family & fun from Oregon to Idaho

Coos Bay, OR

For the past week we’ve been traveling up the 101, mostly on the coast, enjoying the beautiful scenery of the Pacific Northwest from San Fransisco to Seattle. So many pics! Feel free to skip the folderol and scroll down for a visual survey of our adventures.

Here’s a teaser: a small selection of the many bridges we’ve crossed.

For those of you who didn’t skip ahead and are still reading… after we left Petaluma, we stayed one last night in California and then spent a few nights in Oregon, including two nights in Tillamook. Our daughters live just 1.5 hours from Tillamook, so we touched base with them to see if we could get together. It turned out to be perfect timing: Savanah just started a new job, but her days off coincided with the days we were in town, and she and Tori were already planning to come to Tillamook with their mom and grandparents to have a late lunch and attend a local overdose awareness event to honor the memory of their older sister, Tiffany. We were able to make good time from Coos Bay to Tillamook, get set up at our RV park, and then meet everyone in town. It was nice to spend time with the family, and to remember sweet Tiffany as we participated in the overdose awareness event.

On Thursday, after a quick morning hike up to Munson Creek Falls and lunch at the Tillamook Creamery, we headed to Hillsboro, where the girls live, to run some errands and then meet them for a delicious sushi dinner at Hero Sushi. We especially love that aspect of our #nomadlife – being free to meet up with family and friends wherever they are.

Friday we headed into Washington. About 10 years ago Deron and I began to seriously contemplate what life after UPS might look like. Our hope was that someday we would be able to move to a place with forests and lakes, more rainy and green than San Diego. So Deron began researching different areas, looking at climate, geography and cost of living. Somehow he stumbled upon a little town in Washington that intrigued him, called Aberdeen. So about 7 years ago we took a road trip all the way up to Aberdeen to see what it was like. It’s a cute little town on Gray’s Harbor that meets all our criteria. However, after talking to a few locals, and reading some more information about Aberdeen, we discovered that several large companies had shut down in the past 5-10 years, which had left many people unemployed, and as a result, crime and drug usage were on the rise. So we tabled the idea of moving there.

Fast forward to yesterday… as we were driving into Washington we started looking around and realizing that many of the little towns we were driving through fit our criteria. And, like Texas, Washington doesn’t charge income tax – which makes Deron’s pension check stretch farther. In particular, we started looking into a town called South Bend, and its close neighbor, Raymond. (Deron’s preference is Raymond, because “everybody loves Raymond” LOL.) The housing prices, even in this inflated market, are affordable (more so than Florence, Oregon, which is the only other town currently on our list of potentials), there’s a church in town that looks promising (from the info on their website), and the overall cost of living is low. We’re still going to continue on to Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, to see what that’s like, but we’re definitely adding South Bend/Raymond to our list of possibilities.

Yesterday we boondocked at a Harvest Host location, Dru Bru Brewery, in a little mountain town at Snoqualmie pass, Washington, called Cle Elum (pronounced Clee Ellam; see my random observation about city names in the PNW). Even at 3:30pm when we arrived, the brewery was hopping; tons of families and their dogs were partaking of the locally brewed beer and the gourmet pizza truck parked outside. After we set up, we went over and had a delicious dinner.

Today we arrived in Coeur D’Alene for a week’s stay, and then we plan to continue on to Kalispell/Whitefish, Montana, while the weather is still good for traveling.

I’ll post again next Saturday about our adventures in Coeur D’Alene – I was hoping to post this yesterday, but we can never know what kind of internet coverage we’ll have in any given location.

Until then, be blessed, and enjoy the rest of the scenery we’ve been enjoying!

for the foodies

We’ve been on the road a lot this week, so we haven’t cooked much. But we did have some yummy restaurant food.

restaurant fare

Tillamook Creamery

Lunch at Tillamook Creamery – it’s all about the cheese! Double cheddar grilled cheese with fries, and classic cheeseburger with smoked black pepper white cheddar and a side of triple cheese mac. For dessert: marionberry pie and caramel toffee crunch for me; chocolate peanut butter and coffee almond fudge for Deron.

Dru Bru Brewery

Dinner at Dru Bru Brewery: pizza with spinach, roasted red peppers, kalamata olives, chicken and feta.

praise & prayer

Since we’ve been back on the road, we’ve continued to have mechanical issues…

One of our slideouts slid in crooked and cracked the corner of a mirrored wall, but Deron was able to push the slide back into place and it has since been fine.

Our washing machine stopped spinning – but Deron was able to pull it out and figure out it was just a slipped belt.

Most critically, after our first couple of days of travel, Deron discovered that our oil was low – 6 quarts low!! But without any visible leak, we have no idea what that means. Of course, he immediately contacted the mechanic, who gave him a credit card # to purchase some high-quality oil, and speculated that it’s not an actual leak, but just all the new seals, etc., getting seated. Thankfully, over the next several days it lost less than 2 quarts, so we’re hoping it’s getting settled in. The mechanic had already instructed us to get an oil change after the first 1000-1500 miles and have some of the used oil sent to a lab in a special test kit they gave us, so they can make sure everything is running smoothly. We’ll be working on getting that done in Coeur D’Alene.

We are so so grateful to God for the way He’s provided for and protected us. However, we are still a little shell-shocked with the number and expense of all the problems we’ve encountered. All that to say, anytime something goes awry, it’s hard not to let fear rise up – will this be another time-consuming, massively expensive event?

We would love if you would join us in praying against that fear, that instead we would trust God, who has proven Himself faithful again and again.

Finally, we’d also appreciate prayers for our pups! When we started our journey last year, they quickly got acclimated to RV travel; they were real troopers. They’d jump up on their couch when it was time to go, and then Brynn would pretty much sleep the entire trip; Hooley would sleep, then jump down and eat or drink when he felt like it. Every time we’ve been off the road for a significant length of time, it’s taken them a while, but they eventually re-acclimate. However, on this trip they’re having a really hard time. Unfortunately we started off right away on curvy, bumpy roads, which cause loud noises and a lot of sway in the back where they’re buckled. In addition, almost every day some random thing has fallen over or a cabinet has slammed open and scared them. So now they start panting and shivering the minute they realize it’s time to drive ☹.

We’ve done our best to be more diligent at closing all the cabinets and strapping everything down more securely, and Deron is being careful to take all the curves more slowly; we don’t want them to be in a constant state of anxiety.

Would you pray that they will realize that they are safe, and that they’d be able to resume their nonchalant attitude towards travel?

last but not least – some random observations

  • I hope I never have to be the “concierge” who empties RV tanks in places where full hookups don’t exist, but they still want to charge as if they do. Emptying our own tank is bad enough. (I’ve never even done that, haha, I leave it to Deron.)
  • What is the phenomenon that makes dogs eat any bug, rock, dried up piece of gum or clump of grass, but spit out their specially flavored chewable flea meds?
  • Tillamook High School is appropriately called the “Cheesemakers”… but I can’t imagine what their mascot would look like, LOL.
  • It’s funny how all the Native American city and street names in the Pacific Northwest look so strange and unpronounceable to me, but all the Spanish names in So Cal seem so normal, and I crack up when people say, “El Cayjun” or “La Joll-la.”

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