How are we doing?

Nate and I message periodically and he recently said, “Let me know how you are doing sometime. The play by play doesn’t tell me everything.” I guess that is true for everyone, so I thought I would take a minute to step back and address that. 

I would say that we are doing great. We are approaching 100 days on the road and so far it has been going well. Logistically, our plans have come together pretty well. The constant planning is annoying, but it is also very exciting. Our car and RV are performing well and we don’t really have many complaints about either. 

We love having nothing on our calendar. Every day I work from 6-2, Susan and the kids do school, and then we get to go explore. Some weeks, like when we are in a national park, are very busy. Others, like when we are just in a town, are not. The balance is good. 

Did I mention that we have nothing on our calendars? That also means that we have no social life. None. Sometimes we have a nice neighbor we befriend for a short time. We have only run into one family that we really connected with. We planned to meet up with them later, but then the fires ruined our plans. We stay on the lookout for folks we might be able to connect with. This affects Susan, me, and the kids. We could all use some friends. 

That is one of the hardest things about being in Des Moines. I know that I miss my friends and my morning/evening soccer. Susan misses her friends and the Willowsong meetings. The kids miss their block classes and soccer. 

We also miss spending time with the Reagens. In Des Moines we usually see them several times a week. It is a community that is part of the foundation of our lives. We connect and share so much with them on a regular basis that it is odd to be without them. We try to keep in touch, but it is not the same as being together. This was especially evident on Susan’s birthday. I don’t mean to belittle our other relationships because we have many important relationships in our lives, both near and far. We have grown used to maintaining those as best we can. It is a change with the Reagens, and Mimi and Papa. 

We used to see Susan’s parents very frequently. They would help us out a lot and the kids loved their weekly trips to the library and out to lunch. That is something they bring up about once a week that they miss. It is nice to know that we will be returning to Des Moines in just a few months. 

We have been lucky to have some friends and familiar faces appear along the way: the Romans in Gatlinburg, the Herrels, Reagens, and Connors in Orange Beach, the Anhalts in La Conner, and we recently visited Susan’s friend Angie in Tacoma. It is nice to see familiar faces. We look forward to more family visits over the next couple of months. Hopefully we will see Susan’s sisters, Cameron, Susan’s parents, and my parents. Our neighbor Rick even talks about visiting us in California.

Did  I mention that we are going to California? We head there in just a few days and I think we are all excited about the possibilities. It is that excitement and the great experiences that help us keep going through the planning and missing our friends. Susan and I recently took a look at the big picture view of our timeline, all the way through next Summer. It’s gonna be great.

101 Bus Ride

We had some work done on the car today and the girls came with me to pick it up.
Meanwhile, Susan and the boys worked on their pickle ball skills back at the campground.

Playing at the Beach

Today we went back into town to get our car sticker and to play at the beach. Andrew and I had the chance to reenact some honeymoon photos. One of the best things about being in Seaside is that I have such fond memories of being here on our honeymoon, even though we were only here for a short time. 

At the beach, the older kids watched Rose while Susan and I went for a run. Then we all worked on a sand castle until we went hunting for sand dollars.

Left: October 2017. Right: June 2004.
Rob & Andrew swinging
Run Break
Sand Castle
Sand Dollar
Filling the watering can

Tillamook

After work we headed down the coast to visit the Tillamook Cheese Factory. We stopped here on our honeymoon and we eat a lot of their cheese, so it was nice to visit. Their main visitors center is under construction so we passed through their temporary visitors center before enjoying some ice cream on the patio.

Olympic -> Seaside, OR

Today we made the drive from the north side of Olympic National Park to Seaside, OR. We stopped on the way at Angie & Zak’s, in Tacoma. Angie and Susan have been friends since college. 

It is good to be back in Seaside, where Susan and I stopped on our honeymoon. 

Also, three month roadiversary today!

Olympic National Park

Today we spent the day exploring the west side of Olympic National Park. It took us about 90 minutes to drive to the entrance.
We started the day with a hike in the Hoh Rainforest.
The kids had fun walking across a tree that had fallen over a small stream. The stream was filled with life. No one fell in!
One of the neatest things we learned about was “Nurse Logs.” When a tree falls over other trees grow out of it, using the fallen tree to get above the brush and for nutrients. The fallen tree is the nurse log. The trees are huge so when the nurse log biodegrades it leaves its child well off the ground, supported by its roots.
They found a slug along the path, in a puddle.
We headed out around lunch time.
After lunch we headed to the coast, to Rialto Beach.
The kids had fun running from the waves.
We walked down the beach, toward Split Rock.
Everyone collected different colored rocks. Mari made a rainbow.
Mari was giving me a hard time about having to walk down the beach to Split Rock. Once we arrived, it was awesome. I had to explain to Mari how awesome it was.
After that, Mari was all smiles.
Elliot was barefoot the whole time, but still enjoyed the exploration.
Susan was all smiles when the sun came out.
LIttle did we know we were also walking to Hole in the Rock, or something of that sort. The awesomeness continues, Mari.
The tidepools contained some beautiful sea life.
What a fun day!

Elwha Estuary

Our neighbor told us about their great visit to the Elwha Estuary, where the Elwha River feeds into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Having some freetime this afternoon, the kids and I decided to check it out. It was very interesting, but also very windy when we were there, which made it hard to enjoy.

Our initial visit to a driftwood shelter.
Playing in the strait.
Sea Gulls. I recommend clicking on the image to view full size, zooming in, and then scrolling around.
Trying to decide where the river ends and the straight begins.
Back in the driftwood shelter for a much-needed respite from the wind.

Geocaching