An Overview of our Six Months

Life on the scenic route is now a fond memory, and the last few months of schedules, meetings and responsibilities have been an adjustment.  As I wrap up the blog and prepare to print it out for our record, I wanted to make one last entry to highlight a few of our favorite memories and unforgettable experiences of our six month adventure.   If you don’t have time to read all the words, here’s the three-minute slideshow of our trip!

Life on the Scenic Route

The last thirty miles before the Washington border brought with it an amazing high–the kind of high you can only feel when you’ve accomplished something you thought might be bigger than you.  We did it!  We made a goal to visit all 48 states, and at just a hundred miles at a time, we did it!  As we stopped for a celebration dinner in Spokane, we high-fived one another, hugged and basked in the satisfaction of a road well-traveled.  As we ate dinner, we reviewed our favorite memories from the trip.  They include, but are by no means limited to, the following top ten places we LOVED:

10-Washington, DC

Washington, DC is such a family friendly town filled with a million activities for kids to participate in.  This was my first time to DC, and I loved seeing all the sites that I have heard of my whole life.  We loved the Lincoln Memorial, standing where Dr. King stood as he told the world of his dream, visiting the White House, spending hours in museums and my experience at Arlington National Cemetery is still close to my heart.

9-The Redwoods

We visited The Redwoods on about day three of our trip, but the awe-inspiring giant trees made a real impression on all of us.  We LOVED just wandering through the deep dense forests with no one around but ourselves.  If you haven’t been, go.  Soon.

8-The Everglades, Florida

The Everglades made the list of top places we visited because it is SO different from anywhere else we went.  The air boat ride through the swamps, the alligators, picking up hitch hikers and the crystal clear waters of the state parks made Florida a place we will long remember.

7-The Smoky Mountains

The mountains themselves weren’t what impressed my boys about the The Smoky Mountains, but it makes the list because of the horseback riding we did through the trails.  Riding horseback for the afternoon on a crisp spring morning thrilled my children.  Follow that up with a stay in Gatlinburg, Tennessee where the roads are lined with carnival rides for as far as the eye can see.  Christian was ready to bail on the 48 state gig and buy a house and live there forever.

6-Niagara Falls

No need to explain this wonder of the world.  Completely and totally AWESOME! We loved the Maid of the Mist boat ride out to the falls!  It is beautiful, and everyone should see it!

5-San Francisco, California

The curvy streets, piers, Alcatraz, pizza, bridges, bays, friends, vineyards and streetcars…seriously, what’s not to love about San Francisco?  The night playing in the water at The Golden Gate Bridge as the sun went down is one of those memories that I hope time never erases.

4-Minneapolis, Minnesota

My kids LOVED the largest indoor water park in America.  Though it is certainly memorable to have the pool shut down and the paramedics called because of my poor surfing skills, I would not add this to my personal favorite places I visited.  Nathan, however, loved the surf simulator, and Christian thought the slides were everything they were talked up to be.

3-New York City

Oooh!  Where to start?!  New York is charming.  It calls to me.  I love the busy rush of a bazillion people hurrying to get somewhere important.  I loved that I was not one of those people rushing to get anywhere, but that I could simply take it in at our own pace.  I LOVED the double-decker bus tour, Times Square, walking the Brooklyn Bridge, riding the subways and wandering through Central Park.  After several years of telling my boys about WICKED, I loved being able to sit with them in the Gershwin Theater as the curtains rose and the music started.  Unforgettable.

2-Hershey, Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania in general was off the charts!  We did visit it during a beautiful time of year, and the rolling green hills and classic farm houses entranced me.  We loved the Amish carriage ride through the countryside and, of course, Hershey Chocolate World!  There was nothing not to love about making your own candy bar, tasting chocolate and diving into a world of Hershey. Two enthusiastic thumbs up for Pennsylvania!

1-Hot Springs, Arkansas

Our family’s favorite day of the whole trip was in Hot Springs, Arkansas!  Who would have guessed?  We spent the day in the dirt digging for crystals.  That’s it!  There were no thrill rides, computers, electronics, movies, or high-priced entertainment.  We paid our $5 entry fee and dug as many crystals as we could put in the back of our truck.  Whatever happened in the crystal mounds that day in the minds of two little boys made the whole trip worthwhile.  It ranks at the top of Nathan and Christian’s favorite places.  Hats off to Hot Springs!

I could easily make a different list…a list, not of the favorite places we visited, but a list of my favorite moments.  This list would include watching Nathan and Christian dangling their arms off the end of a dock watching the rocks fall to the bottom of the lake in the Napa Valley and listening as Nathan sang, “Sittin’ on the dock of the bay…wasting time.”  The list would include hiking through any of the many forests we went to and looking ahead at my children and feeling my heart fill with gratitude for two kids and the love they add to my life.

It would include the night at The Golden Gate Bridge when I thought my heart would burst as I wanted to bottle up time and never forget the dancing silhouettes of my ten and eleven year olds against the setting sun.

It would include making silly videos with one sister, chasing cows and trying to ride a bicycle built for two with another sister and delivering goats in Idaho with my third sister.  It would certainly include making giant shadows in a cemetery in the midwest and dancing to the radio in a little camper while we played Bananagrams.   It would include the many wonderful friends we were able to catch up with and the friends we met along the way.  Skipping rocks, long hikes,  campfires and reading books as we snuggled in a hard bed–all moments that I hold dear to my heart.

The places we visited made those six months an adventure, but the uninterrupted time together made this trip a slice of time that we will never forget.  None of these moments cost any money, and most of these memories could be replicated here at home at my discretion with just a bit of planning and effort, so that when the time comes for my kids to leave home, we can say with a bucket full of memories, “What an awesome road we’ve traveled together these last eighteen years! We did it together, one little moment at a time…”


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Our last day of travels…….

After six months of beaches, trees, mountains and beauty, we made it to our final day of sightseeing.  As we came out of Olympic National Park and the Hoh Rainforest, it was late afternoon and time to start looking for a place to stay for the night.  According to the map we still had a decent drive ahead of us to make it to the next closest town, but if we hurried we could make it there before dark.  That was until we came upon the sign for RUBY BEACH and made a three-hour detour!

Ruby Beach is situated about an hour and a half north of Aberdeen.  If you didn’t have road signs pointing to beach access, you could easily drive through the dense trees not knowing you were right next to the Pacific Ocean.

This beach has everything needed to make it the perfect beach–an overlook, a small pond that reflects the sky beautifully, a full on stream coming down from the mountains meeting the ocean, loads of drift wood, shells, trees, giant rocks and lots of curves, which beckon to you to walk a little further and see what’s just beyond the next bend.  Beaches like this are a fabulous find, because they take hours to adequately explore.  When we first arrived, we were the only ones there and enjoyed the coastline to ourselves for the first hour.

We raised our arms in victory at our accomplishment of the last six months, played pirates on the driftwood, and collected a pocketful of stones.

I knew it would put us quite late finding a place to sleep for the night, but I REALLY wanted to see the sunset over this magnificent beach, so we stayed a little longer until the sun reached the water and reflected off the clouds…it was beautiful!

This was the last sunset of our trip, and it didn’t disappoint us one bit.

We eventually made it to a place to sleep for the night, and as we headed down the coast the next morning, we made one final stop along Washington’s shoreline.  This was our last walk along the beach (this trip :)) and in a way a closing ceremony to our grand adventure.

After Ruby Beach the previous night, this beach wasn’t very awe-inspiring.  There were no big rocks, no trees, nothing that really called to me other than I knew we were turning inland soon and this might be our last chance to play in the sand.  We made our way to the sand and came upon a treasure that The Evans Family will never forget.

As we walked over the ledge and the path dropped down to the beach, there was a lone fisherman trying his luck from the shore.  He stood to the right, so we turned left.  We had gone no more than 30 yards, when we each found a sand dollar.  And then our eyes were opened to a beach chalked full of freshly washed up sand dollars.  We were surprised and delighted to find as many sand dollars as we could pick up.  In fact, there were so many, we walked back to the truck to find a container.

It was almost impossible for me to walk past a perfectly shaped sand dollar and not pick it up.  So, for over an hour, we collected sand dollars by the dozens…big ones, little ones, light ones, dark ones…they covered the shore in abundance!

As I collected the shells, my mind was taken back to one of the first stops of our trip in Morrow Bay, California.  I wrote in that blog post a little about my fascination with sand dollars and how I have always interpreted finding a sand dollar as a direct manifestation that God is looking after me.  On this day, as we prepared to return home to Newberg, where we have nothing but beautiful rolling green hills and a strong sense of community, the act of finding hundreds of sand dollars was a sure indication of good things to come into the lives of my little family.  It was like discovering two hundred and fifty good luck omens signifying that with the conclusion of this adventure, the Lord is looking out for us and already preparing the way for our next undertaking.   God knows us individually…and He spoke my language to me that day on the beach…through sand dollars.

As we continued south to southern Washington, headed to my friend Michelle’s house, we had two options of how to get there–turn inland, then down…or go down, then inland.  Nathan mentioned how he had learned about Astoria in school and had wanted to go there for a while.  So we went down, then over.  Going this direction, brought us into Oregon for most of the drive.

We stopped and bought lunch in Astoria and ate along the docks next to the sea lions and pirate ships.  They were having some kind of reenactment, and there were pirates roaming the town and ships sailing in the harbor.  We got to go aboard a boat and see the deck hands hanging fifty feet in the air tying up the sails as they prepared to dock.  This is not a line of work I would be suited to, but it was fun to watch!

Once we arrived in Portland, instead of turning south to Newberg, we went north to the quaint town of Amboy, Washington.  My friend Michelle Young moved here last year from Oregon.  I met Michelle about three years ago through her sister Annette, who without being asked arranged for me and my boys to stay at Michelle’s house, even though we didn’t know them.  She assured me that Michelle would be a kindred spirit.  And she was.  Any apprehension I’d had about staying with a stranger was dispelled within just a few minutes of entering their home.

The next year, on an unplanned trip to the coast, Michelle took me on a drive through Yamhill County–with the hills and vineyards and astounding beauty of Oregon’s wine country.  Two weeks later, I closed my shop in Idaho and moved to Oregon.

The trip to Amboy didn’t include any sightseeing, just a visit with a dear friend, a couple of long walks and the introduction to some really yummy raw tacos and banana nut oatmeal!  Delicious!

Michelle is a life coach, and it is always fun to talk with her about goals and plans, schemes and dreams, thoughts and feelings.  She always knows the right questions to ask to draw out the perfect solutions to life’s ruts.  Sometimes you just know when a calling is meant for someone in life.  She was born to help people attain their highest potential.  She’s just so good at it!

From Amboy, we drove the hour and a half home to Newberg, where much to our surprise, the town seemed to have functioned just fine while we were away! 😉   With the town going on about its business, the Evans family slipped right back into normal life that afternoon with two hours of scouts and a baseball game.  What a nice feeling…to be home again. 🙂

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The drive from Montana to Washington brought with it the chance to cross through the panhandle of Idaho, one of the most beautiful parts of the country.  Couer D’Alene has all the rich green colors I love, along with plenty of lakes and mountains.  Simply beautiful! We crossed over into Spokane and relished in our accomplishment of having visited all lower 48 states!

We stayed the night in Spokane and took off the next morning to cross the middle of Washington though Wenatchee–the apple capital of the world.  This was a quaint little town that led me to feel like I was driving through the Swiss Alps. The mountains still had snow and the green made for a perfect backdrop.   The orchards that filled the country side made me want to return in the fall for apple festivities!

Instead of going into Seattle and Pike’s Market, we decided to bypass the big city and head north to visit an old college roommate near Marysville.  LaShaunna Hepworth and I were roommates at BYU, and we haven’t seen each other in over ten years.  It was lovely to spend an evening with her family and meet her husband and children.  She prepared a fabulous meal for us, and we played a board game with the adults against the children.  I won’t say who won, but I wasn’t on the winning team. 😉

From LaShaunna’s house, I was planning on heading south and home to Newberg, but when I realized how far north we were, it seemed a shame not to go just a bit more north to the San Juan Islands…(the thought actually entered my mind that the San Juan Islands are close to Victoria…which is in British Columbia which is nearly to Alaska, but I dismissed that idea because I am not as impulsive as I used to be. :))

We drove to Anacortes and took the ferry out through the San Juan Islands to Friday Harbor.  Here we walked through the harbor, in and out of art galleries and eclectic little shops.  This was a great way to spend an afternoon!

On the ferry back, Nathan and Christian took advantage of the half-put-together puzzle, and we all added a few pieces.

The mist settled in over the islands, and it looked like a scene you would see on a murder mystery.  I love the foggy mist and feel confident that Newberg will provide enough fog to fill my need in coming years.

After our trip around the islands, we put the truck and trailer on the ferry to take us across to Port Townsend.  I’ve wanted to go to Port Townsend for about eight years.  When I first opened THE FOUR SISTERS, we came in contact with a lotion company in Port Townsend.  This was a small family business that made lotion out of goat milk and lavender.  The lotion was fabulous, and I especially loved the picture in my mind of goats grazing in a lavender field.   The lady who introduced me to the company told me stories of the farmer’s markets and art scene that abounded in Port Townsend.  It always enticed me to visit.

We were lucky enough to find ourselves in Port Townsend on a Friday afternoon.  Naturally, we had to stay until the Farmer’s Market the next morning.

We went out for dinner at Big Daddy’s Pizzeria then strolled the downtown and took in loads of local artwork.  By the end of the evening, my kids had had enough of the art scene, so I indulged them by WD 40ing up their Heeleys and taking them to the skate park, where I was quite confident we were going to end up in the emergency room.  Much to my delight, we had no casualties.

Below is a little video of us at the pizzeria.  I was so surprised how this video ended that I hit the stop button…unfortunately.






The next morning after a lively market full of local aritsans, we turned southwest to go through Olympic National Park…America’s most thriving rainforest.  Hurricane Ridge still had quite a bit of snow, but I was glad we took the drive to look out over the valley.

The Hoh Rainforest was brimming with plant life of all kinds.  Aside from the spiders, this is the kind of forest that I love to wander through because there is so much to take in…not to be trite, but…it was beautiful–perfect scenery for the luscious northwest and a finale of six month American tour.  With only one day left on our trip, we were thrilled to see such beauty so close to home!

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Yellowstone National Park

Occasionally, I come face to face with the consequences of my inherent gift of poor planning.  Yellowstone National Park offered me this occasion.  After being at my sister’s house for a few days longer than we had planned (and being on somewhat of a schedule to get back to Newberg before school got out for the summer), I determined that even though we hadn’t got out of the house early in the day, we were still going to get on the road and headed toward Yellowstone.  We left Rigby about 4 pm and headed through Swan Valley toward Jackson, Wyoming.  This was an easy scenic drive, and we arrived in Jackson around six where my brother happened to be for the night.

We visited David for just a little while, and as we prepared to go, he recommended finding a place to stay in Jackson in order to avoid driving to Yellowstone in the setting sun.  I stopped at the only RV park we could find in Jackson, but they wanted $75 to park there for the night.  This proved to be more than I was willing to pay for the spot he had available.  The only other place we stayed for $75 a night was New York City, and feeling like it was still a bit early, I decided to go against David’s recommendation and keep on driving.  This was the mistake.

I hadn’t realized that although there were some beautiful mountains, there wasn’t really ANYWHERE else to park for the night between Jackson and Yellowstone.

We did get to see lots of wildlife along the way and pulled over several times to watch herds of elk or deer run through the meadow.  This was a nice treat!

The sun set as we drove through the snow-capped Tetons which made for a pretty drive, and I was happy to see that Yellowstone was only 45 minutes away.  We finally arrived at the park’s entrance not long before total dark and with no ranger at the station, nor available map, we were only able to go off the road signs…which clearly stated that the closest camping to this entrance was 50 miles away!! With speed limits of 30-40 mph, this was going to take a while.

We found ourselves driving through one of the most famous national parks in America with this as our view:

Here is a bubbling mud pot at night…the most scenic site for the first 45 minutes of Yellowstone by moonlight.

I soon determined that we were missing the whole point of coming to Yellowstone, but signs that said, “DANGER, BEARS…NO OVERNIGHT CAMPING” were signs I took seriously and kept me pressing forward.  Eventually, we came to a turn off and I disregarded the AUTHORIZED VEHICLES ONLY sign and found a little nook to sleep for the night.  We awoke to an overcast day…but it was light, and light really adds to the Yellowstone experience! 🙂

We’d only been on the road a few short minutes when these guys came strolling by.  If I had felt inclined, I could have rolled down my window and given them a pat as they passed by the truck.

We made our way through Yellowstone with several bear sitings along the way.  We came upon a mama and her two cubs playing in a meadow.  There were probably two dozen photographers with their two foot camera lenses pulled off the road to photograph this little family.

This is when this mama bear implemented a rule for her own two cubs.  Whenever we are out of the car looking at bears or bison you have to remember to do one thing:  Look to the right and then to the left and make sure at all times you are standing next to someone that you can run faster than.  They both assured me that they would stick with me and that they could outrun me without much problem. 🙂

We drove along the east side of Yellowstone, seeing as we’ve been to the old and faithful west side several times when we lived in Shelley.  We made our way through the hills of Montana and headed to our last of the lower 48 states….Washington.

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My sisters’ houses are some of my kids’ favorite places to be.  I suppose it is the sense of family they feel when they are with their cousins that make it so pleasurable for all of us to stop in and visit with my sisters.  This trip had an unexpected air of excitement as the morning after arriving, my kids got a front row seat to watch some real farm life excitement.

I was more than a little impressed that my sister transformed herself into a veterinarian–and delivered two baby goats.  All of a sudden that talk we had a few months ago about how babies are born made a lot more sense to my very curious boys.  And I thought it was pretty remarkable to watch, too!

We pulled ourselves away from the McKamey’s Birthing Center 😉 in order to attend the end of the year carnival celebration at my niece and nephew’s school.  My sister was running a booth, so I went to help.  Together, I think we bent down about 15,000 times to pick up bean bags.

This act of bending over thousands of times to pick up bean bags would have been challenging for some people, but not us…because look what we had for breakfast! 😉

While I was in New Mexico, I watched a video called “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead.”  This led me to watch “Food, Inc.” and before I knew it I found myself juicing and relishing the idea of becoming a vegetarian.  My sister, Pauletta, took right to juicing, too, and she put on an awesome spread of fruits and vegetables when I went to her house.  I feel my body sing with delight when I drink a freshly prepared juice!  Yummo!

My mom came up from Blackfoot to join the fun and took all the grandkids swimming one day and then roller skating the next day.  She was pretty gutsy (and the only grandma out there) out on the floor!

While roller skating, we did the limbo. (I say “we” like I was out there strutting my stuff, but someone had to stay on the sidelines to take the pictures!)  Nathan is really quite good at this game and he got down to two of them left.  I was wildly impressed that Nathan’s competition gave him such a run for his money…even though he had no arms.  What an inspirational young man!  I was very happy that the teenager running the game stopped the competition before either fell…so both kids walked away winners.









Winning a limbo competition is hard work and after delivering goats, swimming, and roller skating, Nathan needed a little nap!

I had a bit of work to get done while in Idaho, and  I didn’t get to visit as many people as I would have liked, however, my sister and I did get to go and visit our grandparents.   My Grandpa Beach is 91 and had been out planting tomatoes all afternoon.  How fantastic is that!  He dug deep into the archives of family history and told us some stories I’ve never heard before.  It was great!

From his house, we went and visited my Grandma Stecklein who, although it was nine o’clock at night, took the kids to Airport Park to climb on the tanks.  🙂

The boys had a great time with their cousins and the new baby goats.  In fact, they brought The New Kids on the Block (okay…that just came to me….a nineties girl!)  in the house and gave them a bath.  Then they brought out the animal diapers, and we watched the goats run around the kitchen. What a highlight to our Idaho visit!









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We left Colorado having our hearts filled to the brim with love and friendship!  What a great visit we had, and the drive through the Rocky Mountains was a perfect way to say good-bye to this magnificent state.

As we passed through the mountains homeward bound, Christian could feel Oregon nearby…he was making art out of his pretzels to show his stalwart love of the Beavers!

Utah has a million things to see and do, but having lived there for several years, and hearing the call of the cousins in Idaho, we cruised by Moab and southern Utah on our way to Rigby, Idaho.

We did make a couple stops in the Provo Valley.  First, our friend Kara, who used to work at our store in Shelley, is now married and expecting a baby anytime.  We just stopped in for an hour…long enough to catch up and let Christian whoop us all at Bananagrams!

We stayed the night at my brother’s apartment in Provo where we enjoyed a fabulous dinner prepared by his lovely wife Heather.  They had some friends over, and we sparred in a game of Settlers of Catan…the European version with castles and landmarks.  Even though I always lose this game, I keep coming back for more! 🙂

The next morning, we went to visit Rachel Mickelsen, an old mission companion in Saratoga Springs.   We took our kids out to Thanksgiving Point for an afternoon stroll through the gardens and a play at the water park.  I just LOVE gardens and should work to improve my green thumb, so I can create a garden paradise in my own backyard (when I get one!)  I also love Rachel Mickelsen, so put her in a garden, and it’s going to be a fun afternoon!

We spent a little while feeding the coy fish.   This was a perfect activity for six boys and made those little orange fish light up with delight!

All the kids had a great time splashing through the Noah’s Ark statue at the kids’ park. 🙂

We finished off the afternoon with dinner at the Thanksgiving Point Cafe. Thanks Rachel Mickelsen for sharing an afternoon with us and walking through the gardens down memory lane!


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Colorado Springs

From Frederick, we continued south to Colorado Springs, where the fabulous Kristi Bills (Dawson) lives with her husband Chad and their four children.  Kristi is a dear, dear friend.  In fact, I have long said that all of the friends I have, I owe to Kristi.   Here’s how the story goes.

After a life of moving every few years in the military and leaving friends behind, somewhere in my high school years, I became pretty introverted and did most things on my own.  By the time I arrived at the dorms my first year of college, I wasn’t very social…at all.  I had come to Idaho State University to get a degree and didn’t have much time for the interference of social life.  My roommate was engaged, so it was easy to come and go as I pleased in my own little world without bother from anyone else.  This went on for nearly six weeks.  Kristi lived a few doors down from me and would invite me to go out to eat or to different activities with her group of friends, and I would always politely turn her down. Until one day…

I had just boarded the elevator, when I heard wild mad rush running down the hall.  Before I knew it, Kristi flung herself inside the elevator and blurted out, ” I am GOING to be your friend!!”  Nearly twenty years later, I can still recall that moment with great detail as I had never met anyone quite like Kristi Bills.  The rest is history.  Kristi introduced me to college life…friends, rollerblading, skiing, dances, Doc Martins, apartment living, etc.  In no time at all, we became inseparable and were roommates for the next couple years until Chad entered the picture, and I was forced to step aside for a tall, dark and handsome man!  She went on to get married and get a degree.  I went on to three more years of fabulous social life…and no degree to prove it!  Hmmmm….

It is always a pleasure to visit with Kristi, and this time was no exception.  Chad and Kristi live right in the heart of it all…a few minutes from the Air Force Academy, downtown Colorado Springs, and a whole list of beautiful scenic areas.

Our first visit was to The Garden of the Gods.  With a name like that, you have to bump it up in priority.  It lived up to its name in every way with the stunning orange rock gleaming in the sunlight against the green lush trees.

For hours, the kids climbed in and out of some of the tightest spots imaginable.  I couldn’t believe some of those spaces they made it through!

We actually had to return to The Garden of the Gods the next day…it was just too large to go through in one shot.  This time we made our way to Balanced Rock for a few quick photos.

Even after a day of hiking, these guys had enough strength to lift up this rock for a photo.  I was incredibly impressed, too!

After a fun morning of climbing rocks, we went up  to a little town at the base of the mountains where we enjoyed frozen custard and an arcade with games going all the way back to the early 1900’s.  I was transported back to the hundreds of hours I spent becoming Pac Man Champion of my family.  I can remember clearly the night I flipped the score board.  🙂  Oh for the days when video games didn’t make me sea sick to watch the screen!

I dropped a few too many quarters in, but didn’t come anywhere near flipping to score board.  This only proves that if don’t use your talents, you lose them. 🙂

The next morning, we went to Pike’s Peak known as “America’s Mountain.”  What a gorgeous ride to the top of these snow-covered mountains!  Chad was able to go with us on this adventure, and with him in the driver seat, we held on for dear life as we rounded edges and took on curves and pretended (at least I think he was pretending) to lose steering and cause us to go right to the edge until at the last moment he would save us.  Christian thought he was the bomb and cackled with glee in the back seat…encouraging Chad to do it again!  Several times since then, Christian has commented to me that Chad is much more fun than I am.  That’s fair…I’ve known that for 20 years since he stepped into the picture! 🙂

Pike’s Peak was beautiful!  It’s vistas were spectacular, and I felt privileged to be standing in the place where Katharine Lee Bates penned the words to  America the Beautiful.  These were the purple mountains she was referring to…and we were looking at them!

On the way back down we came across this.  I couldn’t quite determine if the sign was for real or not, but we kept the kids in the car, just in case. 😉

We had a marvelous time together, and I loved that our kids got along so well!   We went on day trips,  hung vinyl, made cookies, watched our nightly episode of Love It or List It,  and enjoyed every minute of our time in Colorado Springs.  The night before we left, we went to Joanne’s (Kristi’s oldest daughter) talent show, where she danced beautifully!  We followed that up with frozen yogurt at Lulu’s where we spent an hour hula hooping and playing checkers.  What a perfect evening!  We really did not want to leave, and even with Kristi’s 101 reasons we should move to Colorado, we found ourselves in the truck driving toward Newberg, Oregon.  Thanks Dawson Family for a fabulous visit!

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