Monday, July 6, 2015

Day 11: Bellingham, WA

~ Just the Facts ~
Restaurants:  Rocket DonutsBlack Pearl

We camped in a state park along the coast but in a forest.  It felt a lot like home although the trees were not redwoods, of course.  Somehow I forgot to get a picture of our campsite.  We were just there for an overnight and were tired after driving out of Seattle's traffic.

Bellingham is a very cute town.  In the morning, we drove through town and found a place to park the motorhome on a level, shady spot.  Bellingham is rather hilly so that wasn't as easy at it sounds.

The "people" in this art piece represent the people who live on the islands in the bay off the coast of Bellingham.  It was a very cool exhibit.

The tour was led by two students and they did a great job of guiding us through the campus and explaining what life is like for WWU students.  The entire campus is an outdoor art exhibit and some of the art was amazingly cool and some was whimsical. 

We really enjoyed the tour and the campus.  Ruth was feeling good about it except that it has a pretty large student body (not UofO big or U-Dub big but still).  At the end of the tour, Ruth and Greg walked over to the Fairhaven campus.  Fairhaven is like a college inside a university.  They were lucky enough to find a professor working who gave them a tour and talked to Ruth -- kind of a mini-interview.  She was so happy -- what a great experience.  

Seriously amazing views!

All the art at WWU is meant to be interactive.  Here's Greg, Gage, and Ruth interacting with The Stairs to Nowhere (which is what the kids call it).

After the tour, we had lunch at a great Pho/Asian Fusion place, did some grocery shopping, and headed out to North Cascades National Park.  A brand new national park for us . . . exciting.  Plus, we are hoping to get up in elevation and out of the heat.  Fingers crossed. 

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Day 9 - 10: Seattle WA

~ Just the Facts ~
Camping:  Seattle-Tacoma KOA, Kent, WA
Restaurants:  BBQ Pete's, Fogon's

Leaving Portland, we headed to Tacoma to tour University of Puget Sound.  Another great school that we enjoyed immensely.  The campus was beautiful and we could easily imagine the kids being happy there.

After a nasty drive through Seattle's rush hour, we settled in at the KOA in Kent, Washington.  We were hot and tired but still had enough energy to celebrate Greg's birthday by going to a nearby BBQ place with some rather delish bbq and Shiner Bock beer!  

We had our first tour of a large urban school at University of Washington.  U-Dub is impressive and beautiful but both kids decided that urban and large was not for them.  

Ruth decided this statue looked like the personification of the Migraine.  :) 

If you look closely, this one has birds nest materials behind it.  

We LOVED the "Harry Potter" library.  You could almost hear the music! 

After the tour, we found a great Mexican restaurant and then went down to Pike's Place Market.  It was hot and humid and crowded but so much fun.  

Oh, and the Mountain was out.  Mt Rainer, as seen from U-Dub's campus

Day 6, 7, & 8: Portland, OR

~ Just the Facts ~
Campground: Barton County Park

There are lots of colleges in the greater Portland area.  Thankfully, we were only visiting 3 of them with a driveby one to be sure it wasn't a good fit.  

We camped in a county park about a half-hour outside of Portland.  It was along the Clackamas river and just beautiful.  We had the place almost to ourselves.  Really peaceful.  Oh, and bunnies were hopping around.  

Our first trip was to Pacfic University which is in Forest Grove, about 40 minutes west of Portland near the coast.  Greg had to take a conference call so the kids and I left him in the car outside a cute little coffee shop while we did the tour.  Different schools handle prospective student tours differently.  At Pacific, you meet with an admissions counselor before you go on the tour.  We enjoyed that meeting -- one on one attention is good!  The campus is beautiful.  And, Ruth *loved* it.  Definitely on the list.  

Ruth with Boxer, their Chinese dragon-goat-dog mascot

Gage at the indoor field - huge and perfect for the Northwest's weather

Pacific is a beautiful campus

We headed back to Portland to have lunch with friends from college days, Adlai & Lisa and their son, Henry.  It was too short but a great chance to catch up with them a bit.  After lunch, we made our way to Lewis & Clark University just outside Portland.

Lewis & Clark is another great college.  We were pretty tired and it was pretty hot so we had to keep reminding ourselves that 90F weather was not the norm in Portland.   Also, we found that doing 2 tours in one day was a bit much!  

The last college we visited in Portland was Reed College.  Another spectacularly beautiful campus.  We got excited about this one.  

 After visiting Reed, we drove by the very urban Portland State campus, had lunch at the food trucks and then took a long drive up the Columbia and then wound our way back through beautiful Oregon countryside to our campground.  What a day.

Portland is famous for it's food trucks! What a great way to eat! Everyone gets what they want!

Oregon roadside bathrooms often have fresh flowers.  We've seen this before!

Beautiful spot to look down on the Columbia River. 

What an amazing view! 

Day 4 and 5: Eugene, OR

~ Just the Facts ~
Campground: Alice & Steve's backyard
Restaurants: Saturday Market Food Trucks
College:  University of Oregon (private tour)

After we left Ashland, we drove north towards Eugene.  Liza has family there so we were taking a couple of days to visit with family.  

On the way up we stopped at Cottage Grove and visited with Stephan.  He and his wife Jane are saving a beautiful little home that had been given over to blackberries and time.  It was fantastic to see all they have accomplished and what their plans are for this place.  Stephan, a fellow FMC owner, was proud to show off this project.  It will, of course, include 50AMP service at the FMC parking spot near the garage!  

Stephan, on right, was proud to show off his new house.  

We stayed at with Alice and Steve. Alice is Liza's father's youngest sister. They live in a beautiful restored log cabin between Eugene and Florence. We had a beautiful spot to park and they even let the kids stay in the house in their own rooms for a couple of days.   They have spectacular gardens, wild turkeys roaming the grounds, and warm, warm hospitality that will stay with us for a long time.  Walking down to get the best cappuccino in the world every morning is a hard habit to break!  :)

Ruth had eliminated University of Oregon from her list but it was Alice's alma mater so we had to go take a visit.  Gage loved it though -- they call Oregon TrackTown USA, after all.  He took a quick 3 mile run through one of the parks while we walked along the river.  It's a beautiful town.  

Alice is a great tour guide and we had lunch at the Saturday Market (a regular event that combines farmers market, craft fair, and food trucks).  We also got to visit with Liza's aunt and uncle, Linna and Mike.   There was great cousin time too that involved Nerf Gun Wars and a crazy croquet match!  Too much fun!

It was a great time in Eugene.

Gage at UofO's track facilities. 

They really are impressive. 

Pretty nice campsite, eh? 

View down to the cabin. 

Friday, June 19, 2015

Days 2 & 3 - Ashland, Oregon

~ Just the Facts ~

Ashland is a marvelous town and we were really excited to tour Southern Oregon University. SOU is a private college in the heart of Ashland. We found a place to park the FMC in the shade on a level street and took the 4Runner back to the campus for our tour. 

The tour was great. We got to see lots of buildings on campus including two dorm rooms. Tons of information and both kids allowed as how they could see going here. Awesome! 

After the tour, we went and had a fancy (& delish) lunch at Louie's in downtown. We walked a little, checking out the stores and ambiance. 

Then, we collected the FMC and went to our campground. We stayed at Emigrant Lake County Park. Greg had read on a blog about this campground and booked us the best site. 

Really great. The lake is man-made and has all kinds of boating on it. We saw lots of ospreys, killdeer, gulls, Brewers Blackbirds, and more. Mostly the lake is quiet and if you went out, you'd have the place to yourself! Beautiful! 

We did have to move sites for our second night -- we decided after we'd booked that we wanted another night in Ashland. So we got that done and then decided to take a drive. There are lots of options out of Ashland, but we decided to head over to Crater Lake.  We took 62 out of Medford, went to the National Park, and came back on 62 to Klamath Falls where we picked up 66 for a little byway drive back to our campsite. 

Gage is in the picture you just can't see him. Teens! Am I right? 

Pictures don't do it justice. Crater Lake is a must-see spot.

On our drive home, we found cows. Not the first time and I hope not the last. I love roads with "stop for cows" possibilities. We also saw deer and wild turkeys along the way. 
Tomorrow, we head for Eugene! 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Day 1 - Boulder Creek to Weed

Just the Facts: 
Camped:  Friendly RV Park
Restaurants:  In & Out Burger, Redding, CA

Our first day's drive was HOT! We headed out (only 40 minutes behind schedule) and went straight up the Dread Central Valley. Just a reminder . . . No AC while driving in the FMC. Ruth and I took turns (fought over) driving the kids car which has AC.

Eventually we got to Redlands and took a break to let the FMC cool down before cruising up to Lake Shasta and beyond. We had dinner at In-n-Out and then pushed on to Weed. We arrived after dark but stayed at the Friendly RV Park. A good start to our 2015 adventure! #noaccidents

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


We are planning our Summer trip.  With about 3 and 1/2 weeks to go before we leave, it's exciting to get it all planned out.  Unlike many previous trips, this trip is going to be mapped out more carefully as we are going on a great college tour of the Northwest.  

2015 Summer Trip, Pt 1 (Boulder Creek to Bellingham)

2015 Summer Trip, Pt 2 (Bellingham to Boulder Creek)

Google Maps, in its infinite wisdom has limited you to 10 locations on a trip now.  So I split our trip into two parts.  For the first part, we are cruising up Oregon and will be visiting colleges along the way.  We'll also be visiting some of Liza's family in Oregon, having fun in Bend, cruising down a part of Hwy 395 we've never done before, and hanging with Liza's folks in June Lake, CA while Gage is at running camp in Mammoth.  

Next post will be about the upgrades, updates, and changes to our FMC and traveling routine.