Because of arriving in Russian Gulch around 11pm, we didn’t get a really good chance to see where we were staying. When we awoke the following morning, we could see that it was SO. BEAUTIFUL.
We chose a spot right next to the bathrooms (as we always do). As I was finishing up my shower, I came out and found a car parked between us and the bathrooms. I assumed it was another camper, coming to shower. Nope! It was Michri! She had the insight to know that my phone service had been down and I had no way to get ahold of her. She drove into the campground and found us. Isn’t that cool? I felt so loved!
Michri brought her son and their dogs, Pipi and Lucy. The kids enjoyed playing, while we continued to take down camp.
I told Michri that we wanted to try to find Glass Beach and spend some time there, since we would be leaving the coast and heading back towards home today. She knew right where it was, so we followed her to the beach. See the blackberries lining the left side of the path and the wild radish lining the right side?
These are some wild radish blossoms…
We saw a doe, on our walk down to the beach. I didn’t get a very good shot before she journeyed on, but I was excited to see wildlife so close to us.
These succulents remind me of my childhood home in Rancho Penasquitos. They grew all over the hill in our backyard.
And here is our family on the last beach of our tour. I don’t think I had even looked in the mirror, once I got out of the shower….such a hippie! And Luken’s latest thing has been to try to photobomb every picture we take as a family, with whatever obnoxious look he can come up with. Such a stinker!
But when he doesn’t know I am taking a picture, he is so adorable. The kids were so excited to see that Glass Beach was literally all worn pieces of glass and ceramic turned into sand.
It was wonderful getting to know Michri and some of her family. She and I have a common friend, whom we both love dearly.
She was so patient with the kids and her doggies. And she reminded me of Melanie, our friend. Melanie is one of the most tender-hearted beings I know and I always feel so at ease with her. I was so glad that she suggested I meet Michri on our journey. I love making new friends!
Melanie said we could pass for sisters…what do you think?
Glass beach thoroughly rocks! So glad we were able to have Michri show us the way! I guess some people come in to the regular beach front and think that the glass is all gone. No, you just have to have a sister in-the-know! 😉
Ryan thought this conglomeration of sea glass, metal and rock was pretty cool.
Aaron and the kids found a lot of rock crabs and hermit crabs and had them in a pail of water. This one was missing a claw.
This one kept scooting towards the ocean, while I was taking his picture. So cute watching them scuttle sideways.
Simon really enjoyed his new friend!
Ryan was so proud that she found her own crab and even picked it up without getting pinched. She wants to be a scientist someday (along with a chef and florist). She loves animals so much.
Love this guy!
Eventually, we let all of the crabs go at the same time, to see who would be first back to the ocean. Some just burrowed into the glass beach and others went the wrong direction. Here is Michri, helping a couple of lost crabs make it back to their home.
These guys are so cute! The little guy missing his right claw was the first one to the ocean, by the way.
Pipi & Lucy were such sweet pups! The kids loved having doggies around to love on.
Luken’s crab didn’t want him to let go, when he put him into the ocean. Ouch!
The entire beach was made up of this sand and these larger pieces of glass. So gorgeous!
As we were getting ready to leave, a flock of pelicans flew over us.
Because you can’t get enough of these succulents above the beach….at least I couldn’t. LOL
❤ Sun. Dragon. ❤
Little Lady Blossom (Ryan) loved walking Pipi.
So glad that Michri pointed out the wild radish to us. These green pods taste like radish. I know because I had to try one to see for myself.
Soon we were all loaded into our vehicles and I was hugging Michri good-bye. I was really bummed that we didn’t get a chance to go and see her and her husband’s shop (they make knitting hooks out of birch wood). Now, I am going to have to come back….just to see her farm and business. Can’t wait!
There were wild lupines all along the coast and into the heart of Oregon and California. Purple, lavender, white, yellow, all different heights. I fell in love with them all. I finally found some that were on a less-busy road and had Aaron stop so I could get a few pics.
While driving up the middle of California, we saw groves and groves of trees. We couldn’t tell what type of fruit they were growing, but I guessed they were either olives or pistachios. It turns out, that Corning, California is a pretty big grower of olives. We would have stopped and sampled some, but we were in a hurry to get to our next campground before dark (after arriving so late the night before). So, instead, Aaron pulled off to the side of the road and I grabbed my telephoto lens to get a shot as close as I could.
We found a state park with a campground that had showers (FREE) and flushing toilets. The ranger had us follow him on his cart and pointed out our spot. Kind of a lame spot, but I guess he thought it was nice. Other than the mosquitos (this was our only experience with mosquitos, actually. Kind of nice to have 14 days of hanging out and camping outside, without any mosquitos), it was a pretty cool camping experience.
Simon loves camping.
I talked Aaron into leaving the rain fly off while we were here, so we could enjoy the stars.
We had fun experimenting to see which foods were easiest/quickest to make while camping.
Ethan was excited to have caught a frog. I love that my kids all have a deep love for wildlife.
As we left Antlers State Park, we were excited to see Mount Shasta. I took the shots of Shasta from Toy Yoda, moving over 60 mph, but you can still see how majestic she is.
And another dragon shot for my Dragon. When I visited China, I had around 40 dragon shots….all for my Dragon.
Oregon welcomed us.
We routed our trip specifically so we could visit the Medford Temple. There isn’t a whole lot in the area. Except for Crater Lake. And Aaron and I were really looking forward to visiting Crater Lake National Park. Originally, we had planned to go camping there, after we visited the temple. When I called to ask about making reservations, the lady on the phone laughed at me. She said they wouldn’t have the park open until around July and I wouldn’t want to camp then, unless I liked the snow. I was kind of bummed to hear we wouldn’t be making it to Crater Lake, but we will definitely be coming back that way at some point. And it will definitely be later in the summer, so we can see Crater Lake.
The Medford Temple was down a little country road. I had made some tuna sandwiches for lunch, before we headed out, so we could cut down on time and costs.
We picnicked on the lawn, by the stake house that is located next to the temple. Isn’t that old barn across the road fun?
Wish this barn was closer to where I live. I would use it for photo ops like C R A Z Y.
The front of the temple is pretty, too.
After we left Medford, I got on the phone and called Lakeview City in Oregon. I wanted to find out where the best campgrounds were in the area, before we arrived. The receptionist for the city offices told me to call the forest department. I called there and the lady who answered said she was just a fill-in for the day, but she would call me back with more info. She went the extra mile and found us a lovely campground. It was our first campground that wasn’t run by a state or national park. Junipers Reservoir RV Resort rocked!
The kids enjoyed playing horseshoe, while Ethan set up the tent by himself (he and Jamin had a fight and got to have a 30 minute Peace Talk after Ethan finished up the tent…which only took 15 minutes from start to ready-to-sleep-in, by the way. BAM!).
Aaron and I made a yummy dinner. Seriously, after eating so many yummy foods while camping, I don’t think I will ever go back to campfire eating. Tinfoil dinners take so long to make and sometimes end up burnt.
The camp host was a sweetheart and asked if she could take some pics of us in our tent. Apparently, they mostly get RVs and needed some tent shots for their website. I told her I am a photographer and offered to take some shots for her.
If you are ever in between Medford and Idaho or Utah, I highly recommend stopping in to stay at Junipers Reservoir RV Resort. Not only do they have Wifi, they also have HUGE, heated bathrooms with showers, a temp-controlled guest office, laundry facilities, a couple of grills, a large community fire pit, volleyball net, a group bowery, and some stunning landscape. All of this and a soft place to lay down our tent for $20. We’ll take it!
Aaron and I rocked the mexi meal that night. I am so glad we have a single burner. I am going to purchase another burner before we head out camping again. Such a great investment!
I didn’t want to post all of my photos, but here is one that shows the office (which was nicer than some that we had used in hotels) and the bowery.
There is even a piano…should you feel the urge to tickle some ivory.
I loved the fresh wild flowers and juniper berries in the bathrooms. So precious.
I also loved this juniper tree carving. It is these little details that make Junipers Reservoir RV Resort so wonderful. So happy that this could be our last campground on this trip. It was perfect.
The next morning, we took our showers and left Oregon. I think this was the longest and most boring drive of our trip. At some point, we crossed over into Idaho…..and this part of Idaho was equally boring to drive through. Just keeping it real. Not all of your road trip, no matter where you are driving, is going to be awesomeness. 😉
The Boise Temple was our final temple and it was such a treat to be there. While Aaron and the boys were doing baptisms, I took the little ones in to use the restroom and began talking with the two brethren up front. I told them where we were from and our quest to get to every temple along our journey and one of them said he had spent most of his life in Centerville (not far from where I live). I told him I grew up in Centerville and asked his name. He told me and I was happily surprised. I lived just 3 houses down from him for 9 years. And he even remembered my family. Such a small world!
I couldn’t find anyone to take our picture….and this sign is right on the edge of a freeway entrance, so I was a bit worried about my active 5 year old wandering out into the traffic. But Aaron looks jolly!
This one was shot by Jamin. He is getting pretty good at taking our pics.
Visiting the temples was worth the time it took. We were so happy to be able to help out those who have passed before us. Going to the temple is such a treat. We have a goal to go to as many temples as possible on our road trips, to show our kids that it is possible to do, if you have the desire and do a little extra planning.
Along our journey, I noticed that all of the temples have such beautiful stain-glass windows. I especially liked this one. Boise is the City of Trees, so it was fitting.
After the temple, I asked the kids if they wanted to drive back through Hagerman, to visit the Hagerman Fossil Beds and get their last Junior Ranger badge of the trip. They didn’t say anything. I reminded them of the fact that it wasn’t the town’s fault our tires both blew out there. And actually, it was a great blessing that our tires went flat while we were driving along at 25 mph in the daytime, without rain. Had the tires held out for an hour or two longer, we would have been traveling 75-80 mph in the rain and in the dark. The Hagerman Blow Out (which is what our family affectionately refers to that incident as) was a blessing in disguise. After I put it that way, they all said they wanted to give Hagerman another shot.
We drove into town. Luckily, it was a Saturday, so there was no road construction. That saved us around an hour of time, right there. And we even noticed this road sign. We were going to follow our Bliss, but we went to Hagerman instead. LOL
It was the perfect day to visit the Hagerman Fossil Beds. They were having a special celebration from 10-2, where they were letting kids see how the pioneer kids played and they even had the fossil beds open for digging. I guess it was Hagerman National Fossils Day or something….pretty good timing, at any rate.
The kids enjoyed making their own whirly toys.
And doing a little digging for fossils.
This was my favorite group of fossils, together forever.
There were a few “hands on” items for the kids to play with and experience. Which they all enjoyed.
And this awesome Hagerman Horse replica. When Luken asked if it was real and the lady said it was a replica, he said, “So, it’s a fake.” She laughed, “Yep! Technically, it is a fake.” Such a funny kid.
At this location, they don’t swear the kids in, but they did hand out the badges with certificates. Simon was proud to get his fifth badge.
They were ALL proud to have worked so hard to earn their ranger badges. We are looking forward to visiting more national parks around our neck of the woods and more around the nation next year, when we take our next epic road trip. Can’t wait!
We finally made our way home to Utah, where I have to admit life really is elevated. So happy to be home. While this trip was one of my most favorite trips ever and I will never forget it, I am happy to be back in my own bed. Around halfway through the trip, Aaron turned to me and said, “This trip has been awesome. Do you know what would make it even more awesome?” And I had no clue, so I said, “No, what?” He then smiled and said, “Having your own place to come back to every night, like an RV or something.” (or….the bus?) Well, isn’t that a thought? I just laughed, “Yep! That’s the plan. That’s the plan.”
As we drove into our home town and looked around, through our tourist-eyes, looking for the beauty around the next corner, taking it all in like a deep breath of cool, country air, I realized why I needed this vacation. Beyond making some pretty fabulous memories with the people I love more than anything else in the world. Beyond seeing the marvelous wonders of this earth up-close and personal. I needed to see through those eyes that emerge when we are outside of our normal routine, to enjoy the moment more, to take it all in and be content wherever I was. And now I am.
So, until our next adventure…..