fam bam week in the PNW

beautiful day at the beach
rainy day at the waterfall

We had a relatively uneventful trip to Greg and Stephanie’s home in San Carlos, other than yet another crazy gas station experience. Deron’s gas buddy app sent him to a Maverick truck stop, which would have been perfect – except this Maverick wasn’t a truck stop and was too small to accommodate us. So we were forced to search on the fly, and after about three unsuccessful tries, ended up at an Exxon that was barely long enough for us to pull into, and had just enough space for us to squeeze around the building and back out onto the street.

It takes a while to fill up our big tanks, and the whole time we were blocking one of the routes out of the station, so people kept coming around the corner from the other set of pumps, realizing they couldn’t get out, and having to back up and make a tighter turn to go through the pumps if no one was using them, or having to back all the way back around the corner. Sorry folks!!

The worst part was, when we were done and had maneuvered around the tight corner and were waiting at the exit to be able to pull out, a lady in a tiny car pulled into the driveway right in front of us, and started indicating that we should back up so she could squeeze around us. Um, super sorry, lady, but WE CAN’T BACK UP! We kept trying to tell her (through the windshield) that we couldn’t back up, but she couldn’t understand us, so I was just about to jump out and tell her in person when she got so pissed off that she gave up and backed out into the street again (causing frustration with the traffic on the street, as you can probably imagine).

In order to find a way to avoid these gas station frustrations, I decided to jump onto my Facebook RV group and ask them what the heck they do to make this gassing up process easier. We got about 20 different recommendations, so we downloaded a couple apps and feel much more prepared now!

The last adventure before we arrived at Stephanie’s was trying to navigate the ridiculously steep hill she lives on! Our poor 32,000lb coach was already down to about 15mph when we came to a crosswalk right in the middle of the final part of the hill. Of course a little old lady pushed the crosswalk button just as we were approaching, right after Deron said “there better not be anyone trying to cross the street!” So we had to stop and start from scratch.

Of course we eventually made it – the only damage was that some of the coolant splashed out onto the Honda when we were nearly vertical, requiring a trip to the car wash.

Right off the bat, Stephanie wowed us with delicious carnitas tacos for lunch. After some initial wariness, our dogs got on famously with Bella and Bärli (Brynn was more concerned with the huge animatronic werewolf in the foyer than she was with the dogs, LOL), so we decided it would be ok to leave them home together so that we could all go to a surprise party for Greg and Stephanie’s friend Britt at a local restaurant, The Post. Deron and I had never met any of the people at the party (not even Britt, LOL), but everyone was so welcoming; we had lots of fun (and great food). Britt and his wife, Robin, recently bought a house in Kalispell, Montana, and she’s been staying there off and on. When she heard that Kalispell is on our list of possible places to live, she told us we’ll love it, and that we should connect with her if we’re there in May next year.

Sunday morning we took all the dogs to Half Moon Bay for a romp on the beach. Even though it was low tide, there was hardly any beach, but we still found a spot where the dogs could run. Brynn and Hooley did great their first time off leash! The waves were intense – lots of surfers out – and it was so pretty, such a beautiful day! Afterwards we got lobster rolls to go and enjoyed a fabulous lunch and relaxing afternoon at the house.

For dinner, Stephanie wanted to experiment with her new “Spherificator” to make some tomato caviar to put on a caprese salad. The instructions were so complicated that it took three of us to get everything done – and even then, they didn’t turn out exactly right. We think it was a combination of holding the spherificator too high, stirring the pearls too soon, and using water that had too many minerals. But who knows? Hopefully it works better next time. Dinner was still delicious: sous vide ribs with a yummy sauce, samosas sent over from a neighbor, and the caprese salad.

We spent an uneventful Monday night in Red Bluff, mainly listening to Brynn pine for her new furry friends, then headed for two nights in Grant’s Pass. The drive was so pretty, through snow-covered mountains and rivers and trees. Other than a brief trip to get groceries and walk along the Rogue River, we spent most of our time there relaxing in the coach.

Thursday we arrived in Portland, and Tori and Jurell came out to meet us and take the grand tour of the coach. We had a great pizza dinner together and caught up on everything. Friday, after Deron’s Costco run (gotta go whenever we’re close) the four of us (and the dogs) braved the rain to hike up Wahkeena Falls, and to stand at the bottom of Multnomah Falls (the falls were so intense and we were already so wet from the rain and the mist at Wahkeena we couldn’t bear the thought of standing on the bridge over Multnomah). Then we grabbed some burgers and had another fun dinner together. Hooley and Brynn are officially in love with Tori and Jurell 😊.

Tomorrow we head to Florence, Oregon, which is a spot I’d really like us to consider living in – but it’ll take much convincing to get Deron to agree. It’s probably too expensive anyhow, but we’ll be there for two nights, so we’ll see how it plays out.

praise & prayer

We’ve seen snow in a few of the overpasses on the way up here – would you join us in praying for no new snow as we head back through those overpasses on the way back down?

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