>Travel Pictures

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The facade at the Pike Place Market
July 24, 2002 - We woke up this morning to incredible fog.  We couldn't see the water from the beach.  It was eerie and beautiful.  We drove off the Island and hit perfect sunshine. I wanted to show you guys a totem pole, so we drove an hour out of our way upon recommend of the camp ranger.  What a joke.  There were three tiny florescent totems that belonged in a K-mart catalogue.  It began as 'that' kind of day and didn't get much better.  We had decided to drive highway 20 down through the Island.  We thought it would be coast driving with magnificent views of the Juan de Fuca Straits.  Well, we were wrong.  It was 45 mph with even slooooooower traffic through depressing little towns.  Argh.   What was suppose to be one hour of dramatic beauty was three hours of agony.  We even ended up at a seven dollar ferry that we didn't plan on taking.  That part, actually, ended up being a fun part of the day.  You kids loved the idea of driving the truck up on a huge boat and you ran the length of this thing several times.  It was a short ferry and got us just north of Seattle.  The plan was to go right to our hotel (reserved the day before), enjoy the pool and spend the next day in Seattle. 
The kids loved the Space Needle

As luck would have it, we got the AAA map all messed up and spent an hour in Seattle rush hour traffic getting lost.  Mom and Dad were both at wits end and ready to claw each other, so we just went downtown Seattle and decided we'd better enjoy it since we were stuck there.  We ended up having a really fun time.  We hit the Pike Place Market and lured you two through it with buckets of raspberries.  I was surprised at the vagrancy.  The plentiful numbers of drunk Native Americans was a very very sad thing to see.  You two LOVED the sea food booths.  You spent almost half an hour watching huge crabs crawl around in aerated tanks.  The area was colorful and bright and loud and fun.  We enjoyed it.  We got Dad some grape leaves to improve his temper.  We watched the harbor area, as well, and walked up and down the waterfront park. 

We went to the Space Needle and did the typical tourist thing by going up it.  Breck about expired with excitement as you thought it was Cloud City from Star Wars.  The views were magnificent and we thought the whole thing was nicely done.  We had clear weather and couldn't have asked for a nicer time.  We thoroughly enjoyed the gardens around the base of the tower, as well.  By this time, traffic had calmed down (as had the two of us since I called our hotel and found out why we were lost). We drove the clear and easy ten minutes to our hotel and found it to be clean and the pool inviting and warm.  We played in the pool and spa for almost two hours.  Then you guys hopped into the tub for another hour while Dad drove to Denny's for some dinner.  After about twenty minutes of our first TV in a long time, you fell asleep.  A very full and exciting day. 

Our big ole country
July 25-26, 2002 - We slept in this morning and enjoyed being in a bed after five nights of camping.  We showered, played and hung out until we were ready to leave.  We went to a grocery store, stocked up on all we needed and hit the road.  We took Interstate 5 straight south and headed to Oregon. We didn't have a plan and only wanted to drive as far as you guys wanted that day.  We got as far as Tigurd, OR before you wanted to stop for lunch.  Local kids recommended the school playground, so we went there and had a picnic lunch.  You played and got all your energy out.  We hit the road again and ended up going as far as Lincoln City, Oregon, which is on the coast.  We got the VERY last campsite at a Devil's Lake State Park.  It was FULL of RV's from California and Washington.  I guess the Oregon coast draws a lot of tourists on the weekends.  We ended up staying at the site two nights, though we had to shift spots (what a pain with a wet tent).  We set up tent and got ready for two very full days of Ocean beach fun.  Our first beach was just north of town.  It was cool and windy.  We ran and played and oohed and aahed at the huge expanse of beach.  The sand was white and the tide was out.  The waves lapped at your feet and it was just wild enough to thrill you without being too scary for mom. There were huge cliffs at the north end, so we walked all the way there: what a haul for two young kids!.  I ended up carrying Breck back all wrapped up in my sweatshirt.  We played so hard that you were almost falling into your sleeping bags that night. 
The Pacific coast is picturesque but with COLD water!

We woke up the next morning to mist.  We went to the beach north of town, anyway, and played hard there, too.  To our delight, there were about 200 sea lions camped out on the sand bar right across from us.  I took too many pictures and we all watched them frolic and roll around on the sand.  Several swam into the water and poked their noses up on 'our' side of the beach.   The day cleared and we had sun just in time for your afternoon naps.  Dad slept with you almost 2 1/2 hours while I went to the little museum in town.  That was a treat: I learned about Japanese floats (which we later bought as our one tourist purchase of the trip) and the fact that the Japanese had bombed Oregon several times during WWII.  When I got back to the campsite, I rattled and rolled you guys and hauled you all back to the beach north of town.  We had seen campfires all along the beach the previous evening, so we knew we could do that if we wanted.  There was a 'pit' area open on the beach.  Someone had put some driftwood in a Y shape and built up a campfire with rocks.  It was perfect for sand play and fun during the day and wonderful for a fire for dinner and marshmallow roasting after that.   You kids played hard with another family that was building a long river system from rain run off from the cliffs.  I think the dad's had as much fun as the kids.  I ran back to camp and got all that we would need to grill dinner.  We started a campfire on the beach about 6:00 and didn't leave it until 10:00 pm.  We watched the sun set and enjoyed the moon and stars as they came up over the beach.  It was windy and cold, but we had our sweaters and blanket, so were all snug as bugs in a rug.   We hit the tent and you guys were asleep before we could say good-night and we love you. 

The Stutz and Schlossberg kids got along swimmingly
July 27, 2002 - We had agreed to meet at Marc and Mindy's house on the 27th of July.  We took down tent in Lincoln City and began the last leg of our journey to Eugene.  We stopped just east of town at a winery: Flying Dutchmen.  I had wanted to visit some Oregon wineries, so this was a treat for me.  We had missed most of them near McMinnville on our way to the coast.  We were surprised to find one so close to the ocean.  They grew their grapes in the valley and pressed them near the beach.  There was a lovely sitting area over-looking the Ocean with cliffs to the north and white beach a hundred feet straight down.  I sampled some wines (Oregon is known for Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir) while Dad watched you guys outside and then we switched.  I bought four bottles and we hit the road again. The drive was longer than we expected, but it was lovely so we didn't mind.  We ended up at Interstate 5 near Corvallis and hit the road south to Eugene.  We could see clear cut forest all around.  A lot of farms, too.  I didn't know what to expect - but it was more similar to MN than I thought it would be.  We stopped at a Denny's for lunch and then called the Schlossbergs.  We got directions and showed up at their house about 4:00 pm.  We were set for four days in Eugene!!
We played a lot in the back yard
On the coast
July 27 - Aug 1, 2002 - Eugene's pattern continued what we had begun in Provo: one special thing a day with lots of down relax time.   Marc is a professor of Geographic Information Systems at U of Oregon.  He took us for a stroll around the neighborhood.  The campus is lovely.  It appeals to educators and the environmentally minded.  The flowers were incredible.  Mindy explained the long wet winters (rarely with snow) and short pleasant summers.  Lavender was everywhere, as were flowering trees.  The area reminded me of Ann Arbor without the wealth of the medical community.  Another day we cruised the downtown area.  The Tuesday  farmer's market was wonderful.  You guys ate beans and raspberries for hours.  We strolled the streets and Mindy and I went to a flower store while the dads let you watch trains at the station.  It reminded me of Rochester without Mayo.  Everything was clean, well-organized and maintained.  Another day we took the kids to the park and hit some community fun: Parks and Rec had face-painting, jumping pit and snack. 

One day we went to the beach and hiked the Hobbit Trail.  It was an easy hike with a gorgeous beach at the end.  We played there about three hours.  The tide was low - but rising.  I saw a bunch of sea stars, but couldn't get you guys to them before the tide became dangerous.  Dad picked up a dead one, though, and we are drying it (hopefully).  Dad also found whole sand dollars.  Dad played horse with all you guys and tossed you around the beach.  On the drive back we stopped in Florence and had ice cream.  There were some boys who were crabbing and you all watched them with utter fascination.   We hung out for a bit and then headed home.  You were all very tired, so we hit the hay early.  Another day Mindy and I went out to dinner leaving the boys at home with the kids.  We also had Mexican at a build-you-own burrito place.  Fun and yummy.  Marc and Mindy's neighborhood is lovely (as is their house) and we took the kids for walks every day.  One afternoon we went to Eugene Emeralds baseball game.  They lost in a dramatic last two innings, but we had a great time.  Marc tells me it is one the oldest wood stadiums in the USA.  Baseball must have impressed you guys because you guys and Noah wanted to play nothing but that once we got home.  Their back yard is lovely and we spent hours there hitting the ball and playing in the sandbox.  Marc and Mindy are special friends and I am so glad we got to spend some time with them in their new home. 

OOOOOh - you can't beat ice cream!
Aug 1, 2002  -  Home Again  Home Again, Jiggety Jig.  The new Saturn had been making funny noises ever since Flaming Gorge.  Eugene was the first stop between here and there that had a Saturn dealership.  We should have taken it in on Monday, but we waited until Wednesday.  Bad decision.  Turns out the fuel pump is defective and can go at any minute.  The part has to be ordered from TN.  They Fed Ex, but cannot guarantee its arrival by the time our flight leaves at 3:00 from Portland.  Dave ends up driving us to the airport in Marc and Mindy's Volvo.  We make it in good time.  The flight is via Seattle - eventful and easy.  This is the first flight Breck can remember and you are pretty excited about the whole thing.  Alea is tickled pink about the ear-popping thing.  You are happy to have free and easy access to gum.  We arrived in Minneapolis at 9:30.  Grandma and Grandpa are waiting there for us.  We spend the night with them and grandma drives us home to Rochester Friday morning.  We arrive to a jungle.  Weeds took over the lawn!  Our squash and pumpkin are crawling over the sidewalk, into Dick's yard and all the way to our patio.  The sunflowers are ten feet tall and a Rabbit has given birth under our aspen tree.  I spend the next five days trying to mow the lawn and bring some semblance of order to our house.  We did take three hours out of Sunday night because Breck (fresh out of the tub) wiped out on the wood floors and gashed his head open on the couch arm rest.  We ran to the emergency room with Amy and five stitches were put in. You were very brave. 

It is WONDERFUL to be home. 

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