I am getting so far behind on blogging! Aaaahhhh. What I’ve decided to do since I’m behind and getting farther behind by the day is to share what we have been doing recently and then insert past things here and there. That way I’m not just getting further and further behind.
Last week we spent the week with Shawn’s sister Lydia. She lives in a lovely little valley in the mountains of Idaho. Her house is on a hill surrounded by pine trees and you can watch the deer from the hammock while you rest outside. It was so peaceful and relaxing.
Shawn’s mother grew up in this quiet little valley, and Shawn spent every summer until he was 16 here. He spent him summers helping his grandfather, playing with cousins, haying, riding horses, swimming, and getting into mischief. It was so fun to hear his stories as we drove around and saw all the sights of boyhood summer home.
One thing that he did every summer was float the river. It’s a just the sort of river that begs to be floated on a hot, lazy summer afternoon, so that’s just what we did. It took us about 2.5 hours to float the section we did. A couple of the girl’s, (Katie and Mya) thought it was boring after having floated the much more exciting river in Lava Hot Springs the week before, but Camdon loved it and kept yelling, “This is awesome,” from the top of his lungs which was the exact opposite of what he was saying floating the Lava River. I personally thought it was just right.
Today’s pictures are brought to you courtesy of Jarom and his waterproof camera. Thanks, Jarom!
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Liard Hot Springs was a little bit of heaven in the middle of the Canadian wilderness. After a 10 minute walk from the camp ground, on a boardwalk over very swampy ground, we arrived at a tropical paradise. It was heavenly.
The beautiful wooden pavilion houses the dressing rooms, and the wooden deck under the awning leads to stairs down into two separate pools. The upper pool is fed by the hot spring, and the lower pool is filled by the overflow of the upper pool. The water is very hot at the mouth of the spring and is cooler the farther away from the spring head. This was wonderful because if you were cold you could move up closer to the spring, or if you got hot you could move farther away. The dirt walls around you are carved by the running stream , and underneath your feet are the tiny rocks of the stream bed. The water flowed through the second pool and wound its way around corners as the walls of the stream bed narrowed. I didn’t venture as far back as the stream bed went. It was too cold and too narrow.
When we arrived a good friend of ours from North Pole, AK was there swimming. He was driving to the lower 48 as well, and had stopped there for a bit of relaxation like us. It was sure fun to see a familiar face.
We enjoyed it so much we spent the whole evening there, and then the girls and I went back the next morning before we left. The best part about our time there was that I just got to enjoy my children. I got to just BE with them without any obligations, or appointments, or “you should be doing _________” , or “I should be doing______” “we have to hurry because”. I just got to enjoy our time together, and it was so refreshing. I don’t have enough of those moments with my children, but I’m hoping this trip provides a lot more.
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Friday, June 3, 2016 875 Miles Traveled Stop #19
We camped our second night in a camp ground just outside Watson Lake. We arrived late, we got up late, and then hurried to get out and on the road again. We stopped at the sign forest in Watson Lake. There are over 78,000 signs there. The kids thought it was fabulous. There were rows and rows of signs from places and people all over the world. I wish I had thought about bringing or making a sign for us to add to the sign forest as a remembrance of our epic adventure.
There were also some really old pieces of heavy equipment, an old backhoe, bulldozer, crane and others I couldn’t identify The kids played and played on them. Camdon was in heaven moving and pulling all the levers. You can sure tell they are children of a heavy equipment operator.
We also got groceries in Watson Lake, and then we hurried on down the road to Liard Hot Springs just 135 miles away. I had been promising the kids since we got on the road that we would stop there to camp and swim. We had planned on stopping there the 2nd night, but we just weren’t traveling as fast as I thought we would be traveling. However, being able to have a short driving day on day 3 and being able to enjoy some time out of the car was so nice.
We got to Liard Hot Springs mid afternoon and it was heavenly, the camp ground was nice, the water was perfect, and the kids and I had the best time.
Part 2 of day 3 Liard Hot Springs… To be continued….
The first night on the road we stopped at a great little rv park on the banks of spectacular Kluane Lake. We pulled in around 12:30 local time, and there was a hand written note on the door of the office that said we could pick our own site and pay in the morning. In the morning we woke up to the most fabulous views of the mountains and the lake. It was like being in camping heaven. I could have stayed there for days.
While we were there we met Joireen. She and her husband are retired and are spending their days biking from Anchorage, Alaska to Mexico and then to their home in Phoenix. (You can read about their awesome journey here. This post is the spot we met her.) Listening to her talk, I was so inspired by what they were doing, but my immediate thought was: I could never do that. As we were driving that day, I thought more about Joireen and her adventure, and I had a little talk with myself. Why couldn’t I do what she is doing? She didn’t look like she was super human. (Sorry Joireen) Instead of saying “I can’t” I thought about the reasons I might not be doing what she is doing. Am I too scared to do what she is doing? Do I not want to put the hard work in it takes to do what they are doing? Or is it something I’m just not interested in doing? It isn’t a priority right now?
How many things do I automatically say, “I can’t” to, before I really examine the possibilities. I don’t think there is anything wrong with saying that something isn’t a priority to me, or that I’m not interested in that, but is the real reason I’m saying I can’t, because I’m too scared to try. I don’t want my life to be dictated by the things I scared of, and I don’t want my children seeing me living my life by the things I’m afraid of, either. I want them to see me saying “I can,” and see me working toward my dreams and the things that are important to me, so that they will also have the courage to say “I can.” Now, I’m not saying that I’m going to be biking to Mexico anytime soon. It isn’t a priority right now, but I’m learning that I can do anything that I’m willing to put my time and energy into accomplishing.
It took us ten days, approximately 45 stops, and 2800 miles to get to Bear Lake, Idaho, our first official stop and our first stop visiting family. Let me just say that we are so happy to be done with that part of the trip. Driving through Canada for 6 days, spending 10-12 hours in the car everyday, was long and tedious. It felt like we were going to be in Canada FOREVER. After 6 days in Canada, though, we finally made it back to the U.S., and after another three days driving through Montana and Idaho we made it to Bear Lake. I think it is safe to say that the hardest part of our trip is behind us now, as Shawn will be driving home with us in October, so I don’t have to go it alone again.
We have been gone from home for 20 days now, and traveled 3300 miles. Thankfully we aren’t traveling much now. We are enjoying long, relaxing summer days filled with family, picnics and going to the beach. The summer weather has been splendid, and a balm to my winter weary soul. I can even tell I have a little color to my skin now. Yay, for vitamin D!
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“What you still need to know is this: before a dream is realized, the Soul of the World tests everything that was learned along the way. It does this not because it is evil, but so that we can, in addition to realizing our dreams, master the lessons we’ve learned as we’ve moved toward that dream. That’s the point at which most people give up. It’s the point at which, as we say in the language of the desert, one ‘dies of thirst just when the palm trees have appeared on the horizon.'” –The Alchemist, Paulo Coelho
This was the quote that would go through my mind every time something crazy happened the days leading up to us leaving. This is what I thought about when I had to have a root canal, and a major filling. This is what I thought about when Tabetha came down with strep throat the day we were supposed to leave. I thought about this when Shawn came in the house at 1:30 a.m. the day I was supposed to leave, and said that there was something he needed to fix on the car, and we would have to delay our trip a day. I was seriously wondering if all the work and stress was worth it as this was just the tip of the iceberg.
But, the lesson that kept coming to mind as well, is that God is good and he watches over us. Having a root canal days before leaving although time consuming, expensive, and frustrating, was a blessing that my tooth acted up before we left and not on our trip. Our trip being delayed an extra day was a blessing, because I was able to get everything done without as much stress, and I was able to get some needed sleep before we started out. We were also blessed with a wonderful family friend who took Tabetha to the doctor while we finished packing and loading up. So, even though it felt like we were being tested at every corner, we were blessed beyond measure and have been continually blessed along our way.
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I have 2 days left to finish packing and preparing for our adventure, and in 3 days from now we will be 500 miles into the Canadian wilderness. This is really happening!!
I’ve been lamenting, a bit, this spring that my running/walking partner (I run, he walks) a.k.a my wonderful husband, has kind of lost interest in running/walking, and has been too busy working on my vehicle getting it ready to go for the trip, to run/walk with me. As I was pondering and bemoaning this problem the other day, I realized that Hannah Banana has been dying to do the Color Run. She had wanted to do it last year, but for some reason we missed it, and it has been on her mind ever since. This spring she started insisting we sign up so we wouldn’t miss it again, and once I had committed to running it with her, she has been pushing me to go running with her so she can train. Hannah is very persistent when she wants something, and when I say very I mean very, Very, VERY, and I realized that I had the perfect new running partner right in front of me and I hadn’t even realized it.
Saturday was the Color Run, and it just so happened that it was also my birthday. What a way to celebrate another year of life. Hannah and I had so much fun together. It was the perfect mother/daughter date, and it was something that I think we will always remember. We didn’t do a lot of training, but we did some and we ran the race in 41 minutes. We weren’t the fastest, but we weren’t the slowest either.
Hannah is already insisting that we continue our running through the summer, and I’m so happy that I have such a fun, energetic, and persistent new running partner.
We took Lucille, our camp trailer (named after Lucille Ball and her movie The Long, Long Trailer), on our first camping excursion, a couple of weekends ago, in preparation for our epic adventure, and it was a very educational experience, to say the least.
First off, I decided not to take our dog. I had been considering it, and the kids really want me to take her, but after seeing how much more work it was going to add to the mayhem, and listening to someone else’s dog bark for 3 hours while they were away from their RV, I decided against it.
Second, I learned that I greatly underestimated how much gas was going to cost us. The road trip app that I have been using to calculate the price of gas, apparently doesn’t factor in pulling a fully loaded 26 ft trailer. Ugh!
Thirdly, I learned that when you aren’t hooked up to electricity you can’t expect the battery to last forever, and the furnace doesn’t work without power. We found that out at 5:00 in the morning laying in freezing camper. I stayed in bed while Shawn got up and tried to figure out what the problem was. He flipped switches, looked at lights and buttons, fiddled, hemmed and hawed, and then finally went outside to change the battery.
Fourth, I had the sudden realization as I lay there in that freezing trailer, that on our trip I will be the one flipping switches, looking at lights and buttons and then changing the battery at 5:00 in the morning. What if I can’t figure out what is wrong? Am I up for it? Can I do it? Do I want to do it? Sigh… Laying in a freezing camper at 5:00 in the morning really forces you to evaluate and reevaluate all the whys, whats and hows. Believe me!
And Fifth, I came to the conclusion that, I really am going on this epic adventure to make memories with my children and to build family relationships, the relationships I have with my children and their relationships with each other. Also, to build relationships and make memories with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. My kids haven’t seen any of my family for 3 years. That’s way to long. You can’t put a price on those kinds of relationships and memories with loved ones, and when it comes down to it I would do anything to foster those relationships, even change a battery at 5:00 am in my pajamas.
What a pleasure it was to photograph this adorable baby the day he came into the world. He was welcomed by his 4 brothers that couldn’t be more proud.
Welcome to the world baby E!!