Day 13: salmon, slugs and cabana boys.

We arrived on the 3rd to visit our friends rick and christine in
newburg, oregon right outside of portland. We had so much fun with
them. "Uncle rick" spoiled the kids with pudding, donuts, candy,
chocolate milk (with sprinkles in it) and s'mores. I guess he was
testing the sincerity of my road-trip advice to break the rules. The
rules certainly went out the window, and everyone had a great time.
We go to see christine get baptized, meet some of their friends,
pastor and his wonderful family, and tom and I had the best coffee
we've ever had.

I love to see rick and christine together, and they are so great with
my kids. It makes me so excited to see them as parents, especially so
I can pay them back by indulging their kids with treats, late
bedtimes, and getting them all riled up right as they are getting
tucked in. They are great friends, generous hosts and the best
honorary aunt and uncle we could hope for.

From rick and christine's house, our next stop was crater lake. We
dragged rick and christine with us, and it was lovely... Good weather,
relaxing, a truly splendid evening. Oh wait, this is us we're talking
about, so of course it couldn't go that smoothely. In actuality, it
was arguably the worst possible night we've had yet. It was very
cold, but the real kicker was that there was a lot of melting
happening, so all the mosquitos on planet earth hatched the day we
arrived. It was brilliant timing.

Rick and christine posted some videos on their blog, which I am
supposed to share by inserting a "hyperlink" here. So, good luck
finding those videos.

From crater lake, we crossed the border of california and drove
straight to our campsite in the redwood national park. It was
unbelievable. We set up camp, then went for a hike. We didn't make it
far because we kept stopping to hug the gigantic redwood trees, take
pictures and climb on the root system of a hiuge downed redwood. It
felt like we were trapped in a jurassic park/honey I shrunk the kids
hybrid movie set. It was amazing.

We saw a five inch banana slug, which is apparently not too common,
and is rarely seen outside this area. we were fortunate not to see any
bear or mountain lions, which is apparently becoming more commonplace
here. We took great caution in cleaning out our van very well,
putting all food, chapstick, toiletries, etc. In the bear boxes. When
I asked the ranger if it was safer to keep things hidden in the back
of our car or in the bear boxes he said "oh. The bears can smash
through a car window very easily.". That was a comforting to know as
we set up our tent (significantly weaker than a easily-smashed window)
and piled in our four delicious kids.

This morning, we packed up and drove to klamath overlook, stopping for
some local native american smoked salmon on the way. We just arrived
at the overlook, where the klamath river and the pacific ocean meet.
it was very exciting to reach the pacific ocean! We really made it to
the west coast! We are supposed to be whale-watching, but so far we
are just whale-looking.

Highlights at-a-glance:
-we have driven almost 5,000 miles and through 16 states. (Since this
is day 13, we are averaging more than a state a day.)
-christine and I figured out our future plans which include she and I
running multiple empires that are highly lucrative, allowing tom and
rick to retire and be our cabana boys.
-watching the kids finally reach the "specific ocean!"
-hearing harper sing "ohh ohh ohh ah ohhh, ladies first!" (Sung loudly
and to the tune of "hangin' tough" by the new kids on the blcok.)
-watching marlie "gaggle" at the smell of smoked salmon.
-watching all three kids eat the smoked salmon and like it (marlie included.)
-seeing lots of different animals, but not getting eaten by any of them.
-watching the kids recite our theme bible verse for the trip, not just
when we talk about it... But when it's actually applicable.
-seeing the Big Tree Wayside (formerly the tallest tree, until the top
blew off, leaving just the trunk... Which is 22 feet in diameter. We
haven't actually done this, but it's our next stop and it sounds
-harper yelling "geyser!" and pointing to anything that might be
mistaken for a geyser. (Including fog or sprinklers.)
-seeing christine get baptized... Or "bathtized" as marlie said.
-hearing the kids talk about what we should do "on our next cross-country trip."
-having the best coffee I've ever had. (Organic spicy mexican mocha... Mmmm.)
-meeting Joaquin Pheonix. I think. Maybe. (He had sunglasses on, but
we talked for a while. It was definitely him.) (Maybe.)