Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Lake!

In case you haven't heard, the pacific north west has been hit by a heat wave. Since it's unbearable inside our house, I am writing this with many interruptions at my mom's house (she has A/C.

Every year, my Aunt Twila invites us to join them at the "cabin" at the lake and last year, we went. We had a good enough time, that we joined them again this year. My uncles family has owned this cabin for 30+ years and every year they bring family and friends to enjoy Lake Billy Chinook, which is less than a mile from the cabin. What should have been a 5-6 hour drive down (and back) ended up being well over 9 hours, because of the kids. We arrived in Culver Oregon about 11:00pm and the kids insisted that we pitch the tent, because we told them we'd be camping. We did it in the dark, and it was well after 1am when the kids finally settled down.

Friday morning, we hit the lake. With temperatures in the high 90's the cool water was a welcome relief. My uncle took us all out for a ride in his boat in the mid afternoon. Paxton loved going fast (and closing his eyes and sticking his tongue out) and Quincy loved jumping off the boat and swimming back to the ladder and doing it again.

After hours in the sun, we headed back to the cabin for dinner and instead of putting the kids to bed, we went for a drive to pick up a few things in town. While on our way back, we were in an accident (more on that later) but no one was hurt.

Saturday morning, back to the lake, and this time we went out on the boat first thing, with my cousins and some friends. Both guys are great skiers and patient enough to let Alvin water ski for the first time in many, many years. We allowed Finn to take off his lifejacket for a few minutes to practice diving, but it scared me...just look at the sides of the lake if you want a feel for how deep it is, and the lake is HUGE.The cabin is really a glorified 3 car garage with a bathroom and kitchen. We sleep in the tent for privacy (and the fact that I have a hard time with all the dogs there) but we spent a lot of time inside around the table. Sunday we needed a break from the heat and headed south of Bend to Newberry Volcanic National Monument. Since it was still early, we drove to the top of a cinder cone and looked down into the crater. You can kind of see off in the distance that this whole area was created by volcanic activity...there are three tectonic plates that converge there.The following pictures were from the Lava Cast Forest. I wasn't able to go on the hike because the twins were asleep in the car, but Finn had a great time hamming it up for a group of geology students there...he was the only one small enough to climb into the cracks. Apparently, the lava flowed and splashed up around trees...when the trees died off, they left these holes, hundreds of them. Alvin said he was afraid to let Finn climb into the really dark ones for fear of Rattlesnakes (when I see one, I don't think I will be able to go back there).During the hot afternoon, we went down into the Lava Caves. It's was a cool 42 degrees, compared to the 101 outside, this was nice. We didn't bring enough jackets for the twins, so we did a shift, Q wore Finn's, Finn wore mine and I went with out. Since I ended up carrying Quincy most of the way, I was able to stay warm. Pictures don't do it justice, it was about a mile long and as you would expect, completely dark. The park rents lanterns, which would have been nice (when not holding a kid) but we managed with our flashlights. We didn't see bats, but supposedly they are there. We headed home Monday, through temperatures of 103 just south of Olympia. Fortunatly, McDonalds was giving out free mochas, so we stopped a few times for chocolate milk for the kids.

And here is the damage to the car...fortunately it's drivable, because the estimate I got said they needed the car for 8 days...I know my Aunt and Uncle would have been happy to have us for 8 days, but I don't know that I could have camped that long.


  1. Even though it's roasting, I think your hols look like fun! The pictures are great, too! You know if I ever saw a rattler, I wouldn't go back either. I'm so glad there aren't any snakes in HI. :)
    Sorry about the car!! Glad you're all okay! You know when I backed up into that truck (well, we backed up at the same time and met in the middle) . . . the dealership was going to do an est for us and pushed the bumper back in for free (to paint the few scratches was ext under $500 - our deductible is $500). Dan wanted to do it and I said, "leave it as a marked van" 'cos then it warns folks off me. It doesn't look bad, just dirty and there's no way I'm paying $500 for paint on a rubber/plastic bumper!

  2. Was that the Apes Cave you went to? We went there a few years ago, very cool! It looks like a great trip. I'm glad you were able to escape the heat in the water for a while.