Category Archives: Family

Day 14 of Our Trip to Yellowstone National Park.

Day 14 of Our Trip to Yellowstone National Park.

Today we made it home after 14 days on the road and 2,584 miles. We averaged 11.3 MPG and spent $827.00 in fuel. OMG!

The last few days of our trip were spent along the beautiful McKenzie River in Oregon. We met up with five other families who were staying at the Horse Creek Lodge; we were just down the street at the Holiday Farm RV Park. We spent Friday night enjoying a little R&R along with drinking a little home brew. Three of us make our own beer, so we had 15 gallons of brew ready to pour. I made a Chinook IPA, Jeff made “Wit the Heck” and Brian made “Artic Blonde.” We all drank and were merry. The kids played with all of their friends and were able to burn of a lot of energy, which was needed after all the smores and sugary drinks.


On Saturday segments of our group rafted down the McKenzie River. They were well prepared with wetsuits and splash jackets. The river guides were the owners of the lodge where everyone stayed, and by all accounts they were fantastic at their job. Rachel, of course, was all about going faster and over more white water and rocks. I’m going to have to watch out for that girl; she’s going to be hard for me to keep up with. 😉


After the rafting trip everyone went down to an inlet on the river and jumped off logs and used rope swings. The kids had a great time! Saturday night brought about more games and partying. We spend hours playing “Corn Hole.”

On Sunday we had a leisurely breakfast, and then we left to break camp. We were home around 12:30 p.m. and spent the rest of the day cleaning the trailer and doing laundry.

All in all it was a fantastic trip that I think the kids will remember for a very long time. Looking forward to the next adventure!!!

Happy Trails

The Nicolson’s Visit Yellowstone National Park

Day 2 of our trip to Yellowstone National Park for Tristan’s 9th birthday.

We left Eugene, Oregon, yesterday and night stopped in Burns, Oregon.  We found a nice Good Sam campground right off the road.  We will also stay there on our return trip. While in Burns we found a nice city park for the kids to burn off a little energy.

Today we took a short 4-hour drive to Mountain Home, Idaho.  It is a KOA, although a rather rundown one. Once we got checked in (which was a challenge), we unhooked and headed into Boise for dinner and a walk along the river.  We found a nice Irish pub and a well-deserved pint. The weather was kind of crazy today.  When we left for Boise, we hit a rain storm and the temperature dropped from 94 to 73 in a matter of 5 minutes.  It lasted for about 10 miles, then we were back in the 90s



It seems like we have been pulling the trailer uphill for the last two days.  We never seemed to go downhill much.  The elevation change was only a 2,772 foot increase, although it seemed like much more.  The Toyota Sequoia did a fantastic job of pulling the 2008 24’ Keystone Passport even if we only got an average of 9.7 MPG.

Tomorrow we head to the KOA at West Yellowstone.  We are meeting up with some of our best friends along the way, and they will be joining us for our adventures.  It’s been too long since we have seen them, and we are all looking forward to the adventure.

Happy Trails!

Birthday Adventures

We are continuing our birthday theme this year for the kids.  We did not have official birthday parties where we invite 10-15 friends.  Instead we took Tristan to a water park in July, and Rachel wanted to follow suit.  Today we went to the new water park in McMinnville, Oregon.  The water park is at the air and space museum.  A must if you are ever close.  The Evergreen Air and Space Museum is right next door to the pool and owned by the same people.

What makes this waterpark so amazing is not just that they have 10 waterslides with more than 2,000 feet of sliding surface, but that 4 of those slides come out of the escape slides on a REAL Boeing 747 aircraft that was retired from service in 2008.  The Evergreen 747 was stripped down and mounted on top of the building.  There are so many activities for kids, including slides, wave pools, spa, water play structure that dumps 300 gallons of water from a helicopter every few minutes, leisure pool, and science activities upstairs.

When we first thought about going here, I must admit that I was a little daunted by the price.  It cost $30.00 per person plus $7.00 for a locker.  So we were into it for $127.00 and were just hoping the kids liked it and that Rachel especially enjoyed the BIG slides.  Well we spent 6 ¼ hours there with only a very “quick” lunch.  We spent all the time in the water.  We had an amazing time, and I also put the cost into perspective.  Where else could we go and have so much fun for $5.30 per person per hour.  Their food was also reasonably priced.  We all ate well for $19.50.

It was one of those family days that you dream of, especially during the difficult times.  We left the house around 8 am and got home at 7 pm.  Not once during that time did the kids fight, complain, argue, fuss, whine, or generally be unpleasant.  Michelle and I found ourselves truly enjoying the family time and celebrating Rachel’s early birthday.  After the waterpark we also spend an hour at the air and space museum.

All in all this was a wonderful day that I will try to hold on to, especially tomorrow when I’m sure we will all go back to normal.

Thankful for those times.

Happy Trails

Family rejection

Rejection is never easy but it has a different feel/meaning when it comes from one of your pets.

We have had our cat Kendra for about 3 ½ years.  She was adopted from Greenhill Humane Society in Eugene, Oregon.  Kendra has always been a little skittish and had difficulty settling in.  She did however settle in eventually, becoming quite good friends with our dog Sadie.  However, we then adopted a little black kitten named Percy.  The dog got along with both cats but the cats never got along.  During this time our babies were growing and becoming little explorers full of energy and fast pace.  Kendra never liked all of the high energy of small children.

We tried to make Kendra an indoor cat when we adopted her, but it became apparent that she wanted to go out.  On the whole she never strayed far but as time progressed she started staying out for a couple of days at a time.  Then there was the time when she was gone for a month.  We were sure she had been hit by a car, but then one morning she strolled through the door.

In early July 2012 Kendra left the house early one morning never to return.  We posted signs all over the neighborhood but never found her.  One day a neighbor suggested putting up some signs in a retirement community a short distance from where we lived.  The day we placed some signs, I received a call from an elderly lady saying the “I might have your cat and if you would like to call me, I would be happy to talk to you about her.”  After nearly 3 months of looking for our cat, we finally found her.  She looked very healthy and happy.

Kendra was not kept locked up or even went inside this lady’s house.  She was free to roam around and came and went from this lady’s house throughout the day for food and love.  As the crow flies, we lived less than ¼ mile away from this house.  It became apparent that she was not lost; she chose to leave us and find a calmer more relaxing environment.

After I got past the emotion of being rejected by MY cat, I found myself being just happy that she was alive and happy.   We were so excited to get the call while at our children’s school that we did not think and took them with us.  Our children were so happy to see Kendra but devastated when she did not want to come home with us.

We will see what the next few days bring.  Having seen us, will she come back to us?  Has she gone for good?  The nice thing is that we can go by and visit.  The kids are already asking when we can go and how long we can stay.

Being rejected is hard – but we have been rejected as a family.