Somehow the past 7 months have flown by and in 10 quick days we will be back to normal life in our house in Colorado. It’s totally crazy!
As we near the end of this adventure, we have been talking each night about the things we are looking forward to at home and the things we will miss. Here are the highlights:
Once we get home, we are excited to…
Lainey – Have space to run around and play in her playroom, have her own bedroom, see her friends and have her fish back.
Ellie – Ride in her best friend Julia’s car and play on her soccer team
Tracy –Open cabinets and/or the fridge and not have something fall out on her foot, let the girls have other teachers, and catch up with all of our friends.
Josh – Be back in our real house with an ice maker and drive a normal car that isn’t 55’ long with bikes bouncing on the back.
We will miss…
Lainey – Exploring different places, making fairy gardens at each campground, getting to live in bunk beds with her sister and getting to sit in the front seat while we drive in the RV.
Ellie – Getting to visit places most kids don’t have a chance to see, sleeping in late, and wiping bugs off the window of the RV.
Tracy – Getting to do a week’s worth of laundry using 3 machines at once, getting “loopy”and then giggly from being together so much, being able to see a movie together in the middle of the day on a Wednesday, and having so much time together with the girls.
Josh – The easy opportunity to do and see something new every day, the constant family time, and meeting new people everywhere we go.
Since I haven’t posted in a while, here is a summary of what we have been up to:
- We hadn’t been back in Madison, WI since college and it was a blast taking the girls up there. We hit all the key spots and did some biking around the campus and lake front.
- From there we stopped in Forest City, IA to get a tour of the Winnebago Factory. We got to stand on catwalks above the assembly line and watch them put together RV after RV. The history of Winnebago in amazing; basically a company created to save a farm town and now more than half the adults in Forest City work for Winnebago. Sorry, no photos allowed inside the factory.
- Yellowstone was one of the most interesting National Parks we’ve been to. The wildlife, scenery, thermal pools and geysers are unlike anything anywhere else. We could do without the rotten egg smell of the pools, but you get used it.
- Glacier National Park was also another amazing stop. The hikes, waterfalls, animals and wildflowers were spectacular. We searched everywhere for a bear, but unfortunately (or fortunately) never ran into one.
- The Seattle area campsite was one of our least favorite but seeing the rest of Washington was fantastic, including the salmon ladder and Ballard Locks, touring the Theo Chocolate factory, visiting the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, getting some Copper River salmon at Pikes Market, riding some single track trails, camping and hiking on Mount Rainier, and catching a Brad Paisley concert!
- We drove down the coast of Oregon, catching some views of where the Goonies saved their town and stayed a few nights in the Oregon Sand Dunes where Ellie and Lainey both learned to ride ATVs! Needless to say, I think all 4 Pierces may have ATV’s on our wish list.
- The Redwoods campsite was tucked under some enormous trees and we did one of our most challenging hikes just across the street. There were warning signs at the base, and most of it was so steep there were ropes on the side to help people climb up. The trail was a definite leg burner but a fun way to see the Redwoods from above the tree line.
- The Petaluma, CA KOA campground was like being at summer camp. There were literally camp counselors running arts and crafts, rock climbing, pool games, evening movie nights outside, a petting zoo and more. The girls had a chance to visit with Yooner, Koji and Nikko down in San Francisco and we were very lucky to have several visitors camp with us including Uncle Scotty and Aunt Monica and Aunty Jaclyn!
- Our next stop was at a real summer camp run by our friend Josh Steinharter. JCC Maccabi Sports Camp is based in Atherton, CA and is a wonderful 2-week specialty overnight camp focused on soccer, tennis, baseball, basketball and volleyball. Ellie joined the soccer kids for a day and says she plans to go there for camp next summer. Thanks for hosting us Josh and Mara!
- Our close friends and neighbors from Colorado met us for a few days and we had a great time exploring Bass Lake on a pontoon boat and camping just outside the south end of Yosemite. Yosemite National Park itself was interesting. Unfortunately, a forest fire was growing and threatening the west end of the park the same time we were there, so the air quality was poor, ash was falling and visibility was low. Sydney was actually at a kennel one day that was evacuated and I met the owner of the kennel at a grocery store parking lot at midnight to get her back! Inside the park, traffic was a nightmare, where you literally drove 25’ and then put the car in park and played in the street for 10 minutes until you moved 25’ again. We spent more time driving than hiking and seeing sights.
Lesson learned: don’t visit Yosemite in the heart of the summer when some of the entrances are closed due to a forest fire.