I can hear them cling-clanging against each other in his pockets as he runs down that trail: the seashells he has spoken of collecting for three months now. The darkness begins to envelope him, but only for so long before the sun sneaks through a crack in the trees, those trees dripping with moss that I have dreamt of introducing my boys to for years. They stand a million times taller than the boys’ small frames. They duck in and out of this natural playground, running wild among ferns and Cedars more majestic than any tree they have ever seen. It is day five on the road. Day five of two months that we will spend living squished together in a travel trailer exploring the Pacific Northwest.
That first week was full of anticipation and discovery and a hefty dose of doubt. Selling our 1,400 square foot home and moving into a 200 square foot home on wheels—with my husband, three boys, my own pregnant belly, and our dog—has proven to be more of an adjustment than I anticipated. It took us a full week to really begin figuring things out–to start figuring each other out.
So, what does this new life of ours really look like? Here is a sneak peek from my journal of our first week!
Newport, Oregon. August 18 – 21
We saw gray whales on our very first day at Yaquina Bay and Depoe Bay.
Willy learned sand. Dipped his bare toes into those tiny grains and never looked back. Sat on the beach at Seal Rock as the boys ran wild among the waves. I watched Ellis wander that shore all by himself, lost in his own little world. Or maybe not lost, but finally right where he has dreamt of being.
Zeke had his finger hugged by a sea urchin at the Oregon Coast Aquarium.
The Total Eclipse took my breath away—one of the most stunning experiences of my life. Zeke called it “incredible”. Ellis asked, “How does God do something like that?”
The Journals Of Lewis and Clark
Wild and Free
My Side of the Mountain with the boys
What We’re Eating:
Quinoa “oatmeal” in the Instant Pot
Granola, yogurt, fresh berries
Grilled salmon, home fries, and sracha ketchup at Newport Café
Way too much takeout because of limited propane in the RV…
What We’re Learning:
We need to be fair to each other. This is a huge transition for all of us. When the boys would talk each other to sleep at home, we had half a living room, a kitchen, a hallway, and a door separating us. Now we have twelve feet and a curtain. We need to be patient, and wise with our discipline.
I cannot write later what I do not see now. Stop writing. Start seeing.
Don’t leave your RV canopy out on a windy day at the shore. You might just come home to your canopy ripped in half.
Questions Of The Week:
Zeke: “Do skunks have belly buttons?”
Ellis: “What’s a ‘hy-pop-i-sis’ (hypothesis)?”
Columbia River Gorge. August 21 – 24
Ran into Eclipse traffic—everyone trying to get back to work and life. So glad our trip has only just begun! We cut East to leave the traffic behind. Saying goodbye to the ocean for a few days to go search for some waterfalls.
Stopped at a river pull-off. Baby’s (and my) first time cliff jumping!
Snagged the last campsite available. Time to stay put for a few days.
Learned how salmon use fish ladders at the Bonneville Dam. Grayson came here as a boy.
Picked blackberries with Zeke. He told me we don’t need to eat the food in the camper—we can find all of our food instead. Quite the little forager. Tried making crisp only to discover the oven in the camper does not work. Learned how to make berry crisp in the Instant Pot! It is delicious.
Saw our first huge waterfall.
Went into the city for a day, to which Zeke says: “All this noise is freaking me out!”
Portland had me thinking about stories. Who are all of these people and what brought them here?
Finally did laundry.
Zeke made friends with the campground host. She invited him to come do the morning round with her to check on all the guests.
What we are eating (So good to have propane and RV hookups!) :
Homemade macaroni and cheese
Berry crisp with foraged black berries
Crab boil in the Instant Pot!
Best ever pulled pork hash at the Hazel Room in Portland
Glad we brought our:
What we are learning:
If the internet is spotty, don’t fight it in the name of work. Give up and go read a book.
Check your gray water tank level before it overflows into the bathtub….
Zeke’s favorite from the Gorge stay: Watching salmon at the Bonneville dam
Ellis: The displays at the dam museum with the buttons.
So, how was our first week?
The truth is that among all these adventures of our first week—amidst all of the dream-come-true moments, there were a whole lot of ugly ones. Cranky kids and even crankier parents made for some very rough mornings. And yet so much of our dreams are made up of struggle—it really could not be any other way. The struggle it takes to reach a dream makes the arrival so much more sweet—like when we pulled up and caught our first glimpse of the Pacific just in time for sunset, after a long few days of travel and trials. Dreams just wouldn’t be nearly as beautiful without the hard parts.
After that first week which involved 1,700 miles on the road and five different camp spots—we were feeling very ready to settle down for a bit. It seemed funny, this desire to “settle down” while in the midst of a two-month road trip. But it was exactly what we needed. And that is exactly what we would find when we arrived at the Puget Sound the following week…