Monday, October 31, 2011

Fall Vacation: Day 11

This was the final day of our trip.  We were pretty tired by now.  We worked our way home slowly, making a couple stops at places that sounded interesting.  One of them was worth posting about.

This historical landmark dates back to 1844.  John Jackson built a cabin on this location in 1845.  He was one of the first American Settlers North of the Columbia River.  I wish I would have swung the camera around and taken pictures behind me because here you are standing on this historical site, looking at a homestead dating back  over 160 years.  But all around it was a suburban neighborhood with people going about their 21st century lives.  It kind of felt like when you stepped onto the grassy yard of the cabin you passed into a different time.  It was hard to imagine this being the only thing here.  Everything else around it was prairie when John and Matilda raised their family here.

We were going to go on a short hike through the Mima Mounds at this point.  It is a large area of curiously bumpy ground.  Acres and acres of little hills.  Geologists don't all agree on how they were formed but they are fun to walk through.  Unfortunately the weather was too rainy.  We were getting worn down anyway so we decided to just go home and see our animals and get settled in.

Thank you God for allowing us to take this trip as a family.  Thank you for this amazing world you made for us to explore and for providing the resources this year for us to explore it. 

And thanks friends and family who emailed or commented to let me know you were following along.  We enjoyed journaling the adventure so we can look back at it and remember what we learned and saw.  But it makes it even more special that we could share it with some others.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fall Vacation: Day 10

On Day 10 we woke up in Seaside.  Our plan had originally been to head down hwy 101 so we could enjoy the Oregon coast.  Unfortunately the weather didn't cooperate and it turned out so foggy that you couldn't see anything.  A scenic drive wasn't going to happen.  So we took a couple hours to check out the Seaside aquarium and then headed down to tour the Tillamook cheese factory.

The aquarium was pretty good for a small town aquarium.  I will let most of the pictures speak for themselves.

Cutaway view of a clam

Cutaway view of a starfish

This crab looks just like a rock when it isn't moving

No, I didn't take a picture of sand.  Look close.  In the upper left you will see a tiny round eye.  These guys can disguise themselves to look exactly like the sand.

This guy is equally good at hiding.  Do you see him?

Outside of the aquarium with the Seaside beach in the back round

The Tillamook cheese factory was one of our reasons for going down hwy 101.  It was a really interesting tour but I would never go on a weekend again.  It was super crowded.  We had a yummy lunch in the cafe but couldn't wait in the ice cream line which had nearly 100 people in it.

This is the loaf love bus. 

41-42 pound blocks of cheese on their way from the aging room to being cut into loafs

Large blocks are cut into small loafs and slices. 

Moms favorite part was the history section.  They had old copies of their advertising
 and antique cheese making equipment.

Young cheese takes a ride down the spiral slide and into the aging room

The kids play computer games to see how much they learned about cheese making.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fall Vacation Day 9 (Part II)

Well we really didn't fall off the face of the Earth.  I have been intending to update the blog and finish sharing the vacation for nearly a month now.  We just got caught up in settling into the school year.  This will be our first year with 5 different grades so there has been some re-organizing and schedule changing.  Add in 4 young musicians playing 6 different instruments and we have been busy to say the least.  But that is another post....

We really did have more to share about day 9.  The best part of vacations is when things don't go as planned and you end up blessed with something you weren't expecting.  That is exactly what happened the afternoon of day 9.  We had planned on seeing Clatsop Museum (see previous post) and then heading to Fort Stevens to explore the old fort and the military museum they have there.  When we got there they told us that in celebration of Astoria's bicentennial there was an amazing reinactment for the entire week of a fur traders camp on the other side of the State Park. We were getting tired so at first we decided to just do the museum and the fort. 

The Fort itself dates back to the Civil War which is pretty interesting because we don't have many things on the West Coast that date back that far.  It was used and updated over the years during different wars.  In June of 1942 it became the only military instalation in the continnental US to come under hostile fire when the Japanese fired 17 shells at it.

Inside the Museum they had some really interesting artifacts and antique weapons from various times ranging from the Civil War right up through WWII.

Actual cannon balls

This was a working replica of a cannon.  You put in 25 cents and it would move, aim and fire. 
Of course nothing actually came out but it was LOUD.

Elayna really loved this miniature model of the inside of the sleeping quarters.  You can't tell she liked it because as of day 9 she started posing for pictures by being somber.  So if she looks depressed the rest of the trip she really wasn't!  Maybe it was from looking at too many old fashioned "serious face" pictures at all of the history museums. :) 

There is so much remaining of the fort.  It was truly a fun place to explore.

So we were having a good time exploring the fort when we came up over the hill and saw the fur encampment.  We had decided not to do it but once we saw it we stopped exploring the fort and headed down to check it out. 

It turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip!

Everyone was dressed in period clothing and everything was authentic looking-
 with the exception of the honey buckets.

Even the entertainment was authentic old fashioned fur trapper entertainment.

The families were really staying there for the week so they had set up homes inside their tents.  It was fun to walk around and see how everyone set things up.

Some families were selling herbs and other goods.

Each tent had something to share.  Old fashioned toys, music and furs.

The best part of Jacob and Kylie's day was when they
 got to shoot a real flint lock rifle.

We were pretty tired as we wrapped this day up.  We grabbed some pizza in town and then headed down the coast to seaside to stay the night.