July 4th at Lake of the Woods Oregon

Current Location: Rocky Point Oregon on a coolish partly cloudy day at 57 degrees F

I must say, after the heat wave we experienced during the latter part of June and early July, this cool, rainy weather is a welcome blessing!  But I also must say that I am really glad that July Fourth was hot and sunny and gorgeous, in spite of a late thunderstorm in the mountains.

map to lake of the woodsFrom home to Lake of the Woods is an easy trip

For several years now, we have talked of trying to camp at Lake of the Woods for the Fourth of July weekend.  Only ten miles away, Lake of the Woods is a high mountain lake that is clean and swimmable.  Unlike our magnificent Klamath Lake, filled with birds and ripe with food for them during the summer (aka algae).  In fact, blue green algae is harvested on Klamath Lake and sold as an expensive food supplement.  My grandmother swore by this stuff, along with liquid chlorophyll, and lived to be 86 eating bacon, chicken fat, pure butter and lots of cream.

1-6-19-2004 Sailing Lake of the WoodsMo and I sailing at Lake of the Woods back in 2004

We have tried several times to get a reservation to camp at Lake of the Woods.  There are two main campgrounds, Sunset and Aspen Point.  Reservations are allowed at a maximum of six months in advance, so on January 1 I started calling at 8am.  Too late.  Every single reserved site through July 4th was already taken.  A couple of times in the past, we have driven up a few days early to see if the non-reservable sites might be available.  Nada.  All taken through July 5th.

Camping_Jul16003Tent camping with the grandkids at Lake of the Woods pre MoHo days

We even tried for the expensive campground at the Lake of the Woods Resort.  People must reserve these sites years in advance.  Who knows, we have never been able to get any kind of site anywhere at any of the campgrounds around the lake.  Maybe it is the fireworks, maybe it is the evening music at the resort, maybe it is just because it is a lovely lake that is boat-able and swimmable and it is summer time.

Last year we scouted the entire perimeter of the lake hunting for possible parking spots along the roadway where we could hike into the lake.  We found a couple, but much of the lake is ringed by privately owned residences leased by the Forest Service and the shoreline is off limits.  Last year with plans to drive the ten miles up the hill after our day at home in Rocky Point to see the fireworks, we decided that dealing with traffic and people and all that was just too much trouble.

July Fourth_149Klamath Falls fireworks were great when over Lake Ewauna and Veterans Park in the past

This year, the Klamath Falls City fireworks show was moved from our lovely Veteran’s Park to the local fairgrounds.  Bleachers, dirt, pavement, crowded parking, and crowds.  Not even a grassy park to have a picnic or a pleasant place to hang out while waiting for the very late hour of darkness to arrive.  No thanks.  They even moved the parade from early evening before the fireworks to mid morning.  Much too long to wait around all day between the parade and the fairgrounds fireworks, so our little town of Klamath Falls was a no go this year, in spite of the many holidays we have spent there in the past.

Once again, we came up with an idea for going up to Lake of the Woods for the fireworks and it worked perfectly.

2015 Fourth of July (11 of 51)That is the MoHo next to a random truck in a ‘no parking’ spot, and our convenient picnic table.

Mo and I got up early on the 4th, and drove the MoHo and a second car to the day use area at Sunset Beach.  We arrived just a little bit after 6am, and were happy to see that there were still parking spaces available for boats and trailers on one side and more long spaces that didn’t specifically prohibit vehicles without boat trailers on the other side.  We parked the MoHo in a spot right next to the picnic area near the boat ramp, and staked out our tablecloth on the big picnic table nearby.

2015 Fourth of July (1 of 51) We then drove back home and loaded up the kayaks on the small trailer and hauled them up with the baby car, leaving the trailer in front of the MoHo. When Melody arrived at the Rocky Point house at 11am, we loaded ourselves into the baby car and drove to the day use area.  Of course, by then, everything was jam packed full, and after unloading the rest of the supplies that we brought up in the car at the MoHo, Melody and I parked the baby car in a wide place on the main road and hiked back to the picnic area.

2015 Fourth of July (12 of 51) The best part about using the MoHo for a day trip was the convenience.  We had a refrigerator to keep everything nice and cold.  We had our own clean bathroom and a place to change, a bed where Melody enjoyed an afternoon nap, and a place to retreat and wait for the fireworks safe from crowds.  The price was perfect!  $5. parking reduced to $2.50 with our Golden Age pass was a lot less than trying to pay for an entire week or two of camping just to get a space.

2015 Fourth of July (13 of 51) The day was perfect.  Gorgeous.  Blue skies and warm temperatures.  It was my first day in the kayak since my surgery, and Mo and Melody obligingly hauled the kayaks down to the beach for me.  It was heaven getting back on the water again at last.

2015 Fourth of July (27 of 51)2015 Fourth of July (8 of 51) We had fried chicken, potato salad (of course), watermelon, and chocolate cupcakes to keep us well fed throughout the day and evening.  We had our comfortable chairs, the great picnic table in the shade, and lots of entertainment watching the people playing, swimming and enjoying the perfect family Fourth of July day.

2015 Fourth of July (16 of 51) Later in the afternoon, Melody and I kayaked over to the main resort marina to watch the huge crowds mashed in together along the beach and hear the loud and happy rock music playing out over the water.  Everyone was having a great time, and it was pretty noisy and looked like the “in” place to be if you wanted to party.  We were extremely happy to be at the other side of the lake!

2015 Fourth of July (19 of 51)We found out during the day, from a helpful ranger, that the fireworks would be shot off on the southern shore of the lake, and that the trees between us and them would block our view.  Ah well.  Hiking around a bit for a better viewing site didn’t yield much, so we accepted our losses and decided that hearing them would be enough.

2015 Fourth of July (41 of 51) As sunset approached, the skies were filled with color and the water was still warm enough for swimming.  Lo and behold, once the fireworks started, we found out that we only had to wade out into the water a few steps to see at least part of the huge colorful blooms exploding in the sky.  I love the sound of fireworks, and one of my favorite moments of the evening was hearing the incredible echoing of that sound from the opposite side of the lake.  It sounded like distant thunder.  Amazing.2015 Fourth of July (47 of 51)

We had already decided to load up the kayaks and hook up the trailer while it was still light, thinking it would expedite our departure.  Of course, it did do that, but next year, if we do this again, we will leave the kayaks unloaded and take them out a bit from shore to watch the show.  There were many boats on the lake, but not any close up near the dock to worry about, so it would be perfect.2015 Fourth of July (50 of 51)

When we pulled out after the show, we were the first ones out of the parking lot, Mo leading the way in the MoHo, and both of us were amazed at the quick escape without any traffic problems at all.  Most people had to get to their cars or get their boats out of the water, so it took longer for them to get moving.  We were down the mountain and home in minutes.l

2015 Fourth of July (5 of 51) On another sad note, most people know that fireworks are deadly for dogs, and we saw a beautiful retriever in the road that had evidently run from its owner in fear and was killed.  Broke our hearts.  The statistics are awful.  More dogs are lost during the Fourth of July than any other time of year.  Lucky for us, Mattie was safe in her crate tucked away in the motorhome sleeping.  She seems to be not the least bit disturbed by the noise so we didn’t have to worry about her at all.

I have such good memories of the Fourth, and this year added to them once again.  Even though we had just one daughter sharing it with us, it was nearly perfect. Stories from the other daughters and grandkids about their day in other parts of the country were perfect as well, so I wasn’t too sad about not having the big family gathering that I sometimes enjoy on this great family day.

One last note: I decided that I needed a “bridge” camera, something smaller and lighter than my DSLR for our coming trip to Ireland, and for times when I might not want to haul around the big heavy camera and lenses.  I tried out a Canon SX60.  From what I hear, it isn’t as good as the SX50.  I tried it for the entire July Fourth weekend, but couldn’t come to terms with some of the features, and the picture quality.  (All the photos in this post  from 2015 are with the Canon)

I know lots of Canon users that will think I am crazy, but I took it back on Monday morning and my check had not yet cleared.  I must say that our local Leo’s Camera Shop was great about the return.  I just wish that they carried the Panasonic Lumix FX1000 which shipped today.  I would have loved to have purchased locally.  At least I tried.

We will see if I can be happy with this one.  As Erin says, nothing will truly replace a DSLR, so it is always a trade-off in one way or another.

September

Current Location: Rocky Point Oregon Mostly Sunny and 77 degrees F

blooming in September 2014 (8 of 21) I have procrastinated writing a blog all day.  The month has been full, with both difficult and delightful moments.  I want to talk about the fun, but I do need to get the hard stuff out of the way. Often I think that people who share their feelings about life and the good and the bad things that go on are the best bloggers, the ones I like to read the most.  But it can be a fine line.  I read Mark’s moody musings with recognition, with “aha’ moments, and Al’s sometimes down days along with the good ones are part of what makes his blog good to read, real. I so appreciate the ups and downs of Sherry and David’s journey, and her willingness to share with us.

blooming in September 2014 (5 of 21) There are others who are more reticent, but magnificent photography and wonderful words describing exotic travels are a delight.  Now and then my favorite blogger and friend will let some musings slip into her detailed travelogues, and I always enjoy those moments.  As I said, a fine line.  I have stumbled onto blogs that are terribly tiresome, not because the blogger talked about how they felt about something, but maybe because they went on and on in a way that was …well…whiny and boring.  Needless to say, I don’t read those blogs any more.

blooming in September 2014 (15 of 21) I do talk about feelings in my blog, maybe more than some, not as much as others.  The surprise for me was my need to shut up and shut down when I had to deal with letting my cat Jeremy go.  It was and is hard to talk about it somehow.  Every animal owner knows the feeling of saying goodbye.  It happens to all of us eventually.  Even though I found I didn’t want to talk about it, I did discover that I needed to say it had happened, and the flood of condolences and support that came in was a good thing for me.  Thank you to everyone who made comments, and especially to MZB, a fellow blogger/friend who recently lost a loved pet as well, and sent long letters to assist me through the process.

Brookings_004 I miss Jeremy, of course.  Somehow I miss him even more in the MoHo.  He loved to travel because he knew we were all right there close together, he didn’t have to go crying around the house trying to find us.  In his old age, he hated being alone. He was either on my lap, on Mo’s shoulder, or riding shotgun on the dash whenever we were on a trip.  Still, nearly two decades with a cat is a blessing, especially a cat like Jeremy, so I won’t complain any more. 

Brookings_033 In case you are wondering, Abby is OK.  Not exactly fine, but OK.  She is still happy and eating and drinking and sticking to Mo like glue as usual.  We still have some time with her it seems.

Just a day after Jeremy went to cat heaven, my grandson Xavier was in another play, “The Skin of our Teeth”, at the Linkville Playhouse in Klamath Falls.  Daughter Deborah came over from Grants Pass to spend the weekend and go to the play with us.  It was a fine evening, and nearly 11pm when I pulled into the driveway back home.  I saw some movement on our porch, with dark hulking figures by the door, and started to panic, when a closer look suddenly revealed that the big hulking man on the porch was my grandson Steven!

Mt Scott family hike (3 of 91)-SMILE (1)From left: Deborah, Sue, Deanna, Mo, Steven, Jeremy, Axel, Melody

Daughter Deanna had picked him up in Moses Lake where he now lives and brought him to Rocky Point as a birthday surprise for me.  It was a great surprise, in addition to having Deanna here for a few days, I finally got to spend some time with Steven.  We have great shared memories of the years when I took him on work camping trips into the wilderness of Idaho when he was a teenager. This was the first time I have seen him since 2007 and since he returned from his second tour in Iraq. Even nicer, Steven was born on my birthday, so it was his birthday too!

Mt Scott family hike (18 of 91) What a great weekend we had!  I had previously requested a family hike for Sunday the 14th, choosing the Mt Scott trail in Crater Lake as a good place for a family trek.  I knew that Melody and my grandkids Xavier and Axel would be there, along with daughter Deb, but had no clue that our little family hike would include Deanna and Steven. Deanna’s husband Keith remained home to do some home time chores in Richland as they are waiting for delivery of a new semi to replace the one they currently own.  Deanna has some fairly horrendous stories about California emission laws for truckers, but I won’t go into that right now except to say that it has cost my trucker kids more than 100K in after market fixes and down time.

Mt Scott family hike (33 of 91) The fires in the west this year have been terrible, and the skies have been smoky for several weeks now.  On the morning of our hike, we still were under smoke from the 790 fire just 9 miles northwest of Rocky Point, and much more smoke from the huge Happy Camp fire just across the border in California.  I had so hoped for clear skies for our hike, but decided that we wouldn’t let the smoke get in the way of our family celebration.

Mt Scott family hike (41 of 91)If you look closely, you can see the trailhead parking area below

The weather was actually perfect, with cool morning air warmed up by the midday sunshine, not a cloud in the sky, and even with the smoky skies in the distance, once we were above 7,000 feet or so at Crater Lake, the air was clear.  Our hike wasn’t so much about the fabulous views of Crater Lake as much as a place to be together as a family and enjoy the outdoors doing something a little bit different.

Mt Scott family hike (52 of 91)

Mt Scott is the highest point in Crater Lake National Park, and the trail to the lookout at the peak is 2.5 miles each way, with a 1,200 foot elevation rise to the summit at 8900 feet.  Unlike some peak trails, however, this one is well graded without a lot of boulder hopping steps.  Perfect for all levels of hiking skill.  I loved it.  Just enough to get a good workout, but not enough to burn anyone out.

Mt Scott family hike (63 of 91)-SMILE (1)

Steven put photoshop on my computer so I could get everyone into one frame, but I haven’t tried it yet!Mt Scott family hike (67 of 91)After our hike, we continued around the Rim Road that encircles Crater Lake, stopping a few times to enjoy the views.  Probably due to the smoke, the park wasn’t especially crowded, but the lake blues were a bit subdued.  Even so, as I looked at the lake, I wondered out loud to Mo, “We live here, why don’t we visit this park more often!?”  I promised myself more Crater Lake hikes in the future.

Mt Scott family hike (85 of 91) With a two hour trip home after the hike, we were all starving, and I was happy that I had slow cooked the ribs all night in the oven.  All they needed was a quick glaze on the BBQ.  They turned out to be the best ribs I ever cooked.  That little trick in George’s recipe for the WeberQ, using sauerkraut between the ribs, makes for fall off the bone tender tasty meat.

Deb and Melody had to go home and back to work, but Deanna and Steven stayed for another two nights, spending a great day talking and sharing stories.  Steven was a computer security hacker for the Army, and had some great tricks and ideas for our computers that were really helpful.  He also had some rather interesting stories.  Whew!  The world can be a scary place. Mt Scott family hike (89 of 91)

Deanna took Mo and me (I sounds better, but nope…Deanna took me is the rule, right Sherry?) and Steven to a great birthday dinner at Lake of the Woods Resort, just 15 minutes up the highway, with a beautiful view of the lake from our table. Speaking of the highway, we at last have a name for our pass.  I often talk about going over “the unnamed pass” on Highway 140 to Medford.  I now have a name.  The highway department dubbed our pass “High Lakes Pass” and we now even have a sign at the summit!  Good name.  The Sky Lakes Wilderness is on the west and the Mountain Lakes Wilderness is on the east side of the road so High Lakes is a great name.

Birthday dinner (15 of 15)Birthday dinner (4 of 15)The final celebration for the week culminated in a trip over the mountain to enjoy a play at the Shakespearean Festival in Ashland.  What a treat it was to sit in the gorgeous Allen Elizabethan Theater for a magnificent production of “Into the Woods”.  The Festival is world class, and people come from all over the world to see the plays.  Mo and I have been to a couple of the plays in two of the other theaters in the past, but seeing a play on this famous stage was first for both of us.

osfNo photography allowed inside the theater, so I took this from the web

Best part of the story, however, was the seat choice.  The theater is an open air venue, with rain a rarity in Ashland this time of year.  I ordered tickets months ago, and even then the “best” (more expensive) seats were sold out, so we had to settle for row M, toward the back.  Lo and behold, it rained!  And those “best” ticket holders got all wet while we were completely protected by the balcony above us!  Amazing!  Even more amazing was the professional way that the cast continued the dancing and singing in those fabulous costumes with barely any acknowledgement that they were getting soaked as well.  Pretty incredible!

It would have been a great way to end the month, but instead we are going to end it with an even better plan.  We are off to Seattle and the San Juan Islands.  Just a short jaunt, because we know that the San Juan’s deserve much more time, but this will be an exploratory trip with a longer visit to come in the future. 

As much as I struggled with writing this blog, I knew I had better get it done before we get on the road and I have photos to process and stories to write about another new destination for us!  Onward.

 

08-09-2014 Last Days of the Reunion

Current Location: Home in Rocky Point with clear skies and 79F and low humidity day ahead

On the Friday when I was wandering around my old haunts in Northern Idaho, a large contingent of the rest of the family met at some unearthly hour for a tee time at a Post Falls golf course.  A good number of the Oukrops are avid golfers and most of the rest of them do it for fun.  I heard the stories later, but not being a golfer, I was much happier hanging out with old friends.

walking Riverside SP (2 of 12)Mo opted out of this activity as well, choosing instead to hang around the park with Abby, let her play and swim and relax for a bit.  I have a sneaky suspicion that Abby wasn’t the only one of this pair that needed some down time.

dinner at Don and Wynns (19 of 25) By the time I got back from my part of Idaho, the golf group was returning as well, and it was time to head to the west side of the South Hill for a wonderful hosted dinner of lasagna, salad, and bread.  Can you imagine making dinner for 33 people and not having a single potluck contribution? 

Wynn said that she spent an entire day cooking up these gorgeous pans of tasty lasagna. 

dinner at Don and Wynns (1 of 25) It was fun seeing how many people could fit on Don and Wynn’s deck without it collapsing.  Well built deck, I would say.  Before and after dinner we were entertained by the little ones playing around on the grass and listening to all the conversations on the deck as we watched the almost full super moon rise over Hangman Creek to the east.  The view from the deck was gorgeous.  dinner at Don and Wynns (13 of 25)We even managed the “complete” family photo with everyone attending the reunion gathering on Don’s lawn.  I have a sequence of about 12 different shots, all with varying degrees of success at getting everyone to look forward and smile at the same time.  The joys of photographing a group are not to be understated.dinner at Don and Wynns (15 of 25)

Saturday morning dawned sunny and warm, and was a perfect day for the family float on the Little Spokane River.  Don is an avid kayaker, and knows the area paddles well.  He picked this one the last time we were in his area, and it was a great choice.  Everyone opted for the 3 hour float rather than the shorter paddle.Family Float (3 of 12)We had a large number of rubber boats to compliment the few kayaks, and the best part of the morning was the gathering of people as we stood around while Don tried to explain the logistics of the car shuttles, organizing the designated drivers, and trying to figure out who would be where when.  I won’t post a bunch more photos of this day because in the first reunion post I chose to share my favorite shots of everyone participating.Family Float (7 of 12)

The Little Spokane is a meandering river, with just enough current to make it fun, and enough that I was glad we were only paddling downstream.  Much of the shoreline is in a natural wildlife area, and we didn’t discover until the end of the trip at the takeout that no dogs are allowed on the river!  UhOh.  Glad we didn’t read the sign because Abby had a great time.

Oukrop Reunion Float (20 of 41) Golf and Silverwood required a weekday, so the float got the weekend day by default, and Saturday wasn’t the best day to be on this lovely river.  It is an extremely popular place, especially on a hot sunny weekend, and we were accompanied by a large number of fellow rafters.  I think our group might have been the biggest, however, and maybe all those other rafters were wishing they had picked a different day as well.  Something a bit disconcerting to be on a gorgeous river and come around a curve to the smell of cigarette/marijuana (legal in Washington) smoke and the sound of loud rock and roll on someone’s radio.

Oukrop Reunion Float (39 of 41) We all had a great time, and the kayakers in the group thought the trip length was perfect.  A few of the floaters thought it was just over the limit of comfortable, especially the ones who had to keep blowing up their boats.  I wish I could remember Susan’s youngest son David’s exact words, something to the effect  of “If we don’t stop right now I am going to die”  Susan, if you read this, please post that comment in the comments.  I would love to get it word for word!

IMG_0616Oukrops on the Deschutes River 2010

I think the float trip is my favorite part of these Oukrop reunions, and remember fondly our float trip on the Deschutes when Roger and Nancy’s family was in charge of the festivities.

dinner at Ginny and Gabes (2 of 34) After a long day we arrived back in camp just in time to change and clean up a bit to drive in a different direction to the home of Ginny and Gabe for their fabulous fully hosted dinner.  Once again, no potluck allowed, and Ginny and Gabe put on the best pulled pork BBQ ever!

dinner at Ginny and Gabes (18 of 34) Ginny is a professional portrait photographer, and incredibly artistic.  She had the yard all decorated with Martha Stewartesque jars of baby’s breath and wooden table runners, all coordinated.  There was even a lovely basket with an assortment of beautiful quilts for spreading on the grass. Her appetizers and casserole accompaniments to the dinner were fabulous. Not to mention the infused waters and banana split dessert!

dinner at Ginny and Gabes (21 of 34) Gabe had a regulation volley ball court all set up with a 20 foot high barrier to keep the ball from ending up in the neighbors yard.  Did I mention this is a very athletic family?  The barrier wasn’t high enough, and Gabe spent a good amount of time going over the fence after the ball. 

dinner at Ginny and Gabes (34 of 34) It was so much fun watching Ginny and Gabe’s dog wandering around trying to play volleyball, and watching all the little ones running around underfoot. 

08-09-2014 Oukrop Dinner at Ginny and Gabes We went home to the campground by the light of the almost super moon, one more night before it would be full.  The next morning, folks began dispersing, some to the airport, rigs loaded up and ready to roll toward home, and Mo and I spent some quiet hours all alone at the park enjoying the river and the trails.

walking Riverside SP (1 of 12) Our evening destination was only a few short miles north toward Bonners Ferry where we planned to overnight before our border crossing early Monday morning into Canada. No need to rush.  A wonderful end to a wonderful reunion with plenty of time to decompress and relax before the next leg of our journey.walking Riverside SP (6 of 12)

Next: Fabulous Kootenay Lake in British Columbia

 

08-07-2014 Silverwood with Thirty People

Current Location: we are home in Rocky Point Oregon

silverwood I have a huge soft spot for Silverwood Theme Park in Northern Idaho.  It didn’t exist when I first moved to the nearby village of Rathdrum in 1972, population 751.  My kids went to grade school, junior high and high school in Rathdrum.  Rathdrum is about half way between Spokane and Athol, where the Silverwood roller coasters now dominate the landscape.  Hate to say it, but say “Athol” out loud and laugh with all the old locals about their town.  I think I read long ago that both names came from somewhere in Ireland.

Henley_ID_87Aug11article When I lived in that area, Silverwood was just a dream, and at the time was simply a funky old train running around the property and a restaurant called the Henley Aerodrome.  I drove by it every day on my way to Bonner County to map soils as a brand new soil scientist.  The theme park didn’t actually open until 1988, and just about everyone from Spokane to Coeur d Alene thought the owner was making a very huge, very expensive mistake.  After all, there wasn’t the population base and it was out in the middle of nowhere!1976 Rathdrum life-007

My house in Rathdrum in the mid 70’s

Well, let me tell you, he was right and we were all wrong.  When I moved to CDA, the population was 14,000.  It now is close to 100K in the surrounding communities and the houses stretch across the Rathdrum Prairie for the entire 35 miles between CDA and Spokane.  Plenty of people to fill the huge parking lot daily and make that man a zillionaire! Our sweet little Rathdrum now boasts more than 6,000 inhabitants! rathdrum 2010

Rathdrum in 2010 with the huge Burlington Northern terminal sitting on top of the Spokane Aquifer

When Don was working on the schedule for the reunion, he had to choose which activity would be most likely to be affected by weekend crowds, and Silverwood won.  As a result, he chose Thursday for the big family day at the park.  We got group rates in addition to senior rates for a few of us, meaning Mo and I only paid $18.09 each for the full day.  Good deal!

What I didn’t realize when Don was talking about swimsuits and lockers was that there was an addition to Silverwood called Boulder Beach, a water park.  Now I used to take my kids to water parks in Spokane…you know…a water slide and a pool, so I wasn’t that excited about that part. 

family to Silverwood I was more excited about having the chance to enter the gate at first opening and then RUN all the way to the line for TREMORS, one of my favorite roller coasters.  You see, I am a roller coaster addict.  I can’t explain why I get seasick on a ship or in a car, but a roller coaster just makes me feel all alive and buzzy.  Like the best hit of whatever that you could imagine.  Go figure.

waiting in line for TremorsI have a dream to do a roller coaster trip and catch all the big ones on the east side of the country, but that entails traveling in the summer since all the big parks close on Labor Day.  Sigh.  Who knows if it will ever happen.

100 foot drop at 60 mph  rated 9 in the country and 17 in the world for wooden coastersIn the mean time, however, unlimited rides on Tremors and my possible alternative favorite, Timber Terror, famous for its “air time” was enough to keep me excited about this particular family activity.

Many folks in the group had other ideas, and the water park was highest on their agenda.  While everyone hurried to the park to snag the best waterside seats, Mo and I and “the kids”, Callie and Josh, ran with us to the roller coasters.  And oh my gosh…it was as good as I remember, although on this supposedly unbusy Thursday morning I only managed about 3 rides before the lines got too long to deal with.

photo of the photo.  I knew where the camera was from past years on this coasterBack in 2001, when I took my then 14 year old grandson to the park, we managed 18 consecutive rides between the two roller coasters.  Mo only opted for one ride on each coaster, but at least we got the photo.  You can tell I know where the camera is on this one!

Mo and I waited almost 45 minutes to take another ride with some cool water splashes, but when the line stopped moving and no one said why, we gave up and headed for the water park.

waiting for the waves at Boulder Beach Water Park at Silverwood I had the surprise of my life.  Probably anyone with young kids in their lives know that water parks aren’t what they used to be, but I had no clue.  We walked in the gates (all included with our Silverwood ticket), and a Disneyland of water opened up before us.  There were several combinations of water slides, a “lazy river” with inner tubes that looked fabulously inviting, and two giant wave pools.  Can you believe I have never actually been in a wave pool?

Boulder Beach Water Park is huge I would have loved to float the river, but we needed to find the family.  No problem…there were at least 20 of them somewhere, right?  For a slow day, I have never seen so many people.  After a bit of wandering and searching, we finally found them all lined up by the first big wave pool.  That water felt fabulous.  Kinda like being in the Caribbean without the sand or the salt.  On a busy day.

Boulder Beach Water Park at Silverwood It was great fun with the family and all the little kids that are now becoming a bigger part of the Oukrop clan.  Neither Mo nor I had brought swim suits but we jumped in anyway.  I have an entirely new concept now of what a water park can be, and if I am in the mood to deal with crowds to get cool I won’t turn my nose up at one again.  Probably wouldn’t go there on our own, but with family or kids it is great.

playing at Boulder Beach Water Park at SilverwoodSilverwood and Boulder Beach (36 of 38) By evening, we all migrated back the two hours to Spokane, with just enough time to dry out and change clothes for the big family dinner at Casa De Oro.  This restaurant on Division has great Mexican food, and a room big enough for all of us. 

I can’t believe that I not only didn’t take my camera, but I didn’t even try to take photos with my phone!  Guess I was just too worn out from all that fun during the day.

dinner photos Thanks to Randi, I got some phone photos to collage to give an idea of what it was like in a restaurant with a big family.  For once, I wasn’t checking my phone, but that wasn’t true of everyone, thank goodness!  At least we got some photos!

What a fabulous day and it was just the beginning.

Next Post: I take some time for myself to revisit old homes and friends in Northern Idaho

August 7 Riverside State Park and the Oukrop Reunion

Current Location: Rocky Point Oregon.  clear and sunny and a cool 61 degrees F

First let me say this entire post will be all about family and family fun.  Fairly personal stuff here, and fun for us to read and remember as insiders, but probably irrelevant to the bigger community of bloggers and others who manage to find their way to my blog, so bail now if all those family photos get boring.

family camp at Riverside State Park

From the left: Dan’s rig, the MoHo, Roger’s rig, Edna’s rig, with tents for Juli, Angie, and Randi’s families. Don opened up his home to the rest of the folks that didn’t camp at the park.

The logistics of a family reunion are always interesting, and this one was no exception.  Don, (on the left in the photo below) youngest of the 5 siblings that make up the original Oukrop clan, was a jet fighter pilot in the Air Force, retired to continue a career as an ROTC teacher.  His background showed well in his ability to organize and put together a rather ambitious schedule for the four days the family would share.

oukropsDon, Edna, Dan, Sharon (Mo) and Roger

He had the entire program worked out, with barely a moment to rest in between activities.  At the end he said, “Maybe I had us doing too much, had us all too busy?”.  Nope, it was perfect, with no time to get into trouble, especially for an incredibly active bunch like the Oukrop offspring. 

Family came from far and wide to join in the fun.  Here they are:dinner at Ginny and Gabes (1 of 34)

Edna the eldest of the five siblings and her husband Tom from Colorado

Oukrop Reunion Float (11 of 41) Edna’s daughter Susan and her husband Rick from Colorado with their youngest son David (older son Danny is in the canoe with Dan and Chere in another photo)

Oukrop Reunion Float (14 of 41) “the kids” as we called them…Edna’s granddaughter Callie and her sweetie Josh, also from Colorado

playing at Boulder Beach Water Park at SilverwoodDon, Dan, Roger and Mo…a nickname that totally confuses the Oukrop clan, since her name is actually Sharon.  I have to remember to refer to her as Sharon when with the family. 

First night at Riverside Oukrop Reunion (7 of 15)Roger, with his wife Nancy, came from Lapine, Oregon

Family Float (11 of 12) Roger’s offspring: Julie with her husband Hallie came from Albany, Oregon, (their daughter Shelbi couldn’t make it because of work and such)

Oukrop Reunion Float (27 of 41) Juli and Hallie’s son Logan

Oukrop Reunion Float (8 of 41)Randi and her husband Chris with their son Cameron, from Tri-Cities Washington,

Oukrop Reunion Float (10 of 41)Angie all the way from Illinois  with daughter Jessi and her sweetie Dave

Oukrop Reunion Float (9 of 41)Angie’s other two daughters Ashley and Samantha

Family Float (12 of 12)Dan and his wife Chere, from Beavercreek Oregon (their offspring didn’t make it either) but they took Susan’s son Danny in their canoe for the family float

Oukrop Reunion Float (28 of 41)  Don and his wife Wynn, hosts of the celebration this year from Spokane, Washington

Oukrop Reunion Float (26 of 41)  Don’s offspring: Lanson and his wife Mandi, with their kids Ryder and Colbi,

dinner at Ginny and Gabes (18 of 34)Ginny and her husband Gabe  (behind Ginny on the right) and their little girl Alden

Oukrop Reunion (1 of 1)With only a few missing in the action there were still at least 33 people who spent four days eating, floating, swimming, playing, golfing, and generally having a great time together.  As a guest of Mo, I really enjoyed sharing in the festivities. Hopefully I haven’t messed up too badly getting all the names spelled correctly!

Next:  This time I promise to really write about Silverwood and our ride on the infamous Tremors wooden roller coaster!