Ocean Family Road Trip

Tillamook and Mt. Rainier

Successful travel blogs contain useful information and do not read like personal diaries. So here’s one thing I’ve learnt: in the US, if a place name has the word “park” in it, it will cost you $40 a night. If a place name has the word “forest” in it, it will cost you nothing.

Although I would one day love to have successful travel blog, this first post is for my siblings and friends: its a bulk email on a blog.

Since we’ve been on the road, our first extended stay was in the Tillamook Forest in Oregon, on the river Trask. Omaha friends, I wish you could know the bliss of a forest waterhole in the height of summer. Diving under a waterfall, bringing your body temperature right down and then laying on a boulder in the sun. Your cheek pressed against its smooth surface. We were not tourists in the Tillamook. We camped by the same waterhole for eight days and seven nights without moving – we didn’t even go on a walk. Locals came and went. An overweight family who was very loud. Lumberjacks with suspender tan lines drinking busch light and diving into shallow water. A few fishermen, a few drunk 20 somethings. We came to feel like locals, to know the place if even just that spot.

And we got to know each other again too. I mean we didn’t have cell phone service, let alone wifi. What else was there to do except gawk at each others faces? And while we still had booze, there were a quite a few self congratulatory toasts in the evening.

Then we slowly made it to Mt Rainier. I love that place. The moment we first saw her was like a perfectly planned reveal in a burlesque performance. I had heard that the first moment you lay eyes on the mountain was a memory you would forever cherish (expectation). We drove around a huge pass and couldn’t see her (first tease). We drove all the way to paradise, got out and there was nothing but cloud (second tease). We spent the night at Paradise, and woke up early the next morning. Bluebird sky, the sun rising and Mount Rainier smack in our faces. Shiver.

During our week there I met a Native American man by Ohanapecosh river. His name was Alan and he had great hair.
He was a teepee builder and proud owner of a lizard named Gilbert, that he kept on a leash. We talked about foraging berries and he gave me a jar of elk meat that turned out to be delicious. I gave him a bag of sunflower seeds (unopened).

We provisioned up at Packwood and moved onto Soda Springs campground (another freeby). I declared booze not in our budget and 3 nights later I see Pat sipping from a cup pursing his lips. He bought vodka behind my back and was drinking it straight, hiding the bottle in his ukulele case. He thinks after 11 years of marriage I can’t tell when he’s drinking vodka. I made a mental note to cook his dinner the following night in river water. And I did and it tasted delicious. We did a lot of singing at Soda Springs, one night while Pat was singing Edelweiss I taught Celia how to waltz, and we waltzed and we waltzed around the campfire.

I don’t know when it started but Pat and I both read tourist signs in a Japanese english speaker’s accent. For example, we will exclaim, “aaahhh hot sling 2 mile, vely good!” I blame Ben Weigl and our “Rotorua Mud!” Japanese man experience and New Zealand’s thriving Asian tourist industry.

A friend from home (Naomi Reese) asked if I was claustrophobic in the bus, my answer, not at all. We spend all our time outdoors including mealtimes. We are all very comfortable and happy in this tiny space. However, sometimes as I’m just waking up, I don’t remember where I am. I sit up too quickly and whack my head. I then realize “Oh shit that’s right, I’m living in a tiny house and are parked on the west coast of America.” And I hide back under the covers.

7 thoughts on “Tillamook and Mt. Rainier

  1. Kimbo Jones

    Beautiful Amy, for a moment I was right there beside you and the family. Thank you so much for sharing!!! LOVE that Pat snuck contraband into the truck in his ukelele case – what a rebel!

  2. Mum

    That is very good,a few grammar errors if you want to be picky ,but the feeling is there,sharing your personal experiences is what we want to hear,makes me feel like we are there with you and especially the quirky bits
    If you get the chance to read that book WIld,about the girl who walks the Pacific Trail,that is the same thing,how she coped,her mistakes and especially the people she met on the way,mostly lovely real people,I hate reading all this fiction about nasty people.i read it in two days,I enjoyed it so much.
    Keep it up,cause there are so many people interested in your journey,some of my cousins who don’t even know you ,

  3. Pattie Smith

    What a wonderful and special family you are…living life in your own unique way. You truly are delightful in every aspect of the word!! I hope it’s everything you wanted and more. 💜

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