Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Mixed Feelings - Two more months on the road ...

We have been spending the last few months traveling around the Rockies (Colorado), Wasatch (Utah) and Sierra (California) mountains to get our skiing in. We had a horrible ski season last year and this year has certainly made up for it. As I post this, we are camping in the Mt. Bachelor Ski Area parking lot, in order to get on the mountain first thing tomorrow morning and to take advantage of some cheap lodging. This morning we left LaPine State Park outside of Bend, OR.  Being in Oregon, the weather has definitely given us a good taste of home, we drove into Oregon through the pouring rain most of the day and woke up to a dusting of snow on the campground this morning, which was a fun treat as we are nestled among the tall evergreen trees.

Little dusting of snow at LaPine State Park
Over the next few days, we will make our way North to ski with good friends that will camp and ski with us at Mt. Hood Meadows and Timberline, then we will head back to Bend to ski with more friends at Mt. Bachelor again and eventually leave our ski and winter gear with them so we can head South again for some fun in the sun until we finally head home at the end of May. 

We are due back at the end of May and have confirmed our tenants will be there until then, so there is no coming back early at this point. A friend recently asked me if I had mixed feelings about coming home, and as I think about it more I have a lot of mixed feelings about it. Strangely, I feel like I have stayed connected pretty well, when we have internet service I can see what friends are doing on Facebook and Instagram, I am keeping up (for the most part) with the (crazy) political campaigns, half of our family is spread out all over the country right now, so calling, texting and FaceTime is the normal way of communicating, and we are teaching our kids about sending actual letters and reaching out that way. But of course, social media and letters can’t replace face to face dinners, talks and hugs. So we do look forward to seeing our loved ones in person.

Selfie at Squaw Valley 
Part of me does long for the normal routine, I can’t wait to have a bedroom of my own with a bed that I can walk around and a door (two upgrades we must have if when we ever get a new camper/trailer) and as I have mentioned in past blogs, I look forward to my normal running routes and running friends, going to yoga  in my neighborhood and having more than 2 pairs of pants to choose from. 

As mixed feelings go, I am also fearful of getting back into the normal routine. I love our carefree days, not always knowing where we are heading the next day. I love sleeping in on a Monday morning. I love exploring new places and living simply. I love watching my kids become each other’s best friends. Playing pretend and really getting into it, they have such vibrant imaginations, it is so fun to watch and listen to. I hope this doesn’t go away when we get home and back into the mix with friends and school and regular life.

Girls exploring the beach of Lake Tahoe
I do look forward to having more variety when grocery shopping and eating at home and having friends over for dinner again. I look forward to visiting our favorite spots in Ballard, but after so long on the road eating out is no longer a treat for us, it becomes a necessity when you are driving long distances and your camper is packed with gear you can’t get to the fridge.

I also look forward to having a dishwasher again. Although, doing dishes is relaxing and meditative for me, I love a clean kitchen, and in the camper the space is so small it is easier to achieve. I will also be happy to be doing laundry at home again. The only upside to doing laundry on the road is that when you are doing laundry in a laundromat you have to get it all done at one time. You can’t leave piles of clean clothes in a basket, you must fold and put everything away after its done. School work is also something I am looking forward to handing pack to the professionals. I am so grateful that we have had this time to learn how our kids learn and take in concepts and understand their challenges and strengths. This will help me help them down the road for sure, but they are certainly ready to get back to a classroom with peers and remember that the teacher is in charge – not them (that’s the challenge for us these days). 

Our whole family can also agree, we are all looking forward to our clean, private bathroom and shower at home. One thing I will NOT miss from this trip is walking to the bathroom to shower (and other business not allowed in the camper), I long for the day I can take a hot bath in my own bathroom. I look forward to showering in my shower without wearing flip flops and hauling all my clothes and shower essentials into the tiny shower stall. I also look forward to showering alone, and not alongside my two daughters who either bicker from their stalls for the shampoo and soap they share or just talk nonsense while showering (although the latter is sometimes amusing). Although, we have had some nice showers and the occasional bath in hotels here and there, we look forward to the comfort, familiarity and cleanliness of our bathroom at home. 

We have a little over 2 more months until we get back and we have more friends and family to visit in some sunny spots down South, so we don’t have to jump back into the normal routine just yet. Once we get home, the goal will be to try and bring some of our simple living habits into our big house and do our best to live in the moment and not get swept up into the busy, whirlwind that often comes with city living. One thing I know for sure, we will appreciate all our comforts of home. The girls will certainly love the fact they don’t have to make/transform their beds every morning and evening, Andrew and I will appreciate our privacy and we will all enjoy a little more indoor space to spread out in. And we will all appreciate our bathroom. 

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Siena's Homework: Travel Advertisement

This was a homework assignment for Siena. Come up with a travel advertisement for one of the areas she visited. The goal is to sell that place as somewhere to visit to her friends and their parents.

My Travel Advertisement is for St. Augustine, Florida.

St. Augustine, Florida is an awesome place to visit and here’s why: First of all, St. Augustine, Florida is the oldest city in all of North America, also even in the chilly month of December it is warm enough so you can wear a t-shirt and shorts, and toasty enough so you can get a tan.

Now when you are visiting you’ll probably have some extra time on your hands, so here are some places you should see while you're there: First attraction is the alligator farm.
Alligator Farm alligator snoozing
At the alligator farm there’s not only alligators, there’s also monkeys, birds, turtles, etc. so all animal lovers can find something that they're interested in. Our next attraction is in St. Augustine is of course the beach. At the beach you will find more shells than you can hold (most of the time).
So many sea shells
It is even warm at the beach in December, so maybe you could go swimming in waves, or take a stroll on the miles of seemingly endless sand.
A bird enjoying the sandy beach
Now if you more into shopping the St. Augustine downtown area is the place for you, there’s so many cool shops and old looking buildings. Now that you know what to do in St. Augustine, how about I tell you what to bring.
Cool old building in St. Augustine

Here’s a list of some of the essentials you’ll need when you go to see St. Augustine:

  • Sunglasses, sunscreen, and maybe a hat or two for the sunny weather
  • Shorts, shirts, and sandals for some fun in the sun
  • Camera or your phone (If it takes pictures) 
  • Bag, purse, backpack, or all of the above
  • Some nice clothes if you decide to go out to a fancy dinner
  • Possibly an umbrella just in case of rain (hopefully it doesn't rain for you) 
  • Money 

Now I’m not telling you that’s all you need to bring because you might want some other stuff but that is a good start. Now some of you are saying, “Wow! This St.Augustine place sounds awesome”. While others might be saying, “I’ve already scheduled my family vaca and I don’t know about this”.

Either way if you decide to go or not to go it is you choice and I’m only here to tell you why you should go. So keep that in mind when planning your next family vacation because young and old there’s something for everyone in St. Augustine.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Road Side Attractions

This Gorohoff Crew loves a good road side attraction - the weirder the better!  On this trip we have enjoyed Wall Drug in South Dakota and the super truck stop, Buc-ee's outside of Dallas. In years past, we've stopped at the quirky, cool Hole 'n the Rock outside of Moab, UT and the Little A'Le'Inn near Area 51 in New Mexico. So when I started to see the signs (many signs) for Little America as we are driving out of Wyoming on our way to Salt Lake City, I told Andrew we had to stop and check it out. The signs assured us there were fresh donuts, spotless restrooms and a playground! Since we just got on the road and had already made a Starbucks stop, Andrew agreed to stop if I agreed to write about our visit- deal! 

Little America did not come close to being as cool as the above mentioned spots but the restrooms were clean and there were lots of fun tchotchkes to check out and we were able to resupply our snacks for the rest of the trip.

I figure they paid so much for so many billboards, we should at least stop and support Little America (plus, the name made me think of Little Sebastion from Parks & Rec) Also, it's good to know this truck stop is here for the next time we're driving through - if we need a place we could camp & shower for free if necessary.