Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Final Days

... of our Vacation silly!

Today we took the kids to a new school. The school was the Fourth Ward School and it was tucked way up on a hillside in Virginia City, Nevada.

As you can see, the kids were surprised that we were going to transfer them. Effective immediately.
Some of them took the news with pleasure!

The teacher began to take attendance. He was sort of small, but he had quite a commanding attitude, so nobody talked back.
Except one girl. And she was punished accordingly.

Typing class looked like it was going to be tough.

I got to pick my own machine, so I tried my best to show the kids how easy it could be.

Luckily for the kids, it turned out, the Fourth Ward School hadn't accepted any new students in quite a few decades years, so we were out of luck. But we did get to ring the bell on our way out the door! This, unfortunately, attracted a few bad guys.

As you know, bad guys are attracted to ringing school bells.
(They are?)

They were so stupid they weren't even sure what they were supposed to be doing.

They tried to put their masks on so we couldn't ID them, but like I said... they were lacking in brains.
By this point, we were no longer afraid of them.
That's when the sherriff showed up and saved the day.
Tomorrow: We go HOME!

Reno is Different Somehow

We’ve been to Reno so many times I think I’ve lost count. Every year or two, we drive a handful (or more) of Mr Nice Guy’s students to this area for a “field trip”. We arrange tours for them in areas relevant to their field of study (automotive stuff - lots in Carson City), and then we do fun activities to keep things light so we pretty much know our way around.

Reno holds a special place in our hearts, not only because we’ve been here SO many times, but because we chose to get married here as well. Last year when we came here for our anniversary (by ourselves. I know! *gasp*), we decided that Reno didn’t hold its appeal to us as much as it used to. I felt like my life had changed quite a bit over the last few years, and the things that used to be appealing were now NOT interesting to me. Plus, maybe I was just bored of it? Either way, the trip we took down here just last month with the students made me see that Reno was just another place that needed some love. So - when our kids begged to come visit here (because we always seemed happy when we came home from here, right?) we decided that this would be a fun finale to our summer vacation. And, they’d get an interesting glimpse into another kind of place that was nowhere near as protected as their hometown.

I booked some bonus time (el cheapo rates at the last second in a 2 bedroom condo - thank you Worldmark!) and we surprised the kids with a wish come true. They were EX.CI.TED! The girls had been here before with Grandparents, but I think they were ages six and four, so not much really stuck in the form of memories. The drive here was long (via Sacramento) but it was some ground we hadn’t seen before so that was ok with us. The kids got along fine, they watched a couple movies, they didn’t once ask to use a bathroom or say they were bored, and life… was great!

We got into Reno about 7:30 p.m., via a VERY IMPORTANT STOP at Cabela’s. I love you Dad! Sorry you couldn’t be here with us *grin* The kids had more fun at this place than just about anywhere I’d seen along our entire trip. It was so worth it. The boys went bezerk over the huge stuffed rhino. The girls started wandering towards the aquarium. The husband… where did HE go? It was great. Mr. Nice Guy took the kids into the little pretend shooting gallery (which, to us, had been kinda boring last time when we were here *gasp* by ourselves) and they had a ball. We also found out that six pack abs boy is an excellent marksman. Who knew? In the meanwhile, I found a Campfire Marshmallow candle, and it got a free ride in my shopping cart. I also picked up another set of hitch-hikers, some galvanized pantry bins with lids. Oh be still my heart. One had a rooster on it. *faint*

I came back to life to see my boys prancing down the aisle with coon skin caps pulled over their heads. Every patron of the store just melted into giggles when they saw six pack abs boy pull out a pop gun and start running around pioneer style. I remembered hearing those corks popping the last time we visited, and at first I didn’t know what it was. It was sort of an addicting sound, like you just couldn’t STOP doing it. Do I need to say that it had the same effect on my two hoodlum boys? I overheard another customer grab one of the little wooden guns out of a bin and say, “Well everyone else is doing it, I’m going to take a turn!” POP! POP! His friends did the same thing. They turned into small boys right there next to the camouflage hunting gear and stuffed big horn sheep. I secretly applauded them for not growing up too soon.
It was hard to leave the place, but we had more places to go.

When we got to our room, it was wonderful. The air conditioner was pumping out cool air, and the bedrooms looked inviting. The kids vegged out and watched about eight seconds of TV.

I thought we’d kick back and relax for awhile, but nooooo, Mr. Nice Guy had a surprise in his hat and told everyone to get their walking shoes. We were going for a walk!

Oh boy, I think only one of us isn’t missing toe skin from the swimming pool floor’s cheese grater action. Even Mr. Nice Guy was affected, so I wondered how this would pan out. Princess D is sporting a swollen toe and some major bruising, from umpteen stubbing incidents (she is really like me, it’s awful) and so I’ve been taping two of her toes together for a couple days now. A walk! Ok, what fun!

I’m glad we did. We had a ball. It was like a Circus. Ok, so it was. We ended up at the Circus Circus Midway, playing games and watching a balancing act (really, that’s a real act, not just something I say I do all the time!) After all the fun, we walked back to our condo by way of a side trip to Arby’s for a late night dinner. Last time we went to the Midway we were extremely bored. Things sure are different when the kids are along!

Oh look - an unashamed photo of another outhouse just for you!
(From somewhere in Oakhurst, CA)

I know, I know, I'll get better material as soon as I'm back home, I promise!

Today: Who knows. We’re in Reno. It’s different than ever before since we're with the kids so it's anyone’s guess!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Casualties of the Bass Lake Blackout

Nine Hours Later... (Or, since I have nothing to do but sit and write...)

The little light shed from our cell phones kept us from knocking our knees on furniture. We looked around for the emergency flashlight that should have been in our room, but finding none, we decided to take a walk. We knew the check-in office had power, we could hear the noisy generator a mile away.

Blackouts are black. Just so you know. There is no light, from ANYTHING. The smoky skies meant no stars. The only lights we could see were the solar powered path lights that some guy across the street and down the road had along his walkway. They looked like glow worms, but it also helped us know which direction was north. We took turns using our cell phones as mini flashlights. I had no way to recharge mine if it went dead while the power was out, so I finally just stopped using it. Mr Nice Guy and I probably looked like a little old couple maneuvering that parking lot.

Over at the office, I asked for a flashlight, because our little home away from home appeared to be missing one. Hours earlier they had kindly provided me with the pasta fork that was also missing, but by this hour they had many more pasta forks than flashlights. So, I asked if the people next door had checked in yet. As hard of a time as WE had finding the place in broad daylight, I imagined nobody else would show up until the sunlight came back for a visit. We got lucky. They weren’t coming that night, so one of the guys went over and swiped the flashlight from the neighboring condo. I only knew it was there because my parents had just stayed a few days in it, and my daughter TOLD me there was a flashlight in the bedroom drawer. Woohoo!
Bummer it had such a dim light. *sigh* But, we were also issued a nice green glow stick, which had a prominent place in the hallway outside our door for the kids to find their way to the bathroom at night. The flashlight stayed downstairs with the girls in case they needed it, and we all got a good nights sleep.

Yeah. Right.

Now my room was way too hot.

So, we opened all the windows in the place and went to bed - early, but exhausted.

About 10:30 p.m. when the power shot back on (and Mr Nice Guy shot straight up in bed) and the carbon monoxide detector screeched its presence, we realized exactly which lights had been left on earlier in the day. Pretty much all of them. Ok, so that’s not true, I had gone around and turned all the switches to OFF, but every single LAMP was now on. And the washing machine started washing. And the fridge started chilling. And the A/C started cooling. Yeah! After turning off all the lamps on both floors, and just leaving the washing machine to do its thing (who CARES about quiet hours in an emergency situation?) and setting the clock and the alarm for the next morning, I went back to bed. And flopped and turned and couldn’t sleep.

About the time I dozed off, the carbon monoxide detector screeched again, announcing its demise and the clock went dark. Good grief. But at least the room was much cooler, so I went around and closed windows. And went back to bed. And fussed and tried to get comfortable. Sunburns still burn in a blackout, I’ve learned.

About 3:30, I heard the detector scream again, a loud shrill bleep that told me it was either coming to life, or dying once more. I heard it a couple more times during the night, each time startling me wide awake. If I could have reached it up on that vaulted ceiling, I would have beat it down with a broom.

Morning came slowly. It always does when you really want it to get here fast. But wakefulness came even slower. Having a dreadful nights sleep meant nobody was in a big rush to get stuff together and cooperate. Thankfully, my oldest was in an unusual state of good spirits. She jumped around gathering things and organizing bags against the wall to go out to the suburban. Nice. I could use this today! Especially since we had nothing planned for breakfast, because we were going to be on the road early, remember? And breakfast was going to be on the road. A treat! Well, that treat didn’t arrive until after 11 a.m. We’re lucky nobody died in the process, but amazingly we all kept our cool.

I take that back. After I got up this morning, and surveyed the amazing mess left over from dinner-in-the-dark, I realized the mayonnaise never made it back to the fridge. It was the one casualty from the blackout, and I took it pretty hard because it was a small jar purchased for around $47.56 plus tax (because remember? We're in the State of California and all that stuff is expensive).

Surprise today: We’re off to Reno! (The long way around, because, after all, the highway we took getting here is closed due to, what else? The Telegraph Fire)

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Bass Lake Goes Dark

As I sit in the dark, with only the glow of my laptop monitor and the flickering of the fireplace (yes, it was indeed 94 degrees today, what am I thinking?) I wonder just how long this blackout is going to last. Luckily, the power went out about the time we were all headed to the pool. We could care less that there were no lights in our room. We are ADVENTUROUS! (Ta Da!!)

That is, until about 10 minutes into my hot-tub soak. So what if the hot tub heater didn’t work. The water was still really warm and I didn’t need bubbles. My sunburn wasn’t affected much, unless of course I dunked an arm underwater. Ouch! But, I quickly realized we wouldn’t have lights in our condo when we needed them. We also had planned a Fettucini Alfredo dinner and that needed electricity as well. Then, I remembered we were going to do the bulk of our packing up tonight so we could be ready to head out to our next destination tomorrow. We wanted to allow plenty of driving time, of course, but how would we see to do anything? Wait! Didn’t I have a load of wash in the machine? My goodness, it would never spin out all the way! I’d have to take a load of slopping wet clothes along with us. And - *gasp* we were all in the POOL. We’d need showers/baths/rinsing off and all the water would be co-o-oooold! Noooooo!

Someplace down the line, near the Telegraph Fire, I would imagine, power had been cut off by the electric company for the safety of the workers trying to control the raging wildfire. Ok, now I knew they had done that a couple days before at Yosemite, but I wasn’t expecting it quite yet where we were staying. I tried to keep a really good attitude. Again - so what! It was an adventure, and it was surely better than losing a kid/a car accident/passing out/a sunburn or anything else unpleasant so we’d go with the flow.

But seriously. How was I going to cook dinner? We’d already used up almost every food item we’d brought, because we didn’t want to haul it all back out with us. We had stupid stuff left, like 3 apples and hamburger buns. Ha! It felt like the fish and loaves story. Six people. No Fettucini boiling. Ok kids, it’s time to get out of the pool. NOW. I realized we’d need every ounce of daylight just to get these kiddies fed and off to bed. It was a blackout for crying out loud and we were sitting in the pool!

Dinner went ok. As the kitchen darkened, which happened sooner than anticipated because of the smoke-filled skies, we rummaged for food. Dinner consisted of: A second night of hot dogs from the BBQ grill. For some reason, we had just enough left. But boy, we were sick of them. My kids played along nicely. They could have complained. I wanted to. I did a little “trick” and showed them how to cut a hot dog in half and put both halves on a hamburger bun just for fun. (Since we were out of hot dog buns because we’d only planned that for the night before!) We used the bag of potato chips that we had purchased for the next days picnic. I cut up three apples and split them between four children and two grown ups. Then the whopper (not the Whopper burger, because that might have been GOOD, but we didn’t know if any of the restaurants in town would be open. It was a blackout for crying out loud) (And, we had just got out of the POOL. I did not get a shower. I couldn’t go into town) anyway, the whopper was the fact that we’d found a half case of SODA in the back of the suburban. The kids really could care less what they got for dinner if they were allowed to share a soda! All was good.

Until it came time to clean up. There was a mad dash to shove condiments into the fridge before the last sliver of light crept out of view. There really wasn’t much hope to doing dishes or cleaning up because we couldn‘t see anything. It was D.A.R.K. dark. The kids had already put on their pajamas after they left their wet swimsuits on the floors in various bathrooms. Hopefully I wouldn’t run across one of THOSE in the darkness. Yeck!

So, as I sit here by the fireplace, which strangely is REALLY putting out the heat when we really don‘t NEED any, I realize that I’m going to have to do with less light. The kids are bouncing around on the Murphy bed because they have nothing else to do, the husband is accidentally taking an early snooze on the couch because he has no stimulation from the TV (and he’s trying to avoid telling stories, like the kids are asking me to do) and the washer… oh, the washer. It certainly DOES have a load of our clothes in it, and not only are they damp, but some nut job forgot to put the lid down so they’re just sitting in a little swimming pool of their own. They never even got a chance! *sigh*

To be continued whenever I'm able to plug this contraption back in...

Where's that church?

After quite an unexpected amount of attention over THIS PHOTO:

I felt I could finally answer your questions! This church was photographed, from alongside the road, in Mariposa, California.

YES - this is also the community that is affected deeply by the Telegraph Fire. Please stop and say a prayer for the members of this, and the surrounding communities who have been evacuated, the 25 families whose homes have been burned and the other 4000 that are currently threatened. Also send up prayers for the almost 3,500 personnel that are working to contain this fire that has burned almost 30,000 acres so far.

Our family was actually in Yosemite at the time they cut power to the park so the fire workers could remain safe. I'm SO glad we're not staying at a hotel in Yosemite Valley! No air conditioning, no fans, no tv, no refrigeration... I'll take a sunburn anyday.

I Feel Fire

It's time for a day on the lake!

Yesterday, we got up sorta/kinda early. That means before lunch, but not at the crack of dawn.
Breakfast was CEREAL for the first time in a week. I think.
Lunch and drinks got packed in the cooler.
Inflatable floaties and life jackets got thrown in - and we were on our way. (Keep in mind we already had a couple chairs and all the towels already in the car - you keep them in there on this kind of a vacation, in case you come across some water you want to splash in near the side of the road).

One of the first things we noticed when we went outside was the smell of smoke. As yesterday's post showed you, the smoke from the Telegraph fire was pretty much everywhere. It has been burning out of control, so it wasn't a surprise. We secretly hoped there wasn't a fire any closer to us, but we didn't say that to the kids. No need to worry anyone!

Bass Lake is fantastic. The water was nice and clean, it's the temperature of a cool bath, and the rocky shores were my kind of rocks. Smooth, round and if I had room I would have taken some home.
The kids were fascinated by the immense amounts of iron pirite that covered the beach and every rock. It also covered the insides of all their swimsuits, but that's to be expected I s'pose.

I love rocks! Here's one of my little signatures that I left behind for someone else to stub their toe on enjoy.
See the hazy blue treeline? That was the smoke earlier in the day. See the kid in the water? We had a hard time pulling him out except to nosh on oreo cookies and a juice box.

Oh look, another creation! My kids thought I was weird for stacking (and perfectly balancing, mind you) little piles of rocks here and there. I dunno - I just thought it was fun. And, it's not as easy as it looks.

Oh look! Six pack abs boy came up for air! And, he looks somewhat like a little sea monster. With a handful of sand and sparkly gold stuff.


Just for fun - picture this combination:
One large man kicking back on one hot pink floatie. Hahahahehehehe!! Ok, so he's lucky I didn't take a picture of that (mostly because I was using the green tube as a newfangled bustier, and I couldn't get out of it, but he's still lucky).

About 5 hours later...

We drag ourselves out of the water. My right shoulder was feeling strange, and I thought I overextended myself doing all that paddling around. WRONG. I was sporting what I like to call raspberries and cream. It's that color you see when you pair raspberry sherbet with vanilla ice cream. That's what my shoulder looked like. No wonder it was itching. My other shoulder matched. Matter of fact, my chest had a creative design burned onto it as well.

When we got back to our condo - I could still smell smoke. AND I felt the fire. Nice one - lather everyone ELSE with sunscreen and forget yourself. Typical Mom behavior. If you really wanna see a picture, you'll have to ask. I'm not sure everyone has the stomach for it. haha!

Today - our last full day in Bass Lake! Then tomorrow, we're headed to a secret location TBD. Check back soon!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

I Smell Smoke

Today was our ninth day away from home. NINE DAYS? That's a world record for our family. I'm impressed. I awoke early to put some cinnamon rolls in the oven and throw a spread of my americanized version of a continental breakfast out for my parents before they left to go home. SOMEBODY has to work for a living - so that means they're gonna be tired on the job tomorrow -thas' for shore!

We lingered over yogurts and sparkling blood orange juice (surprisingly, this does not make my pirate son pass out) and then gave out hugs a couple times and then they were off. I haven't heard from them since. I bet they're kinda tired of hearing from us. They heard way TOO MUCH from us these last few days!

My lil' family hung out at the condo for a couple more hours while we cleaned out my parents' condo - which means we moved the girls and all their stuff over into our unit. We also found hidden boxes of individual cereals in the kitchen and leftover cheesecake in the fridge. Ahhhh! What joy!

Then we went out for lunch at the most disgusting KFC on the planet. I don't even want to write about it here, because it would be in the same post as cheesecake and that would be a sin.

We planned on taking a drive around Bass Lake to scout out the best beach for us to hang out at tomorrow, but we ended up taking a small detour. We smelled smoke. We had actually been smelling smoke for a couple days because of the new Mariposa fire. I think in the news its called something else, the Telegraph Fire, I believe. Since my husband affectionately calls me an ambulance chaser, he thought I'd enjoy a drive closer to the action. And boy would I! (But I'd never tell anyone that).

About 45 minutes later, this is what we saw.
Wow - no wonder there are evacuations in place!

Ok, time to turn around!
After that little jaunt into places we shouldn't go - we headed back to Bass Lake. We toured around both sides of the lake and found some cool places we'd like to go back to play. I can't wait until tomorrow! I might even take a photo of the lake. ha! When we came back to our home place, we hit the pool for a couple hours and I actually got to sit in a LOUNGE chair on the deck with my EYES closed for at least seven minutes! That makes two world records in this post!!

My youngest discovered the joy of jumping into the pool all alone. (Much to the dismay of his easily-freaked-out-after-all-our-recent-trauma mother.) And then we enjoyed a delicioso meal of Burritos, chips-n-salsa and fresh pineapple. Ahhh... I am on vacation. Wait, where's the margaritas?

Tomorrow - Bass Lake Adventures (and hopefully no medical emergencies.)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

I spoke TOO SOON

I have to post twice as long today - there's so much to talk about. Just when we thought things were calming down on our vacation (who was it that called us the Griswalds??)...

Wait, let me back up a bit. Today is my Momma's birthday. (Also called GRANDMA to anyone younger than me) so Happy Birthday Momma! Today is also the day we set aside to make a trek to Glacier Point. If you know nothing about Yosemite (kinda like me a few days ago) Glacier point is a SUPER HIGH POINT where you can walk up to the top (as I've said before, don't kid yourself people! We drove most of the way!) and look out over the entire Yosemite Valley. We had a great view of Half Dome, Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls and all the parking lots we drove around in a couple days before. It was cool - way cool, but very, very warm. Are you still with me here?

The place was packed, because it was a Saturday - but God smiled on us and gave us a close parking space. (My feet have been KILLING me the last few days so I wanted to save my energy for things other than parking lot hikes). We noticed the bathrooms, and the long lines of people, but not until we got further down the trail to the gift shop/concessions building did I realize there would be no bathrooms until we got back. Soooo... I took our youngest "I gotta go potty but I have six pack abs" boy, and headed back to the bathrooms. My Mom went with us, because she was smart too. The line took FOR. EVER. It was guy/girl bathrooms and only one was working. So, we trekked downhill to the NEXT set of restrooms which seemed operational. The smell was operational too. Whew!

Then my Mom's phone rang. Her phone rang because my husband had already tried to call mine, but I had left it in the car near the sign that said, "Do not leave valuables in your vehicle". I didn't quite understand him but the second time he repeated himself and told me that my older pirate son had passed out in the gift shop, I kinda did that open-mouth gaping thing and tried to figure out what to do. Well, priorities are priorities, so I told him I was stuck at the bathroom because it was ALMOST my turn, and to go get the boy some water! (Thinking dehydration and heat were his problem). I did my duty (not doody!) and we headed back up the hill. We stopped at the car for cold water bottles from the cooler and by the time we reached the rest of the family my son was sitting on a rock wall enjoying an ice cream bar. Excuse me? I'm on vacation! My kids are not supposed to be PASSING OUT and enjoying ice cream bars!

Evidently, the boy does not do well at the sight of blood. This is news to me. He was in the gift shop and used some of his OWN vacation money to purchase his first pocket knife. So what is the first thing a boy does with a knife? Well, they open the blade, and proceed to cut themselves with it to see if it's a real knife. Supposedly, it worked. It was a full 2 minutes before he flopped over - and not actually seeing it happen myself I have to take this story as the truth.
Here's a photo of the pirate boy shortly after - I certainly hope he can handle heights!

This little ground squirrel was apparently dizzy too - she didn't get up the whole time we sat by her and ate ice cream.

Or maybe she can't handle the sight of blood either?

The whole buncha monkeys - and a shot of Half Dome squeezed in there too.

This is my attempt at one of those old-fashioned postcard type images. The kind you'd buy in the gift shop at Yosemite Village. I think the black and white works... it looks ancient.
It was also helpful that there was quite a deal of haze in the air (from the new wildfire covering the wilderness we had just COME through on our way south).
Here's six pack abs (I gotta go potty) boy at the tip of Glacier Point. It's a "geology hut" to be proper about it. He scrambled up the hills as if the 7000 ft elevation was nothing but extra energy to him. Meanwhile, as I was huffing and puffing after him, I managed to actually get a photo of him sitting still. He was waiting. Patiently. For me.
He was probably saying, "Sheesh, I wish she could move a LITTLE faster!"

Overall, it was a good trip. My daughter pointed out that my pirate boy was certainly NOT cut out to be a pirate. (Pun intended) After all, pirates can NOT be afraid of a little blood!!

On the way back down the mountain, we found a beautiful place to dine (picnic table) with some gorgeous scenery (Bridal Veil Creek) and ate the most wonderful cheese and potato chip sandwiches (because my Dad forgot the lunchmeat - hehehe!) and played in the creek (and watched for bears).

Although some of us just preferred to blend in with the scenery. She looks so natural just laying there.
Things were so relaxing, that some of the wildlife even let loose a little.

Or a lot.
Wait, who swiped my camera?

After all the fun, we went back to our condo for MORE fun. After all, we had a birthday to get fatter for celebrate!

Chocolate Cheesecakes. YUM!

Homemade ice cream. EXTRA YUM!

Toppings!! Even MORE yum!!

This soothed all our worries of the fainting boy. Made us gain eight pounds each. And helped us sleep better.

Tomorrow - Mom & Dad go back to Oregon. Us? It's an unplanned day!

Friday, July 25, 2008

A Good Day for a Break

Things down here in California have been pretty calm today. It's about time!

After yesterday's "window shearing" incident we got to take an unplanned trip into Chowchilla (wow, what a name for a town!) and pick up our new mirror - to the delightful tune of $600 (Miriam - you thought YOURS was expensive?!?!) Luckily we were able to pick it up the same day we ordered it - the parts guys managed to get the timing perfect. Thank you parts guys! We installed it with some borrowed tools in the parking lot of the Chevy dealership and we were on our way. The good thing was, we managed to see lots more beautiful countryside and it was pretty relaxing. Sorry - no pictures as I left my card in my laptop that day instead of putting it back in my camera! DUR!!

I do, however, have more pictures from the day before in Yosemite and Wawona. Enjoy!!

My Dream House in Wawona

Tomorrow... Glacier Point Stroll Hike and Grandma's Birthday!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Trials and Tribulations

How could something so simple as THIS tiny little (really tight) curve going up a hill into the majestic Yosemite National Park...

Turn into something as ugly as THIS

C'mon people, if you're from Holland, and you're renting a motorhome and driving on narrow, windy roads - PLEASE stay on your side of the double yellow line! It's all I ask!

As if losing our 5 year old while on vacation (for what seemed like HOURS) you would think we'd been given just about enough stress to hold us over until next century. But noooooo... we just weren't done living the adventurous life we've been given! Here's what his rig looked like.

Are we having fun yet???

Well... it was only a half hour later that we came through a mountain tunnel and were welcomed by this view that literally took. my. breath. away. I sucked air in so fast that it gave me the hiccups for 20 minutes. Absolutely amazing.
To tell you the truth, I'm a little worried to get out of bed tomorrow. What next??

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

On the Move

Moving from one resort to another mid-vacation is not an easy feat. It started early - I woke at 6:30 a.m. to get things together and make sure there were no bumps in the road of marital bliss. Well, after I went back to bed (on accident) and woke up for REAL about 3 hours later, I realized that there just might be some turbulance.

We got everything packed up, threw extra kids in my parents' car, turned in my iBridge (which is resort-speak for my LIFELINE to my internet connection) and headed south. It was HOT weather!!

I got some beautiful shots of New Melones Lake. GORGEOUS scenery, but not enough hours in the day to hang out and get our feet wet in it.
Here's a rather unusual pit stop. And a rather tired, worn out little boy.

Oh - and ANOTHER little boy (who decided to stick around with us from now on instead of running OFF). He likes getting his picture taken - can you tell?

And, since the day was full of NON-excitement, I thought I'd slow down on the barns/outhouses/old mines and send you an old CHURCH picture! Loved it - wish I had one in my backyard :)

Tomorrow?? YOSEMITE!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Mining for Adventure

Isn't this adventurous?!!

On Tuesday, we went mining for adventure! Sutter Gold Mine is a fantastic place to take the kids! It had a really neat gift shop where we took turns choosing geodes and watching them get cracked open to see what treasures they beheld. We got a few beauties - and unfortunately I neglected the photographic evidence. But I do have evidence that we were in an underground gold mine!
Here it is....

No wait, HERE it is...
It was a large tunnel, because the equipment had to be able to FIT down there. Nobody, even someone in a hard hat, would not want the tunnel to be too small because that would hurt.

Here's what it looked like driving down into the actual mine somewhere around 500 feet below the surface of the earth.

It seemed like a REALLY fast trip. Of course, the photo proves we were going at a high rate of speed, in the near darkness, while gasping for air... Anyway, it was cool. If you're ever in the area - check it out, you'll like it. And - it's VERY safe. I know this because they told us so.

Here's a pic of our Pirate-wanna-be looking for some real gold for his treasure chest. He was looking VERY hard.

And... a pic of our dinner in Valley Springs, right before we ate it.

Sorry, just had to throw that in there. I'm still suffering heartburn, but I expect it will go away sometime next week.

After dinner, we went to visit a friend of mine that I had not seen in almost 25 years. We found each other via the classmates/myspace avenue, and it's been really fun catching up on old times. He has a wonderful family, and his wife makes great brownies :)

I opted to leave out the "what not to say to your husband" stuff in todays post, because we're having a hard enough time trying to keep our cool with our four kids and 2 of his in-laws along for the ride (that would be MY parents. OH - Hi Mom & Dad! Sometimes I forget that you read this blog and I just go on and on... and on...)

Tomorrow? The Great Move from Angels Camp to Bass Lake California. Woohoo!! Here we come!