what looked like a suburb.  There wasn’t a lot out there to capture any of our attention, so we wound up spending most of the rest of the day in our cheesy, retro roadside motel with a lot of time together in a really small space, thoroughly enjoying each other’s company.  It was the best turn of events.

It’s been an interesting stay so far in this Wild West Frontier town.

Road trip Pictures

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Sunday morning in Boulder

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Sunday morning in Boulder

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Sunday afternoon in Chyenne

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Sunday afternoon in Chyenne

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Sunday afternoon in Chyenne

 

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Sunday afternoon in Chyenne

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Sunday afternoon in Chyenne

 

Categories: TRAVEL Colorado, TRAVEL Wyoming | Leave a comment