Monday, July 26, 2010

Road Trip(s)!

This summer we planned to exhaust our entire month of July on vacation. What a great idea! So Byron and I planned a trip through the Redwoods in California our second road trip as a family. National parks have so much to offer and what  a great idea to spend vacation driving with family. This is our opportunity to play games, experience new sites, chat and spend time together only to capture many of the events via photos and movies. (don't worry I will post a few here).  First stop Grants Pass, OR for lunch. Then we drove through the Northern part of the Redwood Forest on our way to  Crescent City, California where we would check in to our hotel on the ocean and do our daily driving from there.  Fully equipped with hot tub, swimming pool and a view we were set! Can I just say it is fascinating to drive through the Redwood forest. I was not prepared for the magnitude of the beauty that we were to witness. I have never before seen such ginormous trees so tall, so wide, and  breathtaking!

Crescent City, California had much to offer us. We were able to spend lots of time on the beach playing in the sand, rocks and driftwood. We had a view of a working lighthouse and visited the lighthouse during low tide on one of our walks. Ty played the drums on the driftwood and sang many songs, he threw rocks in the ocean and played in the water as well.  Of course he has no fear of the ocean so it is a rule to hold hands with mommy or daddy!  We spent three nights in Crescent City and each day we spent driving to and exploring different parts of the Redwoods!  We toured the Mystery of Trees and even drove through a live Redwood tree. Thank God for Byron's ability to drive his rig. A standing ovation was provided by the others watching this event!

"I working!"
Not much side clearance!
The next portion of our trip was designated for the Southern part of the Redwoods near Elk Meadows. We were hoping to see some Elk after speaking with the US Forest Ranger. However, we only were able to see a few fawn, and young deer oh yeah and a buck with velvet on his horns! We spent a few moments capturing their play.  


After the family of deer we made our way to hike in the valley of Ferns. Good thing we brought the truck because we were able to maneuver the deep streams with ease on the way to the hiking spot. This was  a neat hike. We spoke with the ranger who stated that the Fern Valley was filled with walls of 5 different kinds of ferns. She also warned us that the path was not a dry one. We would be crossing different levels of streams and hiking up streams.  Good thing I put on my hiking boots and Ty had his water shoes on. Byron made it with his flip flops.  Afterwards we spent a few minutes warming up in the truck!

What a beautiful place! Ty enjoyed the water oh yeah and taking pictures. Here are a few pictures that he took while riding on mommy and daddy's shoulders at any given point during part of the hike into Fern Valley!

Not too bad, a little blurry but he was able to capture our trail and had so much fun doing so.

From Fern Valley we left Hwy 101 and headed East towards Redding. Amazing that while on this part of the trip we left the 66 degree sunny weather on the coast and minute by minute we increased temperatures! By the time we made it to Redding, California the temperature was a whopping 109 degrees.  Shasta Lake never looked so refreshing.  We made a few pit stops along the way for lunch, potty breaks and just to stretch.  We past through Redding for a 1/2 hour drive to a small town called Dunsmuir.  This is a wonderful little town just below I-5 in California. There we were visiting a friends parents for a few days and enjoying the California mountains and lakes!  Of course Dunsmuir also has one of our (Byron and my) favorite restaurants so we had to eat breakfast there. Ty was able to  meet Larry and Christie Ashcraft.  This town is also very much a railroad town. Larry has been a train engineer for 30 plus years for Southern Pacific (I believe). He is getting ready to retire. Of course Ty early morning as Larry was called to drive to Kalamath Falls, OR that morning, had to go down to the train tracks and wave goodbye.  We walked a block down the road to the station and saw the train arrive, the shift switch and to hear the train whistle blow! Such excitement.

On Friday  July , 16th, 2010 Christie took us out for our 6th anniversary dinner at the Train cars. Dinner on a real train. Of course it was parked. Ty was enamored. "Momma I eat on the train!" Christie could do no wrong after that! Thank you Christie!  

This Restaurant has great food. It is a family run business open only from April through October and then closes for the winter and for the family to provide the necessary upkeep.  Not only do they have a restaurant but behind the restaurant are little train caboose' that have been remodeled into individual places for staying the night. A caboose hotel! They are beautiful inside and of course has AC a necessary must here.  

After a few nights in Dunsmuir, CA and 99 degree weather, we decided we would head up to Ashland, OR (only an hour and 45 minutes away) to settle in for a weekend wedding. We made necessary arrangements to stay in Ashland one extra night in order to cool down a bit with a swimming pool and AC in the hotel.  Ty met up with his cousins and spent time in the pool. We relaxed and celebrated our 6th anniversary that evening with dinner and drinks!  On Sunday the 18th, my friend Jennifer married Byron's cousin Loren. The wedding well, is over! What an expensive portion of the trip. All in all our vacation was wonderful. We enjoyed each other, exploring new places and seeing new things. Ty was a trooper and potty trained the entire time he even pooped in the potty too!.. More on the power of potty another time!

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