June 14, 2017 Bear sighting, rain and gold panning!

We all slept pretty good for our first night of the trip. It was a nice cool temperature. The kids were up at 8am and we had a good breakfast and hit the road.
On our way out to the main highway we saw a tiny little fox. It was way too cute 🙂 Not a mile further and we saw a moose! This was epic because it was Scotts dream to see a moose when we went to Yellowstone and to Glacier National park and we never saw one. Here we are driving along and one steps out onto the road in front of us. We all freaked out because we finally saw one. It was a young one that had no antlers but it was very large. I am told that we will see a ton of these on this trip but the first is just so exciting!


On the highway we made a few stops to rest and one lunch stop at another lake rest area. We also were able to find a Dollar Store to the girls delight 🙂 Pretty much the same stuff but theirs are actually $1.25 Stores. We also hit a Walmart by the gas station for some supplies. We realized that Ben had forgotten his pillow so we were thankful to be able to swing in and buy one for him.
The drive north was fairly uneventful besides some MASSIVE torrential downpours! It was reminiscent of our travels on the east coast. Sheets and sheets of rain! We ended our day at Canyon Creek Campground in Hixon. The rain was starting up again but the spots we were able to get were great. We had a big grassy field for playing and a nice big table for us to all eat dinner together.
We played for a long time….in the rain. We can do rain, we are from the Northwest right? Rain is not a game stopper 🙂 As it began to let up Ben and Katherine went up to the camp office and got two gold pans for us to try out. DSC_0455A trail led to the river where they attempted to pan for gold. Grandpa helped them with the technique. It was fun to try but wow, people who pan for gold are patient!

Next was a bit of fishing for Scott, Ellie and Ben. No success in catching dinner but fun and memory making .


Dinner around our big picnic table and a warm fire in the fire pit rounded out our day.

It has been really neat traveling with mom and dad. Lots of time with them to talk and learn a bit more about them. The kids have loved it and really enjoyed playing games and talking with them.

June 13, 2017  Off to Alaska!!

June 13, 2017 Off to Alaska!!

So here we go again! The Rollin Rorvigs are headed to Alaska! We are traveling up thru Canada for the next 6 days with our eyes (and GPS) set to Denali National Park. Originally we had planned to head up in July but after we made a friend through Craigslist (just to clarify..we were selling a piano on Craigslist and not looking for friends) he informed us that the best time is as early as you can in summer. This will allow us to see more wild life and stay away from all those annoying RV’s that make the two lane highway so slow 🙂
In all seriousness this man was a wonderful wealth of information and is quickly becoming a friend. He has even met Scott for coffee a couple of times to talk about traveling to Alaska and offered up his place on the Kenai peninsula for us to park on for a few nights. He spent many years working on the north slope and goes up each summer to his home. His experience and wisdom has really helped!!
Another really great and different thing about this trip is the addition of traveling partners, my mom and dad and coming along with their truck and camper. This will be our first trip with others so we are looking forward to that and the time spent with Grandpa and Grandma. We expect some really wonderful memories to be made!
Packing for the trip has been a tricky one since you really need to carry clothing for all situations and our nightly stops will include a lot of dry camping. Our departure date was a few days after school let out so this extra time allowed me to feel fully ready and also on the verge of over packing. I think I work better in a tight time frame and can’t think about every single scenario and over do the amount of things I toss in the RV.
Alright! This is the morning we go on our adventure to Alaska. Scott had to run to pick up Katherine from an overnight birthday party while I continued to (over)pack the RV. Once they were home, the house was clean for the house sitter and the tears were over about leaving Gizmo, we took our annual picture in front of the Tioga. It was really a tough decision to leave Gizmo this year. Last year we caved the morning of and took him. It was a rough one with the heat and such last year so we decided that it would be best for him to stay. We were not concerned with heat (mid to upper 60’s is all we expect) it is the fact that he runs if off the leash and we didn’t want him getting lost or being bear bait for us. I know it is for the best but it was hard. We all were pretty sad.
On the road it wasn’t long before the kids were diving into their non-tech entertainment options. I always try to get them to be interested in things other than a device with a screen and it works for a little while 🙂 The border was fine and we made a stop at Costco in Abbotsford to get some produce and meet up with my dad and mom. The weather was cool and windy but it was exciting to just be off and going.DSC_0345
We traveled HWY 1 east towards Hope and the scenery was just lovely! The northwest is just the best! The trees are so vibrant! The 20 mile stretch of the highway in the Fraser River Valley has 7 tunnels. The construction of the railway( below the highway) was started in 1880. Driving this stretch of road was so neat, we would go through one tunnel after another. The most difficult one in construction was the Hells Gate tunnel (sounds pretty appropriately named to me) I was a little uncertain about going through a tunnel by that name 🙂


Apparently the tunnel and the railway in that specific location were so difficult to make that the Andrew Onderdonk (the person that was contracted to build the tunnels and the railway) built a stern-wheel steamer named the SS Skuzzy to haul supplies. It would make its way up stream hauled by ropes attached to the canyon walls by bolts. The railway was finally completed near Basque on January 23, 1915.
We hit a few rest areas on our way to our final destination for the evening. We ended up at Arrow Head Provincial park in 70 Mile House. 70 Mile House got its name for being 70 miles from Liloette which marks the beginning of the Gold Rush Trail that people followed on their way to Alaska.
The campground was right on Green Lake and we had sweeping views that were amazing. The not so amazing thing is the mosquitoes!! They were swarming our windows as we backed into our spot. We hopped out and promptly sprayed OFF on all our clothing. It definitely helped but those insects are pesky. We played some frisbee and catch with a baseball. Ben flew his drone until it got stuck in a tree. He did finally get it down with no damage which was good 🙂


The kids found a baby crawdad looking thing in the water and caught a little frog.

Mom made ravioli and I made lame bagels and cream cheese for dinner (in all my over packing I did a lousy job of meal planning….ugh) you would think I had this “meals on the go” thing down by now. The kids bummed a decent meal off their grandparents 🙂 We enjoyed a fire by the propane fire pit we got Scott for his birthday and roasted some marshmallows for smores. All in all a good day. Long travels and we really miss Gizmo but good. We all turned in kind of early because the mosquitoes and the no seeums were out in full force. A couple of games of UNO and we called it a night.

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Tomorrow we are headed to Hixon, B.C. The drive should be just a beautiful and we are

 

hoping for more sunshine and no bugs!!

July 7-8, 2016 Kettle Falls, Bottle Rockets and Jarts

On the road at 10am to make our way to Kettle Falls, Wa. and visit with my aunt and uncle.  This is one of our favorite stops.  We try to make it over at least every other year and spend a day or two hanging out with them.  It is always fun and good to see them.

Half way there we stopped at Zips for a milk shake and make a little lunch.  The drive was funny because our GPS has no idea that we are a 29 foot motorhome.  We were twisting and turning along all these back county roads.  It was a slow go but so very lovely.

We pulled into the drive at 1pm and had fun catching up and relaxing.  The weather was far from what we had expected for eastern Washington in July.  The clouds were heavy there was a light sprinkling of rain.

After some time of talking and relaxing we headed outside and Ben got out his bottle rockets that he bought in Santa Fe, New Mexico.  He has been DYING to shoot them off.  It was okay with George (my uncle) for him to go ahead…Ben wasted no time!  Pop bottle in hand and he was in 13 year old boy heaven!

We enjoyed a nice campfire and gorged on s’mores.  The kids also had a blast setting off a big box of confetti shooter things that we had picked up at Costco and some sparklers that we had in the RV.  It was the 4th of July all over again!

This is exactly what we love about coming to visit George and Linda.  Relaxing, chatting and fun 🙂

We finally got to bed after 10pm.

We woke up to rain on the roof of the RV again…bummer.  The weather has not been doing what they say it is supposed to do.  No worries but we really wanted to head to the river today and see George drive his remote control boat.

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Some great coffee…and some not so great coffee, yummy pumpkin bread, bacon and fruit and we were all satisfied.  Rainy days are a good day for games.  SkipBo and Bananagrams were a must 🙂

The skies were getting a little brighter so we figured it was a good a time as any to head to the river.

The boat was pretty cool!  Ben had a fun time getting to control it for awhile.  A guy was fishing and very patiently pulling in a catch.  We watched and watched.  Hid line ended up breaking which was a big bummer because it sure seemed like it was a big fish!

We strolled along the shore and threw sticks in the river.  Sun was beginning to make an appearance and we were warming up.  After some time at the river we headed back for lunch.

Scott and Ben had bought a Can Jam game so we decided to get that out and it ended up being a lot of fun!  I have a lot of bruises on my hands from all the slamming.  That Frisbee is really hard 🙂

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George got out the Jarts (the outlawed your going to kill someone these are no longer legal) yard darts.  The kids were so excited!  The new kind…the safe kind…are not fun at all.  We have those in the RV and they are okay but they don’t hold a candle to the original death spears 🙂

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The boat was having a problem so George and Ben were trying to figure it out

 

We also played a long game of Frisbee.  I forget how fun that simple game is.  Ben and George had some shooting time (another thing you can do in their yard…seriously…does it get any better????)

A great dinner with lots of funny stories and good food.  Time with family is a gift.  I feel so very thankful!   The rest of the evening was spent playing Make Me Laugh and 20 questions.

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Shooting time with uncle George

 

Headed home in the morning and I can hardly believe that a month has passed.  It will be good to be home, see our little (or not so little) kitty Oskar and to settle into our home routine.  It is always a bitter sweet thing to end these trips.  I know we are incredibly fortunate to be able to take this time.  I know that these memories will be cherished by each of us for years to come and I know that time moves swiftly.

Thank you to all who bothered to read along on our adventures as I document these days.  Thank you for praying for our safety.

Off to Bellingham bright and early.

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Gizmo is having fun but will go bonkers when he gets to run in his yard!

July 6, 2016 One more tire down, Silverwood and Aftershock

Well the rain is pouring down, hard. Bummer! I am hoping that it is not the same in Athol! We did pull out at 7:45 am and hit the road. POURING down rain! Yuck! About an hour into the drive the rain let up and it was just really overcast. Beautiful, beautiful countryside! I really love Montana.

When we had just about made it to Idaho and we stopped at a rest area. Scott had noted on the drivers side rear tire that it looked like it was beginning to fail. We checked it out and it was well on its way…just like the other side. Hmm, what to do. We had 60 miles until Coeur d’Alene Idaho so that is where we must make it to. With some prayers before takeoff we were on our way. I guess one thing we have going for us is that it is a dual wheel so if it blows out we will still have one good tire to stabilize us.

God brought us to Coeur d’Alene with no problems, thank you Lord for your protection! We ended up at a Les Schwab and what was supposed to take an hour took two. Well, it was better than being stranded on the side of the freeway waiting on AAA to tow us to town.

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Another tire shop, thankful to be here!

 

We walked to Jimmy Johns and had a sub while we waited. With the RV all fixed up and ready to go we were on the road to our final destination.

Silverwood is a really great family theme park. They have an RV park right next to the parking area so it’s an easy walk into the park. This is a big deal when you have no car that you are towing and a dog. We were able to get all set and plugged in, dog walked and we are off to ride the rides. They have a water park side and a ride side (similar with Enchanted Village and Wild Waves if you have ever been there) we got a really late start (3pm) so we hit the rides first. The skies had cleared and we were enjoyed a comfortable 74 degrees. Perfect! The biggest ride in the park, The Aftershock, is where we were headed . The kids had done their research and they wanted to ride this 65 mph ride. It goes straight up then you drop going forwards and backwards, there are upside down parts and loops. Not my idea of fun!!! Ben , Katherine and Scott got into line.   Ellie wasn’t tall enough but I don’t think even if she was she would have gone 🙂 Ellie and I watched and waited to see them take on this crazy ride. We spotted them and watched as they went straight up backwards and then came zooming down towards the ground. Yikes!!! When they got off they were all fairly jazzed about the ride. Scott did have some reservations but overall it was good 🙂

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This is the scary ride…the Aftershock

 

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Whew!  They made it!

 

Next stop was the Timber Terrors. This was a long wooden roller coaster with lots of hills. I have become a super roller coaster wimp. Seriously. I don’t know why but I can no longer handle the feeling of dropping and losing my stomach. I guess its just because I’m older or I don’t have that sensation often, I don’t know but I sure am not a fan of it. Ellie and I were together in a seat. I was getting a bit nervous but really, this looked like a pretty tame coaster compared to what Scott just endured. We began to climb the hill. You know the drill, the clickity clack sound….the one they create to build the anxiety with each passing foot. Climbing higher and higher. Clickity clack, clickity clack, you may have a heart attack, clickity clack, clickity clak, you’re too far in no turning back. The top is reached, we go around a little corner then we drop. Ohhhhhh my stomach. I couldn’t even scream because I don’t think I was breathing. In my mind I know I am not going to die but my mind is not working. I am going to die! We get to the bottom of that hill of terror, then up and down more and more. What crazy person came up with this. Ellie screams at me “I hate this!!!” I agree fully! The last hill came and went and we jerked to a halt. Thank you Lord for sparing my life. I am done…no more coasters for this girl!

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Why am I so wimpy I do not know. I am so thankful that Scott likes them and Katherine is catching up to Ben in her need for speed so Ellie and I can ride the kiddy rides 🙂

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We did the log ride as a family which was fun and the kids rode more fun, spinning machines, the bumper cars were a hit and the Round Up was Ellie’s favorite.

We went on the soaker ride where you get in a big round boat thing and go down a river.  There are people that stand and watch and can pay a quarter and cause a cannon of water to hit everyone in the boat.  A cannon of water!  We were DRENCHED by a 5 year old little boy who’s mother was telling him when to push the button.  What kind of kid are you raising lady?  So it was 15 seconds into the ride and we were so wet.  Big drops with waves of water flowing over, under and all around you. At the end of the ride we were so wet we decided to all go again.  The day had turned warm and nice but when you are completely wet head to toe you are cold.  We tried to dry off and then Scott took Ben and Katherine on more rides and Ellie and I went on a dry clothes run back to the RV.

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Never can get enough dogs for these two!

 

Once we were all dry we grabbed some dinner in the park (actually not terrible food or too expensive) we have 1 1/2 hours left so we hit the ground running.  More coasters and crazy machines that take you to the top of a peak and then drop you,  the RoundUp again and then ended our night with a little kids roller coaster that was way more my speed 😉

We all enjoyed our time at the park then headed to our RV and turned on the heat…first time we had to use that.  The time spent here was so fun and we are all tired and ready for bed.

We are off to Kettle Falls, Wa. to visit my Aunt and Uncle.  The kids can’t wait!  We always have so much fun!

July 4-5, 2016 Fireworks, nachos and Singing around the campfire

We are on our way to Polson, Montana which is at the southern end of Flathead Lake. The 375 mile drive was lovely. I have always liked Montana. The hills and trees and the green landscape are so beautiful. The drive seemed to last forever but there are just days like that. We arrived early in hopes to see the parade that goes down Main Street for the 4th of July. Unfortunately we were a bit too late and just found a lot of full streets of cars and no where to park 🙂 We opted to stop at the grocery store and get a few things and pick up some fried chicken from the deli. Doesn’t get much better than that..am I right? We did enjoy the simple lunch on the side of the road in our RV. We were able to check into our RV park early which was great. We hadn’t made any reservations for the 4th of July as of a few days ago. We were not sure where we may be on that date. Once we realized we would be in Polson I got on the phone to a few different parks. There was no availability at one and there was one spot left at the KOA. Of course it was the SUPER PREMIUM site….translation: WAAAAYYY too expensive but what are we to do? There is a lake view and a pool. We decided that we would take it. If we are going big at least we will be looking out at the lake 🙂

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Premium view…pretty great thing to wake up to!

 

We enjoyed some time at the pool and the sand volleyball court. The boys played a little basketball and Gizmo ran around and played in the dog park.

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Game on!

 

Katherine even whipped up some bbq nachos for us…they were delish!

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The area is very nice and our spot is super premium for sure. We had a nice dinner on the concrete patio looking out at the lake.

The rodeo grounds were really close and they put on a great fireworks show at 10:30pm. Ben was moaning and groaning all afternoon about not being able to shot off fireworks 🙂 We have only missed a couple of 4th of Julys at our beach house. We definitely will not miss it next year. Our little pyrotechnic won’t let us.

I was toast by the time the evening was done (all that know me know that my brain shuts off at 8pm) we all climbed into bed and called it a night. We will be here one more night so we plan on enjoying a lazy morning with a real breakfast.

So thankful for this time and for this country where we live.

The next morning was nice and slow on the go. Scott made a great breakfast complete with sausage, bacon, eggs and toast. After our fill of home cooked food we all just hung out. The kids played some more volleyball (their rendition of it) and walked Gizmo around. The girls met a sweet little girl from Texas that they played a game of clue with.

We all walked into town and then ended up eating on the deck of al local grill. The view was great and we were the only ones on the deck for the majority of our time. We ate a pizza that was really good and enjoyed looking out over the lake.

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Bananagrams and SkipBo are our family favorites this time.

 

Flathead lake is a beautiful color of blue. We never got to swim in it but my guess is that it is really cold! The lake is 25 miles long and 15 miles wide with a depth up to 300 feet.

Back at the RV park we let the kids swim with their new found friends (love how kids make friends so easily!) and then had them playing SkipBo at our patio table. Once they had to go we all decided to catch the singing group that was going to be around the firepit. They are called The Singing Sons of Beaches…hmmm, creative name 🙂 Not sure what to expect but hey, its something to do.

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The singing around the fire…the tiki cup is not ours.  They were a funny bunch of guys!

 

It was really fun actually! They were hilarious! A comedy act that sang songs that they have made up from popular tunes. I think our favorite was My Colorectal Surgeon. Creative lyrics that kept us all laughing!

The “entertainment” lasted until 10pm and then we headed to bed. Tomorrow we are leaving by 7am to head to Athol, Idaho and visit Silverwood Theme Park. The kids are soooo excited!

July 3, 2016 Driving, soccer and SkipBo

On our way to Butte Montana for the night. We got on the road before 9am and had a very uneventful drive. The weather was sunny and warm. A few stops along the way including a gas fill up and lunch at Costco. By the time we were about 20 miles outside of Butte the black clouds had moved in and the rain and wind had started up. We pulled off at one point to see if we could wait out the major downpour.

We checked into our KOA in Butte about 4pm. The skies had cleared and the sun was warming us up again. A trip to the pool, which was amazingly not crowded, and some time playing Soccer before dinner. Scott and the kids played more soccer then we all enjoyed a walk. There is this huge statue up on one of the hills in Butte. If you have ever been through here you may have noticed it. It is a GIANT statue of Mary. It took almost 6 six years for the organizers to raise the funds and build the statue. They air lifted it in sections and now she stands watch over the city with a light on her through the night. She weights over 50 tons. Pretty sight to see at night all lit up and seemingly glowing on the top of the hill.

We played a couple games of SkipBo and Bananagrams and watched fireworks all around shooting up into the sky. It was a fun evening. They had a city firework show that went on for a long time over the other hill top that had a huge lit up M on it. Unfortunately there were trees in our way so we would have had to go outside to catch it and the mosquitoes were so bad we opted out. Tomorrow night we will be in Polson, Montana at the southern end of Flathead Lake so we are hoping to see their show a little better.

We finally got into be around 11pm. Not too eventful of a day but a good one all the same 🙂

July 2, 2016 Straight roads, North Dakota and an Oil Change

The RV was over 4,000 miles since the last oil change so we left early hoping to get into the Ford dealer for an quick in and out in Rapid City that is about an hour away.  On the road by 7:15am.  The Ford dealer said no go so we stopped at Camping World (right near Bellingham Dr. 🙂 ) and that was also a no go.  We then stopped at Napa and Scott got the oil and filter and decided he would do it himself at our next stop…Miles City, Montana.

We wanted to go straight north so that we could go into NOrth Dakota .  We have now covered much of the US in our RV.  Our little sticker map is getting filled up.

The drive north was long…once again.  Probably the straightest roads we have seen yet.  Scott didn’t have to turn for miles and miles!

We made a stop in one little town that was all of a block long.  They had a little road side park that we pulled off to.  A little roadside calisthenics and then a family game of tag and we were good to get going again.

The sunshine was out today and the temperature was definitely rising.  Continuing down the road we did end up crossing into North Dakota.  Yay!

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We are done with the western half of the USA!

We stopped in Bowman, North Dakota for a shake at a local old greasy spoon and had lunch in the RV.  Only a couple of hours left and we will be staying in Miles City, Montana.

The RV park is very well kept and clean.  Great deal at $27/night. Nice cool pool for a swim.  The kids were so funny in the pool. Ben was telling the girls how to swim across the pool.  It was very entertaining!  Meanwhile Scott changed the oil on the RV and then we had a simple dinner and some TV and off to bed.  Tomorrow we are headed to Butte, Montana.

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So lovely despite the straight roads for miles at a time

 

This has been such a great trip and we have enjoyed all that we have seen and done.  Looking forward to being home and seeing friends and family but we are not rushing it.  These kids are growing too quickly and it makes my heart burst to hear laughter and silliness!

Looking forward to the next week and getting to visit my aunt and uncle to finish off our travels.

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We had some crazy thunder and lightning storms in the evening