Thank Buddha for Forest Service Roads.
So, we have found "home," but the journey is not even close to over. We are looking at possible houses and apartments for winter. Last night dropped to around 30 degrees, so we are hoping to be in something by September 1st. Olin has a nice insulated Kelty sleeping bag to snug in and dad even broke out his down bag last night, with mom wrapped in a wool Vader blankie. Dobby snuck into bed at the bottom of our feet, and Taco (in trouble for rolling in manure) involuntarily slept under the bed with his natural thick coat to keep him warm. Warmth is not the main issue here, but it will certainly be nice to get settled into a nice cozy abode before the winter month's hit in full swing. The house we are currently looking at is a 6 month lease (leaving us room to explore the area and options open with the van). It is heated by either wood stove or propane, so we will need to start cutting wood asap and stacking it to heat the house.
Last Night's Living Room
The Oregon Trail
Just Call Us Modern Day Wagoners.
After driving roughly 7 hours into Oregon, we stopped at a rest area right off the highway to make dinner and set up camp. We soon discovered that we had parked right on what use to be passage for the Oregon Trail. What a great surprise to us all! My inner geek shined outright, from being a long time fan of the pc game that also taught about the actual history of the OT. I was stoked to say the least. I soon googled something like "Wagon Ruts Near Me" and learned that we were only 5 miles from the OT Interpretive Museum which had our names all over it. Collin filled up the water bottles and looked at me with quarrely eyes. I said, "I'm driving, I have a surprise." Fear struck his eyes and he said, "Uh, uh, a surprise?" I laughed an evil grin and told him to buckle up as we headed to the historic monument.
Oregon Trail Wagon Ruts!
We all had such a great time visiting this piece of history! I had cold chills the entire time. There was a story that circulated through my family for years. My grandfather and grandmother took a road-trip across America back in the day. Pappaw drove several hundred miles to find some "ruts" to take pictures of and grandma cursed him the whole way. Getting to see these mud tracks first hand was amazing. I began to imagine all the hardships those who traveled here from Missouri faced. The rattlesnakes, unbearable heat, lack of water access, and steep mountain passes are only a few of the obstacles. This was one of my favorite stops on the trip yet, and Collin was happy about the surprise after all.
Back to Tennessee for a Weddin'...
Olin and I flew out of Seattle to Dallas to meet our friend Megan and take the 14 hour trip to TN for our friend's wedding. Dad stayed around the Seattle area with the pups and the van. While we were only gone for 6 days, it was very hard for our fam to be apart during this time where we are very low on our budget and unsure of a home for winter and jobs.
It was nice for Olin to get to spend some time with her pappaw. I was also very glad to be able to make it in for Gwen's wedding and be part of her special day. Meanwhile, back in Federal Way near Seattle, Collin was having a struggle finding places to park overnight. Smoke began to fill the air from nearby forest fires and locals were even wearing oxygen masks. After the wedding reception, I received a text from Collin that read I got Kicked out of Wal-Mart. My heart sank and while speaking with Collin over the phone, he said that the security guards told him the parking lot was simply not a safe part of town to park overnight. They told him there was a lot of crime in the area and breaking in to vehicles. Collin said he had noticed a tent city off in the woods earlier with a trail of used needles preceding it. I felt helpless being 2,600 miles away on the other side of the country and guilty for eating at the reception taco bar. Collin searched around that night and found a safe church parking lot for him and the dogs to sleep at.
I could tell Collin was very stressed and worried about our next move, while Olin and I were in Tennessee. He sounded very tense each time we spoke over the phone, and I could not wait to get our family back in one state and figure out what was next. He said the smoke was growing worse every day and that you could hardly see planes in the sky above.
Back to Seattle!
We helped Megan & Brandon drive the 14 hours back to Dallas and spent the next day hopping planes for 8 hours. Finally, we touched down in Seattle through all the fire smoke and made it back to dad and the pups!
Dogs & Diapers