Saturday, December 5, 2009

Oregon and Washington - and heading out again

This blog's been a bit quieter lately, but not for lack of things about which to write. I've been trying to spend most of my computer time working on the book (Best Family Adventures: Santa Barbara County, due out in early 2010), but have been distracted by little things - bill paying, keeping up with the girls' activities and record-keeping, Farmville.

Yes, I've been taken in by the time suck that is Facebook, but I must confess that I'm quite thankful for the program which in recent months has helped me get in touch with several old friends. A friend from junior high and early high school found me there after years of separation. Her parents had moved to Saudi Arabia for work when we were in early high school, and sent her to boarding school rather than risk taking her there. We lost touch, and we've been looking for each other off and on for the past decade or more. A cousin with whom I'd lost touch is also on Facebook. Dozens of other folks with whom I'd either lost touch or are only just getting to know here in town are also on the funky program, and I'm enjoying getting to know a little bit more about them every day.

Still, nothing replaces personal contact, and we enjoyed getting back in touch FACE TO FACE with some of these friends and family members while we were on our recent trek to Oregon/Washington for Thanksgiving week. We joined some of our girls' grandparents on the train, then hung out in Vancouver, Washington, with the long-lost friend, Portland, Oregon, with the long lost relative, and finally drove out to Long Beach Peninsula, Washington for the remainder of our stay. There we enjoyed the company of our family and a surprise visit from friends living on Vashon Island. The girls particularly enjoyed playing with their young friends and running outside in the rain. Yep - we're California kids - not smart enough to come out of the rain!

We're heading out in the morning again - this time for Sacramento for a couple of weeks of training, family visits, and exploring. In the meantime, I'll leave you with these photos which pretty much sum up our trip north.

A night on the train - cards n' books n' snuggly sleeping arrangements:

Our day on the train - and a stop in Eugene to deliver chips:

Great hospitality in Vancouver and Portland, where V proceeded to dress the cousin's new dog. Good dog!

The Portland cousins introduced us to Saturday Market on Sunday (go figure). Great food, local art and fun. It was really neat to see their teenage daughter join in gladly. She was really great with the girls, fun-loving and wonderful to be around. I look forward to seeing them all again sooner:

Family walk on the Lewis & Clark Trail - Long Beach Peninsula, Washington:

Fun around Seaview & Long Beach - puzzles, tricycle, and V and I took a walk to the beach:

I don't know WHERE she gets it!

Thanksgiving Day with family, friends and SCRUMPTIOUS food!

Our Vashon Island friends come for a visit, and we take in Mrs. Santa's Magic Show:

Even the drinking fountains run non-stop in Portland, land of abundant water. And the girls entertain themselves in mysterious ways on the train trek home:

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