Week 8-  October 17 Week: Oregon Odyssey

Wow, week eight already!  After two months on the road, we are settling into a routine… well, as much of a routine as this lifestyle can be! 

It has been so fun to visit different churches around the country!  (Although we miss Ridgewood and I REALLY miss playing my trumpet in the worship band each week.)  This week we found a tiny EV Free church in Kelso.  There were probably 35 people in worship.  We had met the pastor when we arrived, so during the greeting time he basically encouraged the whole group to come welcome us like we were in the living room of friends!  (There is really nothing that can compare to Christian brotherhood and sisterhood!) 

Sunday was one of our rest days.  We spent the afternoon just hanging around home-sweet-Harvey.  The RV park in Kelso is convenient to bike trails and the kids and I enjoyed several bike rides here and there. 

After schooling on Monday, we headed across the border into Oregon and along the Columbia river to its conclusion at the Pacific Ocean.  We visited my favorite historic site so far, Fort Clatsop, the camp where Lewis and Clark wintered after successfully making it to the Pacific.  The National Park was all geared up for bicentennial observances of their voyage and we ALL learned a lot through the kids’ Junior Ranger program. 

I am impressed by the foresight of Jefferson and his orchestration of the Louisiana Purchase and subsequent plan for exploring about the land.  I was also impressed with the breadth of the assignments that the Lewis and Clark Corps of Discovery completed, much more than exploring.  They were astronomers, naturalists, geologists, writers, and were peacefully collaborative with the indigenous people wherever they went! 

That evening we headed back up to Washington across the bridge at Astoria to track down the news of the day.  Brenda had seen an article that a school(?) of squid, one to three foot long squid,  had inexplicably washed up on shore.  We made it to the area at dusk alerted by clouds of seagulls enjoying a feast.  It was another one of those unforgettable experiences with our family running around the beach with umbrellas in a driving rain, dodging huge squid carcasses, alternately laughing and being grossed out!  We stopped at a marina on the bay for a late dinner, especially amused by squid appearing on the menu.  Again, the kids passed on seafood… I think they will complete a comprehensive national survey on chicken fingers while Brenda and I try local food. 

We drove into Portland on Tuesday afternoon.  I am sure that the tourist bureau of Portland has a huge list of attractions, all of which we missed except for spending close to four hours in Powell’s new and used bookstore.  Their claim is that they are the largest store of their kind, sprawling across a full city block.  We, needless to say, stocked up on books for the kids’ reading! 

We packed up Harvey Wednesday morning to cross the border into Oregon one more time, this time to head toward and down the stunning Oregon Coast.  The sun came out just as we arrived at the Pacific Shores RV Resort.  We had read about this one in the web journal of another family who had done a trip like ours a few years ago, and it was highly recommended by parents of our school/soccer friends the Wiselys. 

We have to remind the kids that this is not the real world and that this one was a special treat…  we overlook the Pacific, there is a heated indoor pool (heaven for the kids), big clubhouse area with massive fireplace, and the place was almost empty! 

On Thursday after schooling, we headed to Yaquina lighthouse park in Newport.  The folks at Pacific Shores had alerted us that this day was a free day and the lighthouse was open.  As we started investigating our first tide pools, I noticed another couple with school age girls.  Shunning my introverted personality as I have been trying to do on our adventure, I struck up a conversation and found that they are doing the same thing we are as teachers on a sabbatical from their school in State College, PA!   

We ended up enjoying the next three evenings talking for hours with Michael and Kathleen Goldfine, as our kids relished time with their new friends 6th grader Kelson and 4th grader Jael  We had so much in common, and it was encouraging to share experiences and learn from each other.  We were surprised how we each went through the same stages of adjustments while finding a rhythm and were also mutually reassured that we are doing something very significant for our families. 

Friday was an Oregon rainy day that was good for sticking around home, having good schooling, and recharging with a down day as we have found to be so important.  The kids have been doing a lot of writing on their computers.  They all have improved their typing through the Mavis Beacon program I installed on their machines.  Jenna has gone from beginner to over thirty words per minute on her own with the program!  Also, writing in Microsoft Word has been helpful with spelling as it underlines a misspelled word as they write.   

In the afternoon, as I watched the kids playing sea otters together during their PE in the pool, I realized that another of the many benefits of this adventure is how the kids are growing in unity together as sisters and brother.  That evening we went to the campground where the Goldfines were staying to see their “home for the year” and enjoyed chatting around a campfire while the kids continued their socializing. 

We drove thirty miles north to Lincoln City to explore that area on Saturday.  Partway there we stopped at DePoe Bay.  We happened to be overlooking the entrance to the bay just as a squall hit.  A large coast guard cutter was out in the ocean at the mouth of the harbor to the bay.  The wind and waves were tossing it around like a toy as it tried to line up so it could speed through the narrows without getting slammed into the rocks.  They finally made their break and successfully navigated in.  One of the folks watching told us that the his brother was on the boat, and that they were training.  The kids decided they didn’t want to join the coast guard after that! 

The weather cleared for the rest of the day and on the way back to the Newport area we ran into the Goldfines again at another park.  We spent our final evening together with the kids all swimming together at our resort’s pool.  It was like saying goodbye to longtime friends that evening, but we plan to keep in touch by e-mail as each of our journeys progresses.