Opposites

Most of my side of the family came down from Canada during the holidays, so we got the biggest family photo taken in years! My neighbour did the honour of clicking a bunch of shots, and my little sister Maret did the photo editing.

Back Row: Seth, Everette (Dad), Anders, Mitchell, Toveli, Gaelyn, Maret, Karen (Mom), Laars Front Row: Rauchelle (Me) with Trista on back. Elita and Marin in stroller
Back Row: Seth, Everette (Dad), Anders, Mitchell, Toveli, Gaelyn, Maret, Karen (Mom), Laars.
Front Row: Rauchelle (Me) with Trista on back. Elita and Marin in stroller.

As you can see, there is a REALLY BIG van behind us. That is the 15 passenger van my folks drive around from Canada to Mexico and back, as need and/or whim dictates. My mom has a really good blog about their adventures that you should check out if large family travel interests you.

The thing I think is a little funny about this photo (besides the goofy faces) is the stroller, which is our main mode of transporting, in comparison to the van. These are two totally different, opposite, yet equally awesome family lifestyles represented here. Seth and I have a stationary family, living in one place, raising our girls with alternative means of transportation. My parents have the family of movement (which I would love to mimic when the time is right), raising their kids in alternative locations. So far, my younger siblings have an almost equal grasp on Canadian, USA and Mexican cultures. They have participated in community activities in all three countries, and they can get by in more languages than me!

Keep doing the great adventurous things you do, Mom and Dad!

P.S. I’m still car-free.

Getting Ready

Life is always in a bit of turmoil. Surfing the waves and getting the most out of the ride is what makes the journey fun.

The camping trip we did as a family in June was absolutely wonderful, so we went ahead and pursued planning for another, much longer bike trip to be done in September. We had wanted to do this particular trail last year, but then we were expecting Elita, so we put it on the back burner, to come out again this year!

Seth has been working on logistics, bikes, and keeping an eye on any news pertaining to the area we will be cycling through, mostly keeping an eye on forest fires here in the north wet . I have been dehydrating food. My sister Danaka (who will be joining us for the trip) has been diligently training for the two week bike trip with us “crazy car-less bike people”(not that we’re training or anything!).

There is a big rubber-maid box under our kitchen table, slowly being filled with jars of dried food, whole meals dehydrated and crushed to make reconstituting easier. Seth did the math, 3 adults and 2 little children = 4 servings per meal. For dinner alone, that means 56 servings. If you add breakfast and lunch in there, that’s 168 servings to be prepared before setting out.

it takes a while to get a days food made while juggling 2 little kiddos, so now add 167 more meals but the meal means making and then dehydrating, packaging and remembering just how many meals it is equal to.  since our family has figured out the foods that we are happy with and those that our bodies do not wish to have inside,  we have decided that the time consuming effort of making our own meals for this trip is a trial on our end., an experiment, in nutrition and logistics.  we try to avoid gluten, sugar, oats, dairy, and all those malto sucroglucoxanthanem  whatevers that are in so much food.  and the sodium………  all just for some lighter packs and artificial food.  why go to nature to relax if the food you eat is fake.  how nature is that..

so all this in prep for a family ride on the John Wayne Pioneer Trail crossing the middle of Washington state.  this is an old rail road track that has been taken back by washington state and transitioned to a rail to trails .  yeah…..  bike tripping on the road is great.  bike tripping days on end in the woods, awesome.  and no traffic whizzing by.  our trip is going to be a fun challenge.  the biking will be the easy part.  just getting us all to and from the trailhead is the hard part.  how do you transport 2 infants, 3 big cargo bikes, a few trailers and 3 adults and not rely on a car.

amtrack, uhaul.  that is our only option and we think it will/should work.  so here is what we got so far.  2 kids and one adult travel up on a train at so many mph over a distance while changing diapers, napping and enjoying story time.  and 2 adults rent a uhaul truck, load a ton of stuff, (only the lightest in high tech light gear, still = a ton.  ) travel slower but with no stops up to the corresponding train stop .  once there one adult gets kicked out with all the stuff to sit curbside surrounded by a pile of gear and 2 big bikes.  (probably looking bored and unapproachable, we are on vacation..)  the other drives on to drop off uhaul and rides a bike to the pile of stuff on the curb.  and both wait for the arrival of the train with the rest of the team.

once the team is together and our reality sinks in,  off we start peddling towards the land of the rising sun,  EAST.  a few miles from the train spot is an urban bike trail that travels straight along a river to our next trail.  all connecting to each other in a long more rough trail.  and after just a few days.  gravel, dirt, woods,  nothing.  or as close to nothing as we can get.

this, even is not great, even thru the un-fun,  this is our happy place.  almost like going home.  i know that once into the trip it would be so easy to just keep biking… really.  life would not end if we never came back.  if we just fucked it all and kept traveling. sure, work, rent, stuff, bills.  all that crap would smack us upside the face. but what is all that stuff.  a leash to hold you in place and feed the machine.  it does not care about you.  it would not notice if you left, it would not notice if you stayed put and behaved like you are too.  the machine does not care about you.  this is only something you see once you have spent enough time out of the system.

ah, that was fun..

Marin Campfood

 

Side Note: Thank you Seth for “finishing” my post while I put the girls to bed!    I’m sure you readers can figure out what we each wrote?

Life Or Death In Portland

Everybody says that cycling in Portland is easy and safe for the most part.

I agree.

But sometimes you get reminded that you are still just riding two wheels with no bodily protection while the other road users are rushing around surrounded by a metal roll-cage and sometimes they don’t give a damn about you.

Seth and I were out for a ride with our new baby seat attached to the back of my bike, and it was Marin’s first time riding in it. We had a nice enjoyable trip out, but on our way back we, no kidding, nearly died. With our road going straight through and the side road having a stop sign, fortunately we naturally slowed down a little bit, because a fellow in a black pickup truck flying high as a kite gunned his machine of terror through the stop sign and straight into our lane, missing us by mere inches. He swerved away into his proper lane without slowing, careening down the street to the next intersection where he ran another stop sign, narrowly missing getting broadsided by a thankfully more attentive driver who had the right of way but braked just in time to save himself. Even after the crazy dude was out of sight, while we were standing in shock trying to catch our breaths and calm down, we could still hear his tires squeal around corners as he drove like hell was on his tail, around an elementary school and it’s quiet neighbourhoods.

Is Portland good for cycling in? Yes. Just keep your eyes out for the crazies and use common sense, ’cause you’re the only one protecting yourself from the cold metal terrors of the road.

International Travel

Not quite one year ago Marin crossed from Canada into the United States. Now, she is back on her way up into Canada, but only for a couple hours. This is the first time that Seth has crossed any borders with her, and he bravely is doing it alone, as my immigration green card has not come in the mail yet. Yet another family adventure! So here I am in Blaine, sipping a spicy mocha, gazing out over the marina to the ocean beyond, letting the gentle ocean breaze play with my hair and bring the salty smell of kelp and sea water to my ocean-starved nose. Oh how I have missed the ocean!

Having grown up on the west coast of Canada, right by the water on Vancouver Island, living in Portland, Oregon slowly saps the wild freedom from me. Don’t get me wrong, Portland is absolutely amazing and SO bicycle friendly, but it does not have the wide and wild ocean views that stretch for as far as the curve of the earth where you can see a ship’s sails above the curve but the hull is hidden below. The wind and sunshine both invigorating and draining, going through extremes and teaching you to be eternally grateful for the pleasant weather days. Oh the wild coast of Canada and the state of Washington!

So here I am soaking up everything about the view while Seth drives north with our daughter into my country to pick up my dad and brother. Hopefully my uncle and grandmother will be there to see Marin. She has changed so much in one year! When we left, she was barely 2 months old, struggling to hold her own head up. Now she is walking all by herself, cautious yet adventurous, silly and sweet but sometimes demanding. As a mom, I get so much pleasure in watching her personality develop each day.

It has been a long drive up here, but Marin has handled it very well. She plays quietly with her toys, crying only when she needs a fresh diaper or when she is tired, both of which I can completely understand. I would cry too! But the longest length of tears was only 5 minutes. What a wonderful girl to travel with!

Assuming all things go well, we will have a perfectly fine drive back down to Oregon, and nothing interesting will happen.

Well, I’m not going to miss this wonderful opportunity! I’m off to go stick my toes in the sticky water of the sound. Maybe my skin will itch later from the salt. Yay!!!

Where is Your Family?

Friends, relatives, acquaintances, strangers….. they all ask where my family are now. Family as in my parents and 8 siblings. So let me tell you.

Layne with her room-mate's dog Roxi
Layne with her room-mate’s dog Roxi

Currently my older sister is working and putting herself through school on our much-loved Vancouver Island. She is a fantastic barista and has recently discovered a love for rock-climbing, although where she lives is a little out of the way for getting to any rock gyms.

(Left to right) Toveli, Mitchell, Maret, Karen "Mom", Danaka, Anders, Laars, Gaelyn, Marin, me, Everette "Dad"
(Left to right) Toveli, Mitchell, Maret, Karen “Mom”, Danaka, Anders, Laars, Gaelyn, Marin, me, Everette “Dad”

My younger siblings (all 7 of them) are in Mexico with my parents, vacationing long term on the beach. The last couple months have found them settled in on the beach near a little town called Los Frailes.

This picture of them (on right) was taken last year as they visited us in Portland, Oregon on their way through the states. As you can see, they have a 15 passenger van which carries all of them plus all their belongings and camping equipment. The day after this photo was taken two roof-top tents were installed for added sleeping quarters.

No, they do not have a trailer.

Since first getting this particular van, my family has traveled from Canada’s west coast, down to Arizona for a winter, across to Georgia and up the eastern seaboard to Nova Scotia, then back to the west coast of Canada via the Trans Canada Highway, all of which I was fortunate to be a participant during their circuit of greater North America.

Now they have left Canada’s west coast yet again, traveling to warmer climates, soaking up adventures and sunshine.

The most recent little adventure they had was eating fried rattlesnake. That just goes into the big simmering pot of adventures they are cooking up, which so far also includes listening to a pod of whales singing in the bay, teaching the youngest boy Laars to leave scorpions alone, and spending an evening at Burning Bush.

Sometimes when they are traveling around, exploring, I have the fun opportunity to tell people that I honestly don’t know where my family is. I know which country, but nothing more specific than that.

I think sometimes people are concerned and worried because I do not always know my family’s travel details. But I never worry. I know their style and thirst for unique experiences, off the beaten path, with little or no internet. They know how to look after themselves!

Do you have adventurous family or friends like my folks? Are YOU an adventurer? I would love to hear your stories.