Monthly Archives: December 2013

Desert Night Time Tour

Yesterday we went to the San Andreas Fault on an eco-tour by Desert Adventures.  We saw the stars.  We got to see the Altair Star (for those of you reading that are from the Altair School).  It was a part of the Summer Triangle.  We got to see a replica of an Indian village.  There we saw an actual Indian arrowhead.

We went in a Jeep.  Jeeps were built for World War II.  This Jeep was built in 1980s there were only 28,000 made.  It was a CJ-8 – C was for civilian, J for Jeep.

There are two different geologic plates at the San Andreas Fault.  There is the North American Plate and the Pacific Plate.  The North American Plate goes all the way to Iceland and the Pacific Plate goes all the way to Japan.  They meet here at the San Andreas Fault, which is pretty cool.  There are about 150-200 earthquakes a day.  You only feel about 4 a year though.

The tour was cool.  Mema gave us this tour for Christmas.  Thanks Mema!

Editor Note – any pictures appearing under Carter and Bennett writing were TAKEN by Carter or Bennett.

There and Back Again (we assume)

First things first – we’re all great and just spent Christmas day with Betsy’s mother, Lucy Groh, in Indio, CA.  The day was wonderful and relaxing.  The boys had a wonderful time opening gifts this morning, we went for a bike ride this afternoon, and Bennett and David tested out the new basketball that was under the tree.  70+ degrees was pretty nice compared to our MN and AK family that are looking at negative numbers on the thermometer.  We missed the family, but not the weather.

Driving down from Portland went smoothly.  A late drive on Thursday got us to Redding, CA. The next day we had a pleasant morning in Redding at the Sundial Bridge. Saturday we spent all day at Yosemite National Park – which was thrilling to us all.  The boys loved the snow and ice.  We all loved the stunning, sunny views and lack of people.

We’ll be spending the next few weeks here in Indio with Lucy.  We expect to get into a bit of home school routine during this time.  It’s a very short winter break for these boys.  They’ll get plenty of vacation days in the months ahead.

By the way, burglars, our home is still occupied. Plus we took all the good stuff. ( I hope they read this far.)

Lastly, I’ll try to attach some pictures to this post.  Bear with us as we get used to this new website format.  Feel free to provide comments below.  You do NOT need to register to provide comments.  If you have any questions, feel free to email, text, ask in the comments or (gasp) call us.

Merry Christmas!


Yosemite National Park

Yosemite Falls is the biggest waterfall in North America.

Yosemite is the area that inspired the government to make national parks.

Yosemite has tons and tons of granite.

Half Dome is amazing because long ago it had a dome shaped top but half of it fell off because of some natural disaster.

Carter and I had a lot of fun playing in the snow and having a snowball fight.

Yosemite National Park

There will be some awful, some enh, some boring days on this trip, yesterday was not one of those.

Yosemite National Park, the grand daddy of the National Park system.  It wasn’t on our original itinerary – which was drive as fast as possible from Portland to my mother’s house in Palm Desert.   However, we saw the weather, we looked at the map, and said, “let’s go for it.”   Getting our National Park Pass in Yosemite seemed like a good start to the trip.

So we put off getting to Mema’s for a day and spent it in Yosemite.  What a great decision!  The boys were so amazed and excited and UN-jaded.  We were also reminded of another truth about traveling with children – sometimes it’s not the big, but the small that they love.  Although they were suitably awed by the Tunnel View and the grand vistas of Half Dome, El Capitan, etc., they enjoyed playing in the snow and ice the most.  They loved breaking ice in small puddles or creeks and smashing it.  There were snowball fights when they found pockets of snow.  The super short stroll up to Bridal Veil Falls that should take 20 minutes (with pictures!) took us about 1.5 hours and only 2 minutes of that was pictures.   We also hiked to Mirror Lake.

I was amazed that the Food Court had gluten free pasta and vegan tomato sauce, so Carter was happy.

Quote of the day, Carter:

“This may be the best stop of the trip until Disney World!”

We had parked at the Mariposa Fairgrounds RV Park which one reviewer described as “perfectly adequate” as an overnight spot.  I agreed.   No atmosphere, just a field with power and water.  It was nice to have both of those as we haven’t had water since leaving Portland due to the freezing temperatures.

Now we are headed to Mema in Indio, CA with a 7.5 hour drive.  Lots of Kindle time and a chance to free play on all the educational apps I downloaded onto the iPad mini.

Redding, California

We started our big trip yesterday with a send off from Altair School.  We gave Rebecca (Mrs. Taylor), Jake, and Cole a tour of the RV while we were parked in front of the school.  We left right from there and drove past midnight all the way to Redding, California and parked at a Wal-Mart.  The boys read on their new Kindles and seem to love them.  It helps that I downloaded some junk along with other books.

We decided to take a break from the drive and visit the Sundial Bridge in Turtle Bay Park.  I got all excited when I realized our OMSI membership got us into the science museum for free.

The Sundial Bridge is an architectural wonder.  It costs 24 million to build and took 10 years.  It is a pedestrian only bridge that is only 720 feet long and 23 feet wide.  It weighs 400 elephants and could hold the weight of 6000 people (although they all couldn’t fit on the bridge.)

We went for a nice walk and the boys played near a little frozen pond (the namesake Turtle Bay) that was covered by ice.  They liked smashing ice and throwing sticks and nuts across the whole pond.

I liked the human sundial and a water feature that showed how much water we use as compared to the world (us 300-500 gallons a day) vs. the world (60 gallons)

We had lunch in the parking lot after a super quick stroll through the inside of the FREE TO US museum (nice bathrooms, a fish tank, and a whole oak tree root ball were the highlights).

Counting Down

We are at Takeoff – 4 days and I thought I’d scrapbook by showing The List as it stands today.  We started with a 4 page Excel spreadsheet and we are now down to just 2.  We keep ticking them off.  It’s getting real.  I’d like to say we are super excited, but I think it is just a push to get out the door now.

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