Well, we made it safely back from our latest camping trip and I have a few minutes available to catch up on all our activities. I would have done a daily ‘thing’ but we (AT&T) did not have cell service and there was no internet. We didn’t have satellite TV, either. We really roughed it this time. Those who use Verizon and Sprint were still able to communicate which made me briefly consider switching carriers. Then Diane drove toward Vernonia, to the Forest Ranger Station, to call her Mom, Jean. During that process one of the Rangers came out and told her if she had Verizon she was out of luck because there was no service. But, AT&T worked. So, we’ll be sticking with AT&T for a while.
Before all the camping fun began we bid farewell to Cedric on the 19th as he began his trip to Navy boot camp at Great Lakes Recruit Training Center, just north of Chicago. He is a third generation Sailor in our family. Graduation is September 17th, I think, and there are plans in the works to attend the ceremony. I’m not sure, yet, if Diane and I will attend because Cedric is only allowed 4 guests. I think we plan to leave that special event for the immediate family because Diane and I have non-refundable plane tickets to Connecticut on September 20th. Two airplane rides that close together isn’t financially feasible, so we’ll rely on family photos and participate vicariously through them. We’ll see him when he comes home on leave.
Duly sworn in and officially a member of the Navy. Proud Mom, Dad, and Sister.
After wishing Cedric a safe journey, we all went home. That afternoon we went to the movie and watched “The Secret Life of Pets” at the Columbia Theater in St. Helens with Bob, Steff, and Jewel. Then we had dinner at Dockside. All of us were stuffed to the gills. By the time we got home it was time for bed.
The first day of the Columbia County Fair weekend was Wednesday, the 20th. That’s the day old people get in for free so we almost always go. There were fairs in past years where we helped and earned badges for daily entrance, but those days are behind us now. We took Gilligan, Baylee, and Jerrie with us, using ride wrist bands and entry tickets that Diane bought ahead of time. She also got wrist bands for Lydia and Jeran so it worked well that the 3 little ones were chaperoned by the two larger ones. It as pretty amazing that the children chose to go see all the animals before giving in to the allure of the carnival rides. Toward the end of the day, Jeff & Heather arrived and took charge of G, B, and J then we went plant shopping. Everyone had a great time. Even the old people.
Gilligan, Jerrie, and Baylee on the way in
Lydia, Jerrie, Gilligan, and Baylee confront a T-Rex.
Lydia conquers the wall … multiple times.
Jewel and Diane with their trusty dogs.
Bob finally has Steff where he wants her.
On Thursday, the 21st, we finalized our preparations for our Camping trip at Big Eddy. For those of you not familiar with the area, Big Eddy is a county park situated on the Nehalem River that flows through Vernonia. The river begins it’s journey on the east side of the Coast Range then loops around the north end of the range near the mouth of the Columbia River. Then it winds it’s way SW, finishing it’s 119 mile journey at Nehalem Bay, which is near Nehalem, OR. The bay feeds into the Pacific Ocean.
Diane and I fiddled around long enough to be the last ones out of the chute, consequently arriving last, which was OK. We arrived without incident, got parked and connected with lots of help from those who were already there. Then we started relaxing right away. That means we huddled around the camp fire all day and well into the evening, eating when food was ready, then going to bed when it was pitch black outside. Since the park is booked exclusively for the St. Helens Grace Baptist Church kids could run free, which they did, with no fear of danger, unless they fell down, which some did. It was chilly for the first couple of days so most of the time was spent around a fire, sharing stories and eating.
Here’s the night fire …
… and the day fire …
On Saturday the 23rd Bob, Steff, Jennifer, Diane, and I made the 7 mile trip to Vernonia to see what the Vernonia Saturday Market was about. Since nothing else was going on in town, there were only 4 booths open but they all had beautiful quality products. It was good to visit the town. The most interesting part of the visit was learning about David’s story. David is the first person we encountered in a little knickknacks shop on a corner. He was extremely nice, and friendly, and pointed us to his boss’s store a couple blocks up the street. At that store Donna, the owner, told the girls about David and what a remarkable life he had survived. He has Aspergers Syndrome and spent the first 55 years of his life hidden away from contact with anyone but his Mom or Dad. They didn’t know how to deal with him so tucked him away when folks visited. He never went to the doctor, dentist, or school. When his Dad died 7 years ago, his sister took him in and spent the next 5 years cleaning him up and exposing him to social situations until he was comfortable leaving his home. Donna met David when he and his sister visited her store and was impressed with David’s willingness to help. This led to a friendship that caused Donna to purchase another store which David manages. It’s his store. He’s 62 now and doing very well considering how much he missed during those 55 years of isolation. His store is on the corner of Adams Ave. and Bridge Street. Stop in and say HI, then go to Donna’s store and thank her for her incredible benevolent spirit.
After attending outdoor Sunday service, everyone packed up to go home. Bob & Steff were heading to Pendleton where they stayed at the Wild Horse Casino. On the way they were trapped in huge traffic jam caused by accident. It took them many hours longer than anticipated to reach their destination, but they eventually made it. We made it home without incident since we didn’t have to travel any of the freeways. The dogs were extremely happy to see us and Ziva let us know that it was a dirty trick to leave her behind when we know how much she enjoys camping. So, she will be going with us on all future trips.
This morning I went golfing with Doug and JP. It was a beautiful morning and we all did really well. I had three pars, a new personal best for me. Doug chipped in from 60 feet for a birdie which was fun to watch. It was a good day. When we finished we went to lunch, like we always do. I called Diane to see if she would like to join us, but she declined because she thought we were going to Burgerville, our normal choice. But, this time we went to the Village Inn where I had a very good Chicken Fried Steak, hash browns, and eggs. It was very good and I ate it all. Diane was upset about not going when she found out we didn’t go to Burgerville. It was very good and she missed out.
On the way home I stopped at O’Reilly’s for new spark plug wires for the truck because one wire burned out against the exhaust manifold making the truck sound a lot like a John Deere tractor. I also filled the truck with gas and got a container of gas for the lawn mower thinking I’d get something done outside. But, when Diane and Jewel left to go play around in thrift stores, I was told “No working outside because it’s 90 degrees!” I can only assume the she wasn’t in the mood to go looking for me after dying from heat exhaustion, and laying in the hot sun for hours. That probably wouldn’t be any fun at all, so I’m just staying inside, as directed.
That’s it. Except for this hydrangea that grows by our home.
We haven’t figured out what causes it to come out in multiple colors like this, but it’s kinda neat.