View from OMSI, Portland, Oregon
OMSI also had a vintage video games exhibit (Alex LOVED this) which showed the steps involved in getting the material from the drawing board to the finished product. Even though video games are not my thing, it was interested, nonetheless. There were so many other exhibits that we enjoyed and explored---too many to list.
We drove over the Columbia River Bridge to Vancouver, Washington, and spent the next 2 days with my Uncle Steve and cousins Trisha and Paul. This was such a relaxing and pleasant visit! We did a little shopping, watched a few movies, enjoyed Steve's famous Hawaiian burgers with BBQ ham and pineapple and then on Sunday we drove to Gresham, Oregon, to see a vintage car and airplane show. My cousin, James, Steve's oldest son, had a 1971 Chevy Blazer that he had restored entered in the show, and we spent the morning checking out all the COOL cars and watching the planes take off. We finished up just as it started getting much too warm for me. The remainder of our time with my family was spent relaxing and chatting, bike riding and trampoline jumping, sharing meals and drinking lots of ice water to ward off the heat!
The next day Alex and I drove to our campsite at Seaquest State Park, just a stone's throw from Mt. St. Helens. This area was immensely beautiful, mountainous, and tree dense; a perfect spot for a camping adventure. Setting up camp was quick and easy, thanks to being organized and having a helpful son who pitched in and did everything asked of him and then some.
Our home away from home.....for ONE night
Taking a break
It started raining gently just before 8 pm so we turned in early----by 9:30 the gentle rain had turned into a torrnetial downpour! Thinking all was well, I went to sleep. I woke at 12:30am to deflated air mattresses and....a flooded tent!! Not just a little bit of water, but a floor covered in it. Alex was, amazingly, still sleeping soundly, so I roused him and, after changing into dry clothes, we spent the night in the car. The next morning I checked the condition of the tent and it was well beyond saving. We loaded up our camping gear, minus the tent and air mattresses, and left the park. I have to say that I was really heartbroken----this was to be the highlight of our vacation. But, we made the best of it and changed our plans and carried on. What else could we do?
Next on the agenda was a drive to Tacoma, Washington, where my grandmother was born and lived until her mother died in 1929. It was my intention to find my great-grandmothers gravesite (I had called the only Catholic cemetery in Tacoma before we left home to see if she was in fact buried there----she was!). After some help from a very gracious secretary and a groundsman, we found her:
Catherine Lippre 1902-1929
I was quietly overjoyed at finding this link to my lineage. I was raised by my grandmother and, although her mother passed away when she was so small and was buried on my grandmother's 8th birthday, she talked of her often, mostly little things she remembered about her. Finding Catherine's grave at Calvary Cemetery has given me a bit of hope that I will be able to uncover more of my family history to pass on to my sons.
From Tacoma we drove back down I-5 to Tenino to spend the afternoon with a dear friend I went to highschool with. Seeing Geraldine brought back memories of our teenage years in the 1980s and how much we've both changed. We enjoyed lunch in a local cafe and visited for a bit at her home, complete with miniature donkeys, goats, and dogs---she is an agriculture teacher so I would have expected nothing less!!
We then traveled back into Oregon, turned toward the coast and Astoria. We had originally planned on Astoria being a day-trip from the campground, but we were forced to make things up as we went along. I had hoped to find a hotel in Astoria so we would be able to see the Maritime Museum and Ft. Clatsop the next day, but being the height of summer travel, all hotels were booked solid. We drove further down the coast hoping to find a hotel, but, alas, NO ROOM AT THE INN! We FINALLY found a room in Newport, Oregon, too many hours from Astoria to make it feasible to drive back in the morning. We drove the 7 1/2 hrs. from Newport to Humboldt County the next day, stopping at several places along the way for photos, to stretch our limbs, and to enjoy one last campstove lunch prepared at a roadside stop.
Oregon Coast, near Heceta Head Lighthouse
The drive from Astoria down the Oregon Coast was stunning! Rocky beaches, rugged coastline, fishing vessels moored in quaint little fishing villages, Heceta Head Lighthouse....little pieces of heaven all along the way. I'm so glad that I have mellowed enough to be able to find beauty in the "detours", in the "messed-up" plans and unexpected trials. Our leaky tent was just a piece of equipment----we got wet, had to sleep scrunched up in the car, but we didn't have to scramble to safety fearing for our lives while a mountain erupted like the campers on Spirit Lake did in May 1980 and we had plenty of food to eat and a cell phone for emergencies. Truly, all was well.
I learned a lot on this vacation:
1. I worship at the feet of the man/woman who came up with roadside Rest Stops!!
2. Don't plan to do too much at too many locations which are MILES apart.
3. Always check gear before leaving.
4. Expect (and prepare for) the unexpected. I'm not sure that duct tape would've worked on our leaky tent, but extra towels to mop up the water might have saved us from having to leave, since it didn't rain again the whole time we were gone.
5. Go with the flow----sometimes that's where all the fun is.
6. Spending a week with my son, just the two of us, was wonderful and I can't wait to do it again!
7. The world is a beautiful place, literally and figuratively, filled with beautiful people.