Road Scholars on an Eduvacation!
Yes, we're moving on again, but this time like we mean it. In an RV.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

The Crazy Week of 1,000 miles

driving through the foggy
This has been a insane week of traveling. We started out in California and we're now in Yellowstone, all done in four long trips. Some pretty crazy stuff happened during those trips; we had an emergency remodel on the back slide, a time change, several different terrains, bunches of historical landmarks and national monuments, and finally amazing landscapes and autumn colors.

So after we left California, we drove for around 7 hours to La Pine Oregon. The park we stayed at was basically a huge meadow. After the first night there, which was much colder than where we had been, Mom was feeling really chilly and there was a breeze blowing around her bed. So we took the bed apart to look underneath, and surprise! The whole bottom of the floor was completely rotted and falling apart with a gaping hole in the corner. So Dad took the whole piece of plywood out and he replaced it with a new one. It was quite the surprise project, but we (mostly Dad. We all tried to help a bit) got it fixed, and now we know Mom won't fall through the floor some freezing night. The next day was much less eventful, thankfully. We did some laundry and baking and the little ones dragged me through the sprinklers until we were utterly soaked.

The new floor
The hole in the floor

the bigger hole in the floor

We packed up early the next morning for the second of our longest drives. This time we drove from La Pine to Caldwell, Idaho. Another 7 hour day. It was pretty crazy what we drove through. We drove through a lot of high desert.  Some of the places we drove through were practically prehistoric looking, like you could just SEE dinosaurs walking across. We got to the park in the evening, all exhausted (except for the little ones; they seemed energized by the whole thing) and spent a long time playing and drawing with chalk before dinner. We stayed there for two days again, in which we caught up on baking and the second day Mom and I went out and found tons of specialty foods we had been looking for for a long time. Thank goodness for ethnic markets!! We also got some new jeans at a thrift store, and met up with Mom's friend Mandy. We talked with her for a while, which was really nice. It was weird to get used to the time change; we're now an hour ahead of where we used to be. Which lead to us all "sleeping in" and mom's alarm going off at "9:00am" and I climbed down to turn in off, and then flopped around the living room in a exhausted daze, much to Dad's entertainment. 

We decided that trying to do another 7 hour day was just too much, so we split up the trip into two shorter, three hour days. We left Caldwell not-quite-as-early-as-before, and this drive was very exciting, at least from my point of view in the bug. We girls stopped at a rest stop and got separated from Falkor and somehow, thanks to our GPS, ended up on a completely different highway than the boys. We'd been driving for a while until we realized we were way off, so we girls took a little side stop to Jerome, Idaho, where a great-grandfather had been born and we drove on the street he lived, which was pretty cool!

It was a really fun adventure, We also stopped and took pictures of all the historical markers along the highway and learned a whole bunch about the area's history and geology, which was awesome. We drove through Craters of the Moon, which was insanely awesome. You're just driving through the creepy, flat, dry, dead, desert that is the middle of nowhere, and getting more and more anxious and paranoid. . oh wait that's just me. Anyway you're driving and then suddenly there's just huge amounts of lava rock that goes as far as the eye can see. It's one of the coolest things I've ever seen! We pulled over to check out a sign, and it was so quiet - there wasn't any noise anywhere at all. It was creepy cool! We ended up getting to the rv park in Arco Idaho around an hour behind the boys, so everything was set up when we got there. We somehow managed to create some kind of dinner and fall into bed,

We got up the next day, packed up, and were out of there. Nothing very eventful happened during this drive. Mom and I read a bunch more historical marker signs, listened to Fruits Basket Radio, and drove through MORE high desert. Then we suddenly entered the mountains and it because forested and mountainous and gorgeous! I was bouncing around in my seat and super excited to be back in my favorite landscape, and seeing the trees change colors. It feels like REAL autumn now!! While everyone got everything set up, Gwynnie and I went over to the little playground and played around.

We've had to start doing more prep at night because it's getting down to freezing temperatures here, like turning the water off, and covering the windows in the bedrooms to stay extra warm. It's pretty cool to start entering a new season in our new(ish) life.

Today we went exploring Yellowstone, but I'll write about that in another post.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

We're off again!


We're going to be moving on to a new place after being in one place for a whole month. It's been quite a new experience to stay in one place for so long, but am I ready to getting adventuring again. We all are. Though after being here for so long it feels really different to be moving. It feels like we're ACTUALLY moving, not just the normal moving on after a week in a place. It starts to feel homey, even more so since we've been in California. This state has a way of trapping us in its boundaries and holding on with all its might. I think it was good for us to take so much time to rest and get prepared in our home state, and goodness knows I enjoyed seeing, smelling, touching, and being in the redwoods, as a calm before the storm of fun.

It's going to be strange leaving the West Coast. In a few days we'll all be further inland than we've all ever been, living wise. We've visited places inland, like Yellowstone and the Tetons. But we came HOME after those trips. This time we're taking our home there. There's no coming back after a week!  It's terrifying and super exciting all at once. I was feeling nervous a couple days ago, thinking about traveling into new territory, which is silly since I'd never been to so many places in Washington and Oregon, but now it feels like our first few months of trial is over and now we're REALLY starting this. And I'm feeling pretty exhilarated. I'm feeling like starting things, which is a funny feeling for the beginning of autumn. It makes me think of one of my favorite song lyrics:

"They say spring's a time for rebuilding, but this is not spring.
Now I look out my window and wonder what tomorrow will bring. " (Andy Pearson)

So tomorrow we're going to be heading out for our longest traveling day yet. Somewhere around 6 to 7 hours of driving up into Oregon before we shoot east to end up in Yellowstone for my birthday! Dad looked at how far we've traveled since we started, something like 1100 miles. From here to Yellowstone it's around 1000 miles and we're going to being driving all that in three fast jumps. I spent all yesterday making car-trippy snacks; homemade-everything-free 'cereal', chocolate-berry plantain muffins with lemon topping and savory "French bread" plantain muffins. Plantain crackers, Pumpkin-coconut-shortbread cookies, along with our mandatory coconut shortbread (cinnamon flavored this time!), and a double batch of fudge-y plantain brownies. All gluten-grain-dairy-egg-nut free and super delicious! Impressive, I know. And STILL delightfully edible. It disappears faster than I can keep up, though don't worry. All that cooking and baking brings me endless amounts of joy and is so satisfying, along with tired feet from all the dancing and spinning that occurs while I'm doing my thang. It's good practice for my someday-bakery.

Mom has also downloaded a BUNCH of language podcasts for the trips, so maybe we'll be fluent in a few days in several languages when we come out the car! Along with lots of music, Fruits Basket Radio, and Audiobooks, hopefully we'll be happily entertained while we fly across the country.

So wish us luck with the car rides and our travels!