Sunday, June 17: Following church drove to Medford, Or.
Monday, June 18: drove to Kelso, WA. On the way, had a lovely visit at Crater Lake:
Tuesday, June 19: drove to Port Angeles, WA and on the way saw Mt. Saint Helens. One of the amazing gifts we experienced was that we were able to take a helicopter ride to the Mountain and actually look into the crater itself. What an awesome experience!! We were also able to drive by the house where my grandfather had lived when I was a kid in Sequim, WA.
Wednesday, June 20: We took the Ferry over into Victoria, BC. There we checked into our hotel where we would stay for four nights, visited Miniature World and had High Tea at the Empress Hotel.
After High Tea, the girls and I found a lovely park to walk around in called Beacon Hill. There we met a peacock who seemed convinced we were there to feed it. It followed us around for awhile, finally giving up with a large squawk, before turning around and heading back.
Thursday, June 21: Visited Butchart Gardens, the Butterfly Museum, did some foot exploring of the city of Victoria and rode a horse drawn carriage around an older part of the city. We enjoyed this day very much. The horse drawn carriage ride was meant to be a tour, but we ended up engaging the "tour guide" who was driving the carriage, instead, in conversation. She is about to start her final year of college, is majoring in Medieval studies and Jasmyn, this young woman and I had way too much to talk about that just took priority over the tour. That was a real gift: to meet this young woman and have such a wonderful conversation about school, politics, countries, and life in general.
Friday, June 22: We went to the Royal BC Museum and Craigdarroch Castle. At the Royal BC Museum we were able to see an IMAX movie about the efforts in China to restore the Panda population from near extinction. There is some success with these efforts and we are learning, so I think there will be more success as time goes by. Additionally, several Indigenous Tribes were present at the Museum, and were giving talks about their cultures and the work throughout Canada to be more open, accepting and celebrating of Indigenous faiths, practices and peoples. We happened to be there at the time of an Indigenous Cultural Festival and there were dancers who came and shared some of the traditional dances, as well as the meanings of those dances. That was amazing! My pictures of this were not great, but perhaps that is better anyway. This is part of who they are, not for our entertainment, but hopefully we learn from other people and can appreciate the beauty of our diversity, as we learn to honor other traditions, cultures and faiths.
Saturday, June 23: We visited the Parliament building, the Maritime Museum, the Bug Zoo (some of us), Christ Church Cathedral (some of us), and then we walked around town more. The kids, David and I ended up having dinner at a Games Café. What a blast that was! For $5 each, we could sit and play any of the games in their extensive games library as well as eating snacks and just being together. We spent four and half hours exploring different games and having dinner. We didn't buy any games, but we really had fun just being together.
Later that day we took the ferry off of Vancouver Island and onto mainland Canada.
Monday, June 25: We stayed in Vancouver but visited the British Columbia Museum of Mining (I didn't go in so I don't have any pictures: I hadn't been able to sleep the previous night and that morning had my run in with the guy I talked about yesterday who was mean in the café. I just needed some alone time, so I rested a bit while the rest of the family went to the Museum). The rest of the family learned a lot though. The museum and guides talked about how their mining had destroyed the local river, wiping out several unique fish species and harming the people downstream who had made their livings as fisher-folk. But they also shared that because of that disaster, their mining techniques have greatly improved and the river is on its way to recovery. Afterwards we went to the Capilano Suspension Bridge Park. As I said, it had not been a great beginning to the day for me. However, there was live music that really touched me in the Suspension Bridge Park. We had lovely walks among the trees: just the kids and I (David doesn't do heights), and it was a healing, calming time.
Tuesday, June 26: We went to the Science World in Vancouver which was AWESOME! We saw a guy do an amazing demonstration on illusions, watched a movie about the Amazon and natural selection, and were able to see just a part of the many wonderful exhibits in this museum. We wanted to stay much longer, but we had to get through customs because we had a scheduled tour at Boeing in Seattle late that afternoon (where we were not allowed to take pictures... sorry).
Wednesday, June 27: We started in Seattle with the Space Needle, the Chihuly Garden of Glass and the Science Fiction Museum/Pop Museum. We were divided: those who don't like elevators or heights went to the Science Fiction Museum while the rest of us did the Space needle and Glass Garden. After that we drove to Tacoma where we went to the Museum of Glass. That was an unexpected awesome, too. In the Tacoma museum of glass they have a theater space where on the stage are glass ovens and the glass workers. A man with a microphone walks around answering questions for all of us to hear about the work the glass workers are doing. You can sit for hours and watch this amazing process. It was beautiful.
Thursday, June 28: We went to the Lewis and Clark Historical Park in Fort Clatsop where we walked among the trees as well as hearing history, seeing the fort, learning how to start fire with flint, and communing with different eco-systems. We then went to Tilamook where we ate dinner at the cheese factory. It was a delicious meal!
Friday, June 29: Mostly a driving day along the Oregon Coast. However, we made one stop at the Sandland Adventures area, where we were taken on a very fast Dune buggy ride over the sand dunes. It was a rollar coaster ride up to 60mph up and down and over and around. I screamed a lot, Aislynn gripped her seat in terror, Jasmyn opted out completely, but the boys loved it. Big surprise there... No pictures of Dune Buggy ride: they warned against getting sand into your phone and camera.. But lots of beach pictures!
Saturday, June 30: more beach, and Trees of Mystery. This is also the day we had our near head-on collision. But we are fine, and again, the time in the trees was healing and helpful.
We came home tired, but with our minds and hearts full. Good people, good food, new experiences. We had a lot of laughter, a great deal of learning, and most importantly, time together. Some of the photos I posted here are just silly, some are sweet, some show beautiful or interesting things that we saw. All of that is as true as what I wrote yesterday. I am very grateful for this time. I hope it created life time memories for my kids. I know it did for me. The time away was full and meaningful. And it was time to come home and be with my community once again. I am grateful for it all.