For those of you that aren’t aware, we just got back from a family trip to Portland and if you’ve been keeping track we’ve been there once before. This time was a completely different experience. That’s what happens when your family doubles in size and you don’t put 4,000 miles on a rental in a single trip.
This time, the greatest part of the trip wasn’t a great party with dancing and celebration or the phenomenal scenery at every turn or the chance to see huge parts of the country for the first time. It might be cliche but the greatest part of the trip this time was experiencing everything through the eyes of our kids and spending lots of time with family.
Recently Reece has been ecstatic about anything that moves (planes, trains, helicopters, tractors, boats etc.) so we try to expose him to what we can. I cannot properly express the size of my sons eyes as he looked out the airport windows at the plane we were about to get on, turns to us and shouts AIRPLANE! He quieted down on the plane but he was insanely excited about the whole process. One of the places we visited in Oregon was the Airplane Museum and I swear that when he walked into the place he thought it was holy ground.
Delilah wouldn’t stop talking about the entire trip. With all of this, remember that she’s three and she’s totally serious. While sitting on the tarmac for the first flight out she yelled “why aren’t we flying yet!?” Much to the amusement of everyone around us. One evening while out in Oregon with family we saw “the first star at night” and we asked her what she wished for. She thought for a minute and then whispered quietly “that we can come to Oregon again.” After arriving back in Rochester, the first thing she said in the airport? “I want to go back to Oregon.”
These are just a few examples but we could tell just watching them that they were thoroughly enjoying their time in a new and interesting place. What made it really special for them and us was the time they got to spend with family whom they only rarely see and to build the beginnings of their relationship with their cousins. By the end of the trip there seemed to be a real bond forming and we wished we could stay longer.
We can’t wait for the next family adventure whether it takes us to Portland with family or Peru with just the kids.
Played on the playground (where Delilah learned her new love of old-school metal slides)
Ate lots of great grilled food (including lots of corn)
Built Delilah a house out of a large cardboard box
All in all it was a great week. Love getting to spend some quality time with our family.
UPDATE: Since this post was written a month and 1/2 ago and just posted today… more progress has been made on the camp. The insulation and electric work is complete, all corners/windows have been framed with rough cut (and painted) 2×4’s and the siding is going up.
When we arrived there was a truck stuck in the sand on the beach. The idiot had gotten stuck trying to pull in a boat larger than the truck itself just as the tide was coming in. We stood and watched for a few minutes while a cop showed up, and a few people tried to help, and we moved on.
We started climbing the sand dune and quickly learned it was a lot higher than it looked! After getting to the top, the view was well worth it. Rachel ran down but I had to keep the flying sand to a minimum, protecting my camera. On the way down we noticed they’d gotten the truck out but only with the assistance of a full size tow truck (who was smart enough not to pull onto the sand, and used their winch).
We spent a great day at a beautiful place. An absolutely perfect place to end a fantastic vacation.
Since we had the whole day to ourselves on Friday we headed to the coast. We weren’t the only ones in the group with the same idea so we traveled out there with Roger, Tess, Heather, Liam and Jill.
There’s another observation we made almost immediately upon arriving in Portland which we’ve failed to mention thus far. There are beautiful wild flowers absolutely everywhere. They grow in fields, by the road and between the sidewalk cracks, literally everywhere! On the way to the coast we found this really neat little fruit and flower stand where you could pick your own flower bouqette (as many as you could fit between your pointer finger and your thumb) for $5. Rachel says this is a fantastic deal and I tend to agree (since I know what it costs to buy her a dozen roses…). They had some good deals on Raspberries and Blackberries also so we picked up a quart of each for $3 a piece. Rachel says there were shasta daisies, spray roses , hydrangeas, lavender, fox glove and many more, although I only know them as the purple, red and yellow ones.
We had Liam with us and this was his first trip to the Pacific Ocean (I think it was his first trip to any ocean but I’m not sure). His goal? to build the greatest Sand Castle the world had ever known. We didn’t exactly fly to Portland with sand castle construction on the mind so we didnt’ have any tools with us and neither did he. Fortunately, Roger came up with the idea of using the ice bucket & cups from the hotel so we snuck them along. When Liam found out what we had, he was ecstatic.
We ended up spending so much time at Cannon Beach building sand castles and exploring Haystack Rock we didn’t make it any further. We had to head back for George & Stacie’s BBQ. Since it wasn’t really that far out of the way, we headed south along the coast to Tillamook and then took route 6 back into Portland. This is a beautiful drive so if you get the chance be sure to take it. Some of the best Scenery we’d seen so far.
That night George and Stacie hosted a great BBQ with friends and family where everyone got to relax, have some good food, good drinks, enjoy great company and play some beanbags and wiffle ball. An enjoyable and relaxing way to prepare for the wedding on Saturday.
Today we learned again why Maui is called the Valley Isle. It’s really called the Valley Isle because of the very large valley between the two dormant volcanoes. However; we like to call it that because of all the luscious beautiful valleys strewn across the landscape. All of which start on the sides of one of the volcanoes.
After listening to another breakfast briefing about things we already knew we should do or already have done, we took a drive to Iao Valley. This is home to the Iao Needle which rises straight up more than 2,000 feet from the valley floor. it is also known as the phallic stone of Kanaloa, Hawaiian god of the ocean. The many pathways leading away from the overlook allowed you to see beautiful scenery and fantastic views of the needle itself.
Atop a high bridge there were two natives jumping into a pool in the tiny steam below, a good 20-30 feet drop. They were defying death for tips and fun we couldn’t decide
which was more important to them.
The view form the valley floor was not the last we’d see of Iao Valley today. We took a tour on Blue Hawaiian Helicopters that lead us over west Maui and Molokai. We flew through some of the most beautiful valleys on the west side of Maui and then flew over to Molokai to see Jurassic Falls and Olo’upena Falls, some of the tallest waterfalls in the world.
After our tour we returned to our room and gussied up for a night out on the… beach. we ate at the very upscale Gerard’s and enjoyed a three course meal with Chekofsky’s Nutcracker playing in the background. Tres chic. When our meal was finished we headed down to the streets and did a little shopping. We ended the night with a ride back to our hotel. Top down, wind in our hair, starry sky above, perfect!
We saw two little birds near our dinner table this evening. The male was puffed out, fanning his wings while he did a courtship dance for his female.
Aww look they’re twitterpated
Twitterpated? But its not the right time. don’t birds mate in early spring?
He looked at me with that coy little smile of his and said
honey, in Hawaii its always the right time.
And its so true! Everywhere you look in this place there is romance, something to put a sparkle in your eye. Today we didn’t do much but still it was one of the best days ever. We took the car out for a spin, that’s all. We saw a little bit of the island and now understand why this is known as the valley isle. There is so much luscious greenery and rolling hills that end abruptly at turquoise blue waters. We let the road take us up steep mountain sides, around sharp bends, and squeeze us through tight passages where you pray to god a sneeze doesn’t jerk the car over the edge and onto the rocky cliffs below. Despite the anxiety of the rocky cliffs edge the drive was one for the books. We stopped at a few sandy beaches (Maui has a lot) and hiked to lookout points were the view just seemed to go on and on. When The Who wrote “I can see for miles and miles” they must have been talking about this place.
Our hotel sent us box of chocolate covered macadamia nuts and a complementary bottle of champagne. We ended our first whole day on Maui with a toast to each other and chocolate macadamia nut kisses. To top it all off we got to experience first hand why it’s said Maui has the most beautiful sunsets on earth.