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"Going anywhere this summer?"
It's a pretty typical question people ask during the summer months. My answer sounded something like, "Yeah, we're going to Oregon the last week in July."
People who didn't know us extremely well usually responded by saying, "Oh, do you have family there?"
Close friends who know we don't travel much responded with, "What's in Oregon?"
To both sets of folks, I found it difficult to explain the reason. Because traipsing across the country to meet/visit your son's friend, whom he met online about a year and a half ago, isn't exactly something this strait-laced family would do!
But, in a nutshell, that's what we did. We drove to Oregon to meet my son's special friend and her family. As strange and shocking as it may seem, we felt God's blessing upon the situation. So, here's my son and the reason we traveled to a tiny town in Oregon:
Seemed like forever that we anticipated this trip! Usually, we start school the last week of July, but my kids lucked out and got an extra week of summer vacation. I'm surprised my kids were coherent enough before the sun rose to perform the action of posing and smiling for a picture.
Driving through Nevada was about as exciting as eating paper. The Joshua trees we passed were neat, so I snapped a quick pic. Thank goodness I had a book (Illusion: A Novel)
and chocolate to get me through!
We drove for about 15 hours that first day and stopped in Boise at a Shilo Inn. I'd never heard of this hotel chain before, but, of course, I loved the name! Didn't so much like the nasty brown spot I found when I turned the comforter over. Good thing I don't use those in hotels. Ever.
The phone by the toilet was a little interesting. And gross. Funny thing - right as I was about to land my bottom down on the seat, it rang. LOUD. 'Bout scared me half to the moon! It was the front desk letting me know that the roll away cot we'd requested was ready. But, seriously, why put the phone next to the toilet? So weird. Multitasking at its finest.
Sunday morning, we woke up and drove some more. Fortunately, it was only for about 3 hours. Our plan was to meet Mullin's friend and her family at their church. We arrived a little early and they weren't there yet. It felt so strange being visitors at another church! Anyway, we knew to keep our eyes out for any gingers who happened to walk through the door. ;)
Super fun seeing Mullin and his friend meet for the first time in real life!
After church, we all went to a little park and ate lunch. The kids had fun playing football and getting to know one another. Mark and I enjoyed getting to know the parents as well. It was so easy to get along with everyone in this sweet family!
Sunday night, we all went to the grandparents' house and hung out. The grandparents' prepared a wonderful meal, and the kale salad was very yummy. I've already made it since we've been back home. I'll have to share it soon!
After dinner, the parents treated us to fresh Huckleberry sorbet. Earlier that day, I tried a huckleberry for the first time. Sort of like a blueberry, but smaller and maybe more tart. Good, though.
The view from the grandparents' house was amazing. The scenery was so peaceful, and Mark and I loved sitting and taking it all in. The sunset was divine. Even though the picture isn't quite the same, it's still pretty nice. No filters, either.
We stayed at the Union Historic Hotel for two nights. Talk about a neat, old building! When you walk through those inviting, red doors, you get a whiff of the 1800s. Shiloh liked that a big, fluffy sheep dog roamed the place. I didn't take many pictures of our actual room, but it had an old-fashioned ranch feel to it. I thought it was a bit strange that there wasn't a big mirror in that room. And the mirrors that were in there were pretty small and cloudy.
We did hit a little snag while we were staying there, though. I guess a leak sprung in the downstairs living room, and they claimed it was coming from our bathroom. So . . . the lady said no more showers until she found out exactly where the leak was coming from. Not good. Especially when everybody hadn't had a shower yet.
Shower alternative: the lady came back with a shower key. I'd never heard of a shower key, but it unlocked the door to the shower room down the hall.
The leak problem wasn't solved that first day, so if we wanted to be clean, to the shower room we'd go. I braved up, and went first, hoping and praying that the lock worked. And that there wasn't a secret passageway that led to the teeny, tiny dressing room separated from the shower by a thin, plastic curtain. Well, since I am typing this, you know I survived.
There was no way I was sending my little girl to the shower room all by herself, so Daddy sat outside the door until she was done. From what I hear, she had a blast in that room!
We hung out quite a bit at our new friends' house. They were so hospitable and lovely to be around. Monday morning, they cooked a delicious breakfast for us which included two types of pancakes I'd never eaten before: huckleberry pancakes and pancakes sprinkled with cheddar cheese. Both were super yummy!
They also gave us a little basket of goodies, and Mullin's friend made matching Cookie Dough shirts. She actually formed the letters out of real cookie dough. Neato!
Later that day, we drove about 8 miles or so to hang out and grill hamburgers at beautiful Catherine Creek. Gorgeous place, however, the wasps had already staked their claim. Oh my! They were EVERYWHERE and landing on us like crazy. Fortunately, no one got stung, but we decided to ditch our plans at Catherine Creek and head over to Union City Park which was right beside our hotel. Everyone still had a great time, but I did miss the sound of naturally flowing water. :(
Our kids learned a new game: King Elephant. It kept them busy while hamburgers cooked on the grill. They're eager to play again, but they need more than 3 people. So, watch out Arizona friends! You may be learning a new game soon if you don't already know how to play.
The second night I decided to stay at the hotel for a bit of relaxation while Mark took the kids back over to our friends' house to watch The Princess Bride.
Tuesday morning, we stopped by our friends' house to fellowship a little more and to say goodbye. They are truly surrounded by such beauty. I love that I got to see another part of God's wonderful world that I'd never seen before, and to meet the family belonging to my son's friend.
THANK YOU Oregon friends for your gracious hospitality! It was wonderful meeting you all. May our friendship continue and may God abundantly bless you.