National Park

Skyline Drive

The 150 mile Skyline Drive atop the Blue Ridge Mountains through Shenandoah National Park was a beautiful way to spend our day today.  At 35 mph it was a whole day drive.  We also enjoyed the view in the valley as we made our way back to Charlotteville.   If we didn’t have so much family keeping our hearts in Oregon.  Virginia’d beauty would be giving Oregon a run for it’s money.    









  C un. I yyyyyubj j j    

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John Day Fossil Beds National Monent

We are headed to family camp!  Maybe we should be more organized and have our meals planned but we like to celebrate small victories and not stress about the rest so we are celebrating getting on the road!  The first leg of our journey is a coming together. Chad, me and the kids with Stephanie and Cyrus and Suzanne, Jeremy and their kids.  We had decided on a meeting place of John Day Fossil Beds National Monument with a plan to head south from there.  The GPS said 4 hours 20 minutes.  We were up at 6:30AM taking showers, getting dressed and loading the car took a little while and some motivating YouTube Tetris music.  Finally deciding we would have to leave the kayaks behind seeing no way to fit everything.  Stephanie and I had seen a few blow up “kayak”s that hold two people and were on sale at Fred Meyers so she went and got two of them as well as a quick breakfast that the kids could eat at the shop while we hooked up the trailer.  We left the house at 8:30 thinking that was pretty good time.  We had a few hiccups hooking up the trailer and were still feeling like we were making good time leaving Salem at 9:30.  I put in our destination to google maps giving us a 2:30 ETA.  With lunch and traffic we were not making the kind of time we wanted to.  Heading first after following a sign to the painted hills section of the park we backtracked and were relieved to finally make it to the paleontology center at 4:00PM.  Stephanie and Jayson met us in the parking lot as Jayson headed back home to hold down the fort.   We also got to see a few faces from our past! George and Jerry Lunsford (high school teacher and youth pastor from our past lives in Cambridge Idaho) now they may regret making a special stop at the national monument, but we sure did enjoy catching up with them.

 John Day Fossil Beds National Monument is know for its vast range of fossils of both plants and animals as well as number of fossils that are still being found there.  All this is fun and interesting making me eager to learn the real truth behind the Grand Canyon,  the continental drift, and now 15,000 feet of fossil layers in the middle of eastern Oregon.  I am guessing that the answer to many of my questions will have to wait until the other side of the pearly gates as I do not buy into evolution and millions of years.  After the main visitor center we enjoyed the farm house for a little while before heading to John Day.

  We took up three whole booths at dinner.
 I was blown away how breath takingingly gorgeous the drive was!  We made it about half way to family camp whoo hoo!! California here we come!

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Seaman Day Pictures

 This photo was taken just as the park opened. Many more Newfs came and went over the days time. (the news artical written about the event!
Pictures sent by the ranger in charge of hosting Seaman’s Day.

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Kilauea Erupting

I really didn’t think we would get to see actual lava in our time here.  Yes we had been to the volcano and observed the glow from the caldera at night, that was way cool, but we couldn’t say that we saw the actual lava.  For the last two days people have been saying the magma chamber is full and it is visible at the top! Could it really be true!?! We rested at the house and read until 3:00pm when we made our way to the volcano.  You have to go early in the day to get a parking spot at the overlook.  In broad daylight you could see streams of orange lava bubble up.  If you could see it mid day it was going to be good come night. To keep the kids entertained until then was going to be the trick. We opted for the 0.5 mile hike to check out the campground.   

              It ended up being the perfect choice!!!! So so beautiful and relaxing as it was a short distance and we were out to waste time.  






 By the time we got back we only had an hour and a half to wait.  The kids and I read books in the bookstore until 7:00pm when it was finally dark.  These guys are good at volcanos but maybe not so good at math.  It should say 32 years according to their dates I only noticed because it is near my birthdate and year. (I’m getting old)

              I could have sat with a blanket on the rock wall for many more hours.  Simply mesmerizing! Better than fireworks and that says a lot because they are one of my favorite things ever.  This will probably be the only time in our whole lives that we will see molten lava a few football fields away from us. We have been so blessed to experience this.  God’s amazing creation is so awe inspiring.

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Pu’ukoholā Heiau

This was our last National Park for this Island, Pu’ukoholā Heiau National Historic Site (The Temple on the Hill of the Whale) built of what else but lava rocks.  The building material of plenty on this island.  Built by King Kamehameha in 1790-1791.  It was told in a prophesy that if he built this temple that he would be able to unite the islands as one kingdom.  He was able to unite the islands.  It was at this time when James Cook from England stumbled upon the islands bringing them in one generation from the stone ages to a global awareness of nations and technology of the English sailors who frequented the island.  One such sailor John Young and foreign advisor Isaac Davis stayed on the island and assisted Kamehameha in his rise to power.  

I share this because you can go on line and listen to the history for yourself it is pretty interesting.

The reef here is full of reef sharks we watched for them but did not see any.  Supposedly they are easy to spot in the morning their black triangular dorsal fin moving above the water.

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Panaluu, Kalae, & Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau

I am disheartened after writing quite a bit of this post just to have it deleted so hear goes round two most likely more brief.  When we woke up this morning we really didn’t have any kind of plan for the day but we know from experience that three months isn’t long enough to really waste any time and still see the things we hope to see while we are here.  We thumbed through the guide book and decided to see another one of the national parks that just happened to be near Kona on the other side of the island.  We were driving along just minding the GPS when we saw a sign for a black sand beach.  Although we have seen black sand we had not yet been to a black sand beach and it was on the top of Hannah’s most want to do in Hawaii list, so we turned and checked it out.  Panaluu County Black sand beach was a hit.  The smell of BBQ was in the air.  Hammocks hanging on the coconut palms. 

From there we kept on towards the west side. Then Chad made a turn off the main road…where was he going?  I don’t usually ask right away because often it becomes obvious, but the GPS kept chirping directions at us so I asked if Chad wanted me to turn it off.  It was a small one lane road. And the scenery was perfect.  

We had talked about seeing the green sand beach at breakfast, but it requires a hike and it was lunch time and we hadn’t packed a lunch.  That is not where Chad was going he was taking us to the most southern point in the United States!  Yay so fun! A whole bunch of people were there.  Not to say they had been to this point, but to cliff jump.  It was kind of fun to watch them.  

 That was a fun detour!  

Pu’uhonua o Hōnaunau National Historic Park was surprisingly awesome.  I wasn’t really sure what to expect and we were a little grouchy and hungry it was 2:00pm and we still had not had lunch, there aren’t that many places to stop for food on the drive around the southern tip of the island.  We got in on the 2:30 ranger talk which was hilarious and gave us the jest of the history of this historic park.  It was a safe haven called by many “city of refuge” a reference from the Bible. Where people could go to find sanctuary if they were guilty of breaking the sacred laws (kapu).  

I could live in a bungalow here. 

A day of fun surprises! 

Categories: Fulltime, Hawaii local attractions, National Park, Road Trip | 2 Comments

Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park

This national park is a short drive from our house and seemed like a good way to start off our school week and celebrate our anniversary as I work tomorrow on the actual day. We got a late start because we had to fuss with the instant hot water heater because the pilot light will not stay lit.  No success was had with that so we quickly took our cold showers, dressed, ate breakfast, and then spent an hour or so trying to download pictures off of my phone to clear up memory for the new ones that would be put on there today.  The kids got their school work done for the day before we left the house.  We weren’t stressing about time. We wanted to be there until dark to see the glow of the lava in the distant crater that is invisible during daylight so later was actually better.  The sign at the entrance warned that the air quality was poor today.  We checked out the first visitors center, bought our patches and had a last minute pit stop before heading out on our first hike, the sulfer basin trail.

We then hiked a segment of the crater rim trail and checked out the lava house before heading back to the car for our Musubi lunch.

 We tried a few other different not marketed in the main land products with lunch as well today.  All were a hit.

We learned a lot about the Hawaiian goddess  Pele of the volcano.  There is a picture of her in our house that I thought was a little bazaar now I know what it is.

We then drove the scenic 40 mile drive where the lava had been flowing into the ocean.

Being a farther distance and a larger roped off path the kids were able to climb in the rocks more and that made for some good fun.  We saw 6-7 whale spouts a few of those breeched the surface of the water as we watched.  I just love whale watching and could do that alone all day.  We then did another section of the rim trial.

The Thirston Lava tubes which were quite sad when  compared  to Ape Caves  in Washington, but still they were fun to walk through. 

Our last hike was two miles down and across a crater that besides vents is not currently oozing its lava and must be safe enough to walk out on or they wouldn’t let us right?

This hike took us a while as the kids were getting tired.

Chad and I took turns carrying Eve back up to the top.  As the darkness settled in on us the bright orange glow of the lava was visible.

We didn’t stay until it was completely dark.  It was starting to rain and the kids were tired and cold.  We may come back again though if we get a clear night just to watch the glow in the clear night sky.

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Checked in at the hospital then a drive around the island 

Thank goodness for the two hour time difference.  We were all wiped.  With an appointment with The hospital HR department at 9:30 in town some 40 minutes away.  I took my professional binder to the appointment and it was a good thing.  I needed to give proof of the varicella immunity and a recent tetanus shot.  It had only been a year since my last one, but with no proof of my childhood series I had to get a second one, ouch!  Actually the nurse did a really good job, so I hardly felt it, but it didn’t take too long until some soreness set in.  The drive around the island was good.  It was long they say that the big island is about the size of the state of Connecticut.  Hilo is very much a jungle.  It is almost chlostraphobic with the thick jungle pushing in around you.  It is that way most of the east facing side of the island.  

The north end is grasslands.. We stopped for gas and lunch. 

The Westside is windy and covered in lava fields. 

Kaloko-Honokõhau National Historic Park looked like a small national park from the road and we all needed to get out and stretch our legs.  The purpose of this park is to show how the first Hawaiians lived in large long homes next to the water’s edge.  There were not many edible plants when they arrived and so their subsistence was dependent on fish.  It was .5 mile walk down to the long houses and beach.  

The lava that had flown into the ocean had created tide pools that had attracted fish and sea turtles.  We stayed there for a good hour to let the kids play and explore. 

We didn’t touch the turtles but they swam up to the kids and around them slowly minding their own business with out any fear. 

On the walk back up we checked out the petroglyphs. 

The greenery along side the trail was great too.  I though this stump looked like a goat. 

We then went in search of dinner food. 

The south end of the island is drivable but it is a steep drop to the water some 1000 feet.  We didn’t take many pictures there is a lot of black with the sea far below.  We were all feeling quite tired as it was a full day after a full day.  We got home just after seven pm and everyone crashed.  

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Chad picked me up from my last assignment.  The car was packed to the gills and despite the early time the kids were bright eyed and bushy tailed.  Coffee and some breakfast was our next stop.  I would like to say I stayed awake long enough to see Victorville disappear in the rear view mirror, but I can’t be sure.  Sleep was calling my name quite loudly.  My neck, sore from quirky sleep positions had me waking up periodically to change positions, so the change of scenery was noted every time my eyes popped open.  Just about noon we pulled into Yosemite National Park.  We started at the southern end at Mariposa’s sequoia grove. 

We took a short hike to get some fresh air, stretch our legs, and see a large fallen tree.

The fallen tree was pretty impressive and oh what a beautiful walk to it. 

We hit up the bathrooms and then went in search of an open visitor’s center.  Yosemite village was 35 miles up the road….what a beautiful drive. 

When I am over tired I find myself quite sensitive to the cold so Chad has most of the scenic photos as he would pull over and jump out at every scenic overlook to take pictures.  What a camper and hiker paradise.  We didn’t have time to get out and do any long hikes, but now on our life to do list is spend a good week (at least) hiking different trails in Yosemite including halfdome.  The visitors center was another cold (50 degrees which is normally perfect) half mile walk and was worth the time.  They had several museums, a theater, and a gift store.  

We were sad to leave , and are already making plans to get back.  No wonder it was the first land in the United States set aside to be protected  for the public to enjoy for generations to come.  A grant signed by Lincoln during the civil war in 1864 was a start, and in 1890 it became what it is today through the promotion and renown provided by the popular drawings/writings of John Muir, a national park. 

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A day with Sam all to ourselves!!!

The plan was to go to church then take off for the beach. We had thrown around the idea of going to the tide pools in Monday as it had been recommended by a family in our Full Time Families FaceBook group recently and heck it was a National Monument so it would be free for us to get into. With the day being overcast and not at all warm enough for the kids to swim at the beach, the vote to visit the tide pools a day earlier was unanimous. We had had a big breakfast so for lunch a small muffin and orange was served more as a snack than a lunch and then we hit the road. Since we had six people we borrowed grandma and grandpa’s highlander. The two older kids although disappointed not to be sitting by Samantha did like the cool third row seats. We stopped in La Jolla on our way down to San Diego to see the “Seal Beach/caves”






On our way down to Cabrillo we passed Point Loma Nazarene University, we joked that I should see if they have a CNM program (I haven’t looked yet, but I’m sure they don’t) so I could go to school there. It made me think both of Leah (from the FBC) and Nathan (from Salem Naz) as they attended there for college. The Cabrillo Tide Pools National monument was fun, we had high hopes for the tide pools as most of the free non monument tide pools in Oregon are so awesome this had to be even better. Right? We knew low tide was at 5:35 pm and the park closed at 4:30pm. We got there at 2:30pm right between high and low tide.






This little guy looks related to the trilobite.












The tide pools were kind of a dud. They were fun but nothing compared to Lincoln City, it was unfair to judge since it wasn’t true low tide. The rocks were awesome to climb on, we could have done that alone all day.


There are two light houses on Point Loma, one on the coast guard land.





















We closed down the park, and with our piddley lunch food was our first next stop.
Samantha suggested a place called Stater 50/50 it got its name because it’s signature burger (and most of its burgers) are 50% ground beef and 50% bacon… Yes you heard that right. Crazy business. And it was crazy good. We are going to have to get back to whole foods plant based diet sometime I can feel my veins clogging just thinking about that burger.






We were super sad and reluctant to see Sam go, and oh so thankful that we got this quality time today. We love you Sam and will miss you as we head out at the end of the week.

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