"Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least." ~Goethe~

12 May 2009

Early to rise and tons of adventure!!

After a late retreat to get some sleep, everyone got up (reluctantly) to head off on our first day of adventure with Gary and Chris.  There was a bit of a dilemma over my breakfast choice for the girls which we thought was going to be the tone for the day, but a quick remedy of choices and we were back in business.  I wasn't pleased with the display of dissatisfaction over how the oatmeal was made but I kept my cool (somewhat) and moved on.  Pick your battles but give the eye. ;)

Well, off we were headed down the highway towards Independence, Or. where Amanda (gary and chris' daughter) lives with her husband.  Once again I was reminded how the roads are way too twisty turny and some people just don't obey the traffic laws here in this area.  Especially passing in a no passing zone on blind hills that have corners on them.  Bright, eh!?  So I just chose to look out the window and pay no attention to the craziness that was ahead.  We were in two cars this day and I didn't want to add to the "excitement".  Very kind of me, I know.  :)  We followed Gary towards a "hill" that we had to go down in order to get to the main highway we wanted.  Well, Glenn and I were blown away by the stop sign we came up on.  There was a little white sign under the stop sign that said "right turn permitted without stopping".  Are you serious!  Sorry, but I never would have thought of that one.  But we had to obey and follow Gary in order to go down the 18% grade hill!  Yes, you read right.  I have never seen anything like that either.  To say the least, I was not happy going down that road with the edge on my side part of the way down.  Glenn would tell me to look at something and I would say "oh, that's cool" as I was looking the other way.  This wuss was very glad to get to the bottom of that hill I tell you.  

So on our way we were to go pick up Amanda to spend the day with us.  She got married last year and it is hard for me to imagine that being I've known her since she was 5 or 6.  Time passes WAY TOO FAST!!  After getting her, we headed  out to get an early lunch which turned out to be this groups usual laugh fest.  We couldn't even eat a Dairy Queen without getting the giggles and nearly losing control.  The girls behind the counter kept looking at us all like we were crazy.  We are.  Amanda said it had been too long since she had a simple thing as eating at a restaurant turned into a side splitting adventure.  Oh little did she know what was to come for dinner.  :)

After topping off the gas, that didn't take too long this time, we were headed down the road towards the Wings of Wonder exhibit.  Poor Amanda had to sit in the back with the girls and enjoy the excitement of the "roller coaster" roads.  Before long she was giggling as much as the girls.  There were a few missed turns because there really aren't any good directional signs going out to the exhibit.  Print the map!  It helps.  :)  
Once you arrive, you are greeted by Bob and Betty Heriford.  The nicest couple you could meet.  And hard working.  They have a wonderful exhibit there and they put their heart into it all.  Kudos to them!  :)  After you pay to get in, you are taken to the lab where all the magic happens.  Everyone was blown away with all that Bob and Betty do to make sure that no diseases pass around to the butterflies before being released.  Check out the link to their site, this place is cool!  Em remembered a lot of info from when her 1st grade class raised butterflies.  Bob was impressed. It was wonderful to hear the excitement in Bob's voice as he was explaining everything about the lab, all the specimens they had and they different stages the butterflies go through.  Awesome!  After that we were taken to the butterfly greenhouse to go and see the butterflies up close.  You couldn't wear jackets in there so that the butterflies didn't hitch a ride out when you were done.  It was a big temperature change!  Mine and Chris's glasses fogged up so much we had to stand in one spot for a few minutes for it to go away so that we could see the butterflies that would land on the ground.  Didn't want to step on all of Bob and Betty's hard work.  :)

Here's SOME of what we saw inside.  I passed on the snake room in the back.  Wuss.  Thank you. :)

My little frog friend

I was able to get three in one shot.  It was hard being they really didn't stay still for long.

Amanda and the girls sitting and watching the butterflies flutter by.  Some of the butterflies zoomed right by the girls and it was funny watching them duck their heads. 
After a fun time at the exhibit, we off again on those crazy Oregon roads headed for the Silver Falls State Park.  That was awesome, except for the heights thing you know.  There are 25 miles of trails to be explored and 10 falls to be seen.  Sadly I cannot say that we went on all of them.  Only about 3 miles of it, to the South Falls, part of the Canyon Trail and back up the Maple Ridge Trail.  You would definitely have to camp there a few days in order to be able to see everything.  WOW!!

We started out by going to South Falls (177ft drop) and seeing it from the top.  Yes, I kept reminding the girls not to lean too far over and Gary kept laughing at me.  I kept reminding him that he didn't know how fast those two mountains goats can move, especially the little one.  And they have no fear like their Dad.  Awesome.

Then it was down the path for us to go and see South Falls up close.
You could feel the mist coming off the falls from even this far away.  It would be nice a hot summer day.  Too cool for the day we went.  :)  But we toughed it out.
And to walk behind it.  Too cool!  
We even found some creatures hiding in the crevices of the rock behind the waterfall.  They looked nice enough and we decided to let them follow us.
We came to the bridge below and had to decided if we would go back up where we came from or head off for some more adventures.
We chose to head off into the unknown.  Great being there are wild beasts roaming around the woods.  Luckily, we saw none of them.
Another look at South Falls before we marched on down the path.

Brenna had to stop and look to make sure to see if there were any fairies living under this huge tree along the path.  None at that time.  She said they must have been out looking for dinner or helping small creatures in the woods.
The little creatures we found behind the falls found a huge hollow tree trunk to check out.  They looked comfy and right at home.
Further down the trail we came to Lower South Falls (93ft drop).  Of course there were wet steps (185 of them) all the way to the bottom where you could walk behind the falls, and the mountain goats wanted to run down them.  One slip and they would be going through the rails and down to the bottom of the pool.  So of course I was again reminding them to take it slow and not to kill themselves.  Gary was laughing at me again.
I was able to get a few people to stop and pose for me.  At least the two up front humored me.  Thanks Gary and Amanda.
One little goat found her way up in the rocks off the side of the falls to get a quiet view of the surroundings.
Then it was back UP the Maple Ridge trail to head back to the parking lot.  We were there for 3-4 hours and the sun was starting to dim behind the hills.  We decided it would be a good idea to head back towards Independence and stop to get a bite of dinner.  Chinese of course.  What else with this gang.  Like I said, you definitely have to spend a few days out at the park to see all the falls and scenery.  Glenn and the girls bolted up the trail being that two little goats had to find a restroom before something burst only to find that the restrooms close to the parking lot were locked!  Not good.  Glenn was running around with two little girls trying to find something for them before they "died".  Gary, Chris, Amanda and I took our sweet time going up the steep climb.  No sense in killing ourselves.  We were okay, just as long as nothing was prowling around looking for dinner.  

Back at the parking lot, Amanda was mortified that Chris looked at a nice looking guy that walked by us.  So of course we had to rib her about that.  We started snacking on some almonds to hold us over till we got to the restaurant.  They were the jalepeno flavored ones which we didn't not know that Amanda is allergic to jalepenos!  I snatched them away from her in a heartbeat and she told Gary and Chris that I snatched food from her and wouldn't let her have any more (laughing the whole time).  Gotta do what you gotta do.

Eating at the Chinese restaurant was nothing different for us.  Too much giggling, laughing and being weird.  Lets not even talk about our ritual with reading our fortune cookies and adding "in bed" to the end of the fortune.  Our sides and faces were hurting afterwards.  Glenn and I even got the eye when we grabbed the ticket for the meal.  You should be afraid, it was an eye to be seen. :)  Amanda's husband Justin joined us there and I'm sure his first impression was "what the ...?".

The trip back to the house was just as hairy as the trip down, but in the dark.  So I closed my eyes most of the time after really noticing how the road width varied a lot with no real reason behind it.  I had to stop looking ahead at Gary's truck to see how much room was between the lines and the tires.  I don't know about the transportation dept. in Oregon.  Different.  And then back up the 18% grade hill to get to the top of the hill where GAry and Chris live.  Yeah.  We made it back safe.  We caught the last bit of our Masterpiece Theater show and off to bed for the next days adventures.  The dogs were happy to see us, even though one of the neighbors watched after them while we were gone.  There was lots of tail "whacking" going on.  You would think that would hurt, smacking your tail on everything you pass by!  Glad it's not me.  :)  That would be a sight wouldn't it!  hahahahaha!

Come back tomorrow to hear the tale of the next days adventures.  Off to get laundry put away and head off for our weekly bowling gig with fellow homeschoolers.  I'm really trying to stick to my old cleaning schedule around here so that there isn't one day filled with nothing but cleaning.  I'm liking my old schedule, alot!  Feels good to get back to normal after quite awhile off being off of it.  The days are calmer.

Have a great day all!  See you back tomorrow!  You never know what this bunch of crazies will be up too!



  1. I'm so glad you are back and happy that you had such a good time. Love all the pictures.

  2. Wow Kar, I would love to have gone with you on your trip. You have some awesome pictures. Isn't it hard to get back to reality when you had such a nice vacation?

  3. The moment you cross a state line, you know it, no matter which state it is. And the moment you return home, you feel better - no matter which state you live in. Dorothy said it best, "There's no place like home." :-)