Monday, May 21, 2012

Southern Oregon Trip 2012

Our good friend Guthrie has been very excited, since 1999, about a solar eclipse happening on May 20, 2012. So it was an honor when he asked us to come and watch the show with him! The eclipse was going to be most viewable in Southern Oregon/Northern California, so it was a no-brainer to go to Southern Oregon where Guthrie grew up and where his mom still lived. 

We got on the road. It was a 4 hour drive down there. The kids did great and we had 1 stop along the way, at a rest area, where we ran around on the grass and played in the sun for an hour before hopping back into the car. 
Finally made it to the Southern Oregon area. It's really beautiful.

Unfortunately, we had to take 2 cars for the 5 of us. Jake's and Ryan's 5-point harness car seats are so big, that even I cannot squeeze myself between the 2 for a seat. We are hoping to get a car with more seats next year so we won't have this problem again.

Guthrie is in the car ahead, leading the way to his Mom's house late Friday afternoon.

We arrived at Tinker and Gino's house in Medford. Tinker and Gino are both amazing cooks, and were busy preparing an amazing feast for all of us. Quite a lovely way to start the vacation! The boys played in the backyard and explored the house. Tinker found some old toys that used to belong to Guthrie and the boys were thrilled. The little McDonald's Muppet Babies on moving vehicles were really fun, especially making them slide down the board.

Also a hit was the piano. Ryan loved playing with Tinker.

The bed situation was interesting. For the 3 nights we slept there, we played musical beds. There was a full-sized guest bed to use. There were also 2 comfortable couches in the living room. The first night we convinced Jake to sleep on one of the couches in the living room, and Guthrie also slept in the living room. Mike, Ryan, and I took the bed. Jake joined us in the bed at 6:30am and we all smooshed together for some morning snuggles. (Night 2 -- Jake, Ryan, and I in the bed. Mike on the couch. Ryan fell off the bed during the night but was okay. Night 3 -- Mike and Jake in the bed. Ryan and I on the floor next to the bed, with about 5 blankets and a sleeping bag under us.)
The next morning we all got up and played in the living room and slowly got dressed. Breakfast was a delicious mix of eggs, feta, tomatoes, spinach. With toast. Before noon, we headed out the door for a day in Ashland.

First we parked downtown and got ready to explore the shops. We walked up the main street first one way and then down the other side. I found a beautiful dress to wear to the Oregon Country Fair this year. We stopped at the drugstore for a toothbrush (I forgot mine) and a few other things. Picked up some amazing chocolates from Enchanted Florist. Stared at the breathtaking costumes in the windows of the Ashland Shakespeare office. Went to the farmer's market and then to a fun "alternative" store with lots of cool toys. Decided it was lunchtime and went to Gorilla Bites and had a delicious spread. After a stop at the crystal store, it was time to play for the rest of the day.

We went to Lithia Park. I'd never been there, but it was amazing! The boys were in heaven.

After playing for awhile, we headed to a mineral springs pool spa soak. It was so lovely! We changed into our bathing suits and enjoyed the warm water for awhile. This was the entrance:
Then it was time to head back to the house for dinner preparations. In Ashland we had purchased this huge bubble wand thing, so we got the bubble solution made and took it out front. The neighbor kids were delighted as well!

While the bubble fun was happening, the little one was sound asleep, thoroughly tuckered out from the day. Daddy enjoyed the quiet time by playing with an iPad.

Dinner that night was a delicious hot wok stir fry. Tinker had this HUGE hot wok pan that she set up on a burner in the backyard.

That night we got both boys into bed in the guest bedroom, and asleep. It was time to play games and have fun! I opened a bottle of wine I brought from home, that my parents had given me as a birthday gift. It was divine, especially paired with the chocolates Guthrie had brought earlier that day. We ended up playing this really fun spinner game (you can see it in the upper right corner of the picture). Then we played the dice game 'And Rollin'. Really fun evening.

Sunday morning it was my turn to sleep in for a bit. I woke up to a plate of waffles. Spoiled, I was, in this house of cooks.

After dressing and getting ready, Tinker, Guthrie, and the 4 Vees headed to Gold Hill to visit the House of Mystery at the Oregon Vortex.
Inside the vortex. Woo-woo! (Ryan is asleep on my back.)
Jake listening attentively to the presentation.
Talking about the vortex... taking measurements... using lots of levels to show that everything is level and the same height despite things not looking right...
Paired people #1.

Paired people #2.

Pair #3, Jake just had to try it!

Then onto the House of Mystery. It moved to its current position via landslide.
Interpreting the tour.

The broom standing upright on its own.
Jake seriously scientifically assessing the broom.

Cute Ryan! I couldn't pick just one picture.

The kids in the group were lined up for a height comparison shot. I didn't get the best angle so it is hard to tell if there is any difference, but they sure were cute.

Jake patted Ryan's head and said "This is my baby brother!"
One last picture. Hoping to catch some mysterious lights, but it was quiet :)

Next we drove around Gold Hill, stopped for a little roadside picnic, and then headed to Sams Valley where Guthrie grew up. We arrived at his old house and got very lucky -- the people who brought the house from Tinker were home and welcomed us onto the 5 acre property after locking their huge dog into the caged area. Guthrie was so happy to be there -- he had not seen the place since they moved out in 2003. Unfortunately, we left our cameras in the car, but had a wonderful time seeing all the chickens, the plants, the pond, the wild sheep and rams, and the 2 horses. One of the horses was extremely friendly, and followed us around. The boys loved petting the horse, and I loved it, too. I went to horse camp 3 summers in a row in the Southern Oregon area, and this horse took me right back to those camp days. We must have been there for at least an hour and a half, being with the animals and talking with the current owners. I loved getting to see where Guthrie grew up. 

Then it was back to Medford to pick up snacks and dinner at the Natural Foods store. Then up to the Roxyann peak for the eclipse!! 

Jake thought the eclipse show was really cool. Luckily, we had made the smart move of getting our eclipse glasses in Portland at OMSI -- they were all sold out in Ashland/Medford!
Such pretty views.
The eclipse show started at 5pm. We got to see the moon move all the way in front of the sun until there was the complete ring of fire. It was amazing! Guthrie captured this picture from his camera. Such a fantastic shot!!
We walked up the hill as the eclipse reached the peak. We felt the air grow cooler and saw the light change. At one point when the eclipse was total, I noticed that the solar lights all came on in one neighborhood subdivision that we could see in the valley below. About 20 minutes later, as the moon moved away from the sun, the lights turned off again. The light streaming down into the whole valley changed. Each of us "saw" different things during the complete ring of fire. I was so happy we were there! It felt really special.

When it was time to head back to the car, we walked back down the gravel path. Jake was running ahead, with the 3 of us behind. He almost ran into this 2-foot long rattlesnake that was on the middle of the path! Luckily, there was another couple ahead of us who saw the snake and warned Jake to move back, although the snake never coiled or rattled, just stayed still. Tinker stated that the snake must have been very confused by the eclipse -- air grew colder and light grew dim. The rattler must have been seeking the leftover heat of the gravel rocks and didn't know what to make of all these humans around. After a few minutes it slithered off the path and into the hillside that was covered in poison oak. Luckily we had no snake bites and no poison oak exposure!

Back at the house, Sunday dinner was artichokes, a bean dip, more chocolates, and happy exhaustion from an amazing day.

Monday morning! Tinker had found this huge bear at Costco and brought it home for the boys. So sweet! They just loved it.

 We got the cars packed up and got ready to head back home. I love this shot of Ryan -- my sweet little one.
Awesome picture of Mike and Guthrie.
Group shot -- all the attempts :) Guthrie, Tinker, Mike, Lee, Jake, and Ryan.

And this one with Gino, who made some amazing Italian desserts for us, and made Mike the best cup of cappuccino he's ever had. He and Tinker were wonderful hosts and we can't thank them enough.
After lunch in downtown Medford, we headed back to Portland. At one point, just south of Eugene we were driving through a torrential downpour. It was raining so hard that all I could see was a sheet of white. I could barely see the road in front of me and could only see the taillights of the car in front of me. It was INTENSE. Lasted for about 5-10 minutes, and all my senses were on hyper alert. Was so glad when we got in front of that storm. 10 minutes after we arrived home, the storm caught up to us and we got to watch it from the inside of our house.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

What a great day! Looks like you guys had so much fun :)