Thursday, March 31, 2016

Pacific Ocean, Crescent City, CA

It is so GOOD to be traveling again!  This is our fourth day back on the road. We've had the blow out, visited the Rogue River and the Smith River and today we romped up and down the beaches of the Pacific Ocean in Crescent City, CA.  We also managed to get two more estimates for van repair. We're a bit shocked at the wide range of estimates - a spread of $2300 - we think we'll try to get at least one  more (we have one from Grants Pass and two from Crescent City) before we turn in the paperwork to be sent to the tire manufacturer. We need to do that tomorrow on our way through Grants Pass.

Our first stop was an auto repair shop. We tried to find another shop - in vain.

We opted for a play break. Stacia is studying "Swimming Animals" this year. We were excited to get out and see what we've been talking about in our books...oceans, tides, tidal pools, critters.  We  started at Castle Rock Beach (as the NEW GENERATION CALLS IT - known as Goat's Head by old timers).

Castle Rock

Kids at Castle Rock 

I love this man!

Stacia's first visit to a tidal pool - sea anemone 

Which I tried to shoot - like the reflection of the lens and my hand? 
 The waves and fossils have made some really interesting rock formations here. 

We moved on to Pebble Beach. 

We picnicked in a spot where Michael used to spend his lunch hours during high school.  It is near Brother Jonathon Point. It was a bit of climb over rocks, and on the way we saw a baby octopus, more sea anemones, crabs and various birds.  It was fun to imagine Michael perched on these very rocks, having lunch 39 years ago. Michael is an introvert - he loved escaping the drama of high school and life at the ocean. We laughed about how I brought a touch chaos and people to his life....and here he was enjoying his space with "some of his favorite people."
Stacia - 10 1/2

Alex - 14

Michael, Nolan (17) and Battery Point Lighthouse in the distance
 Michael got a better photo of another pool 

Yuuki kept running off and sticking her nose in holes - we could see crab legs waving at her - so she had to go back on the chain. 

Location beats the Les Schwab Picnic

Our next stop was another auto body shop.

Walking the jetty at Battery Point Lighthouse was SCREAMING to be done - it was a gorgeous day to be on the ocean.

No! Not food poisoning - Siesta

Sea Salt Crystals

One reason we went into town was to get cell connection so our hot spot would allow Nolan to have his Japanese lesson. We pulled up to a beach and nothing would work! What in the world? We enjoyed the sea lions anyway.

We stopped to buy groceries for Mom G on our way out of town. We'd planned to have her over for dinner, a campfire and chatting.....The kids and I stayed at the campground to cook and Michael went to pick up Mom G.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Smith River

We spent the day at Mom G's. Michael and I did a bunch of "odd jobs" for her. The kids enjoyed the run of the river.....since they did 3 weeks of school last week, this seems only fair! ::wink::  OK - school for the day - P.E.; Science (buoyancy test, hydrodynamics, zoology, studied bark from Redwoods and Douglas fir, identified and avoided Poison Oak), genealogy, local history, ecology & civics (neighborhood water rights)...yep - it will count as a roadschool day!  

Lots of driftwood brought in by high waters

No matter the age - my boys like to play with light sabers, swords and sticks

Arrow continues to be our river buddy

Even Yuuki likes the Smith River

Smith River

Seven months ago, Alex lost an arrow while at the Smith River.....Look what he found today in the driftwood at the high water mark! 

 Spring Colors

The 411 on our current connectivity for those who want to know:

  • Michael and Nolan can receive texts and calls
  • De'Etta received one text today and no replies went out
  • This valley seems to be a Verizon cell/data plan dead spot
  • Our range extender is making the park's wifi work for us when we're at the trailer
  • We will be going into town tomorrow - I hope to be able to get out some texts and Nolan hopes to use the Verizon mifi for Japanese.....
  • BreZaak has the land line numbers for our RV Park and Mom G if any of you need to reach us and can't use Michael's phone or email. 

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

38 Weeks - Our Bella Will be here Soon!

Borrowing from Bre's blog to make sure I get it all right! LOL 

"(March 25th) ultra sound measured her (Bella) at 5 lbs 9 oz which would put her in the 9th percentile size wise. My OB/GYN (and us as well) felt confident her size is a genetic thing due to the fact that both my mom and I were born small. However, if a baby is below the 10th percentile, they like to send them to a specialist to get a second opinion just in case. 
Thus today found us in another last ultra sound at the specialist. This ultra sound was better as it is specifically for seeing small babies. We saw lots of details including every part of her spine, that she is very much a girl, that she has all her toes and fingers, and that she does indeed have a lot of hair. More importantly, we saw that she is absolutely perfect! The icing on the cake: this ultra sound measured her at 6 lb 1 oz which puts here in the 17th percentile. All is well and proceeding just right. We did get some new pictures including some 3D pictures out of our little extra excursion today." 

We have more pictures of our little princess to share! 

Sucking - a good sign.

From Mild to Wild in 1.2 Seconds

We woke up this morning with a view of the Rogue River. It was so peaceful and beautiful.....that we didn't really want to leave. We enjoyed our morning at the park. I tossed out the idea of detouring to see Mom G before we headed to Eugene. The more we thought about it - we were only TWO HOURS from Mom G - and the OR kids were all busy today. We decided to drive down to Crescent City, CA to visit Mom G - then head back to Eugene.  We called Mom G to be sure she was at home....

....and by 11:30 a.m we were on the road. We had two hours to drive over Hwy 199 and envisioned a late lunch, afternoon visiting, grilling around the fire this was not to be. 

I had just told Michael I heard a flapping noise...when BANG.... (this is the Boo). 

Several things happened  at once, the van began to swerve, the trailer began to swerve, the road was twisting, Yuuki dove under Michael's feet, Michael threw Yuuki my way, my life passed before my eyes and Michael found a spot to pull over! I posted the above photo on Facebook and friends began to pray. I was especially heartened by the women in the RoadSchoolMomsBible study who knew exactly what this means for a full time family on the all prayed.....we began the chore of securing the area, calming the dog (below), disconnecting the trailer, raising the van, lowering the spare tire..... 
Yuuki does not approve of these sorts of shenanigans

The reflector was my job

While we were in the midst of this someone stopped - a man in white from Les Schwab! All those FB friends prayed in a Good Samaritan. He said he "happened" to have a tire to fix in Selma (a small town indeed) and was on the way back to the shop in Grants Pass.

 Yes, we check our tires OFTEN, every time we get gas. This is a 50k mile warranty tire - purchased nine months ago! It, and all the other tires, looked fine this a.m. We are not overweight. We balance the weight. We'll be stopping at a scale the next time we see one to triple check.

Lots of damage to the van

Stace from the South Grants Pass shop is a hero!
 We turned around (not an easy feat on Hwy 199 towing a trailer) and headed back to Grants Pass. Would you believe the tire was RECALLED and no one notified us???? They gave us another free tire and checked all our other tires. They all look fine and are not on the recall list.  They also told us to get two estimates to repair the damaged van. We'll send the estimates, with the damaged tire, to the tire manufacturer who will hopefully pay for the damage. The first estimate came in at $1800+.

While they rushed the van through the shop, we walked to a Safeway and grabbed some deli food for an impromptu picnic in Grants Pass - not the Redwoods - but it was fine.

We got back on the road and pulled into our site at 6:30 p.m.  That is how a 2 hour detour to see Mom G ended up taking us seven hours - and we've still not seen her. It was 8 p.m. by the time we were set up and had dinner. Note: Veggie Pot Pie was a great travel day dinner. Grilled Burgers not so much - you never know how late you'll arrive.  We are going to spend a couple of nights here. We need to get another estimate, have fun, hug some Redwood trees and relax.

Stacia was a bit clueless, about 30 miles from the Redwoods she said, "Wait! We WERE in OREGON! Are we back in CALIFORNIA? Are we EVER going to get out of California?" ::snort::

Lessons learned - listen and check out  any odd noises IMMEDIATELY, do NOT pick up a steel belted tire when it blows - OUCH.

BOO - well - the tire blew and we were on the road a long time

YAY - no one was hurt, the van didn't roll, there were no semis coming at us, no one tail ended us when we began slowing and swerving, there was a spot to pull over,  a Les Schwab man happened by, we got a "free" replacement tire, there was a grocery store within walking distance, Les Schwab moved us to the front of their repair line, we didn't have to spend a night in Grants Pass,  we were able to get into a spot for 3 nights without a reservation in the Redwoods, and can get another estimate here before heading back up the road to deliver all the paperwork on our way to Eugene.

YAY - we are so thankful we were on HWY 199 (with a turn out) when this happened. If we'd gone to Eugene, as planned, we'd probably have been coming down Sexton pass when it blew. If it had blown later on Hwy 199 it could have been much more dangerous.

BOO - no Verizon cell here (my phone and our data plan); YAY - the extender is picking up camp wifi and we can check email and FB when at the trailer.

Here are a few raw clips of the road today.....