Preparing to board the sub at OMSI, in Portland.

The trouble I get into when I let this go for a few days, is that it turns into a few more days, and then there’s a lot to tell. This time (unlike that last entry), I’ll try to stay either in order, or make some logical sense….

We pulled out of Vancouver last week and spent the day at OMSI, which is where we believe, we picked up some sickness. Super fun and interesting, and a real life bacteria experiment! We just happen to be studying bacteria in Biology, and this week we have contracted several cases of various sicknesses and sore throats and- it all started about 5 days ago when we were at the hands on museum…

Regardless of sickness, the submarine was pretty cool. Meila, Ethan and I took the opportunity to board the sub and take the tour of this WWII pre-nuclear sub. They stuffed 80ish guys inside for up to 60 days…

One of the rules for everyone that took the tour was that we touch nothing! They weren't sure what worked and what didn't, so just in case..... No touchie. Meila restrained herself.

Moving on from OMSI in Portland, we met up with Helen & Richard - that had also moved here from home- for a little pizza and lively conversation, in of all places- an old theater/restaurant. Helen is always so cheerful, and Richard seemed quite happy where they were at- it was sure nice to see them again after several years- we picked up where we had left off without missing a beat.

Outside the Venetian after a hearty meal with our friends, Richard and Helen.

From their home near Hillsboro we headed back to my Mom’s near Dayton, for another couple of nights on shore power and family catching up time. This time, Grandma reminded all of us how well she does at Scrabble no matter how hard we try. We suspect she reads the Scrabble Dictionary anytime no one is watching- but she denies that allegation. It is always fun to play, though.

This church has a great curb appeal. It is different than any other church we've come across, yet. The people: warm and genuine.

While there we had the chance to spend our Sunday morning at the Old Time Gospel Lighthouse Church in McMinnville. Check it out: we quietly went in, and entered the back of the sanctuary. The Pastor was speaking to a group of people and when he spotted the 10 of us (including my Mother), stopped the conversation, and ushered us to the front and second row. Then, no less than 3 others came up and shook hands, warmly welcomed us and asked a few questions. You just never know how it’s going to go when you arrive at a new place. At one point in the service, Pastor Norman Johnson asked anyone that was attending for the first time to STAND UP and they clapped a little. Now, this is exactly what you’re afraid of when you go to church right? The Pastor singling you out in front of the congregation? With 9 others, each of us was able to follow his directions easily- even though we counted for a fourth of the congregation that day. Afterward, they invited us to stay for a potluck lunch, even though we hadn’t brought anything with us (honestly, we didn’t know!) This group of people, mostly older, seemed so kind and down to earth and that they were there were in Church to worship God, and didn’t devote big money and effort to the production- made them intensely likable and gave us a comfortable feeling being there. Now, that isn’t to say that they didn’t keep us on our toes with overhead transparencies for the song lyrics and Pastor Johnson pulling out his electric guitar halfway through the music portion- our eyes remained wide open as the service progressed… We will return when we’re back in the area- and if you’re nearby, stop in on Sunday at 11am. The kids valiantly made it through the service (they all stayed the whole time) and Mom thinks she might go back to check it out again…

If we could find one, we'd certainly buy a bird decoration for our air conditioner. Alas, this is a real one, proving we made it back to the coast. The birds are more apt to land on your vehicle in Oregon we have found. This is one of 3 pictures we have with birds sitting on the top.

After departing Mom’s again, we made for the Oregon coast, and spent the night in the casino lot in Lincoln City- after stopping for dinner in the Safeway lot so we could adjust the alternator belt, who decided to squeal at 1500 RPM no matter what all the way there.

Mike, at Lincoln City Surf Shop not only fixed up Ethan's surfboard, and only charged us $5 to fill our water tank. He wasn't sure if that was a good deal or not, but we think he made about 4.75 on the deal. Had to shoehorn the bus into the small space to stretch the hose. I love those challenges. If you get to this area, he has a great collection of surf stuff, old and new.

Trevor and I did get the belt tightened up, but the belts definitely need replacement. The casino lot was good for a great view, walk to the beach, and the second night there- Kelly and I headed in for a hot date (thank you sitter Lauren). It was as successful as a date could be, let me tell you why: we signed up for the players club- and they gave us 2 vouchers for free buffet dinners ($15 each). Then, we picked up some free fountain drinks from the free soda fountains all over the casino. Then, we plopped $40 out to play a few minutes of Roulette- after studying the players for a few minutes. I kept my part of the deal, and lost the money as fast as I could. Kelly on the other hand defiantly won more than I lost, plus $4. We chalked that half hour up to free fun and left with full bellies and 4 bucks, in addition to the free parking for our bus outside.

The whale Trevor spotted was just off the shore behind the bus. The trees look similiar to those on Trail Ridge Road. They say the wind blows hard here in the winter.

We started to head South the next day after lunch and crossed some old familiar paths when my little brother Aaron married Meg a few years back in Depoe Bay, Lincoln City & Newport.

Cruising along South through Depoe Bay. Worlds smallest port, whale watching capital of the universe and several other things. Charming city located in a beautiful spot.

Then on to Agate Beach, to sit around a beach campfire (with no wind) and then settled into the WM parking lot just about 2 blocks away around 10pm.

Wrapping the day up with a little knit-in with mom and the girls at bedtime.

Not the coziest WM, so we moved on the next day and pushed inland to Eugene, where we had located a chiropractor that we wanted to see. Dr visit, Geocaching and then onto to Crater Lake-  the deepest lake in the US (1,900+ feet deep). Now, we’ve crossed through many small towns, ate dinner outside of a supermarket in Shady Cove and have settled in at a truck stop after fueling – we’ll drop into the Eastern aspect of California tomorrow on our way South.

Obligatory family photo at the rim of Crater Lake.

In case you can't see the faces very well, I've blown that part of the photo up for you to see better below: