Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Oregon Coast

Markos writes: Aug 21 In the campsite I found lichen, mossy bark, and white bumpy bark and moss and dried-up fern.

Tarn at the Tillamook Cheese Factory, Aug 24 : The cheese factory is cool because all the cheese is moving all around. It was getting packaged.

Sampson writes about Lewis and Clark following a visit to the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center:

In 1803 Thomas Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark on an expedition to explore the Northwest. The reason why was because they wanted to find out what was there. They traveled the Missouri River by boat, over the Montana Great Falls by horse, and down the Columbia River by canoe. They brought lots of food for their trip and they hunted and traded with the Indians for food and drank brandy on special occasions. Sometimes they didn't have any food so they killed a horse for stew. On the expedition 30 to 50 people came and 31 of them survived. Sacagewea and the Corps of Discovery came and so did Lewis and Clark.

Tanya's thoughts: Writing curricula packages for travel by bike would be a breeze. It's amazing how much incredibly cool stuff just happens across our path. I didn't set out on this journey as an "educational experience" for Sampson, Markos and Tarn, but more as a family adventure. However, given the variety and complete immersion of our experiences on the road, I would have no problem selling this adventure as a complete educational experience. For example, our brush with salmon: watching salmon sport fishing, salmon hatcheries (and camping by one), learning about hatchery salmon vs. wild salmon, the salmon life cycle, following salmon streams and watching the fish fight the current, a visit to the aquarium... to say nothing about the water system through the State of Washington, or what about the sea life and seashore of the Oregon Coast?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Exploring Seattle

"When are we going to be in a city?" Markos asks from time to time. Finally we're in one. We approached Seattle by ferry and took in views of the skyline and seagulls as we pulled into the docks. Thankfully a easy, flat bike path led us along the waterfront and around the city to our friend Camille's home. As we rode along the bike path remnants of the "Hempfest" festival remained as interesting persons, including a older man wearing only orange underwear, picked up debris from the weekend's events. Seattle itself has tons of steep avenues throughout the downtown area. (Thanks to our friend Matt, our search for a lightweight non-stick wok was carried out in a motorized vehicle.)

Our Seattle experience included exploring the sculpture garden, visiting the aquarium, a chance meeting with my sister-in-law Felina and nephew Daniel (thanks Facebook!) and a up-close view of Jupiter - Camille pulled out her telescope and taught us how to dial in the planet. We saw three of its moons and the shadowed stripes across its surface.

Sampson's Journal Aug 20th - Today we woke up at Twanoh State Park and had mango and oatmeal for breakfast. After breakfast we biked to Shelton for lunch. Later we went on a road that we didn't know where it went so we asked at the fire station. They said there was a different road so we went on it. After a while we asked someone and they let us camp on their land.

Markos writes - Aug 16 We saw Alan. He was happy to see us again. He showed us a wooden boat. He wants to buy the boat. It is green and white with wood trim. We also took a ferry.

Tarn describes travel by ferry - I like to ride ferries. We ride our bikes onto the ferry. There are ropes that tie up to hooks on the ferry. My dad ties the ropes to the bikes. There are stairs up to the inside and there our doors to go out.

Games to play while riding bikes:
when it's hot: "ICE"
Name all the words you can think of that have "ice" in them. Players take turns. This game is quite effective to divert young minds on a hot afternoon. Sample game:
ice skates
ice cubes
black ice
next game could be "SNOW" or "WATER" etc.

"Colours" Markos and I played/created this game on a slow climb up the Cascades
Name ten things that you see or can think of that are "yellow", (next "red", "orange", etc)
example: yellow leaf on a tree, yellow line on the road, yellow flower, yellow spray paint
This game can take a very long period of time.

"The Interview Game" source: Janine in Republic, WA Very effective when Tarn is nodding off.
One player poses questions and the other answers.
Who do you like better, Batman or Spiderman?
Do you prefer apples or bananas?
Do you like to sleep in a bed or a sleeping bag?

Some delicious one burner meals:
Farm stand Fritata
Chard, eggs, potatoes, onion, garlic, mozzarella
Saute onion, garlic and thinly sliced potatoes. On the side beat a dozen eggs and toss in thinly sliced chard. Pore over the vegetables. Slow cook until eggs are done. Top with thinly sliced mozzarella. Cover. Serve. salt and pepper to taste

Brown Rice Dinner by the Shore
almonds, brown rice, broccoli, red onion, garlic, granny smith apple, mushrooms, carrots and cheddar cheese
Chop and toast almonds. Set aside. Cook brown rice, simmering 15 min. covered, then set aside to finish cooking off the burner. Chop up broccoli stems, red onion, garlic and carrots while rice is simmering. Saute in a little bit of water. Add chopped mushrooms, broccoli florets and chopped granny smith apple. Cook a little longer. Mix all vegies in with the brown rice and top with cheddar cheese and toasted almonds. Cover so that cheese melts. Serve. Flavour with curry powder, salt and pepper.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Making Friends and traveling: The Northern Cascades into the San Juan Islands

Somewhere along the way I'd heard of the Cascades, but it never really registered. Until I was in them. The Cascades of Northern Washington are to me, both incredible and unusual. Markos described the mountain peaks as "shark teeth". What appeared to be mini glaciers clung the sides of the rock peaks. The forests below are lush and deep green with rich reddish brown trunks. Once over Rainy Pass the vegetation turned ultra lush. Thick moss and ferns grew everywhere. Tree trunks were green with growth and supported tons of life.

We rode on to Anacortes and boarded the ferry to San Juan Island. Rob and his family had hosted us for some good times in Mazama and were now sending us on to his uncle John who lives in Friday Harbor. Here the kids are showing a musical side beyond what I've seen before. Between the drums, the piano, the trumpet and the shakers, Sampson, Markos and Tarn spent over an hour sounding amazingly good - and switching up the instruments in concordance too!

A power packed "homeschool" day included this musical session, several hours at the whale museum and an afternoon at the county fair. Tonight we go whale watching.

So fun to watch
it's golden time.
Three great boys feeling fine.

The thrill of a ferry ride, who some might just take in stride.
Right from the start, when the day was fresh
"Today's the day, we're going on the ferry."
Check it out - each deck is new
The cormorants sat, the seagulls flew.

Another moment equally cool, this time in a living room.
A coronet, a drum, a shaker too.
The piano was opened, each boy knew what was best to do.

Markos at coronet
Samps at the keys
Tarn on percussion - drum then shaker as he pleased.

How long did it go on? It's enough to say
I watched from the side to prolong what may.

We're relaxed, we've time
To play and watch
For this years just begun, more moments to be caught.

Aug 13 Sampson writes: Today we woke up and had KIX cereal for breakfast. Then we packed up and rode on some side roads and a big, long trestle bridge where we saw sea lions. In Anacortes we biked to the bike store and fixed Dad's back spoke. After that we went to Safeway. Later we went the the Rock Fish Brewery for lunch and had fish and chips. Later we went to the ferry. It was two hours long. Then we went to San Juan Island - Friday Harbour and went to John's house.

Aug 14 Some thoughts from Tarn: We played with a yellow slug and a brown slug. We tried to fish for fish but we didn't catch any fish. I found a quarter at the pizza restaurant. I found a penny too.

Aug 14 Markos painted some wild flowers a few weeks ago and decided to write about them today: we saw some flowers and I liked the orange one and mom liked the little yellow ones. they were on the roadside.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

The State of Washington - apples, desert and mountain passes

Tanya writes: I am an experiential learner. Cycling allows me to take in my surroundings and remember, through my experience, the world around me. Having never cycled Washington before I now know these things:
Northeastern Washington is a desert. Mountain passes lift you out of the heat of the desert floor. The waters from creeks are directed into pipes and held in mountain reservoirs. Canals and flumes then guide the water to the orchards of apples and cherries that line the desert floor. Rivers here cool your soul. Appreciate the warm wind when it's at your back.

Sampson's Journal reads: Aug.3 Today we had yogurt for breakfast. Then we went to the "Sanctuary". The Sanctuary is a place where the people recycled and they made their houses out of bottles and rocks. After that we went swimming at the river in the afternoon. Then we went back to Carin and Nakca's house and had dinner. Later we went to bed. We had a day off today.

Markos' Journal: (see photo above) Aug 6 This guy is going fishing today. I think he will catch a big one. He is putting his boat in the reservoir from the yellow trailer connected to the blue truck.

Tarn describes a lunch break: Aug 7 I saw one snake and Markos saw three snakes. They were at the river. Markos found a yellow one, and a red one, and a little one. Sampson found one too.

Recipe for Nature Nuggets (we created them completely effortlessly)
One bag of nut/fruit/chocolate mix from the bulk section of grocery (chocolate must be plain - no candy coating)
Place energy mix in pannier and cycle over the period of a hot day. Do not mess with the mix. Allow to cool overnight. After an hour of cycling the next morning take out and refuel with the contents of the bag. Mix will have become nugget shaped masses of dried fruit and nuts glued together with chocolate. Delicious!

Current rhythm of the day:
Wake just after six
Rick makes coffee, Tanya packs up tent stuff and Sampson, Markos and Tarn emerge from their tent, Sampson has packed up his bag (clothes, special things and reading/writing materials)
Sampson and Markos take down their tent, Tarn explores, helps make breakfast or writes/draws, Rick and Tanya have a cup of coffee
Reading/ independent time for boys, completed pack up by Rick and Tanya
On the road just after 8 am
2 and 1/2 hours cycling in the morning with a fruit/nut/water refuel about every 45 - 60 minutes
Lunch in some form of shade, often by a local watering hole with swimming/playing the main focus
Cycle to day's destination.
Cool down at local water option (reservoir, river, public pool)
Set up camp, write in journals

Lunch today: Fresh herb bread from the Cinnamon Twisp Bakery in Twisp, Washington. Sandwiches with tuna, Swiss cheese, sliced green apple, sweet yellow pepper, cilantro (some remained from last night's dinner of chicken catiatore) and mustard. Kids had peanut butter and honey bagels, sweet yellow pepper and green apple. Share a Chocolate Decadent Cupcake and a mini Raspberry/Rhubarb Pie. Swim in the river and cool off.

Life is rich. Work your body, relax your mind, and allow yourself to rejuvenate each day.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Heat Wave/ Visit to Grand Forks directs new routing

1000 Kilometers of road from Calgary

We sit in a cool library in Republic, Washington. Not exactly on the route we thought we'd take. However, a series of events has led us in this direction and route changes will likely be common place in our year ahead. In Wasa Lake our friend Wayne encouraged us to journey to Grand Forks, British Columbia to meet his soul mate Carin. He would join us on the road and bike the four days it would take to journey from Sand Pointe, Idaho to Carin's farmstead near Grand Forks. Scenery was beautiful, camping excellent, but the weather remained a heat wave. We were pulling long days, over five hours on the bike each day. By the time we got to Carin's farm we were in dire need of a couple days off. Thoughts of ocean breezes swept our way and charted our next two weeks - we'll head for Seattle. Several friends live there and we've never explored the Northwest Coast of the United States. Sounds cooler to me!

from Tanya, a poem

Heat Wave

The heat of the sun the pavement absorbs
The air rising up can not be ignored.
A steady pace has been kept - for over two weeks
The heat wave has swept.

We'll head to the ocean - its breezes we seek
Seattle we're bound - in about two weeks.

So ride in the morning, rise before dawn
"India style" we call it, we've know that song.

From Sampson’s Journal, July 28, 2009

Today I woke up and had waffles for breakfast. Then we picked huckleberries on a hike. After we did that we went back to Jan and Paula’s to show mom how much we had found (she stayed home). Then we went to lunch at a Mexican place. After lunch we went to the shoe store to find some water shoes. I didn’t like any of the styles but Markos and Tarn did. Then we biked to the city beach and went swimming. After that we went back to Jan and Paula’s house and watched Sponge Bob Square Pants the movie. After that we had spaghetti for dinner. Then we went to bed. We had a day off today.

from Markos' journal July 29
I saw four deer today. I want to go on a boat ride and go fishing too.

Tarn’s addition:

I like my ice cream. After I went to the ice cream shop I went to Carin and Nakca’s house. I like picking raspberries at Carin’s house and I picked some peas to eat. And mom made me a necklace that has a heart on it. It was too short so mom made me a longer one. She made me a heart on the longer string.

Blueberry/Huckleberry Pie Recipe

1 C Half and Half

1/4 t salt

1/2 t cinnamon

2/3 c sugar

4 T flour

4 cups berries

Place berries in prepared pie crust. Mix dry ingredients and half and half and pour over berries. Bake in oven at 400 degrees for 40 minutes. Serve with vanilla ice cream.