This big redwood was approximately 9 people wide

You always think you know what YOU would do if YOU ever lost your kids, right? They will stay put and not move once they know you are separated. They will listen quietly for you calling them, and then respond in a clear voice, right? Well, probably yes unless: you enter the redwood forest loop trail that is an easy .6 mile loop, then you encourage the kids to be quieter than the last hike by dangling an ice cream for anyone that can make it the whole way without saying a word, then you allow the group to separate a little since there’s no one else on the trail and it’s nice out and certainly with Trevor in the group, he’ll keep them in order?! Well, here’s how it goes bad: they jog ahead a little, and then a lot.

... and this one's about 59 Trevors tall

Everyone is perfectly silent, then they get back to the part of the trail that T’s off from the parking lot (obscured from view) and coming in on one of the T legs, keep right on going past the leg that returns to the van. NO big deal, they’re all together. Mother and father and 2 other children arrive at the van and don’t see the others, then start looking, and retrace the trail we just hiked, and mention that we’re looking for 5 kids together to other hikers that start the trail and then we head over to the adjacent loop and FIND THEM very slowly moving back towards us.

Walking up to the van, it gave a good perspective of how little the van really was- or how tall the trees are...

Their story: they had arrived at the next parking lot, knew it was the wrong one, and saw the big tree I was excited to see so they stayed there for a bit- and didn’t say anything because they didn’t want to lose the ice cream benefit.

I will say that it was very nice to be in the forest and have everyone be so quiet- but we learned a few things.

The redwoods? If you haven’t seen them, you MUST make a serious effort to come here. And have enough time to spend 2-3 days just looking UP until your neck hurts. Awesome. We stood at the base of the tallest living thing in the United States. We drove along a highway that had trees with 10’ bases just 12” from the shoulder of the road (makes a driver slow down for sure!)

That's 6 kids sitting comfortably inside the uprooted trunk of the redwood (!)

We rolled into the area after a leisurely drive up from Fairfield and checked into a clean little RV Park (Richardson Grove RV Park) at the South end of the Redwoods. We arrived around 5, and they were in the last day of a church conference and they were just sitting down to eat in the assembly hall. The lady that checked us in was very kind, and offered us a meal at no charge and do we say no? No, we gather the children quickly and go!

Meila had the pleasure of driving the lady’s husband and 2 other brave children in the gas powered golf cart, to the hall- and I’m not sure how she pulled that off…. and I think she was even doing the pedals. The church folks were very kind and generous to express their support of our family through a hot tasty meal with their group.

Even propped on top of me, Henry couldn't reach the top edge of the trunk of the felled Dyerville Giant- which was at one time the tallest living thing anywhere.

We seem to be in the off season- no sign of any families and crowds are delightfully light. We are reaping the benefits of a home curriculum.

We stayed over an extra night, to be able to have an entire day (and the parts of 2 on either side) exploring… It’s tough to stay one night anywhere, unless you’re just passing through.

Drawing from my ancient knowledge of middle school tether ball, I was able to stay in the game with the uber-competitive TBI while camping without electronics.

At the campground, Kelly ran into a guy that complimented her on the bus lettering, then went on to explain he was a sign guy, and had been doing signs on the road or several years… He started working at Disney and took his talents along with him, but had fallen on some hard luck and hoped to be back in the saddle again. IT was encouraging to hear him reaffirm what I’ve been speculating for many years- a mobile sign gig would be very successful. If I would give it any effort- perhaps I could show you? I am reluctant to add too much ‘work’ to this experience- but an extra few hundred dollars for a few jobs would fill the tank! I think I’ll print a flyer and have the kids fan out when we hit the next campground or truck stop. You may recall that my vinyl plotter checked out a week ago right after I lettered the bus, so we’re headed for Portland, where a man has another identical machine that we hope will work for us for another 18 years (I love those IVB plotters).

The banana slugs were plentiful at Moonstone Beach- from 1 - 8" long, thick and juicy.

Today, we awakened to a birthday event, that was really a day that could have been any other day, except that it marked the graceful march toward more wisdom, greater beauty and deeper, more loving relationships with Kelly and the rest of the clan. The kids were up until the wee hours making birthday gifts and greetings, and surprised her when she woke up. We then packed up and pushed down the spectacular highway toward the Oregon border, stopping for a few hours at Moonstone Beach to acquiesce to Trevor’s wishes to dip his surfboard into a great surfing beach.

Running 'em through like cattle- they strip down, spray off, rinse feet in the bucket then step onto the carpet and dry off for their clean step onto the dry rug on the first step of the bus, then into clean clothes inside. Of course, this was after Trevors sweet, special surfboard was cleansed with fresh water.

We all enjoyed it thoroughly with caves, tide pools, agates, blackberry bushes, and banana slugs- and Ethan found: mud. We were able to park the bus so it worked very well to come back and shower outside, then move into clean clothes- just like we had planned- but had never been able to do because the bus hasn’t been close enough to the beach for it to work…

Stealth camera: On the way back from the Redwoods, Kelly spotted this pumpkin she alleged was real. In disbelief I hooked a U turn and parked with my foot on the brake, in gear while she darted out to touch it and prove it was plastic or fiberglass or something before the owner caught her handling the goods. OK I was wrong once, it was real... and after Kelly stepped away another lady showed up out of nowhere to feel it, too. Weird.

Finally, we have stopped over in Crescent City for the night, savoring a tasty Mexican dinner and planning an early morning attack on the attractions here, before moving even further North. Our next major destination is my Mom’s house in Northern Oregon.

Startled from all of the smoke coming up from the representative candles, Kelly is poised to pounce on the carrot cake at the big party after dinner in the bus entertainment lounge.

Of an interesting note: while in the redwoods, I was under the impression that we had no wireless or cell connection, and thus did other things. We subsequently had some significant discussions with the kids about their use of electronics for passing time and occupying themselves- and we think, taking away from the value of our family being together. If it isn’t positive or educational, we’re  going to be pulling the plug. If you have been in touch with the kids through chat or email or something else distracting, you may not hear from them soon. Don’t worry, they’re OK- but they’re spending time with their family, and will get back to you later- possibly much later. They will curse us today and tomorrow- but we think they will accept the shrouded blessing of reducing their electronic lives for a few months – sometime in the future.

We’ll keep up the blog and family email and phone, but the kids will not be independently be scurrying off to stay in the loop at home… What do you think about that?