Reality Check

There is nothing worse than coming home from a wonderful vacation just to have reality bitch slap you directly in the face. That’s exactly what happened to us this past week. I love writing about our adventures and fun family time but this isn’t one of those experiences haha this one is real life and it sure isn’t all roses.

Not only did I have the post holiday blues this week as we tried to get back to life after our trip, but Thursday marked the end of my glorious summer at home recovering from surgery so back to work I went. I was already broke and was barely able to buy groceries on my way home that day but payday was the next day so I wasn’t too worried, until payday hit and I got a horrible surprise. No paycheque. None. Turns out my employers, who had previously agreed to use my sick and vacation time to cover my time off, had only used my sick time so I was not paid for the last 3 weeks I was off. I was devastated. There I sat with kids to feed, bills to pay, back to school shopping to do, Briggs upcoming birthday to buy for and absolutely no money to do any of it. Oh and let me add, it was also my birthday, happy freaking birthday to me. I instantly felt horrible and guilty for taking a trip I had saved all year for. Brad did his best to reassure me that we would figure it out and that it wasn’t my fault and even staying home wouldn’t have changed this, but as we cancelled weekend plans that the kids were looking forward to, I felt like the worst parent on earth. IMG_3131All birthday cheer had left me and I had to force myself to be excited to blow out candles because I didn’t want the kids to feel worse. I was thankful we only had Dylan and Robyn for the next few days (Briggs and Reegan were in BC visiting their dads family) it meant less food to buy and easier activities to find to do on a budget. Brad tried to ease the stress by suggesting a walk around our towns nature trail. Sounded like a good way to take our minds off our troubles, little did we know it would add more trouble.

Dylan climbed up in a tree and was to afraid to get down on his own. After trying to coax him down for quite awhile, we were all frustrated with him. Brad started climbing trying to help him down and Robyn wasn’t far behind him trying to show Dylan if she could do it he should be able to as well. Suddenly I heard Brad yell out that something had stung him and immediately Robyn started screaming. I thought it was due to being afraid she was going to get stung too but as I got closer and Brad started yelling for help, I realized Robyn WAS getting stung! I grabbed her out of the tree and as I was hurrying away I was stung on the back and behind my ear. I carried Robyn back to the vehicle and she screamed the whole way. As I got her in the backseat I started counting her bite marks. She had them everywhere! We later found a grand total of 9! Dylan was still stuck in the tree so I drove down to the tree and he was able to jump down onto the roof of our Tahoe. Turns out Brad was also stung a few times but Dylan was not. Go figure. We got home and Robyn was still crying and in pain. She stripped her clothes off and I instantly noticed a rash and bumps all over her stomach. I knew it was an allergic reaction and we threw her in the vehicle and rushed to the ER in the next town 10 minutes away. By the time we got there the rash had spread all over her body. The nurses rushed her straight into a room and immediately gave her a shot of epinephrine and hooked her up to an IV.

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Turns out Robyn is deathly allergic to wasps and was in severe anaphylactic shock. We had no idea. The doctor told us we were lucky we got her there when we did, if we had waited any longer it probably would have been tragic. After she was in the clear, our friend Jessie came and picked me and Dylan up and Brad waited at the hospital until Robyn could be released. They came home at 3am.

We all slept in the next day thanks to our stressful and eventful night before and Robyn was excited to see her rash was gone so she invited our niece Ryan over to watch movies and Dylan went bridge jumping with our nephew Ace. About an hour later Robyn came in complaining of being itchy and we noticed the rash was starting again. I had Brad draw a circle around it and as it starting spreading past the pen marks we knew she needed to get back to the hospital. Away Brad and the 2 girls went. Good thing they went because Robyn was having another anaphylactic reaction and had to have more epinephrine and they gave her pills to prevent it from happening again. This time they only had to stay for about an hour and the rash went away pretty quickly. Robyn was feeling better so the kids planned sleepovers with their cousins but by later that evening I could tell Robyn was absolutely exhausted. She still went for her sleepover haha

Sunday we took the kids to the city to visit dad. Bad idea. They were so exhausted they were miserable, mostly Robyn. Everything was making her angry and Dylan was doing his best to push all her buttons, and mine. By the time we got home everyone was mad and needing to eat dinner and go to bed early. Especially because Dylan was going to work with Brad the next morning. About midnight Dylan came in to our room complaining of an upset stomach. For the next 2 hours while Brad slept peacefully, I dealt with a very sick little boy. I got texts, phone calls, and hollering for help from the other end of the house. He even sent Robyn in to get me and of course, all this activity kept her awake the whole time. Finally he actually started throwing up which caused his nose to bleed everywhere but I knew it would be some relief to his upset stomach. 3am we finally got to sleep.

Bright and early Monday, after 3 hours of sleep and still not feeling great, Dylan got up and went to work for the day! What a crazy kid haha He made it through the work day but as soon as he got home he fell asleep and we had a hard time waking him up for dinner.

We finally made it to bed Monday night at a decent hour and so SO thankful we had a relatively normal day. I woke up Tuesday morning happy to see the ridiculously stressful weekend over and determined to get through the week and figure out our finances. It’s times like this that I’m so happy I have the resilient, understanding children I do and such a wonderful and caring husband that has all the patience in the world. Like I said, life isn’t always roses but I know I can get through pretty much anything with my tribe. This weekend certainly proved that.

C

 

West Coast Bike Trip…..Final 3 Days

There is nothing I hate more than going home from vacation. It’s even worse on a bike when you have to take several days to get there and all you want to do is hop a plane and go straight home. Our last 3 days were nothing too exciting and the excitement of being on the road had totally worn off.

DAY 11: We left Elko tired, cranky and a little on each others nerves. Our destination was Rexburg Idaho about 5 hours away. None of us were happy about it and to make it even better, 6 minutes away from Jackpot Nevada, Brad and I ran out of gas! Uggghhh just what we needed. I guess it was a good thing we were so close to the city, Adam rode ahead to get us gas while Brad, Jess and I waited on the side of the road in the Nevada desert haha the mood lightened a little when Jess went to sit on the gravel beside me and ended up sitting on a cactus hahaha It didn’t take Adam long to come back and we were back on our way. Today was by far the worst day of the trip. We were so exhausted it made the drive almost painful. Our saving grace was the weather wasn’t as hot as the day before and we enjoyed the clouds. We were happy to stop at a roadside grill for some lunch and a break before finishing the last couple hours of our drive. We made it to Rexburg just before dark.

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Brad was excited to see this along the way

We checked into our hotel and then went to one of our favourite U.S. restaurants, Applebee’s. We ate ourselves sick and sat around visiting while the guys enjoyed a few beers. We were totally surprised when some people from our hometown walked into the restaurant and sat down beside us! It gave us all a good laugh before heading back to our hotel for some much needed sleep.

DAY 12: The day before must’ve really taken its toll on us because none of us woke up until 11:30am! We thought we had slept passed check out but luckily we had a half hour to get up and get out. We rushed to pack, hit Burger King for lunch, and started off for Great Falls Montana feeling pretty refreshed and way better than the previous day. Halfway through the drive we stopped in the cutest little old western town, I have no idea what it was called but it was adorable. We had some drinks at a little pub, sampled some whiskey at the distillery and wandered through some of the shops.

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After a gas up, we were back on the road. Jess was our navigator for the whole trip and we had decided to stay away from the interstate as much as possible, so she had been looking on google maps and mapping side roads along the way. On one of the side roads, we suddenly hit gravel. Nothing is worse on a motor bike than dusty gravel roads.

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At least the view was pretty haha

It took us about 30-45 minutes to get off the road and by this time we were COVERED in dust. It wasn’t ideal but it sure gave us something to laugh and tease Jess about for the rest of the drive. We got to Great Falls a couple hours later and went straight to the Golden Corral for dinner. We had been waiting all day for this cheap and delicious buffet. We had taken our helmets off awhile back and mine and Brads hair showed it!

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After dinner we went out on the town for a bit. We went to the sip and dip where we watched mermaids swim and drank fishbowls.

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Brad and Adam had to help me drink mine!

Next we went to a pub to play shuffleboard (the guys new obsession) and then back to the hotel for some sleep.

DAY 13: This day was all business. We were 3 hours from home and couldn’t wait to get there. It had gotten cold and I spent the ride with my hood on my head trying to keep warm. We stopped half way to put on warmer coats and then we beelined for the boarder. We made it home around 3 in the afternoon and man did it ever feel good!

Brad and I spent the rest of the day watching movies in bed, reminiscing about the last 2 weeks and fading in and out of sleep. Man, that was a trip I’ll never forget!

C

West Coast Bike Trip Day 9 & 10

This is where things started to get a little ridiculous, we did so much driving and we were so tired it was almost unbearable.

DAY 9: Our destination that night was Reno Nevada, completely on the other side of California, so we woke up with hangovers and a 7 hour ride ahead of us. None of us were happy about it. We headed out for breakfast on the pier hoping food would make us feel better, then we did a little souvenir shopping and took one last look at the sea lions in the day light.

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Some were putting on quite the show and I could have watched them all day.

Wishing we could’ve stayed longer, we hit the road for our dreaded day ride. Have you ever ridden 7 hours through the California desert? I don’t recommend it. Adam eventually got sick of it and bought an ice pack for his lap.

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Poked a few holes in the bag and it acts as a mister when the wind hits it.

We did end up going through a national park and over a pass that was pretty cold so it was kind of a nice break.

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Snow covered mountains in California. Who knew!

We made it to Jackson California when we decided to stop for a break and eat before we all died. My boots had been rubbing on my toe for days and band aids were no longer helping so I ended up shoving them in a saddle bag and wearing flip flops for the rest of the time haha.

Just over 7 hours later, right when we thought we couldn’t take it anymore, we hit Reno. I have never been so happy! Our resort was amazing! It looked like something in Vegas and the excitement gave us a bit of a second wind.

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Our room was massive!

We cleaned ourselves up and headed down to check out the casino and grab some food at one of the lobby restaurants.  We spent the night playing slot machines, exploring the resort and playing games in the arcade.

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DAY 10: We were so beat from the day before, we very grudgingly got out of bed, packed up our stuff and hit the hotel’s amazing buffett.

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Every one of us over ate which made the long drive ahead seem even more chore like. Before we left town, Adam wanted to find the Harley store so we got to see downtown Reno. It was very Vegas-like and made me wish we had seen it at night when all the lights were on.

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A stop at Harley and we were back on the road headed for Elko Nevada. It was another disgustingly hot drive and Brad and I jumped on the ice bag band wagon. Other than the wild horses we saw not too far out of Reno, driving through the desert has got to be one of the most boring things I’ve ever done and I was more than happy when we pulled into a roadside saloon for a drink.

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The midget wrestling sign cracked us up

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This was the most interesting scenery for 5 hours.

Eventually we made it to Elko. The boys spent the night at the black jack table drinking free beer and me and Jess’ evening of multiple trips to the laundry mat was about as exciting as the drive through the desert haha going home is always the worst.

Watch for the last few days posted soon!

C

West Coast Bike Trip Day 7 & 8….The California Coast!

We made it to California! I was so excited, I’ve never been to California before and I couldn’t wait to see what this part of the journey had in store for us.

DAY 7: About an hour after we hit the road, we crossed the state line and we were officially in Cali. I was kind of surprised at the instant difference in the change of scenery. The ocean very soon gave away to ginormous redwood trees. They were unbelievable.

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Pictures do them no justice, these things are massive!

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We stopped at the Trees of Mystery park (don’t ask me where because I can’t remember) and we took a couple hours to tour through the trees and ride the glass enclosed tram that takes you way up over the top of the trees.

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Jess and I had made friends with the cutest little 5 year old girl who was there with her dad and she happily followed us through the forest chatting our ears off the whole time. She was adorable and made us miss our own kids.

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Of course we had to get pictures on the huge statues at the park entrance. We look so small on his boot!

We took a small five minute detour after we left just to drive through one of the 3 drive through trees along the forest highway.

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With a stop in Eureka for lunch at Gallaghers Irish pub, we were back on the road to our destination of Ukiah.

We were pretty happy to make it there before dark and we set out to find a pub with a shuffle board. We walked for blocks in the California heat on the bum ridden streets, only to find a very sketchy bar that we walked into and immediately walked out of. We went a few more blocks down to another bar where we had one drink before we decided this was not a place for us and we decided on gas station treats and a night in our hotel room. Ukiah might be one of the scariest towns I’ve ever been in, I don’t know what we were thinking by walking haha

DAY 8: This was by far my favourite day. We got the heck out of that scary town and before long were back on the coast line enjoying the view. Our final stop that day was Santa Cruz! When we first started planning this trip I desperately wanted to go here and the Golden Gate Bridge but Brad told me it was too far and we wouldn’t have the time. Turns out we did!

The Golden Gate Bridge was soooo cool!! I loved driving over something so iconic. Unfortunately it was freezing and when we pulled over for pictures I had to put my hoodie on.

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A super dorky bridge selfie

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We got a little lost getting out of San Francisco but it made for some really cool sight seeing, the city is actually very pretty. The only thing that would have made it better would have been having time to find the Full House house. Maybe another time. Not far outside of the city we fell a little behind Adam and Jess and when we caught up to them, they were pulled over on the shoulder and Jess was pointing out to the ocean. It was whales!! At last!! They were too far away to get any good pictures or videos but we could see their blow holes and then their bodies pop up speratically. There was probably just under 10 and it was amazing! Me and Jess were sad to leave and we stayed until we couldn’t see blow spouts anymore. Our trip had been made and we rode the whale high all the way to Santa Cruz.

We arrived very hungry and too early to check into our hotel but they were kind enough to let us put our bags behind the desk while we went for lunch at a restaurant on the pier. I was in awe. This place was amazing and our hotel looked right over the board walk!

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The view from our hotel.

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Lunch on the boardwalk.

A few days prior we had been tossing around the idea of matching tattoos to commemorate our epic journey so after lunch we walked to a tattoo shop we had seen a block down. The guy in the shop drew up an idea, gave us a quote we thought was reasonable and the tattooing commenced. We couldn’t pass up tattoos on the Santa Cruz boardwalk.IMG_2921

By the time we had all finished, it was almost dark and we were eager to get to the carnival on the boardwalk. Jess and I both have birthdays this upcoming week so we decided this was where we would celebrate, and did we ever celebrate! We spent the night eating jumbo corn dogs, deep fried cheesecake, playing carnival games, souvenir shopping and laughing our butts off.IMG_2948

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We left at closing time and made our way down the beach to the pier so we could find the sea lions that we heard barking all night.

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The guys chased waves all the way down the beach.

It took awhile but we found the sea lions sleeping on a dock. There was tons of them but it was dark and little hard to see so we headed back to our hotel because we were beat and had a super long day ahead of us. Brad tucked himself in out on the deck to ward off any sickness due to his abundance of beer drinking, and the rest of us settled into the very comfortable beds.

I wish we could have stayed longer than one night but stay tuned to see how the next couple days went for us!

C

West Coast Bike Trip Day 5 & 6

Ahhh I’m so far behind on this! We’ve been so busy having a blast that I’ve had zero time to post. So, here’s a little catch up on day 5 & 6.

DAY 5: We made it to Newport Oregon just in time to catch a whale watching excursion. As we waited on the pier we saw a few sea lions swimming around in the bay, it gave me and Jess high hopes of seeing whales, the one thing we REALLY wanted to see on this trip.

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Can you see it’s head sticking out?

We excitedly boarded the boat and headed out to the open ocean. The water was way choppier than the captain had expected and the boat soon became a roller coaster. It sure made for an exciting ride! We weren’t out for long before the captain said it was too rough and we had to head back in. We were so disappointed. We didn’t see one whale, but it was gorgeous scenery.IMG_2673

Next we decided to go for lunch at a seafood restaurant we thought the boat staff had recommended across the street from the pier. I had promised myself I would try fresh seafood on this trip because I generally stay away from it. We ordered an appetizer of battered crab bites and deep fried crab and cream cheese. Holy was I ever surprised! They were delicious!

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We began to realize this restaurant was really just a few tables in a lady’s house entry way. Then Brad came back from the bathroom and told us the back of the house was disgusting! We were getting very nervous about this place. As the lady brought our food, we were ready to eat and get the heck out, except she forgot Brad’s food and he had to go into the kitchen area and remind her haha as soon as we were done eating we headed down the street and soon found out we were NOT at the restaurant the whaling company suggested! We all started hoping we didn’t end up with food poisoning.

Our next stop was the Ripley’s Believe it or Not Museum. It had all kinds of crazy facts and stories and interactive exhibits.

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Our tickets also included the wax museum and an underwater adventure Pass where we got to go in a building under sea level and watch a very informative scuba diver show and tell all the different sea life.

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After we had seen all the in town attractions, we decided to back track about 15 mins to a lighthouse we heard had lots of whale sightings and to the devils punch bowl. It had become incredibly windy and cold. To add to it, the tide was low so the devils punch bowl had no water in it and we also, once again, didn’t see any whales from the light house.

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This no whale thing was getting really frustrating. We headed back to town since we had decided to stay in New port for the night. We checked in to our motel and went to the local pub for drinks and shuffle board. Eventually we were all hungry and set out on foot to find food. We walked all over the town for what seemed like hours, only to find everything closed. We settled on ordering pizza to our hotel room and going to sleep, only after deciding that instead of going to Reno after the Redwoods, we would head through San Francisco and down to Santa Cruz.

DAY 6: We were up and ready to hit the aquarium before we left town. Me and Jess were stoked because when we googled it, there were pics of a whale. We saw seals and birds, sea creatures and really cool fish but google had lied to us, not one whale!

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Doesn’t this fish look like it’s smiling!?

After the aquarium, we hit aquarium village to look for souvenirs but didn’t find much so we figured we better get on the road because we had lots of driving to do.

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Just outside of Coos Bay we stopped to rent a side by side and ride the sand dunes. It was the one thing Adam really wanted to do. Adam and Jess had a blast, Brad and I spent most of the time sitting in the shade trying not to puke all over the sand. IMG_2773I don’t know what I was thinking, obviously the ups and downs of the dunes would be like a roller coaster and those always make me sick. Our hour was up and we headed into the city of Coos Bay so Adam could stop at the Harley store and so we could eat. I had had the worst craving for spaghetti for about 3 days so we drove until we found an Italian restaurant called Little Italy. It was exactly what I wanted but the portions were outrageous!

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I had to pack up most of it and eat it for breakfast the next day haha

We were running behind to get to our next stop of Brookings where we were staying for the night. We drove as fast as we could but it still got dark on us and we just about froze to death. Once we arrived we all had hot showers and dove into bed super excited to be heading to California the next day.

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The dark was crappy but the sunset was beautiful!

Stay tuned for a catch up of the next few days of our trip!

C