Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Beware of the Tsunami!!

Today was basically a travel day. We headed for Bandon, Oregon which is one of the further western points in the United States. The closer we got to the coast the colder it got. Being this direction helps me appreciate the warm Utah weather, but it helps Darin think he would like to move somewhere cooler. The temperature was 62 degrees and our crazy kids still wanted to get in the pool.

Our camp site was way cool though. It was nestled down in lots of trees. It was a real nice site, but a bit too much away from the sun. I think the part that was the best of the day was the Tsunami signs. The signs are located all up and down the coast highway. They are preparing for a tsunami around here. There is another sign describing what to do if one hits, but the sign says one happened about 1700. Better prepare for it now in 2010. It was a much needed sign for a good laugh.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Crater Lake National Park

After all the excitement of San Francisco, we decide to head north to the more isolated area of Oregon. One can only handle so much of that excitement. We stopped in Goldhill, Oregon near Medford. It was not far from Crater Lake National Park, so that was our next visit. This trip has definitely been one of many weather changes. From heat and sunburns to cold winds off the ocean to snow! Yes you read that right, snow. At Crater Lake, which is about 6,000 feet. there is still lots of snow. Part of the park was still not opened due to snow removal still going on. We posed by this snow drift that was well over 10 feet tall still. The path we walked to look at the lake was covered in parts. Don't worry, that snow did not stop us or our fearless children. Of course Bryce's shoes are still wet, but would you expect anything less?
We are contemplating using this picture for our Christmas card this year. Ready, Aim . . . but it was a bit off since the front of the truck was my tripod. : ) We ate our picnic lunch in this area. As you can see Matt and I are a bit weak. No one else wears their jackets in the snow.

If any of you have ever been here, you can appreciate this park. To be honest we did not really know why we were going here. Our National Parks pass that we bought a year ago was about to expire and since we were near this place we decided to go, I guess. It is not a well visited park with less than 500,000 people visiting it each year. Zion has over 2 million, so there is a comparison for you. This lake was once a volcano that collapsed in on itself and is now a lake. The snow that falls here melts and fills the lake. There is no inlets or outlets for this lake. The sides are so steep too that there is only one way down to the lake that has been made. The water is amazingly blue.
This is a picture of the lake with Wizard Hat Island. They said the island looked like a wizard hat, thus it's name. Guess it was inspiration for Harry Potter movies. The water was so blue we could not believe it. If you have ever been to Hawaii, it was a close race with that ocean water. If you have ever been to Quail Lake, well it was not even close to that brown water. : )
Bryce enjoys posing for me with his serious little looks. The other two just do it because I make them. ;) Oh well, I am mom and they are obedient.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Golden Gate Bridge and other scary sights!! : )

We decided to venture into San Francisco one more time. Not that the excitement of one day wasn't enough. The people, the close and tall buildings, the traffic, and the public transportation could not keep us away from one more adventure. So we left the safety of our trailer and drove to the famous place. When we arrived at the Golden Gate Bridge, the clouds were low and the fog horn kept going off. I got several pictures where you could not even see the bridge there was so much fog.

Our first goal was to walk across the bridge. It is just over 1 1/2 miles long, so we thought it would work out for us to walk it and have Darin drive across and meet us walking. The traffic was not so nice looking though, so we decided to walk to what we thought was the middle. It was a very chilly walk at points when the wind off the ocean blew. We continued to walk and look out at Alcatraz, Pier 39 that we had seen the day before, and the city of San Francisco. We got to our turn around point and realized we had basically walked across the bridge. We only had a little farther to go and we were at the other side. It went fast though as we turned around and walked back to our car. The bridge is amazing. I am glad the engineers and architects that made this bridge did not skip any of their math classes. : )
This picture of Darin is him by a phone. It was crazy - the sign said "Crisis Counseling - There is hope make the call. Consequences of jumping from this bridge are fatal and tragic." I guess all our traveling had pushed him over the edge. :) Actually he knew his friend Cory would get a good laugh out of the phone so he took it for you, Cory!!

After walking the bridge we drove over to Fisherman's Wharf and ate at the Rainforest Jungle Restaurant. It was all decorated with jungle scenery and animals. Every so often the animals did a show for you and there were saltwater fish tank on all the walls. It was a fun place to eat.

After that we had one stop to make. I had promised two boys there was no way we were going to San Francisco and not stopping at the 49ers stadium. I had it all mapped out to get there and did not think it would be much of a problem, but I had forgotten one other item that San Francisco is known for and that there had been a big Pride Run the day before, so of course on one of the main roads there would be a big party. For any of you that know Darin, yes plug your ears because he is still cussing about what we saw. The contest the day before between Darin and Matthew was to see who could spot the worst couple. They had some pretty normal looking people, but then a group of about five walked out of a store that were pretty bad. The winning couple was finally spotted by me as we waited to turn a corner. I could not even take a picture and I apologize to my kids for allowing them to see it. They had on longer boots with little strings with puffy balls on the ends, no shirts of course, and covering the remaining parts were leather speedo looking "pants". Oh it was bad, you are welcome for the visual by the way. ;) This was a normal sight around the town.

We had done so well not see too many, but that corner did it for us. We hustled over to the stadium and then left the great island for our last visit there. Of course it is one of those places to visit once, but I think I can find a few more places to return to and this would probably not top the list. : )

The home of the favorite football team of my two oldest boys!!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

San Francisco - Pier 39 - Fisherman's Warf and Baseball

Pier 39 with Alcatraz in the background. Fun stop to see lots of things at.

Friday was a travel day from Yosemite to a KOA a bit east if San Francisco. It's just one of those places we had to visit once, so we gave it a try. It did not disappoint either. We had a few things we wanted to do, so we took two days to get them done. The first day we went to Pier 39. It was a crazy place with lots of tourist, so we fit right in. :) We watched a magic show, took pictures of Alcatraz and saw a ton of seals. We then ventured down the street a bit to see the famous Fisherman's Warf. It was full of lots of crazy people too, but interesting to see. So many people had some talents to share to see if we would pay money to see them perform. Most of their talents should have remained hidden.

Our other goal for today was to go to the baseball game. We were at AT&T park home of the San Francisco Giants who hosted the Boston Red Sox. We got their way early and watched the Red Sox in their pre-game warm-ups. The players were hitting and several went foul. A guy was standing near Bryce when a ball came there way. He caught the ball, but tossed it to Bryce and told him he already had one so Bryce could have his. Brooke a bit later was able to get another ball autographed by Dustin Richardson who is a pitcher for Boston who did pitch that game. Then during the sixth inning Matt caught a ball the center fielder threw after warm-ups. It was a fun filled day.

We really didn't care who won, but we enjoyed the game. You could definitely tell we were not in Utah anymore. By the 7th inning stretch, drinking had taken its toll and things were a bit wild. We had 5th row seats just over centerfield. A few homeruns when out to our right and one to our left. It was a good experience for the family.

Matt thinking he's cool with the ball I told him to wake up and pay attention to so he could catch it. Seconds later it was thrown to him. Crazy how quick this kid listens to mom. :)
Now the return trip back to the car is another story in itself. I definitely don't like public transportation. Good thing we are a fit family. We have made our poor kids walk way more than should be legal. :(

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sequoia National Forest - Home of the Big Trees!

Today was an amazing day. I would have to list Sequoia National Park on one of my top 10 favorite parks. I have been to many too, but it was great. These pictures don't even do justice for the size of these trees. They are just massive!! This tree above is the General Sherman Sequoia. It is the biggest tree in the world. There are other trees that are taller, but this tree has the biggest volume ever. Meaning for you lack of math knowledge readers : ) this tree is bigger in the base and what is inside than any other tree. It was amazing to see these trees. We read lots on them and found that the Sequoias and the Redwoods are different. The Sequoias are more massive, but the Redwoods in Northern California are taller. I think I will stick with the Sequoias they are great. We did lots of hiking today too, but not as much and way less uphill walks. Today was an adventure though. There were lots of people in the park, but at one point we were the only people on a trail in the forest. It was a bit scary especially when we know animals wondered close to the people. We also hiked up Moro Rock which is a mountain of over 400 stairs to an amazing view. My little Bryce counted the stairs and he got 477, and I listened to him count, so I will go with what his final count was.

This gives just a small idea of the size of these trees with Darin in the picture. They were amazing. My little family gets so tired of me telling them to pose. : )

Darin and I on the top of Moro Rock. It was kind of like Angel's Landing. Amazing and beautiful from so high up. We did not stay long. Found out many of us do not like heights. ; )

Gross - What is that?

Yes, it belongs to this little fella. It was so crazy, we saw four bears. They could care less about the people though, they just kept eating. I wanted a little better picture, but the closeup lens was working the best it could and there is no way I was getting any closer. Today was great. Decided I am going to write a book. Want to title it "Taking them to all 50 - A family guide for vacations." Okay, maybe not really, but I have came across several things to share with people. Where to go, what to stay away from and many other tips I think would be helpful.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park was a pretty fun area. Our first stop was Bridal Veil Falls. Brooke and I needed jackets because of all the mist from the waterfall, it was cold. We then went to Lower Yosemite Falls. The shuttle service at Yosemite is not as good as Zion's so we got a bit frustrated at a few points. We were still able see lots of places and did lots of walking. One hike was to Vernal Falls. It was a 1 1/2 mile walk one way, but a bit strenuous. At the top there are lots of steps but they get real wet from the mist from the falls. When the steps got too wet and many people were starting to back up on the stairs we decided it was time to turn around. There were no rails and the edges were a bit too close for these parents. The kids were great and hardly complained at what we had put them through today. It was a fun day. Long and hard, but it was good. Yosemite is known for all the waterfalls and for Half Dome a huge mountain.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Robin Hood?!

At our first stop in Calico, California they had an archery range at the KOA. We tried our best to see how well we could do on the targets. Fun little activity we have never really done as a family. We are no Robin Hoods, but we weren't far off Legoles of Lord of the Rings. : )

Let the trip begin!!!!

After the success of two other years, we have started our third summer trip. This summer we have decided to head to the west coast. None of us except Darin have been to Oregon and Washington, so here we go!! Our trip goals are to go to Northern California and then follow the coast and make a big loop through Idaho and Utah to come home. Our first night we are in Calico. We can hear the ghosts of the town of old miners from the 1880's. Ok not really and we did not have a chance to go on a Ghost Town tour but we did go swimming and shoot some arrows. Just call us Robin Hood. ; ) We are excited for the many places we will visit. We will be by Fresno tomorrow where we will look at some giant sequoia trees. Enjoy our trip with us!!