We didn't all fit under one table. and I don't think a library is the best place to be in an earthquake.

Eight minutes after we walked into the Costa Mesa branch library this afternoon, we were under the tables protecting our heads and watching for the inevitable destruction- but more on the earthquake later…

The week has run like the Cyclone coaster at Lakeside Amusement Park (my favorite 100 year old park in Denver). It has been recklessly up and down, screaming fast then soothingly slow, not knowing if we’ll actually make it back to the station at the end of the ride, or if we’ll be on the evening news… So many emotions this week…and some memorable quotes: Without admitting which ones are my own, or attributing others: ‘You just took this trip so you and mom could go on vacation for a year’, ‘If no one appreciates it, we’ll head home right now’, ‘We’ll never have a chance like this again- thanks mom and dad’, ‘I’ve never been HERE before!.’ So, it’s run the gamut from good to bad like everyone’s life, right? The day of a particularly emotional outburst, while talking with the kids later I realized that although this can be pretty tough at times, we are doing remarkably well after considering the circumstances. Nine people, 310 sq feet, one 7 sq ft bathroom, no sound privacy when you’re in bed, nowhere to run to and a father that plays the same dumb wake up song 50% of the time. Flash forward 10 years and I’m pretty sure it will be a valuable memory - but some days I wonder……… Have no fear Jess, we’re not coming home yet!

...it's 104 degrees in that little pool, down by the river.

Strangely, the day I posted last time, we had wrapped up a great day beginning with a dip in the hot springs called McCreedy Springs along Hwy 58 on the way to Crater Lake. Say Hot Springs to a Colorado person and we think of Glenwood Springs…. Huge well kept pool, families running around in stylish bathing suits, small fortune paid at the gate to get in… Not here! We rolled in after 7pm on Friday night, dark was falling fast and the dirt parking lot had 3 big rigs in it and 2 smaller vehicles. According to our research, the springs were concealed from the road, but were just a few dozen feet from the parking area. Immediately after leveling the bus and getting the generator running for Kelly to start dinner, Trevor and I set off to survey the hot spring action. We didn’t get right to the edge of the pool, but did get a chance to talk briefly with one of the truckers headed back to his rig, half clad in his trucker clothes. He looked pretty relaxed, like he’s just had the best soak of his life, said he always stopped here when driving by, had been coming here for years. HE also mentioned that everyone at the springs was buck naked, just like almost every single hot springs in Oregon. Well, right then we decided against bringing the family along for a Friday night at the free hot springs, and headed back for the bus, for dinner, and for an early night to insure our arrival before the naked partiers arrived on Saturday morning. Not sure why I associate naked people that sit in free hot springs with partiers? We did get up early, and along with Ethan and Trevor, made our entry into the springs at about 615am. After testing all of the 4 pools, we settled on the one that was about 12-18” deep, had a variety of HOT to cool water depending on where you laid, and was set right alongside the rushing water of the river. Nice spot! By moving the rocks you could adjust the water temp and flow, but we left it as is and moved our bodies instead. As we argued about who would have the privlige of going back to the bus and bringing Kelly and the kids back, they showed up! So, now we have 7 of us (Lauren wasn’t feeling good, and Simon avoids early rising) in the springs and the partiers haven’t shown up yet. We stayed for about 90 minutes and then called the soaking day over. The sweet life of RVing allowed us to shower and cook breakfast- and then begins the search for several geocaches in this area before moving along. Crater Lake was the second half of the day- (previously reported on).

It's hard to just take 2 onions when there are 13,000 pounds of them staring at you.

Heading South from Crater Lake we pushed to get to an interstate rest stop- a guaranteed resting place with plenty of room to park without unhooking the van. Stop, turn off motor, brush teeth and lay down. Nice! The morning welcomed school and a visit to the onion man. Being parked at the rest stop for several hours as we plug through science and math and reading and etc, we see vehicles change every few minutes, occasionally someone interesting pulls in. It started smelling like onions, and lo and behold, the onion man was washing his windows- so we poked our heads out to remark on his load and ask some questions. Come to find out he was carrying 6,300 pounds and 8,100 pounds of onions in his double trailer load. He said we could take an armful of these just plucked beauties, which we jumped at, but held ourselves back to two

If you hurry, the aliens might still be walking around dazed after their UFO crash at the Tower Mart in Lathrop, CA.

Roadside America guides many of our decisions on which way to go, or how far to push on depending on what curiosity lies ahead- today it was the mini mart with a UFO crashed into the roof. No kidding, we saw it with our own eyes. UFO right through the roof. We didn’t need anything, but we went in for ice cream to have an excuse to browse the aliens, and take in what we’d been talking about for miles. The kids did figure out that this was not the current event that I had been making it out to be: “If we hurry, maybe the aliens will still be there” may have been spoken.

THE reason we visited this State Park (the cone). Also, biggest (widest) trees in the world found here.

Kelly has been wanting to touch the BIG cones so we next headed for the Big Trees State Park a little bit North and East of our UFO location.

We thought we had located a pretty big stump as we started working on the Junior Ranger.

Until we found THIS STUMP: (1,290 years old)

Our good timing scored us a kind ranger that had all of the answers to all of our questions. It was a beautiful day to be in any park. We might have seen 40 people on the trails and in the visitors center the whole time we were there.

Some of the historical displays show this photo angle has been taken for over 80 years as visitors record their visits to Big Trees State Park.

It is neat to see these things- walk thru trees etc etc- but it's quite humbling to figure out your place in the Universe when you realize that thousands have come before you to exactly this spot, and more will come in the years ahead. We're just a little family taking our turn on this adventure.

Big hill to pull, not recommended for large vehicles, but it was late at night, and there wasn’t much traffic, so we went for it- from Copperopolis to Angels Camp. It was like taking the switchbacks to Glen Haven in a few parts- with the 45’ bus. No one was injured, and we didn’t hit anything. Arrived in Angels Camp around 9 and spotted a city park that we backed into and settled down, until the local 5-0 knocked on the door at 10pm. Now, I must have fallen a little out of practice from answering the fire call tones in the middle of the night, or been really asleep, because when he knocked and Kelly kicked me and I had to get up quickly, Kelly told me I looked like a clown act. It felt that way, too. Finally I did manage to answer the door and have a reasonable discussion that ended up with us having his permission to stay the night as we were. In the morning, we found that this little town was pretty cool.

Looking down from the highway, over our little piece of the park for the night, just beneath the Lightner Mine site.

Mining flavor, small, well maintained. Chatted with the building inspector and another guy (that reminded me a lot of our own Ed Kelsch). Both obviously loved their community and had some tips for our family to enjoy our time there. Come morning, we assembled the family in the park and had a bit of a shakedown discussion about how we are treating each other, and what we can do better- as we try to find the solution to some nagging relationship garbage between siblings… It was very good to all sit down at once and have a discussion, for even on the bus it’s possible to not be together and passing in the hallway over a period of hours or days. Although you might be startlingly aware of where everyone is, you might not play with them or have an in depth conversation with everyone. We’re going to try and chat every day as a family from here out. Angels Camp if 30 minutes from the Big Trees that we were seeking- so we left the bus behind in bus parking and spent a few hours looking, touring and asking questions- AND getting another Junior Ranger program (and badge) under our belts. It wasn’t too late when we returned to the bus, so we opted to return out to the interstate and claim some real estate for the night, despite the mountain-ey dark travel between us and sleeping bliss. Remember rest stops are free, and fit our budget very well- and when you close the shades, it doesn’t matter where you are. Wednesday morning, home school, then start the motor and head South. We headed that way for about 6 hours, and pulled into Huntington Beach late enough that no one noticed that we parked in the back of the Costco for some shut eye. Costco- free parking also, but not as restful of sleep as rest area not only because of the name- but you don’t know who has security at night to move campers along. I mentioned before that it’s always interesting in the morning, to see where we parked late the night before. This time, I think I planted us squarely in the middle of employee parking. Fortunately we had planned to leave before most of the employees showed up for work- we had some preventative maintenance scheduled for Thursday morning at ABC Bus in Costa Mesa. While the bus was in for service, we picked up forwarded mail, ran a few loads of laundry, shopped a bit and set up in the local library for some home schooling. It was the Great California Quake Out today at 10:30, so we had the chance to learn quickly about what to do, and get ourselves under the tables when the weather radio came on with the simulated earthquake alert. Picked up the bus and we’re ready to go, but seeing as we’re just 5 miles from ‘Surf City’, I think we’ll camp here and hit the ocean at 7am. Simon and Henry have a Skype appointment with their class at 1230 (our time) and then we may move on. Heading further South with some fun destinations to see in the near future.