My Travel Journey - Day 1 - Day 7

My Travel Journey Day 1 – Day 7

Reading Time: 8 minutes

It was a rainy Sunday afternoon and all I was thinking was “after church service, we’d be leaving on our first ever 1-week vacation since being self-employed”. Hubby and I could take a day or two here and there around a weekend to make it last longer, but not a whole week with no money worries. I can only thank God for that.

Our friends Deni and her hubby Rick had invited us to visit them awhile ago and we were finally getting to go see them!  

On our way to our lovely, temporary home for the week, my mind couldn’t help thinking of how much I needed a rest. The job has been stressful with so many events and details to prepare their website for. I worked my tail off the past two weeks to get ready for our vacation.

Now, here we are in the car heading away from the coast. And though we could only get away for one week, any time away from the hustle and bustle of deadlines, emails, website problems, events, and scheduling is welcomed.  

When we arrived, we were greeted to this beautiful home overlooking Mt. Hood (below), a beautiful, snow peaked mountain and this is the view we would have for ourselves everyday this week. We were kind of tired and wanted to go to our room to unpack and unwind a bit, but I couldn’t help noticing all the beautiful flowers surrounding the house, the view was just breathtaking. The house with its high ceilings and oversized windows just gives way to one of the most beautiful scenes these eyes of mine has ever feasted upon. I was in awe of what God has done for our newest, wonderful friends.

They opened their house and world to us for this week and although they would have to work each day, we know how hard they worked to plan out an itinerary for us so we could sightsee during the days.

We would be introduced to many of their friends later in the week. But, it was so cool to meet one of their good friends, “Rod” for dinner the first day we arrived. He was our guide and we spent a lot of time with him. Rod is a talented and gifted photographer and artist. His knowledge of the area led us to take shots of Mt. Hood and some of the falls.

He also has vast knowledge of digital photography and I was amazed at how generous he is in sharing what he has learned. Rod’s traveled all around the world and it’s not uncommon for him to take off to Alaska or some other place for three weeks at a time to create photographic art. We met his wife, Becky, a gifted painter and knitter too.

This post is dedicated to our friends and our way of saying “thank you” for opening up their house and life to us!

The Arrival: The Night Before
Dinner was amazing! Turkey, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, cranberry sauce, and green beans mixed with bacon. It was a Thanksgiving feast and we all grubbed down on that, my waist thanks you very much!

Day 1: The Awakening
I awoke to birds chirping outside our window and the cool breeze of night air. I slept well and for the first time in months, I didn’t have to plug my ears in order to avoid noise to go to sleep. Hubby planned to go out photo shooting with Rod. However, I did manage to take a walk and these bushes caught my eye. I love the color mixing and I couldn’t help running across the street to take a quick “snapshot”. We each did our own thang, unfortunately hubby ate at a restaurant and got very sick and had to cut his day short. 🙁

Day 2: Falling for The Falls
Hubby was still feeling squeamish so he decided to change our original plans and take a short visit to see some waterfalls along the gorge. It was good lighting although the sun wasn’t quite out. It was perfect for some flower photographing although I was too busy taking pics of hubby taking pics of the waterfalls! We visited about five of them, they’re all right together. So neat we both thought. We could drive down this cool access road and park at all of them.  I took this shot at Multnomah Falls.

We also visited Vista House, a place hubby really wanted to see in person.  I loved the view from up there. I took several pics before we left. We did good, hubby wasn’t feeling as weak like yesterday and we came home early enough for dinner. Our wonderful friends cooked dinner every night for us. We retired and as hubby slept, I started thinking about how to write this post. Sometimes, I write in my mind before I ever put the words down on the computer or a piece of paper.

Vista House is an observatory at Crown Point in Multnomah County, Oregon, that also serves as a memorial to Oregon pioneers and as a comfort station for travelers on the Historic Columbia River Highway. The site, on a rocky promontory, is 733 feet (223 m) above the Columbia River on the south side of the Columbia River Gorge.

Day 3: Dropping in on a New Friend, and A Return Trip
We visited Rod and Becky today at their beautiful home. Driving up, their house is off to itself and you’re welcomed to their outdoor water feature which I am jealous of cause I used to have one in Jacksonville. Their home is full of their art and photography and the ceilings are really high, I love high ceilings. I don’t even think they have an empty wall space! It really makes you feel like you’re in an art gallery. Everywhere you turn there is something creative. I kept thinking, if I lived there, I would never have another writer’s or artist’s cramp again! They took us on a tour around their home and Rod showed us his workshop downstairs. I know when we get a house we will have a workshop for hubby. We spent a few hours with them, it was a wonderful way to get the day started. 

In the evening, Deni took us back to the gorge where the falls are. The lighting there was good yesterday morning, but even better this evening. I started crocheting a baby blanket while waiting for them. I also made real progress on a loom knitted slouchy hat with my CinDwood loom that I’ve been itching to break in. It was pretty busy that evening, lots of visitors arrived. I imagine it is a very popular stop for tourists and travelers. Later, we had a scrumptious dinner: homemade turkey pot pies, not the kind you buy in the store, uh uh! We even had jasmine rice on the side.

My mind couldn’t help wondering what it would be like to live near a waterfall where I would hear the force of the waters every day and night. I would love it. I’m memorized by its power and beauty and I can’t help think of how God is the best artist ever.

Check out this post >>  Traveling West

Day 4: A Mountain, Lunch, and a Trail
Hubby and I drove to Timberline Lodge which overlooks Mt. Hood. I hadn’t seen snow in years, it was beautiful I have to admit and good the roads leading to the lodge were opened because just a day or so before that, they were closed due to the snow. We saw quite a number of skiers, but the mountain itself had our attention. We shot a bunch of pics leading up to the mountain and right in front of it.

Then it was off to Dairy Queen for lunch with Rod and then a short walk on Little ZigZag falls. It was a nice flat trail… perfect for me! I took some “in the field shots” of hubby and Rod and I call it “Two Masters at Work”. I also took a shot of the falls here which reminds me so much of Sweet Creek in Mapleton.

 Day 5: Rest and First Friday

Today was the day we stayed at the house being lazy. Well actually I did. Hubby had to take the truck in to have the front two tires replaced. A whopping $243, OUCH! But, we needed that done. We shared a pizza and watched some taped Art Wolfe episodes. I worked on this post slipping in and out sleepiness. The recliner I was engulfed in was so comfortable, it felt like I was sleeping on my soft teddy bear. We made plans later to meet Rod at the library for the First Friday event so an afternoon nap was in order!

First Friday takes place on the first Friday of every month from April – October (excluding July) from 5-8pm in Sandy, Oregon. The event provides a fun way for locals and visitors to shop, dine, and explore downtown. You can walk around to the businesses tasting free samples of pork sandwiches, cheeses, sweets, and more while enjoying art and music. Rod and his wife Becky have art pieces at the library so we met him there. We walked around the street with Rod introducing us to different artists, and I felt so special. We all share a sweet tooth so we made sure we tasted some chocolate as we walked around and looking at all the art. It reminded me a lot of the ArtWalk in Jacksonville which is the first Wednesday of every month.

I don’t remember where I was when I took this shot, but I love rocks. I love their textures and shape. I’m glad this one came out enough to share.

Day 6: A Hike, Birthday Party, and Wildflowers
Against my better judgment, I agreed to go on a small hike to a waterfall. Today would be a birthday party Deni planned for my hubby and one other lady whose birthday is close to hubby’s. I say “against my better judgment” because I know I’m no where near being in shape to hike. I’m just learning how to walk a trail! LOL! But, Deni stayed with me and we photographed wildflowers since we both love flowers and she was so kind to let me go at my own pace. I was nervous, but we stopped hundreds of times just photographing any wildflower we saw! It was so fun! She was carrying a book with the names of various wildflowers so we’d know what we were shooting. And, I made it up to the top and to the falls where hubby and the rest of our party were.

I actually think the walk down was more treacherous than up! You had to be careful as you’re walking on a lot of rocks, some of them sharp edged and there’s parts where you walk downhill and up. There also can be patches of mud so I was careful watching where I was stepping. But, I was proud of myself that I actually made it to the top. I know what I must do if I want to walk more trails.

The birthday party was cool, we had grilled brats, veggie and turkey dogs, lots of salads, veggie and fruit plates, cookies, and of course the birthday cake and ice cream! It was yummy! After the party, I was whooped! These old bones helped put the tables and chairs away and then fell across the bed! Yeah, fell! I don’t know how I managed to finish that baby blanket, but somehow I did.

We had to get up early the next morning to leave and we had decided to take the scenic route and come out onto Highway 101 near Cannon Beach and then just drive down the coast all the way home. We wanted to get an early start and we knew it would take longer to get home so we needed our beauty rest.

Day 7: The Return Home.
We’re up early, at the crack of dawn, I managed to get up at 5 AM and I wasn’t half comatose. We had our mapped out plan to get back to the coast so after a bittersweet goodbye to our wonderful friends, we headed out. It took us about two hours to get to Cannon Beach. It was a place on our radar to visit. Hubby said he got some awesome shots of it so can’t wait to see them after he finishes his color correcting.

As we were coming home, my mind began to wander. The whole time I was away, I really worked hard to clear my mind of everything. Now, I was returning. Would I find the noisy neighbors still downstairs? Will I ever have my peaceful apartment back? How many business emails do I have to deal with? Did I leave a bad impression when we left to come home?

I was thankful we made it home safely and after we brought all our stuff upstairs, we checked and there were no voice mail messages! YAY! It felt weird to come home, we were coming from a nice spacious home back to a tiny apartment. I prayed silently for God to help me silence these negative thoughts. I had had a wonderful vacation, I wanted to keep those memories nearby. I wanted to remember that God answers prayers and works the best for me (Romans 8:28).

Tonight, my iPad kindly reminded me that it was time for my daily Bible reading. I have a new app called “Bible Promises” and I love it. It takes a promise/verse from the Bible and displays a new one everyday. Today’s verse is James 1:19-20 about being slow to speak and slow to get angry. Perfect scripture for me. God blessed us to go on a vacation for a week with no worries about leaving our home, our property, and all the bills were more than covered. He did that so I could have a rest from reality and go out and play for awhile.

“Thank you to Deni, Rick, and Rod. Spending the week with you guys was a sweet side of paradise, a little bit of what I know Heaven will be like. Love you all!” Kim and Ken

Kim McDougal

Kim is the founder and creator of Growing Up in Grace. By day, she's the Director of Interactive Communications for the Hispanic chamber located in Jax, FL. Kim also owns "Kim's Studio Art" where she creates and sells Wall Art Printables and "Kim's Handcrafted Cards" on eBay where she creates and sells handmade greeting cards.