*Warning, there are no pictures in this post. Eventually I will post pictures, but adjusting to our new life is taking up most of my time. You can check some pictures on FB, and more on Instagram: @puerquenos. The end.*
It is hard to believe it, but we have completed our first full week. In fact, we finished our seventh day on Wednesday, and yesterday started week two! But here goes a recap of the first week.
We left Orem, UT only 2.5 hours late, thanks to the help of many friends and neighbors. Jama, Jordan, and Eden were in town and helped out quite a lot cleaning and entertaining the kids, not to mention many neighbors, primarily the wonderful Kati Pope who watched my kids for many hours in the preceding days and weeks so I could pack/clean/etc. Sadly we never got the two package hooked up to the truck, so we were in two vehicles. [This deserves a post of its own, but I classify our failure to do this our Critical Mistake #2, #1 being not testing all the systems in the RV before purchase] Our plan was to get to Winnemucca, NV by evening.
This should have been an easy undertaking, if we were in a car. Sadly we were in a giant RV and a truck, and so no one could take a certain 2-year-old to the potty every 25 minutes, so we did a lot of pulling over. This was sometimes cool, as we ended up at a rest stop at the Salt Flats, which you can walk out on. Harmon tasted the salt and declared it “super salty”. We declared it super nasty, as it was the area that had been walked on by tons of feet… Some stops were not as cool and the trip already began to feel endless. Driving the RV is not exceptionally difficult, but it does require a large amount of concentration which is wearing.
In the morning(ish) when we left, I was feeling joyful. Just super excited to be doing the whole RV adventure thing, and like it was a great choice. As the day wore on, I began to feel beyond exhausted. A combination of intense focus driving and not sleeping much the night (and weeks) before began to take its toll. Finally we arrived in Winnemucca at the New Frontier RV park. Admittedly this was the first RV park I have ever stayed at, but it was heavenly. Maybe that was just the stopping driving talking. At any rate, while there was nothing exciting to look at (it is Winnemucca after all!) it was actually new, very clean, friendly staff, and amazing showers and laundry facilities. So A+.
Not a great day. I spent most of the day draining and cleaning our stanky water tank so we could have delicious water to drink. Or at least water that wasn’t going to kill us. The RV park took Passport America (discount club card) so we ended up with a second night free (which we didn’t use, we just wanted to stay until 5pm when Aaron was done working/I was done with my system cleanse). We left at 5:30pm on our way to Denio, NV our next destination. It seemed to take forever. Something about driving two vehicles, a giant RV, or something, seems to make us go so so slow. I wrote in my notes that Aaron and I were fighting, but I failed to write about what, but I’m sure it was stupid and due to stress/sleep deprivation. Also it was beginning to be super annoying to have half our belongings all over the floor always being tripped over. We finally stopped at Virgin Valley Campground near Denio after dark. Exhaustion.
We woke up and went to the Royal Peacock Opal Mine to do some mining, unfortunately it was beyond windy and we were unable to mine. We did hit their store and see some lovely stones, and bought candy and drinks. We drove back to the campground and explored a little. It had a really awesome swimming pond which Aaron and some of the kids swam in. When exploring we found lots of obsidian and porcelain and other treasures. After a while we left to Chiloquin, OR where Aaron lived for a few years growing up. We stopped in the tiny town of Bly for snacks and a little break. I don’t know what I was expecting from Chiloquin, I already knew it was small, but when we pulled in I was forced to ask Aaron if maybe it was closed? (Lots of shops boarded up.) We tried a few RV parks and settled in to Sportsman RV Park. There were some tight turns in the park, but a really nice older hippie gentleman helped Aaron navigate. There were lots of tiny bugs there, but thankfully none biting. Aaron and Harmon swam in Williamson River which we had access to from the park.
We wake up and go to church in Chiloquin. Aaron immediately recognizes the Corbins, and upon hearing her voice, Betty. Apparently people don’t look the same as 25 years ago when he lived here… We almost doubled the size of the primary. Aaron talked to Betty and she talked about Earthquake (Aaron’s dad). After church he caught up with the Corbins, parents and two of their adult daughters (and their kids). Next we drove around to find our next spot to stay. This apparently caused tension, as I have again written in my notes “Fight with Aaron”. (I like to keep it real people, it’s not all roses!) We eventually chose Mazama Village campground in Crater Lake National Park. This was my choice and I am immediately happy. (SO MANY TREES!!!) We drive up to the lake but it is too cloudy and cold. We have a campfire.
I do laundry. There are lots and lots of fellows hiking the Pacific Crest Trail who hang out in the laundry room to charge their cell phones. Allison is a little scared of them, but they are friendly. After laundry is done the kids and I are off to start our first Junior Ranger badge. If you don’t know about this, you should. Pretty much every national park offers this, you pick up a booklet from a ranger, complete the activities, and the kids earn a badge. Pretty fantastic. I surprised the kids with their own Ranger vests, because we are going to be doing a lot, we needed a place to put our badges… At lunch we drove with Aaron to see the amazing lake. It was BEAUTIFUL. There aren’t really any better words than that to describe it. Maybe totally amazing. Or breathtaking. If you were thinking about going, you should. The kids went to a Ranger talk and earned a sweet patch as well. In the late afternoon the kids and I drove an hour to Klamath Falls to go to Walmart. Pretty much the only reason was we were almost out of RV toilet paper, and that is where you can get it. See, RV life is pretty glamorous, huh? Watched a movie at night.
Finally got a few things put away (Allison and Mikey slept at the same time). The kids and I drove up to the rim to explores. We drove to Phantom Ship lookout where you can see rocks that look like a ship, and Pumice Castle, which is exactly as it sounds, a castle looking formation of pumice. [SUPER AWESOME!] We also had beautiful valley views on our drive and could see much of Klamath Lake. After our drive we hiked (.5 miles) on the Castle Crest Trail through a meadow and over the creek. It was fun, easy, and every time we crossed the creek Harmon would stick a finger in “to check for purity” and declare “mmmmm yep! Tastes clean!” Campfire dinner and smores.
More laundry. Left Crater Lake around noon and switched to Crater Lake Resort (which is an RV park & camping) about 15-20 minutes away. It has a sweet playground, and a creek with canoes, and a little store. Aaron took each of the kids canoeing, except Allison who was having none of it once it was her turn. (Ok, Mikey didn’t go either.) The kids spent a lot of time at the playground and we “hiked” a little trail around the perimeter of the resort. Love the friendly staff, clean grounds, and fun amenities, but spots are pretty close together.