Oregon, Idaho & Utah

Boy, do I have some catching up to do!!!  Since my last post we have visited 7 states….this will cover the first three of those.

We left Washington just over a month ago and headed to Portland, Oregon.  We stayed there only a couple of nights.  After church on Sunday morning (October 11th) we went to Slappy Cakes for lunch.  It’s a restaurant that I had heard about on Pinterest (or course!!!).  You order different flavors of pancake batter, things to put in them and toppings for when they are done.  Your table has a griddle built into the middle and everyone gets to make their own pancakes.  We had buttermilk and also pumpkin batter.  We experimented with putting blueberries, chocolate chips, mushrooms and cheese (not all at once though!) in and then we just had syrup to put on top.  It was such a fun lunch!  Joe, Sam and Elise had never made pancakes before, but they sure did make some delicious ones.  We all left there very full!     http://slappycakes.com/

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Sam and Ben had lots of fun perfecting their pancake flipping technique

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From Portland we headed towards the coast.  We stayed in a campground near Tillamook.  Tillamook is known for their cheese factory which offers free tours.  They also have a café where they serve yummy grilled cheese sandwiches, mac’n’cheese and many other meals made with their delicious cheese.  If you go there make sure you save room for dessert….their ice cream is made in the factory right there too and is pretty great!  You can order something called the “Ice Cream Adventure” which is one scoop of every flavor they make.  We decided to get that and the kids had so much fun sampling all of their yummy options.  You should have seen Ben’s eyes when I carried the giant bowl to the table….he was one happy little boy!  It was way too much ice cream for all of us and we probably ate less than 1/2 of it, but it sure was fun to try!  While there we went to the observation area and learned a little bit about how they make cheese.  They also had samples out for people to try.  It was interesting to try some varieties that we don’t normally buy.  The sampling worked….because after that we went to their store and bought a few different kinds of cheese to take home with us.  It was a very cool place and we all enjoyed our afternoon there.    https://www.tillamook.com/cheese-factory/index.html

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Abby, Elise, Sam and Ben “driving” the Tillamook cheese bus

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Farmer Joe and little Ben the dairy cow

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Part of the cheese making process

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That’s A LOT of ice cream!!

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Ready to dig in!

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Rose was willing to finish it up for us!  (Just kidding!!)

The campground we were at for those couple of nights was on Netart’s Bay.  We could see seals, watch people catching crabs and hear the ocean waves.  It was a nice place to stay.

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Sam had fun trying to catch crabs with his net

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The beautiful sunset over Netart’s Bay

On Tuesday (October 13th) we went to Cannon Beach, which is on the very northwestern tip of Oregon.  It was a beautiful day and a beautiful beach.  The weather was quite nice, about 70 degrees and breezy and there were some huge waves crashing on the beach.  The kids started out racing the waves, trying not to get wet…..but they didn’t stay dry for long!  We had a great time playing in the sand and in the water, finding shells and washed up jellyfish and walking up and down the beach.  When we left we were all at least a little wet with salty faces from the ocean breeze and worn out in a very good way!    http://www.cannonbeach.org/

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Elise trying to outrun the waves

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We had a small bag of chips that the seagulls kept trying to take.  Ben would throw a chip on the ground and command them to eat it….then he changed his mind and would pick up the chip and eat it himself.  Crazy kid!!

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Joe and Ben….brothers and buddies

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Abby and Elise built a cool sandcastle

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The Kornoelje Muscle Men

After leaving Tillamook we headed to Salem to see Oregon’s state capital.  It was another pretty fall day so we had a picnic lunch at a park afterwards.  The kids and I stayed there for a couple of hours while Lance ran some errands.  It was a nice place to relax before driving for a little while longer.

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Ben and Rose enjoying a swing big enough for two

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Abby made this cute little clover crown for Rosemary.  Isn’t her fluffy hair cute??

On Friday (October 16th) we stopped in Boise, Idaho to see the capital building there.  There was a rally going on to encourage kids to stay drug-free so the steps of the capital building were filled with school kids.  Ben was especially excited to meet Officer McGruff!

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After Boise we drove to Preston, Idaho.  If you know our family, you probably know that we all enjoy watching the movie “Napoleon Dynamite”.  Well, it was filmed in Preston and we were looking forward to seeing some of the scenes from the movie.  We set up camp in the high school parking lot that night and then on Saturday we set out on our own Napoleon Dynamite tour.  We ended with lunch at Big J’s which is a restaurant that Uncle Rico and Kip eat at in the movie.  We all had a fun day in and around Preston.

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Inside the high school.  You see a lot of these colorful lockers in the movie.

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Checking out the auditorium where Napoleon showed off his sweet dance moves.

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Pedro’s house….there’s a “Vote For Pedro” sign in the window

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Where Napoleon and Deb played some tetherball

From Preston we headed south to Salt Lake City, Utah and stayed there a few days.  We saw the beautiful Utah capital building all lit up just as the sky was getting dark.  The next day we went to see the Great Salt Lake.  Maybe we were there at a bad time, but boy did it smell!!  We had brought sand toys and beach stuff, but most of us couldn’t wait to leave.  We also went to an organ concert at the Mormon Tabernacle.  I thought it was great, but it wasn’t a big hit with the 8 and under crowd!  After the concert we went on a short tour of some of the buildings in Temple square.

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Lance and Ben by the Great Salt Lake.  Ben slipped and face planted in the smelly sand/water so we tried out the outdoor shower for the first time when we got back to the camper!!

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Joe, Abby and Sam are waving out there

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Elise signed the guestbook….check out her comment section

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The organ in the Mormon Tabernacle

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The Mormon Temple

Next we headed south to Moab.  As you are driving to Moab you pass a whole lot of nothing and then, all of a sudden, you see cliffs, canyons and crazy rock formations.  Moab is a gorgeous area!!  We camped right near the entrance to Canyonlands National Park and had a great view to the east and the west.

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Our campsite near Moab.  Very pretty scenery all around us.

On Tuesday, October 20th we drove into town for some lunch and while there it started pouring….like crazy cats and dogs!!  The local guy in the restaurant told us that if we got down by the river quickly we would see some waterfalls.  It’s normally pretty dry there, but when it rains the water cascades down the cliffs and rocks in lots of pretty waterfalls.  Sure enough, he was right.  As we got closer to the Colorado River we even got to see a beautiful rainbow.  I have never seen this before, but the rainbow came down and ended right next to the river.  When we stopped by the river Elise got out and high-tailed it across the bridge to see if there was a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow…..there wasn’t just in case you were wondering!!  Even as we stood on the bridge and looked at the river and the rainbow more and more waterfalls were appearing all along the canyon walls.  It was an amazing sight.

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The rainbow

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Here you can see that the rainbow ends on the other side of the river

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Elise chasing rainbows

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The Colorado River with a few waterfalls from the rain storm.

After that we went to Canyonlands National Park and went for a hike.  We were all in awe of the vast canyons and interesting landscape.  We hiked along the rim of a canyon for a while, but turned back before the end of the trail because the sun would be setting soon.  It was another one of those great nights when we were all enjoying each other’s company and the nature around us.    http://www.nps.gov/cany/index.htm

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Beautiful canyons….Wow!!

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Our kids….each one is a pretty unique individual!

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This boy LOVES puddles!!

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Me and Rosemary

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This guy is super awesome!!

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Joe and Sam are at the top of that cliff

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My mother’s heart skipped a little bit watching him have this one taken!

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The sunset over Canyonlands National Park

The next day we went to Arches National Park.  It was raining on and off so we didn’t get to hike like we had planned, but the drive was pretty amazing too.  We decided to test out the parameters on the Excursion and took the dirt road through the park….the road with the sign that says “must have 4×4 vehicle, impassable when wet”.  We had the 4×4 and it wasn’t THAT wet!!  We didn’t go the whole 10 miles, but what we did go on was pretty intense!  Huge boulders along and in the road made for some white knuckles!  It was a lot of fun though, the kids loved it (especially the big kid that was driving!!).    http://www.nps.gov/arch/index.htm

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One of the arches we saw on our drive

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Balanced Rock

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Elise acting like a little mountain goat and climbing that steep and rocky hill

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4WD adventure!

From Moab we drove back into Colorado on Wednesday, October 21st.  More on that later……