Last Chance Grade, a safari, and a volcano

The Redwoods were stunning. Awe is such a powerful and healing emotion. We wandered around the tall trees, imagining where Bigfoot might live (something we do a lot on this trip. Shasta/Six Rivers National Parks have my vote so far). We saw a redwood that made Hazel crack up laughing because it looked like it had a penis. (Iris responded with her usual comment: “I’m concerned”).

When we left the redwoods it was 2:30—we wanted to stay longer but we also needed to make it to Last Chance Grade by 3:00.

Dolly groaned as we pushed her faster than she wanted to go along the coastal highway. The ocean glimmered to our left as we carved our way forward along the hills. We were cutting it close.

It was 2:59 when we made it to Last Chance. It felt like an Indiana Jones moment, holding on to our hats as we rolled over the dirt patch of under-construction highway and made it to the other side, the entirety of the northwest now open to us.

We meandered up the coastal highway, and stopped at Gold Beach, Oregon, to walk along the beach. The wind was strong and the sand pelted our legs as we wandered around, all of us in our own space, each of us picking up perfect beach rocks and checking out tide pools.

When we got back to the RV we all had our arms and pockets full of rocks. We’re currently driving down the highway with a drawer full of beach rocks. I plan on decorating mine for Daisy.

Turning East

We said goodbye to the Pacific Ocean in Bandon, Oregon, and officially started making our way East on the afternoon of Tuesday July 20th.

Our first stop was our friend Matt’s house in Looking Glass, Or. Matt works full time as a chemist but lives on a 5-acre farm where he grows vegetables with his girlfriend Tanya (who, it turns out, had been listening to Eric’s podcast for its ASMR qualities before she knew that Matt knew Eric. She said Eric’s voice helps her fall asleep. Stay tuned for Eric’s dedicated ASMR podcast inspired by Tanya).

The land was parched, having been cooked by the heat dome a few weeks before. But that meant Eric could drive Dolly right into the field and park in the meadow. It also meant no generator for fear of sparking the dry grass.

Eric and I caught up on some work on Wednesday morning while the girls played Minecraft. Then Matt and Tanya took us to a nearby outdoor safari park. The place had Red Pandas (Hazel’s spirit animal) and big cats (iris’s spirit animals). We also saw giraffe, bear, monkeys, bison, zebra, hippos, elephants, and more. The girls pressed pennies into souvenir coins (and pressed us for cotton candy).

We said goodbye to our hosts after the safari, and headed to Hood River, Oregon, to stay at a hotel, courtesy Greg Gnecco and Hemp Northwest (and Queen of Hearts hemp foods). We arrived after dark and passed out quick in cozy beds.

After a morning of meetings (Eric took the girls to swim in the pool) and an afternoon of proofing our new issue, we hooked up with our host, Gregg who also works for one of our main trip sponsors, IND Hemp. He wanted us to get to enjoy some of the natural beauty around that part of the world.

We ditched the RV in a parking lot, hopped into his car, and he took us up to see Mt Hood, which was only a 30-minute drive from us.

The Volcano

The girls were nervous being so close to an “active” volcano. But driving up the mountain in a car was enjoyable after riding switchbacks in Dolly (even if Gregg was one of those drivers who looked at you while he was talking and talked the whole way up).

When we got to the Timberline Lodge at Mt Hood, we changed into boots and set out to play in the snow in July. On our walk, we passed hikers wearing shorts, and a skier decked out in a full-body winter ski suit. The view from the volcano’s base was epic. We could see other snow-capped mountains in the distance. The ring of fire in all its glory.

After that we explored the lodge. There was a little museum with pictures of the Civilian Conservation Corps members who built it in the 1930s, and recreations of rooms with original furniture and clothing from that time. There was a grand lounge with views of the peaks and a huge central fireplace with enormous wooden beams and wooden stairs worn smooth from age, but still super sturdy and thick.

Gregg decided to bike down the mountain (he had his bike on the roof of the car) so Eric got to drive his car down to pick him up in the cute town of Government Camp. It’s been a while since he drove stick shift, so that was its own kind of fun. When we got to the town, the girls got ice cream and sunglasses and we walked around with all the summer ski tourists.

We slept last night at Base Camp RV park, by the Columbia River. Today, (July 23rd) after a morning of meetings, we’re back on the Hemp Tour, visiting two different businesses in Eastern Oregon.

We’re making our way to Montana tomorrow.

(Still haven’t told the girls about Daisy. But I did tell them we’re getting kittens when we get home. Local PA peeps, if you know of any kittens available the second week of august, let us know.)

Swipe left for more