Sunday, September 29, 2013

Wind cave leaf peeping hike, plus Wyoming

Hiking up to Wind Cave (near Logan UT) was great. Boys even thanked us afterward for taking them. Wow!

One more to show you E's jaunty step:

We drove from Logan into Wyoming today. Second time in a state that none of the 4 of us had been to before.

Gorgeous drive. Here was our view of Bear Lake. So blue it reminded me of the Caribbean.

We're going to Jackson!

We had to stop for bison crossing the highway near Grand Teton. My videographer did her best, but unfortunately the shot didn't get recorded. Oh well, maybe more tomorrow. 

Saw this at Snake River Brewing:

Pray for sun!


Big thanks to our wonderful hosts in Logan, UT:

Chuck and Jen showed us a wonderful time. We just left them a few hours ago and already we are excited to spend more time with them. 

Videos if our hike at Wind Cave...soon.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

We better hurry to catch the sun

Here's the weather as we roll out of Sun Valley:

Idaho: Gem of a State, part deux

Sorry to backtrack, but here was the view from our bed in the tent, at Lake Owyhee:

Oops, it's upside down. Please turn your head. (yes, that is my foot).

And here's a series I call "Love at the Lake: Selfies for 2"

1: Wallowa Lake

2: Lake Owyhee (same hats, different day--story of our lives)

OK, back to my post on Idaho. Famous for its potatoes, so we had to get some. Went to the farmers' market just down the road from our hotel. Got some potatoes, still have not eaten them. See future post for a report on how legit they are. As for Boise's Anaheim peppers, we know they are legit. This guy knows what's up:

Last dinner in Boise was at Bar Gernika, a Basque place with killer lamb grinders. I got mine spicy, Sarah played it safe. So delicious. Plus the Basque Block where the restaurant is has a lot of history, including a recreation of the tree graffiti the lonely Basque shepherds scratched into the bark:

We walked back to the hotel in time to catch the end of the Boise St. football game on TV. Glad we weren't still out and about when they fumbled the game away. Not that Boise strikes me as a rioting town, but you can never be too safe.

Saturday we hit the road and passed this sign, which says "Emmett Next Right," in case you don't have your glasses on. They even spelled it right. Later, when I showed him, his eyes lit up. Big smile.

We drove to Sun Valley to meet up with Larry and Linda and the boys. As we arrived, the Welcome Wagon came out:

(Your speakers are fine. It's just that I rolled up the window.)

We have enjoyed seeing Sun Valley live up to its name. Lots of walks, biking, some tennis (STILL got it!), football catch, and swimming at the awesome YMCA pool. The slide goes so fast and has like 3 wicked turns in a row. We had a blast.

But it's not all fun and games, there's also "school." But wait, why not encourage learning and fun at the same time? We had packed Story Cubes, but didn't get them out until yesterday. With a little prompting, here is what the boys did:

It's fun to see them combining their talents on a project. This year will make me a better teacher, if I pay attention to what works. If not, then it's gonna be Ken Burns all day every day! :)

So, today we roll out of town. The plan was to head north to Stanley, then Salmon. From there to Montana. But then, this forecast for Stanley:


So we are turning south, chasing the sun. Skipping Craters of the Moon (gotta save SOMEthing for later in life, right?) and heading to see our friends Chuck and Jen in Logan, Utah. After my (and the boys') first visit to Idaho, we all make our Utah debut. Feel free to add Utah-related advice in the comments below! 

PS Breaking news from Shanghai: Luke and Alyson had a baby! Welcome Pearl Abbey Macbride! You are in good hands, except for the whole Blue Jays thing.  

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Idaho: Gem of a State

Praise My Wife...Please

Loyal readers, you have had 4 days to peruse Sarah's thorough and wide-ranging blog post. SHE WANTS COMMENTS. So make her day and do whatever annoying things Google asks in order to comment and encourage that budding blogger.

And now, some video. Here's the coolest video I have taken on our trip so far, IMHO. After riding the Wallowa Lake Tramway we hiked up and saw this. Truly we have exchanged 23 million people (Shanghai) for 23 million trees.

As Sarah mentioned in her post last week, the adults enjoyed 4 days off from parenting. We spent 2 by Owyhee Lake, and took a dip in the Snively Hot Springs.

Late summer sun made for hot afternoons, then long shadows and chilly nights. Lucky for us, I had failed to tie down our sleeping bags the day we drove out of Lake Wallowa. So they disappeared and we got the opportunity to buy newer, warmer bags. Yay!

For a manmade lake, Owyhee is a looker. And hardly a soul in sight.

Here's the coolest part of the drive there:

After getting away from it all, we hit Boise for 2 days. Lots of good local food and beer. Our hipster hotel even had a free burlesque show in the outdoor courtyard bar. With pole dancing, an excellent fan dance (truly a piece of art) and more. (sorry no photos). And the odd thing about the crowd there in the hotel bar was, we were on the young side. Several of the other folks were like 60, including a lurker who stood behind the stage-ish area the whole time. Kinda kills the hipster vive when the "cool kids" are us 40-year-olds.

more soon-low battery!

Friday, September 20, 2013

Backtracking from Bend to Boise....

Dear readers, we're here at The Modern Hotel in Boise, Idaho.  We've been in a stretch without cell and internet service, and the bits and pieces where we do have service, we're finding ourselves busy with adventures (or laundry, as the case may be).  We'll be meeting with Grandma and Grandpa Pearmine (who have the gingers!) in Sun Valley tomorrow for a couple of fun days, and are working on our where's next from here.  The car is holding up, and it's slow up the hills, and that's ok.  The people are holding up; instead of 7:15 SST meetings, I spend a lot of time prepping meals, washing dishes, and putting things away, and that's ok.  We're learning some stuff, and it's not formal.  What I am most amazed with are the conversations with strangers at the campground.  As soon as we pull in, we get the looks...different than the looks we attracted in China, but looks of open curiosity.  Then we get the visitors, people slowly making their moves as Gary starts the setup.  "Where'd you get that?  Did you have to import it?  How does it work?" (they're asking about the camper, people).  And then conversation turns to their own camping experiences, child rearing, schooling, jobs and life.  We have been met with utter acceptance so far.  We get to hear over and over "good for you!  Tomorrow's not promised," and "they'll learn more this year than any year of school."  Which I, for one, need the reassurance, because I want to make it clear...we are aware of how far off from norm this is, and at times, it scares me.  Wakes me up in the middle of the night scares me.  It might be a deer near the tent, or the wind blowing, but when I'm awake, the whatifs and youshoulds start up.  And, I will never, ever NOT do something only because it's scary and unknown! So, keep up the reassurance.  It's good for the ole' blood pressure. 

Here's some pics from the past week?  I don't know how many days...

After Bend, last whateverdaythatwas, we headed to the Fossil Beds in John Day.  Pretty, we thought.  We also thought John Day was in the middle of nowhereseville, until we got to Eastern Oregon.  

Gary's loving the panorama on the iPhone

Because we were only in the area for a night, we upgraded from a tent site to this A-frame Emmett is modeling at the Lands Inn BnB in Kimberly, OR.  Carol told me that her husband Tom picked these up from the Rajneeshi compound about 100 miles away.
We ate dinner next to the airplane hangar, and laid on the ground to look at the stars.  

We headed to the Paleontology Center at the nearby Sheep Rock Unit, where our budding scientist became a Junior Ranger.  He loveslovesloves science, thank you Stefan Fisher! Here's Des and the ranger he peppered with questions.
After John Day, we headed to Pendleton for the Round Up.  We went on Tough Enough to Wear Pink Day, raising money and awareness for Breast Cancer.
We have found a brewery in almost every town!  This is outside Prodigal Son in Pendleton.
I think this picture was taken in Lostine, Oregon, on the way to the Wallowa Lake State Park.  Gary has been taken with big fiberglass fruit since our trip to Australia.  He didn't notice the car and plane as well...


We came into Joseph for the farmers market on Saturday, and loved the sites of this pretty little place!  Now for the history of Chief Joseph

We watched the Kokanee spawn

and enjoyed amazing views from the top of the tram.

Emm made friends with the locals

props to Gar for the panorama selfie

Emm enjoyed reading the markers, and following the rules! (always)

Hello, I'm Sarah, and I am addicted to learning.  Gar took this picture of me outside the laundromat in Joseph, where I'm on a call for my Intensive Individual Skills in Coaching class.  I start a second class this next week, with Barb Fredrickson!
Grandpa Larry and Grandma Linda drove to Joseph, and swept up the boys for FOUR DAYS!!! On our way to Lake Owyhee State Park, we saw this beautiful double rainbow.  This part of the state, on the border with Idaho, is our new definition of out in the middle of nowhere.  And it was fabulous.

A shoutout to our Shanghai Peeps, in Ontario, OR

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Friday, September 13, 2013

Rodeo fun

Loved the Pendleton Round-Up! Three native Oregonians and me, checking off the #1 Bucket List item for Oregonians, according to 1859 magazine.

(See D above the U in Buck)

But we couldn't make up our minds about if the rodeo was racist or not. I mean, the cowboys were all white, except for one Navajo guy who kicked ass in the steer wrestling. (Which is crazy tough, BTW). So the $400,000 is gonna be won by almost all white guys. I think. 

And yet one of the most dangerous and difficult events (to my untrained eyes, at least) was the Indian Relays. One rider for each of the 4 teams. He hops on a horse, rides a lap, then jumps off and switches horses. Twiice! It's fast and crazy. One guy got clipped by another team's horse. But do they win a dime? I don't know. Feel free to educate me in the comments.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Hi all...before we leave the land of wifi, I wanted to do a big picture upload of our first week on the road.  For those of you who know about my low frustration tolerance and lack of computer savvy, please give me big ups for persevering.  
 When you wonder what we're doing, or where we are, here's the picture.  We try to limit this to about a 3 hour drive, every couple of days. And yes, as much as I can, I drive.  I have, what we call, control issues.

Our first stop was in Eugene, and Chris and Sally Bell took us in, even though they'd just moved in and were having their house painted.  Ever flexible friends!  Please note the steepness of their driveway, not accurately captured in this picture.  The neighbors enjoyed watching Gary and I navigate, so lovingly to each other, backwards up this driveway.  He did recommend that they grab a beer and pull out some lawn chairs, as it took a while.  And he did it!
We picnicked (how do you spell that?) on the U of Oregon campus with dear friend and Katie's college roommate, Kaarin Knudson, her hubs Patrick and lovely sprite Elizabeth, who at 3 1/2 liked to tell the boys exactly what they were doing right and wrong.  Luckily, the Pearlz boyz are used to bossy ladies.

Bobby Branch, this one's for you!

Next stop was the Willow-Witt Ranch, outside of Ashland.  Luckily, right before launching, I'd read of this place in the Portland Monthly magazine.  This picture is dark, but we tent camped here for three nights, and attended plays in the evening in Ashland at the Oregon Shakespearean Festival.
 Here's our campsite during the day.  Not bad.  The goat herding dogs of the Ranch took us in and guarded us by night, as they'd decided the boys were part of their pack.
Here's the drive to and from the plays.  

Luckily John P. broke Desi in to Midsummer Night's Dream last year at SAS, so that's what we saw at the open air Elizabethan Theatre, which was phenomenal.  This night, however, we saw Robin Hood, in which Marion was the heroine to beat all.

Here's the view of the stage

And, back to the ranch.  Why leave, when you have buddies like this to play with?

These puppies were born 5 weeks earlier, and were the sweetest puffballs you've ever seen.  Daily puppy trips for Emmett were a must.
We also loved the pigs!  Stefan Fisher, the bacon and pork chops were TO DIE FOR.  

Here's Emmy helping Jake out with the chores

Emmy and Gary are exhibiting how to use the goat milking apparatus.  

 Everyone should visit this farm.  Everyone, kids or no.  The owners and staff are so friendly, Des followed the farmhands around, peppering them with questions.  We ate from their frozen meat and veggies, which were fabulous.  We woke up each day excited to see what was happening on the farm.  Can't wait to come back in January and see how it looks in the snow!

Emm and the pack goats.  Gar and I were skiddish (they follow you around!), but Emmy jumped over the fence and made friends. 

Gary was proud of his pork chop and peaches on the griddle.  They were, as Emmett is keen to say, amazeballs.

 Next was Crater Lake, where Gar and I went for our honeymoon, 14 years ago.  Still a little bit pretty.  Emmy quotes: "I've seen a lot of things, but never anything quite like this," and "I didn't know you could say beautiful this many times a day!  My mouth is tired from saying beautiful."
We're waiting for our boat ride; Emm, as always, prepared. 

Devil's Backbone in Crater Lake

We took the kids on three hikes in one day: breakfast, lunch and dinner.  This is the ranger-led sunset hike up the Watchman Trail. Get ready!

Wizard Island from Watchman's Tower

Still crazy after 14 years

Note the Watchmen: it says .7 miles, not 7 miles!

End of the sunset
Next stop, Bend.  We stayed with Susanna, Pat, Andrew and Reid Abrahamson.  Susanna and Gary used to teach together at Beaverton High, which has seemed to churn out a lot of amazing people.  Susanna has had the good fortune of befriending many Gervaisians, Steve Saalfeld from UPS and Heather Melcher from Bend days.  She gave us the full Bend experience!

We spent a couple of hours looking at frogs and playing in the water at Todd Lake.

Emm and the frogs.  So tiny!

We capped it off at 10 Barrel Brewing.  I would recommend the Sparkle Party!  Don't let the name fool you (or do....)

Up next this week, the Fossil BedsPendleton Roundup, and Wallowa Lake!