Cannon Beach and Nehalem Bay

If you are old enough to remember any movies from the 1980s you may remember the Goonies movie. Some scenes from that movie were filmed at Haystock Rock in Cannon Beach. This is an enormous rock surrounded by beautiful tide pools at low tide.

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The first time we went there the tide was coming back in so we didn’t get to see many tide pools, so we went back again to try to time the tide right and ended up being able to see a beautiful starfish and some sea anemones.

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It was foggy the second time we went, giving Haystack Rock an even more mysterious appearance.

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Just a few miles down the road from Haystack Rock is Hug Point, another really cool place to visit on the Oregon coast with caves and tide pools to explore.

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And yet another beautiful spot to visit in Cannon Beach is Ecola State Park. Amazing views from this park! There is no shortage of beautiful places to visit along the Oregon coast.

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We stayed at Nehalem Bay State Park while in this area. This was a really nice park that included a paved bike trail which I loved. The park is in between the bay and the ocean. The beach side was usually very cold and windy, but beautiful to see. We didn’t spend a lot of time on the beach side because it was freezing!

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The bay side was much warmer and during low tide there was plenty of room for Chris & Jesse to play baseball.

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We were there during the week of the big solar eclipse. This park was at 98.8% totality which I mistakenly thought was close enough. I was wrong! Although what we saw was cool, it wasn’t nearly as awesome as what my friends in totality saw. Note to self: next time get to totality!

One other thing we did in this area was at the suggestion of my always thoughtful husband. He suggested I take the kids for a train ride on the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad between Rockaway Beach and Garibaldi. This was such a treat!

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I am so thankful to God for these amazing experiences with my family. Making memories, that’s what it’s all about.

Categories: Oregon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Two Capes and a Cheese Factory

I am starting to get very behind on this blog and hope to catch up over the next few weeks. We have been really busy the past 2 weeks with my parents visiting us in Washington state, but before I can post about that I want to finish writing about the rest of the places we visited in Oregon.

After leaving Newport, OR we headed up to Tillamook — home to the famous Tillamook Cheese Factory. I was excited to take this factory tour as I have seen other Fulltime Families post about visiting this place. Unfortunately the factory tours were not available while we were there because they are in the process of building a new visitor center. In the meantime they have a temporary visitor center set up where you can still go and sample cheese and view the few displays that are set up. It’s still not the same as touring the actual factory so I hope to return to the area someday and try again.

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Sampling cheese

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Yummy ice cream!

While in the Tillamook area we stayed at Cape Lookout State Park. This park is right on the ocean and we watched some spectacular sunsets from there. It wasn’t a very big rig friendly park though, we barely fit in the site. We also felt a little uncomfortable being surrounded by tents and smaller RVs. People kept walking by our site and commenting about how big our RV is and wondering out loud why we would need something that big for camping. Meanwhile we were inside working or doing school hearing these conversations right outside the window, wishing we had a big sign up to let people know we are not camping, this is our house that we happen to take with us everywhere we go. I also heard people wondering out loud why we would take a cat camping. Yes, we felt like quite the spectacle at this place and were happy to leave there and move on to somewhere else where we fit in a little better.

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This is a picture of our site. The pathway right next to us goes to the restroom so people had to walk by us often. Also, notice the sink waste disposal in our “yard”? That is where all the tent campers had to come to wash their dishes. It was awkward for them and us because they felt uncomfortable having to walk right into our site to wash their dishes. I made the best of it though while I was sitting outside and struck up conversations with everyone that was willing to talk to me. I actually met some very nice people that way!

It was during our stay there that Chris & I started considering that maybe we should downsize. We thought downsizing from a 2000 sq ft house to a 400 sq ft RV was good, but we could fit better at state parks if we were even smaller. Of course as soon as our kids heard us discussing this they immediately objected by letting us know how much they love their big bedroom. 😉 They love our home on wheels and to be honest, so do I.

Anyway, other than feeling like circus clowns at this park, we really loved the beach which was a short walk from our site where we enjoyed some gorgeous sunsets!

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And while we were at Cape Lookout we drove a few miles over to Cape Meares to check out another beautiful area along the Oregon coast.

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Octopus Tree

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Cape Meares Lighthouse

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Categories: Oregon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Cape Perpetua and Seal Rock

This post wraps up the remainder of the places we visited while in the Newport area. If you missed the post about the lighthouses you can see it here: Yaquina and Heceta Head Lighthouses.

Cape Perpetua is best visited during high tide, while Seal Rock is best visited during low tide. I’m thankful for Trip Advisor where I find all of these useful tips!

Cape Perpetua

This park has some amazing displays of the Pacific during high tide. Sometimes pictures just do not do it justice and a video is a better representation, so I uploaded a couple of videos that I hope will display properly here.

The first one is Thor’s Well. This is a deep hole that fills and empties continuously during high tide. It’s really cool!

The second one shows the powerful surf crashing against the rocks and getting the camera operator (me!) wet. By the way, that’s not me yelling in the background; it’s some random stranger. 😉

We started the day driving up to the scenic viewpoint since we couldn’t find any parking at the Thor’s Well area. It was worth it for this view!

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When we went back down to the parking lot we were able to find a spot, so we got out and explored the Thor’s Well area with all the incredible displays that happen twice a day at high tide.

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Thor’s Well

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The boys liked catching tadpoles in the tide pools.

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Then we took the scenic walk over to the other section of the park to see the Devil’s Churn.

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A little Peace and Love for the walk.

The Devil’s Churn is an area where the surf comes in and fills up this little inlet. By the time we got there the tide was not at the high point anymore so we didn’t see quite the display we saw at Thor’s Well, but still cool nonetheless.

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Devil’s Churn

We even saw whales from here! It’s very hard to get a good picture of one, but can you see the spray out there? The grey spot under it is a whale and the spray was where it just spouted.

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Seal Rock State Park

Seal Rock is best visited during low tide for the beautiful tide pools. Jake and I love searching all the tide pools for colorful sea creatures, while Chris and Jesse play ball on the beach.

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Seal Rock

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During our 3 weeks in Newport we had 9 straight days of cloudy, foggy and drizzly weather. It was also very cold for August! I can’t complain because other than those 9 days we had beautiful weather the rest of the time we spent in Oregon (a total of 10 weeks). But I can certainly understand how some people that live in dreary weather for extended periods of time can experience Seasonal Affective Disorder and depression. I was really glad when the sun finally came out when we moved on to our next stop at Cape Lookout which I will write about next time. Cheers to sunny skies!

Categories: Oregon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Yaquina and Heceta Head Lighthouses

Oregon Coast lighthouses are incredible! Just before we came to Oregon I heard from the Road Trip Teacher about a lapbook/notebook study she has available about the Oregon Coast lighthouses. My kids did the entire study on all of the lighthouses in Oregon. We learned so much about the history of these lighthouses before even visiting them which made our visits that much more interesting.

This post covers 2 of the lighthouses we visited while in the Newport area.

Yaquina Head Lighthouse was our favorite and it is also the tallest lighthouse in Oregon. We were able to tour the inside which made it even better.

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The tours are free, but if you go on a weekend (or possibly even a weekday in the summer) it’s not likely you’ll get a spot. We reserved a tour ahead of time online and when we showed up on a Saturday they did not have any spots left for anyone that had not reserved online. It costs $1.50/person to reserve online and I thought that was reasonable since we were planning to visit on a Saturday in the summer and it was nice to know we had a spot.

Anyway, the lighthouse tour was great! The tour guide explained the history of the lighthouse and its keepers. She explained about the oil they used and how much they needed at various times of the year depending on how much daylight there was at that time of the year. We were able to walk up to the top of the lighthouse and see the light going on and off.

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It was incredible!

Outside of the lighthouse the views were gorgeous!

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Just outside the lighthouse was a fabulous place for tide pools during low tide!

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Yaquina Head is part of the National Park service so the kids were able to earn another Junior Ranger badge there.

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After the lighthouse we drove up the coast a little further to Otter Crest Loop in Depoe Bay. We saw whales in Depoe Bay, but unfortunately no pictures of them.

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Otter Crest

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Dungeness crab trying to survive in the tide pool until the tide comes back in.

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Otter Crest

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Depoe Bay, Oregon

At Otter Crest we checked out the devil’s punchbowl which is a large rock hole that water from the Pacific fills in at high tide and goes out at low tide. It was really cool! We were there at low tide when it was nearly empty, but went back again on a different day at high tide.

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Devil’s Punchbowl at low tide.

I was expecting to see it full at high tide, but it was not much higher than what we saw at low tide.

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Devil’s Punchbowl at high tide.

We went to visit Heceta Head lighthouse on a different weekend. Like all Oregon lighthouses it was quite beautiful also.

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These are some pictures of the surrounding ocean views from the lighthouse.

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Oh my goodness, I could never get enough of the beauty of the Oregon coast! We visited some other lighthouses along the way, so stay tuned.

 

Categories: Oregon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Newport, Oregon and South Beach State Park

We spent 3 weeks in the Newport area where there is tons of stuff to do. I continue to be amazed by the beauty of the Oregon coast and the abundance of awesome things to see and do. This post will only cover the first week.

During our first week we stayed at South Beach State Park. I’ll admit this was not one of our favorite state parks because it was very crowded and noisy. Our site was on the corner of the main road into and out of the campground so there was constant activity right outside the door meaning we had zero privacy while sitting outside.

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The thing this park had going for it though was the location. The beach was only a short 1/4 mile walk down a trail from the campground, and there were very nice paved bike trails.

One evening I checked out the bike trail that goes all the way to the Port of Newport fishing pier just under the beautiful Yaquina Bay Bridge.

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Another evening I got my people to join me on this bike ride and we stopped at the Rogue Brewery for dinner and a tour of the brewery. The tour was really interesting and the kids got to try out some root beer while Chris & I got to try the real stuff.

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The tour guide was very enthusiastic about his job and made the tour very enjoyable. I thought it was cool how they make these barrels.

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Barrel making

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Finished product

Part of the tour included a ride on this little train to go to different buildings. This was especially fun for the kids.

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Riding our bikes back home into the sunset was such a treat!

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The Hatfield Marine Science Center is also near the brewery which we went to on a different day. This is a small science center that is part of Oregon State University and it’s free to get in.

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There was a beautiful display of sea creatures that you can sometimes find in the tide pools in the area. We learned about how you can touch the sea urchins and anemones and the spines will clamp around your finger. It doesn’t hurt, just feels funny.

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Fat Cat had an adventure while we were at South Beach. We decided to take her to the beach one night to watch the sunset. Yeah I know, cats are not fans of going to the beach but for some reason Chris thought it would be a good idea. He wore her around his neck on the way there because she’s not a fan of walking on a leash.

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At one point she was snuggled up under some towels and somehow a dog seemed to know just where she was hiding because the dog ran right up to her to start playing. She leaped into the air and hissed, then arched her back while her hair stood on end. It was quite a site to see!

We stuck around a little bit longer to see the sunset, but I can tell you Fat Cat was not happy and did not settle down to relax again.

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Fat Cat is on alert for any other dogs.

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To show you just how mad she was, I think we drove her to drink!

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She’s considering it.

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Oh no!

Now before anyone gets mad at me for letting my cat drink beer, I’ll let you know that she really didn’t drink any. She just sniffed it, so no worries!

And that was enough adventure for Fat Cat for a while. 🙂

Stay tuned for more fun things to do in the Newport area.

Categories: Oregon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Salem, Oregon

Have you heard of Amazon Lockers? We’ve been finding them very useful for ordering stuff on the road. Many RV parks/campgrounds will allow us to receive packages, but some don’t. We’re finding most in Oregon don’t so we’ve learned to make use of Amazon lockers. Amazon sets up lockers at various gas stations, grocery stores and other places where you can have your order shipped. Once your order has been delivered you’ll receive an email to let you know it’s in the locker. You can scan the bar code from the email or enter the number on the keypad and your locker opens with your stuff inside. It’s pretty cool, and a very convenient way for us to order stuff on the road.

What does that have to do with Salem, Oregon you ask? Well, we have been staying on the Oregon coast and there are no facilities with Amazon lockers out here. The closest one we could find was in Salem so it gave us an excuse to make a day trip there. Unfortunately the day we ended up going there just happened to be one of the hottest days of the year, a high around 108?? I didn’t realize it gets that hot up here in the PNW! It certainly isn’t hot on the coast; we’ve actually been quite chilly with highs in the 60s for the last few weeks.

Anyway, in spite of the heat we had a great field trip to Salem.

Our first stop was to the Riverfront Park to check out the classic carousel. This park was very nice. There is a playground, a splash park, a brand new bridge, paved bike trails and of course the carousel.

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The carousel is made of hand-carved horses by local volunteers. It is a beautiful carousel and includes a game to catch the brass ring.

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Jake trying to catch the brass ring

The volunteers were there that day carving a new dragon for the carousel. They were so friendly and welcomed us into their studio to watch the artists at work. Check out the detail in the carving and the designs on the wall.

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They have been carving this dragon for over 2 years!

We also got to go into the painting studio to watch where they paint new horses and touch up the paint on older ones.

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The carousel rides are only $1.50 each and the artists gave us some buy one get one free coupons so we rode a few times.

After the Riverfront Park we headed to the Gilbert House Children’s Museum. We were able to get in free because they are part of the ASTC Science Center reciprocal membership program. This museum was incredible! I thought we would only be there for 30 minutes or so because it sounded like it would be too young for my kids, but I was pleasantly surprised that they loved it.

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They spent the first 30 minutes or so in the first room where they pretended to be street merchants selling fruits and vegetables. I kept telling them there were many other things to do at this museum but they didn’t want to leave this first room.

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Main Street Market

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Finally we moved onto the outdoor playground where there is a giant erector set, a giant slide and climbing walls

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As I mentioned before, it was over 100 that day so we didn’t spend much time out there.

Back inside, the kids played in several other areas of the museum that inspire creativity.

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Pretending to be veterinarians.

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Pretending to be a farmer.

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Pretending to be pilots.

There were real airline seats behind them, and Jake made sure I was buckled in for takeoff.

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Putting on a show.

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Pretending to be surgeons.

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Building forts.

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Building a playground.

This museum is named for A. C. Gilbert who was born in Salem in 1884. He created the Erector Set and made the American Flyer train sets famous. He also earned an Olympic gold medal in the pole vault and graduated from Yale with a degree in medicine. Quite an impressive individual! His passion for toys inspired this museum where there are so many opportunities for kids to use their imagination.

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American Flyer train set.

The museum is in 3 separate buildings, and the outside is so colorful and cute!

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We had such a fun day in Salem! Oh yeah, we picked up our Amazon order when we were done exploring and headed back to coast.

Categories: Oregon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Bend, Oregon

We absolutely loved Bend, Oregon! We spent 2 weeks there at the Bend/Sunriver Thousand Trails and it wasn’t long enough. I was amazed at how many awesome recreational opportunities there are in that area. The Deschutes River is really popular for summertime water activities like kayaking, tubing and river rafting. There are so many parks and bike trails, as well as many places to go hiking. It’s also very dog-friendly; we saw people with dogs just about everywhere, including restaurants. There are even ski resorts nearby for all the wintertime fun you could want. Crater Lake is less than 2 hours away. The weather while we were there in July was very pleasant, although I’ve heard that since we left that area it has gotten quite hot.

During the 2 weeks we were there, we got to spend time with several other Fulltime Families (FtFs). We joined some other families for a field trip to Newberry National Volcanic Monument where we visited Pauline Falls which was gorgeous!

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Pauline Falls

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We also hiked the Obsidian Flow Trail which is a lava flow covered in obsidian and pumice stone. The pumice stone was so light while the obsidian was like black glass and very sharp and slippery. I slipped and fell on it and a couple of others cut their hands on it. You have to be really careful with this stuff!

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Obsidian Rock

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Roadschoolers Rock!

These 3 were inseparable at the campground, playing Minecraft all the time.

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Jake and the 2 Jesse’s

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After the Obsidian Flow we relaxed at one of the lakes where the kids enjoyed playing in the water and kayaking.

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Jake out in the kayak

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Jesse is always up for a game of ball (any kind of ball)

Later that weekend we went back to Newberry to explore some more with Chris. We hiked through a Lava Cave which was really cool, but too dark for pictures. We also hiked the Trail of the Molten Land and the Lava Butte Trail.

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Lava Butte

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Lava Butte

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Trail of the Molten Land

 

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The boys earned Junior Ranger badges here and part of their activities was to interview some of the park rangers.

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The last trail we hiked that day was to Benham Falls.

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There are other areas to explore at this park but we ran out of time. Such a wide variety of places to visit like waterfalls, caves, lava lands, lakes, etc. We really enjoyed this park!

I saved the best for last. Our absolute favorite thing we did while in Bend was tubing down the Deschutes River. We liked it so much we went twice, and also a third time at the Little Deschutes River at our campground. We went with some other FtFs which made it even more fun! On our second trip we had 16 people, and we all made a train by hanging on to each other to go down the rapids together. That was a blast and so funny when some of the group wiped out and fell in, including poor little Jesse. He took it like a champ though!

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We all really liked this house and decided if we wanted to live in Bend we’d like to live there. Just kidding, we couldn’t afford that house, and besides it doesn’t have wheels. I’m not ready to stop traveling and I still want a house on wheels. 😉

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During the week we enjoyed the float down the Little Deschutes at the campground.

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We really enjoyed the time we spent in Bend, and hope to return again someday and stay for much longer!

 

Categories: National Parks, Oregon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Crater Lake National Park

There are just not words to adequately describe the beauty of Crater Lake; it must be one of the most beautiful places on earth! The water is the bluest blue you ever did see. That moment when I looked over the rim trail and saw it for the first time is something I will never forget. It literally takes your breath away, and these pictures definitely do not do it justice!

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Crater Lake with Wizard Island in the middle

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The rim trail is really fun to stroll along and see the lake from many different angles. After we had our fill of seeing the lake from the rim, we headed out for a hike up the Garfield Peak trail. The trail is 3.4 miles roundtrip, but most of it was still closed due to snow so we were only able to hike about a mile up and back. The views along the hike were stunning!

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Cute little marmot we saw on the trail

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Crater Lake Lodge

The trail to one of the viewpoints looks to have been recently cleared of snow. The snowbanks were so high here and in the parking lot. It’s incredible how much snow falls at Crater Lake every year. We were there in July and some of the roads and trails were still closed! Also, it was surprisingly warm in spite of the snow. It might look funny to see us in shorts with all that snow surrounding us, but it wasn’t cold outside at all.

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Jesse writing in the snow

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Snowball fight in July!

After we hiked and walked around the viewpoints we attempted to go to another area of the park to do another hike, but the traffic and crowds were crazy by this point. We decided to head back to the campground and come back another day.

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We came back in the evening later that week and it was not crowded at all. The first thing we did was stop at the Visitor Center to watch the park movie and let the kids earn their Junior Ranger badges.

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The most popular hike at Crater Lake is the Cleetwood Cove Trail which is the only trail where you can hike down to the lake. It is 2.2 miles roundtrip and includes a strenuous climb back up.

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It was really fun to go down to the lake! We learned in the park movie that the water is some of the purest water, so of course we had to try it.

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Tasting the crystal clear water of Crater Lake

On our way back out of the park we stopped and played in some of the mounds of snow. I still can’t believe how much snow there was in July. I can’t even imagine what it looks like in the winter.

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Crater Lake is so incredible! I really hope I inspired you to go see it, because like I said at the beginning of this post, my pictures do not do it justice. You just have to see it in person.

Categories: National Parks, Oregon | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Chiloquin, Oregon

After we left the Oregon Coast we headed inland somewhat to Chiloquin. This was a good location for visiting Crater Lake National Park. We stayed at Collier Memorial State Park which was nice and woodsy. For the first time since we left Florida we had the right kind of trees at our site to use the slack line kit we got for Christmas. The kids enjoyed this so much for the 2 weeks we were there, and made lots of friends too because all the neighbor kids wanted to come over and play on it too.

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Fat Cat loved this site because there were so many chipmunks to chase!

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Why does she always look so mad?

For a couple of days we had some really nice neighbors that let us borrow their inflatable kayak for the river right behind our site. Now we REALLY want to get one of these!

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The campground had a nice hiking trail along the Williamson River which led to a logging museum which was part of the state park.

The walk along the river was beautiful and the water was so clear!

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Williamson River

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The logging museum was really interesting. You walk through several different areas from different time periods and learn the history of logging in Oregon.

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The boys played in the river one day while Chris tried some fishing. The water was freezing! I’m talking ice cold, instant brain freeze the moment you put your feet in the water cold! Jake was the only one brave enough to go all the way across to the other side of the river.

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Jesse jumped in and jumped right back out!

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Jake yelling about how cold it is.

You can just barely see Jake out in the distance making his way very quickly back across while Chris was fishing.

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One of our favorite things we did in Chiloquin was visiting the Klamath & Western Railroad. On Saturdays they offer free train rides. These are like model train railroads that you can actually ride on. The people that run this really seem to enjoy sharing their hobby with others. I was so impressed with the level of detail along the railroad, the length of the ride which was about 20 minutes long, and that they offer all of this for free! They do however take donations which they certainly deserve. The boys said they felt like we were riding through Grampa’s Christmas village train track while we were there. It was so much fun!

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Of course the highlight of our time and the reason we came here was to visit Crater Lake. But that deserves a post of its own, so please stay tuned.

Categories: Oregon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Bandon, Oregon

After leaving the Redwoods we traveled up the 101 to the cute little town of Bandon, Oregon. This stretch of Hwy 101 has to be one of the most scenic drives ever. I kept wanting Chris to pull over and stop so I could take pictures. I cannot get over how beautiful the Oregon coast is!

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After several stops along the way we made it to our campground at Bullards Beach State Park. It was so nice to get back to a state park! From what I saw, we couldn’t stay at any state parks in California… every one I looked into had a size limit of 35 feet and we are 41 feet. Anyway, that meant that while we were in CA we had to stay in RV parks. The places we stayed were all nice, but we missed state parks. Oregon has a very impressive selection of state parks and I look forward to staying at as many as possible.

There was a trail behind our site to the beach and every time we walked there we had the whole beach to ourselves.

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Nature trail on the way to the beach

The Coquille River lighthouse is at the state park so we went to check that out one day. It was so cold and windy while we were there so we didn’t stay very long. Actually it was cold and windy for most of the week that we were at this park even though it was June. I guess that’s normal for the coast.

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Coquille River Lighthouse

After getting settled into our site I posted on Facebook where we were and then heard from my good friend Kelli from back home in Florida that she was also in Oregon that week for work. She just so happened to be staying 20 miles north of us! What are the chances? She drove down to see us one evening. It was so nice to see her! I love traveling but I sure miss my friends and family from home so her visit was a real treat.

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There is a lot to do in Bandon! I took the kids on a field trip one day to the West Coast Game Park Safari where you can pet animals that roam throughout the park, and you can also pet baby bears and tigers and other typically dangerous animals during exhibits throughout the day.

We purchased food for the animals as we went in and the deer swarmed us the minute we walked through the gate.

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I loved this donkey, he followed us around the park for awhile.

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The alpacas were really fun to see. They have such a funny look on their faces!

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Jesse and the alpaca making faces at each other.

There were lots of big horn sheep hanging around.

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We got to pet a tiger, bobcat, lynx, fox and bear. They were all so cute! Especially the bear.

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We were even able to hold some of the animals.

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After the Safari Park we headed over to the scenic Face Rock Viewpoint. I’m telling you, the Oregon coast is breathtaking!

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We finished it off with cheese samples and ice cream at the Face Rock Creamery.

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Historic Old Town Bandon is also very cute, but unfortunately I only took one picture. Not sure why I didn’t think to take more!

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We loved our first stop in Oregon and there is so much more to see. I’m so thankful that we will be spending a couple of months in this state. Stay tuned for more incredible scenes from this beautiful part of the country.

Categories: Oregon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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