Oregon, Washington and Idaho

5 May Friday

It rained during the night and some rain came in through our open bedroom windows…no biggie. It’s a super dreary day…and then Tj threw his back out taking the sewer apart! I really thought we probably should extend here a day because of his back…the campground was pretty empty and we are hooked up to sewer…but Tj thought if Max and I did most of the work he could make it. So we did, and he did. I wonder how much of his eagerness to leave came from the ice maker waiting for us!

We made it to the Wal Mart in OR that had the ice maker and Tj decided to stay in the bus while I got it. His back isn’t great, but it’s ok. He came in after a bit to use the bathroom since we’ll be monitoring our usage at the park. It’s freezing here! I had on a couple of shirts and my big jacket, and this lady came walking out of Wal Mart with short sleeves and capris on. Heh, I’m a wuss!

We got to the state park fine, and there wasn’t much to hook up without sewer! It’s a 30 amp place so we’ll also have to keep an eye on our electricity. There’s a playground pretty close so we sent the boys to play while we set up. After we set up we drove around to the entrance and bought some firewood. The camp host was such a cute little lady! She was full of smiles with a cute silver haircut. We called the boys back and fed them leftover pizza while Tj and I had boiled shrimp. Then we had smores!! Now all our clothes smell like smoke, not to mention we smell like it, and we’re trying to use as little water as possible. Camping!

Jack was so tired after all that that I took him in and got him ready for bed. I laid down with him so he’d actually go to sleep, but that was about 9pm. We’ll try to get him in bed earlier tomorrow night.

6 May Saturday

Tj’s back is so much worse this morning! He says he should move around, but I’d always been taught ice/heat/rest. We were trying to decide if we were doing anything today or just letting him stay home. After an hour or two he felt better so we packed up and headed out to Crater Lake. The other reason we hesitated was there’s still so much snow at CL we weren’t sure we’d even get to see it. Boy am I glad we went!! It was beautiful!! It took us about an hour to get to the visitors center, and Jack’s pass got us in for free. The snow bank there was probably 20′! A little further down we all got out and climbed up to the rim, and it was gorgeous! I am constantly amazed that this is our life. We are so blessed to be able to see God’s beauty. We took a lot of photos and played in the snow. Jack pet every dog he came across, as usual. Max and I walked up the snow bank that covered the roof of a building! It was beautiful, but towards the end I got tired of randomly sinking up to one knee or the other.

When we were all freezing we headed to the gift shop. I found a few cute earrings and a tiny spice bowl I’d been keeping my eye out for, but in the end I settled on a pair of salad claws. I don’t want to buy a lot of things at any one place…I want to remember each place I get a souvenir.

We headed back to the bus and stopped at the one roadside place to eat on the way. Becki’s Cafe. We had the appetizer that was an assortment of fried things with the best ranch dressing I’ve ever had. Then Jack and I split a burger, Tj had a burger and Max had a patty melt. He was disappointed at the amount of smothered onions, but Tj said that’s how patty melts are supposed to be. After our meal Tj and the boys got chocolate pie, and I got blackberry pie with ice cream. I actually added sugar to my pie. I’m not proud of it, but it sure did taste better then.

We headed past the park to buy some cherries I’d seen on the way in yesterday, but the roadside stand was closed. Poo. We stopped at the Dollar General to buy Max some sunglasses, and he is styling now!

At the entrance of our park section we bought another batch of firewood. We sent the boys off to play while we rested and Tj iced his back again. Because our lunch was so big and so late the boys just had 2 smores for supper and I had some chocolate. I brought Jack in at 7:30 to get him started on bed and to clean up the pig sty that our place becomes when we spend most of our time outside. I got him into bed at 8 and laid down with him, and the bum wouldn’t go to sleep! I guess we’ll try 8pm to get into bed at 8:30 tomorrow night. I think all of us are doing fine, but Jack is once again balking at even the simple things we tell him to do. There may just be no getting over this for him. It is a stressful life, despite how wonderful it is.

7 May Sunday

Tj slept poorly, but woke up feeling much better than he did yesterday morning. I think he’s truly on the mend. He did most everything himself like he usually does, but I hovered a bit to make sure I’m around if he needs me. Now we’re heading to Coos Bay Or and are almost there. One more hour to go. We are in some beautiful country. I don’t know what it is but there’s almost nothing more beautiful than a big river at the foot of a tree covered mountain.

When we gassed up this morning we realized in OR you don’t pump your own gas. It’s so strange to stand around watching this girl much younger than us ask us if we want our receipt, then watch her punch the button, and wait for it to print and hand it to us.

We came across an accident that just happened. After a few minutes a guy got out to direct traffic, which was nice. If he hadn’t done that we wouldn’t have been able to get around it without me getting out to direct. It seemed like someone got t-boned at the 3-way intersection. It’s always so sad to see someone at such a hard time in their life.

We got to the campground and it was completely cramped. We didn’t have any trouble fitting the bus, but every campsite was thoroughly surrounded by bushes. It was great, but after Jack had been playing outside for a bit I realized there were lots of 3-leaved bushes!! I’m so paranoid about any of us getting poison ivy, but especially Jack…he’ll smear that everywhere and share it with all of us no matter how hard I try to contain it.

We set up partially, started a load of clothes (gotta wash all those smoky clothes), and headed to Face Rock Creamery. We’re on our own cheese tour through CA, OR and WA. We tasted a lot, and bought a lot, and also had some ice cream there. We saw several weed stores on the way! It surprised me to see them just blatently out there…obviously weed is legal in this state.

On our way back to the bus all the shops I wanted to visit were closed since this is Sunday, so we stopped at the Dollar Tree just to tool around a bit. I gave the boys $2 each just for fun. Max bought 2 bags of Smarties, and Jack bought a spinning toy and some peanut M&M’s. A little farther down the road we saw two women pushing a car so we stopped to help. Tj tried to pop the clutch to get the car started again, but it was no use. Poor people. Car trouble is such a pain!

I dropped the boys off at the beach and headed back to the bus to change out the wash. We’re on 30 amps again, and the washer uses 11 so we can do wash no problem, but we just need to be aware. I unpacked the bus and then picked up the boys again. Jack went immediately into the shower, Max vacuumed the bus, Tj set up the computer and I set out our variety of cheeses for supper. We watched What’s in the Bible while we ate.

8 May Monday

When we went to bed last night I checked the dehumidifier. There was only about a third of the tank full, so I thought we were good for overnight. I was really surprised around 7:30 this morning when it beeped that it was full! I realize now that I still have it on continuous run, but that might have been for the best. I hung our wet clothes in the living room to dry…Tj was slightly leery of running the computer and the dryer at the same time.

When we got to our new digs we decided to take it easy for the rest of the day, we’re still trying to get TJ’s back to normal. He’s doing most of the things, but I don’t want him to pick up the electrical cord cause that sucker weighs a ton! We parked the bus and set up a bit. After a while Max and I went to the really big convenience/gift store at the park’s entrance, and TJ and Jack went to the playground. They’re always lots of fun things in gift stores, but this time I limited my purchases to a selection of salt water taffy. Max and I walked back to the playground and we each tried out the flavors and decided which ones we liked best. After we were finished there we changed into our swimsuits and went to the pool. Nobody else was there the entire time we were in there until about the final five minutes. It was lovely! The hot tub was at about a hundred and one degrees, a little lower than we generally like it, but still very good.

I made bruschetta for supper, that stuff is just the best! Max wanted buffalo chicken pizza for supper, but I didn’t want to have to saute chicken and all of that just for the two of them. I compromised by cutting french bread slices and buttering them, I put provolone and an Italian cheese mix on top and broiled them. Then I put buffalo chicken sauce and ranch dressing on top. Max totally approved. Win one for Mom!

9 May Tuesday

We were super lazy this morning. It was lovely. We finally got out of bed, I got the boys ready and we all headed across the street from our campground to BJ’s to try some seafood. There aren’t really that many seafood restaurants around here, but since we’re on the coast we had to get something from the sea! I had a Baja bowl and TJ had a mahi-mahi bowl. I loved the fish, but there were so many other ingredients that it kind of got lost. There were black beans and rice as a base, with shredded cabbage and pineapple on top of our choice of fish. We added a good bit of their sauces from the three options at the salsa bar they had. I could see trying to copy cat this a bit. The pineapple was really an interesting taste in there.

Before we got to the Tillamook Cheese Factory we saw a big Air Museum on the right. TJ said oh yeah that was on my list of places to stop, so we stopped. It was just a huge blimp hangar with a few old airplanes and other artifacts inside. On the side of one of the walls was a painting depicting how big the Hindenburg was versus other well-known blimps; amazing! There was a video playing about the Hindenburg and some people were interviewed that were there the day it crashed. I forgot that it was so close to the beginning of the war. And I also forgot how many people survived that crash.

Driving here yesterday and a lot today I noticed several quilt patches on the sides of barns and houses and buildings in the area. They’re so pretty. I didn’t stop to take any photos because the photos in a moving vehicle are never any good. Really none of our photos capture the true beauty that we get to see everyday, but some I take just as a reminder of where we are and what we’ve seen. The country here is so beautiful, lots of trees, mountainsides, rivers and lakes. This is a beautiful part of the country.

We finally headed to Tillamook, and saw another creamery on the way that we considered stopping at. Tillamook Creamery is undergoing an overhaul so we didn’t get to tour the factory. But it must be a big deal around here because they had a small display setup with fake cows and lots of information about why do cows get antibiotics and the cycle of a milking cow, getting pregnant, giving birth, and beginning to milk again. There were cheeses to taste, but not very many. I’ve confirmed again and again, I do like Swiss on some sandwiches like a Reuben, but I never want to eat just a piece of Swiss by itself. We bought several kinds of cheese, some salt water taffy and some beef jerky sticks. Then we moved on to the important stuff, the ice cream! We all got a scoop and I had mine in a waffle bowl. I love those things! It all tasted super great, but we had already seen a few stops we wanted to make on the way back home so we didn’t buy any ice cream to bring to the bus.

I had seen a Goodwill on the way and suggested to TJ that he take the boys to the McDonald’s playground we had also seen on the way while I shopped at Goodwill, but he was having none of it. We all went to Goodwill and I filled a buggy with sweaters and shoes. I ended up only buying one sweater, but TJ found Jack an R2D2 shirt, and Max got a skateboard. We left there and went to the McDonald’s playground. Jack is always so excited to see those, he jumps around in his seat and exclaims thank you Mama! a thousand times between the time we see it and the time we actually park. The boys played there for 20 to 30 minutes, and then we headed on down the road.

Traveling around it’s hard to tell what’s a new trend in grocery stores and what’s just different in a different area. The Fred Meyer that we went to to buy groceries was huge! It was like a super Walmart, only I think it’s a little bit bigger. The RV section had things there that I hadn’t seen anywhere except in a RV store.

We filled up the truck with gas. We were on the hunt for a good gas station for the bus, and this one would be a 10 minute drive out of our way. It’s a good backup though if we don’t find anything else.

We had seen a pretty little beach close to where we’re staying now, so we stopped there. We wanted to get back to the campground in time for the boys to go swimming, but we could tell we had already passed that point. At least we would still make it for the adult swim time which was 9 to 10 p.m. We walked around the beach and it was beautiful. I was a little nervous to drive out on the beach because I’ve never done that, but TJ said just don’t gun it, keep a steady rate of speed. When we got ready to go Max was still out on the beach so I drove out to pick him up. We got back to the bus and sent the boys off to the playground while I put up all of the groceries and TJ started planning our route out for tomorrow. We called the boys home and quickly fed them another meal of mock buffalo chicken pizza. TJ and I quickly got dressed and headed out to the swim time about 9:15. Imagine our surprise when it was closed! We should have read the notice more carefully, adult swim time is 9 to 10 a.m.! Boo!

Other things about this place: we saw several large deer feeding right on the side of the road, only about 5′ from our truck. There are lots of rabbits at this campground. They basically have the run of the place which is cool. But there’s a lot of holes in the ground as well. This campground was great except for the fact that after the first night the water pressure was about half of what it had been at first. Also, on our drive out to Tillamook we saw a chicken farm…lots of free range chickens!

10 May Wednesday

We saw more rabbits today. Most of them were black but some were spotted. You can walk very close to them, probably about 2 feet away before they run. It’s a nice place, we walked across the street to the restaurant and that distance again would have brought us to the water.

The boys went off to the playground to play while TJ and I got the bus ready and hooked it up to the truck. On the drive today we saw guys flying with whatever contraption has a skate board on the bottom and a kite on top. You’d think I’d get better at identifying the several types of contraptions that allow people to fly through the air without a plane…we sure have seen lots of them on the Pacific Coast.

When we got close to the campground we’re staying tonight I started looking it up on the phone but couldn’t see any campers on Google satellite view. I like this campground a lot, but of course we only stayed overnight. All the campers are parked parallel to the street with just a little pull off at each spot. There are lots of trees, and also lots of open space. After we pulled through the check-in area and Tj did not hit the woman’s fence (but the woman laughed and told TJ she thought he was going to hit her fence, and he was just a few inches away from it) we stopped at the playground and dropped the boys off while we went on to the campsite and setup. We found out that the ice maker needs to be still for two hours for the freon? to settle before it can make ice cubes. We called the boys back, had them wash their hands and faces, and headed off to a Mediterranean place I found. We made sure to go far inland and eat supper in Washington so that we could put another sticker on our map. Al-Basha Kabab had good food, but of course not the kind of shawarma salad I was hoping for. Their fries were covered in taziki sauce and sprinkled with feta. Yum! The boys got beef kabob on top of fries, with more feta. After supper we went to a little store and bought me a piece of chocolate, then headed back home. The land here is beautiful. Oregon was filled with trees and mountains and craggy drop offs, but just across the river/state line it’s just pretty rolling hills and basically no trees. The highway signs are funny, they’re silhouettes of George Washington’s head with the number inside the silhouette.

11 May Thursday

Tj’s back has flared up again so I’m trying to take it easy on him. Hopefully with us stopping now for the next 3 weeks it’ll have a chance to completely recover.

On our drive we were talking as we occasionally do about telling acquaintances that Jack has Down Syndrome. I don’t like to beat around the bush, I just say Down Syndrome. I told Tj, but then you run the risk of some (idiots) asking how Down’s is he? Without thinking about it at all it just popped out of my mouth that from now on I should answer he’s about this far down (and accompany this with a hand motion depicting his height). Heh. I still laugh every time I think about that. For the record there’s no amount of Down’s that a person is. You either have Down Syndrome or you don’t. Some people with Down Syndrome are more independent than others, but you can’t know how far your child will advance until they get older. You just have to push your child to be as independent as they are able. Kind of like with any other kid, honestly. And I really don’t mind questions of that sort, though I realize even stating the above makes it seem like I do. Because Jack takes up such a big part of my life, and obviously because he’s my son, I love him so much and I always want to talk about him. I find Down Syndrome a pretty fascinating subject and enjoy talking with others about the similarities and differences between him and his brother/other kids.

We passed a sign marking the 45th parallel, the
circle of latitude that is the halfway point between the Equator and the North Pole. Cool.

12 May Friday

We stayed in bed a good while, then got up to run some errands. Our first stop was to get the general delivery address so we can get mail! Finally! It’s been since Tucson that we’ve had the ability to have stuff shipped to us. Next we went out to eat at Buffalo Wild Wings to celebrate Max’s good grades this year. Then we spent a good amount of time at Camping World buying all the things (shower knob, windshield cleaner, sun shade for the bus), and then went out with a salesman to check out some new busses.

Then it was time to drop me off at the hotel!!! Tj surprised me with an overnight and a spa day! How lovely. We got to the hotel around 3:45. I parked in the garage and walked to the hotel…but the entrance wasn’t easy to find. First I went to the elevator that was labeled hotel entrance, but you had to have a room key to use it. So I took the stairs down to the outside, and proceeded to walk all the way around the block to about 10′ before the door I’d used to exit the garage, and there was the entrance. The sign for the hotel wasn’t on the same side of the building as the entrance. I finally checked in, though, and all was well.

I got a text from Tj later saying: I’m so used to you driving I just opened the passenger door! Since he drives the bus all around I do almost all of the in-town driving. Heh. He said as soon as I was gone Jack started asking where’s Mom?

I got to my room and just laid on the bed and did nothing but read my phone. I set an alarm so I’d be ready for my Uber pick-up for my Fork reservation. I kept telling Tj that I would just walk to the restaurant, but he really wanted me to take an Uber. I was nervous just because I’d never done it before, but then the weather looked like it might be bad so we reserved me a ride to the restaurant. I went to the lobby early, but when I checked my phone the address of the hotel was wrong! I texted the Uber driver the correct location, but I think before he read that he just called me and cancelled saying he’d circled the block 3 times without seeing the hotel. Before I’d even finished telling Tj all that happened and asking him what I should do another Uber driver said he was taking the ride. He showed up with no help from me, so it makes me think the other driver just had problems. In the end I made it to Fork a few minutes early.

I’d already chosen the spare ribs over mashed potatoes, but was still a bit full from lunch so wasn’t sure I could handle a full meal. The waitress said it was her favorite thing there, so I went for it 🙂 The meal wasn’t as big as I expected, so I was able to eat it all. And it was wonderful. I asked for a small cup of jus on the side and don’t regret one calorie of it at all.

I walked back to the hotel when I was finished. The spa tomorrow is on the same street as Fork so if the weather’s good I’ll just walk there. The girl at the front desk asked if I’d made it ok; she’d told me the street address for the Uber update before supper. I headed up to my room and then my key wouldn’t work…I had to use it in order to use the elevator. Ugh. I went back to that same girl and apologized for being a problem child, but she was super sweet about the whole thing.

In my room I read my phone and watched TV, and then I went to bed when I wanted. What an awesome gift!

13 May Saturday

Despite the wonderfulness of this gift I didn’t sleep super well, and woke up early. I did doze a bit later, and took my time getting ready. I got to my spa appointment a few minutes early, and enjoyed every minute there! I got scrubbed down with a brush, a seaweed wrap, a lime/something scalp massage, took a shower and blow dried my hair, then a hot stone massage! After that I had a mimosa (my first) and waited for my pedicure. After my pedicure I had a kale/quinoa/feta/walnut/craisin salad. This wonderful day started at 10am and I walked out at 2:45. Amazing!

I walked almost all the way back to the hotel and went shopping at Trader Joe’s. I texted Tj while I was there and he came and got me. He had been hard at work this whole time trying to get all the stuff he needed to change the oil in the bus. In the end he had to order stuff from Amazon, so hopefully he can change it the day he gets back. He also did all the wash and fixed the shower knob. He’s such a handyman!

He cooked supper for us tonight: bone-in ribeyes! They were spot on. My man takes such good care of me!

14 May Sunday

Tj found us a church so we got there in time to find where the boys were going to go. We had to wait on the teacher a bit, and then I remembered I hadn’t sent Jack to the bathroom before leaving the bus. The 3 of us stood around while J went to the bathroom. The bathroom door was open and he just used the stall…so we could hear him flushing and washing, etc. After a minute or two I headed over to see what was taking him so long to come out…and then Tj offered to check on him. He wasn’t there!! Argh! I just kept laughing…here we go again. That sneaky little booger! We looked and looked, but I was being kinda discreet about it…if we’re going to go here 3 weeks they don’t need to know we lost Jack the first Sunday! Tj found him a minute or so later…in the baptistry! I guess there wasn’t water in it because Jack was dry. Heavens! Other than that church was normal 🙂

We didn’t want to go out to eat figuring that since it was Mother’s Day restaurants would be full. We dropped the boys off at the playground and went to the bus and set up for lunch. All of us had a nap after lunch today…another great Mother’s Day present.

Later that afternoon Jack buttoned 2 tiny shirt buttons all by himself! It never ceases to amaze me how we take for granted all the learning that ‘normal’ kids do on their own. And here’s my practically 10-year-old over-the-moon-excited because he buttoned his shirt. He struggled with each button for probably 2 full minutes before he got that blasted button pulled through, and he was so proud of himself!

15 May Monday

We laid in bed all morning. After we got up at some point Tj and Max played Legos while​ I cut my hair. Sadly this haircut didn’t go as well as the others, it’s too short! I think/hope it’s not too bad, and fortunately the bad part is in the back where I can’t see it. It’ll grow out.

We went to a diner for lunch and I finally got a good Reuben. The fries were great too. I got Jack eggs benedict so I could have a taste, Tj got the chicken fried steak on a bed of hash browns with gravy, corn and an egg on top, and Max had a belgian waffle. I think I want to eat here again!

We headed to the grocery store but there was a Library! in the same strip mall building. We tried to go to it but it’s closed today. What’s with the exclamation point at the end of that word I wonder. Also in that strip mall was a thrift shop where I got Jack some pj pants.

When we got home I cut everyone’s hair, and then we went out for ice cream for supper. After the boys were in bed Tj and I watched the last of Mr. Robot and hit the hay.

16 May Tuesday

We left at 7am to bring Tj to work. Sometime later UPS called to say that they don’t deliver to the post office…so when the PO said sign up for general delivery and all your mail will come here I guess they just meant USPS. I don’t understand how Amazon doesn’t recognize that as a USPS address and ship it all by USPS.

I made us a salad for lunch and used my redwood bowl and Crater Lake salad claws for the first time. Afterward, during my nap, the UPS guy showed up with our packages! We were told we couldn’t receive our packages on the base, but the UPS guy says he’s already here every day, and until he goes on vacation he’ll deliver anything we get through UPS. Hooray! Fortunately Jack and I were able to fall back asleep pretty easily after that.

This afternoon we had our first hail storm in the bus! Thankfully the hail was tiny, and that part didn’t last long. I guess the wind blew the antenna around a bit because the handle fell from the ceiling at one point. I think all the wind and rain worried Max, but it wasn’t a big deal. I made cheese sauce for supper and we had that over broccoli and potatoes.

Today was the first day of me sending Jack to the bathroom every hour. Hopefully this will make a difference. Also today I started Jack’s basket; I crocheted 2 rounds.

17 May Wednesday

Max just asked me what the Humane Society was. I said I don’t know, they treat animals humanely. He asked if that was wrong. I asked how that would be wrong? He said, I don’t know, do they dress them up in human clothes? Oh how I laughed, but only on the inside.

This may be why we’re having a hard time with Jack keeping his underwear dry. He was playing the iPad this morning and the alarm went off for him to go potty. I told him to go to the bathroom, and he fussed a little bit because he wanted to keep playing, obviously. I asked him if his underwear were dry and he said no. I asked him if he wet his underwear and he said yes. I told him you can’t play the iPad anymore then, and sent him off to go potty. When he came back he tried to turn the iPad on, and I told him no, what did I tell you? He said disobey. I said what did you do, and he said disobey. I said how did you disobey? He didn’t have a good answer. I said are your underwear dry? He said yes. I said did you potty in your underwear? He said no. I felt his pants and they were dry. So the first time when he told me they were wet, he was wrong/lying/not comprehending the question. If I can’t get a straight answer out of him when the answer is a good one how much can I expect him to understand? How much truth should I expect of him?????

We read and messed around until lunch. Max made pancakes and I cooked some Trader Joe’s goyoza and egg rolls. We got cleaned up and then went to the FedEx office to get Tj’s new phone and ship it to him. We went to the library next and Jack set up a big train track and played with that a good while. Max read a Star Wars book. We went to a Goodwill next and got Jack a pj shirt and pants, and best of all a cat puppet. He’s sleeping with ‘Mew’ right now! So sweet.

When I was putting away the clean clothes tonight I found the fudge we bought at Tillamook! Sorry Tj! It won’t be any good by the time you get back. I didn’t mean to hide it, I just forgot about it.

18 May Thursday

The boys started playing tag this morning about 9, and I’ve already told them no tag in the bus, so I sent them outside​ to play on the playground. Heh. Sometimes it’s good to be the mom.

When they came back in I cleaned out the freezer while they played with playdough. After we had lunch I took a nap and let the boys watch a movie. I sent them out to play again and did some work around here…meal planning, cleaning and such. It was a nice boring day. I don’t know how many more of these Max can stand before he fights with Jack enough that I make us start summer school 🙂

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