Friday, July 8, 2016

From California To Washington


So now that our family has come "full-circle" in our travels, we have been talking about settling back down again and buying a house. The truth is, we are ready to put down roots again, you know like--grow vegetables in a big garden. Also, Daniel is ready for kindergarten and I'm not interested in homeschooling. I've tried teaching my boys and so far it's not been very successful. I think I'd rather leave it to the professionals.

That said, Dan and I settled on Washington State (around the Olympia/Pugent Sound area). Dan was stationed in that area for four years and loved it. We visited my friend Tara up in that area about 6 years ago and I loved it. So that settles that. We are Washington bound.

We left San Diego on a Friday morning and our drive was smooth sailing but filled with traffic. In fact, there was traffic the entire length between San Diego and just past Los Angeles where we stopped in Valencia for the night. The next day we traveled up to Lodi and then from Lodi to Yreka, which was our last stop in California. Each place, we stopped for two nights to rest up, then drove in a northernly fashion up the interstate 5.

It was no frills, no nonsense driving. We just wanted to get to Washington.

We noticed the change in atmosphere once we hit Northern California. Crisp, cool air and beautiful scenery. With all the trees, It was literally...a breathe of fresh air.🌲

This is the Yreka RV Park in Yreka, CA.

Once we crossed into Oregon, even more trees appeared and so did the awesome hippie cars, lol. We stayed at a Emerald RV just south of Salem. We started searching for a place to stay in the Olympia area but quickly found out that EVERY SINGLE RV PARK is booked solid!

Wow, we just hadn't realized that Washington State was such big snowbird location. No problem, we just spent two days researching and calling RV parks and campgrounds anywhere within an hour to two hours outside of Olympia. Finally, we figured out that maybe if we should book a spot after the 4th of July. Bingo! Cove RV in Brinnon could accommodate us on the 4th of July for the next month and beyond. Perfect!

So now we just had to figure out where we could stay for the next 18 days. We found a place near Mount St. Helena called Kid Valley RV that could take us and with that, I took about five deep breaths and let myself relax. That was pretty stressful. 

Here is the hippie car in Oregon.

After securing our accommodations, we excitedly drove from Salem, Oregon to what was to be our new state of resistance. We passed over the state line via the Columbia River. The interstate 5 bridge carried us over the water and dropped us into Washington. We've arrived!

I love that Oregon was thanking us.
Entering Washington via the interstate bridge.

After crossing over the state line, we drove for about 30 minutes to the Kid Valley Campground and then it started raining. Most people might have been put off by it but I was rather excited, it wasn't cold and we were surrounded by majestic looking trees and foliage. It was the kind of place that solidified my belief in fairies.

I mean, come on! Look at this.

After checking in, we needed to carfully back in to our campsite. I called Dans phone so we could play walkie talkie while he backed up the trailer. Wait...no cell service? Hahahahah......!
I didn't see that one coming. We were going to be in the back woods of Washington for 18 days with no cell, cable, antena, or internet service. I know, we should just embrace the quiet seclusion--but we're just not those people. We love our internet and cell phones.

Whatever, we just decided to take this curve ball and roll with it. We've acctually become quite good at rolling with it on our adventures. 

So, cell service and internet aside, our campsite was brilliant! I mean really gorgeous. I wanted to pinch myself for how lush and green everything was. I took pictures with my phone but I wish I had used a real camera to capture the magnificence.

The view outside our front door.
The view from the entrance of the campground.
Our huge trailer nestled amongst the trees.
Front view
View looking up.

The first day is always busy as we getting set up, but soon we settled into a peaceful routine of coffee in the morning, coloring/drawing/reading/exploring during the day and a family movie at night. In fact, life without technology was peaceful. Who knew?

Here is Daniel's dinosaur world creation.

Another strange thing that happened was that when I went for my morning jog, I no longer wanted to listen to my upbeat music. It seemed too loud all of a sudden. Unnecessary. 

So I stopped. I just enjoyed the natural sounds of the forest and took in the beautiful landscape. I took some pictures of the plant life I often passed each morning.






I love these flowers 

I guess growing up in the dessert climate of San Diego has made me easily impressed by a little greenery, lol. 

Most nights we would have a campfire and visit with our neighbors. Honestly, our neighbors were so unbelievably open and welcoming, it was hard not to feel like this was our home. This experience has strengthened our belief that Washington is the right place for our family.

Daniel cooking his hot dog. He's a pro now.

Several times a week, we had to drive down the mountain to check our messages, email and make phone calls. I took pictures of some of the things I found interesting.

Dead dear atop of a parked car.
Always trucks with logs.
I loved seeing this sign reminding me that we were in close proximity to both of these awesome cities.
A REAL PHONE BOOTH! That says how far removed we were, this place still needed phone booths.

After our 18 days were up and it was time to go, we all felt like it was too soon. We had made friends here, more than that...we made family. After exchanging phone numbers and promising to keep in touch on Facebook, we backed up our trailer and readied the truck.

With full hearts and tears in our eyes (well maybe just my eyes), we pulled out of the Kid Valley Campground and drove north to find our new home.

❤️❤️❤️


























Thursday, July 7, 2016

Back In San Diego


After 9 long months of travel (adventures, mishaps and all), we are finally back where we started...
my beloved San Diego.

I could hardly contain my excitement to see my family and friends. It's so easy to take for them for granted when they have always been there, always at my fingertips. Now that I've had distance and time away from such a precious resource, I am starving to be surrounded by their assured presence of unconditional love and acceptance. 

Anyone who has ever moved away from their home town understands what I'm talking about.

❤️❤️❤️

We arrived in San Diego just in time to celebrate Daniel's Birthday. We gathered at my sister Holly's house. It was a lovely reunion. There was food, drinks and warmth that surrounded us like a quilted blanket. Daniel received lots of presents and had a dinosaur/crab cake. It was pretty awesome.


Daniel getting help with one of his presents from MiMi 
Super arm shooter-that won't be any trouble later (yeah right!)
Giant "Voltron" looking Power Ranger toy
The infamous Dinosaur/Crab Birthday Cake!

We decided to stay at the Sweetwater Summit Campground like we did right before leaving San Diego 9 months ago. We picked a secluded spot that overlooked the Bonita canyons and golf courses. 

The boys roasting hot dogs.
Caiden is super focused on that hot dog.

We had an overwhelming response of friends and family come visit us at our site but in my enjoyment, I failed to take ant pictures. Anyway, we spent the next few weeks visiting our friends & family.  Dan and I also actually got to go on a double date with our friends Mike and Denbigh. 

Mike & Denbigh camping overnight.
Mike and Dan trying to figure out how to pay for parking Downtown.

While here in San Diego, we planned to attend an annual midevil event held over Memorial Day weekend. It's one of our guilty nerdy pleasures and we LOVE it! Dan actually built an authentic midevil style yurt about 7 years ago for us to sleep in. I had to sew the boys new midevil garb because the constantly grow out of them. I had like three days to do it, and somehow I managed to pull it off.

The event was crazy awesome! The boys called it a knight festival and spent the whole 5 days playing with other kids and watching the huge battle reenactments. Dan and I enjoyed lazily drinking delicious bloody marys (that I made of course) and wandering around. We connected with friends that we only see at this event as well as our many regular friends that also attend this event. 

All I can say is that life is pretty good when you're sitting around the campfire in midevil garb listening to the rhythmic sounds of drums. I don't care who you are, it's satisfying on a primal level that can be denied by no one. 

My brother and his wife (also one of my very best friends) Kate drove into San Diego from Iowa on the last day. They came straight to this event and we got the privilege of their company for the final night. A perfect ending to a perfect weekend.

Dan Caiden and I with my brother Troy and sister-in-law Kate
Boys and I watching the battle reenactments 
Fighters in the midst of a battle. FYI, most of the guys hand make their armor.
Cuties
Caiden and Daniel inside our yurt

As always, I wish I took more picture of the fun we had but alas, we were too busy having fun. When we got back we spent the next few days doing laundry, packing up and Dan was able to build two arbors for my mom.

The front arbor 
The back arbor

We had only a couple more days to say our goodbyes to family and friends while stocking up on as much Mexican food as we could get our hands on (it's just superior to anywhere else save Mexico). 

We loved our visit and with tears in our eyes, we said our fair well to San Diego. 
Now off to see the Pacific Northwest!