Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Huckleberry Season

It is Huckleberry Season in Govy. The kids have been picking the berries almost since we've arrived but it seems like in the last week the bushes have really peaked and there are ripe Huckleberries everywhere you go. Berry picking has become one of our main activities.  And we've been baking with them. I made a blueberry/huckleberry pie, a huckleberry pie, banana huckleberry muffins, and yesterday plain huckleberry muffins.

Funny, the dogs like huckleberries. One of the kids put their little plastic container of berries down while picking and Thalia stuck her nose in and took a mouthful. Kahn Sol literally begs the entire time we are picking until he gets fed up with begging and tried to pull them off the bush himself. This is a lot of work for him, working only with his mouth, and is amusing to watch. I have discouraged the kids from giving the dogs too many berries, I am not up for any misadventures with canine digestion, but the berries they've had don't seem to bother the dogs one bit.

KahnSol picking berries 

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Painting, with kids & dogs

I finally went out and bought some acrylic paint, some brushes and some paper.
I don't love acrylics, but they are the "fastest" and that makes them easiest to work with right now.
And so I've painted three different pieces, keeping the focus just on 'doing' it - and trying not to expect too much or to be too critical.
And it has been nice to paint again.
The other day I took the two littles and the dogs and we found a spot along the "crosstown trail" I think it is called. Just a mostly flat trail from one side of Govy to the other.
There was a pretty waterfall and I wanted to paint there. As it is close to town and easy there is a moderate amount of traffic.

I parked myself on the little bridge in front of this little bit of water, the kids were told to play where they could see me and the dogs milled about. That worked for a while, but there is traffic. With my focus on painting and the noise from the water I didn't hear approaching people or dogs in time and Thalia would bark and run with Khan Sol right in there with her.

So I pulled out leashes and had tied them up next to me and told them to down.

Thalia, my German Shepherd, played the role of the troll  from "The Billy Goats Gruff." And while it is a wide enough bridge she barked every time any one came near. Twice she sat on my painting. In the fuss I lost a paint brush (I just bought them!) over the bridge and down the little stream.  The bridges are build so that the middle part is solid and the sides are slated. We were on the slats. Kahn Sol would stand up to bark and his feet would slip through slats and he'd get all excited. I was sure I'd loose paint tube through a slat but didn't. Once Kahn Sol  got so wound up about these bridge intruders he fell off the bridge (on leash) and I had to haul him back up by his collar.  t feel clips of this expedition should have been on video.

started sketching in bits and pieces and the dog sat on it!

We will seek less populated spots for further paintings.

it is a lovely little spot

there it is:
with a story behind it!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Hidden Lake

We have taken a few hikes in between ski camps.

I saw the trail head for "hidden lake" one day when we were headed to Little Zig Zag falls (not really a hike, a lovely little walk along a beautiful bit of small falls.) and so one day we headed over to try the hidden lake trail. You take 26, to the Kiwanis Camp turn off (road 39) and you'll see it on the right.

I don't know why I love these signs.
Mt. Hood Wilderness, Mt. Hood National Forest
I think this trail is rated as moderately strenuous. The beginning is not bad, zig zags up but shaded and pleasant. We crossed the water, found the hidden lake, and kept going. Then it got a bit steep.


It is an interesting trail because the vegetation changes so much. And because you really are quite high. Near the lake we are pretty sure we saw a bear track in the mud, which was a first for us!

found the lake!
the mossy ground in the area around the lake was spongy, like one of those special floors for gymnasts. I was a little worried about what was underneath it as it gave to the weight of ones footsteps.

the water crossing areas were a bit tough on the younger ones. Their legs aren't long enough to reach from one "safe" spot to the next. We got them across okay, but coming back I had picked up Little Hawk to pass him to my oldest on the other bank and I misstepped. I fell into the stream and so did he. He was surprised and shaken up a bit, the water is very cold, but he was alright. I split my shin which wasn't very comfortable but it was a minor thing. Something to think about if one is out on their own with smaller sized people.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Pfriem Family Brewers, Hood River

For reasons I don't understand the MacBook Air and the Collins Lake WiFi aren't speaking to each other. My last few posts were managed via the husband's computer. Alas this morning I dropped him off at the Portland Airport to head back East- to work and to family obligations there. I miss him already and I miss access to his computer!
So- I'm trying to do this from my phone!

Last night we drove to Hood River. This confuses me because when we got there Tim said the river separating Oregon and Washington wasn't the Hood River it was the Columbia River. Ummm, so why is the town called Hood River? Don't know.

We tried to find a place called Turtle Island, said to have good vegan/vegetarian food. Wasn't where four square said it was. So we looked at some other places and decide to try Pfriem Family Brewers.
And now we are big fans:

We had the Moroccan Stew and the Veggie Burger. Both were awesome. The veggie burger tastes house made and is hands down the best I've ever had. The Morrocan Stew came in a ceramic dish, piping hot, with a very interesting taste and texture. Also very good. Prior to dinner we tried their pickle plate: pickled beans, maybe pickled fennel? and pickles. Thumbs up. We also had an order of olives, very nice! and house made french fries.

The vibe is casual, people come in off the river to eat, and family friendly, there is even a kids play corner for wiggle preschoolers.
And of course beer.

Tim and the girls

me and the boys

Tim has a friend who wants to open a brew pub in Williamsburg. So I took some extra shots of the inside of Pfriem Family Brewers because it does look and feel like a great pub.

they are just phone snap shots, nothing fancy, but you get the feeling. An interesting mix of industrial, with the pipes showing, the vats for the beer, but all the "reclaimed" looking wood keeps it feeling warm. Very well done interior.

so the bin needs to emptied, but that has to be the cutest little baby station I've ever seen

so family friendly!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The kids' thoughts on Volkl Slalom Demos

Yesterday I took the racers up to the glacier with Volkl Slalom Skis.

Their comments:
I asked 4 questions:
"rate how they turn"
"rate how you feel about the weight of the ski"
"do they feel fast"
"are they easy to control"
they could either answer or give me a number, 0= burn them; 10=I never want to try another ski

K is a U18 female about 5'5 maybe 100lbs, I am not sure on the weight.

regarding how they turn: K gave them a 7-8
weight "yeah, they are nice and light, 7-8"
feel fast? "well I was on slush today but I think they feel fast. I didn't feel pulled down the hill by them, they are light."
easy to control? Um, yeah.

K isn't into having me ask her for her comments and she isn't into demoing SL skis right now. She likes the ones she has, and she is focused on finding GS skis.

Tiger is a U14 male, like K he is a light weight. I think he tips the scale around 85 lbs.
He skied 145 Volkl Slalom skis
"rate how they turn" 9
"rate the weight" 10
"feel fast?" 10
"easy to control?" 10
me: Wow! You really like Volkl!
Tiger: I like THOSE skis. Last year I demoed SL skis and they didn't feel any different than what I already had. After trying these skis I never want to go back to my old skis. I really like these skis.

Dragon is a U14 male. Unlike his siblings he is a giant. He is about 5'7" and around 115lbs. The Volkl guys didn't have Jr skis in his size so he was on adult skis, he skied on 157s.
"rate how they turn" 8
"like the weight" ummm a 7
"feel fast" 7
"easy to control" 9
comments: overall I like these skis. I really like Volkl in general.

MLyons is a U10 female. I've no idea how big or small she is! She skied on 131s.
before I could ask she said "10!"
me: You love 'em?
Mlyons: Yup! Just like my Bombers (GS) these are perfect for my size, perfect for my weight, perfect for my speed, They go really fast if they are on good snow.

We ski in SARA, not as competitive a region as some of the other regions, the kids find the podium  regularly in our region.

P.S. Tiger got his Volkl skis.
Happy Kid, New Skis

Our Intro to Bomber Skis

Ever heard of Bomber ? Until recently I hadn't.

One of the things that happens up at Mount Hood in the summer is the opportunity to demo a variety of skis. (I am assuming snow boards are well represented as well.) Head is here, Volkl is here, Fischer, Atomic... to name a few. And Marker too.

Anyway, M has been gunning to demo Head skis. 4th of July got in the way, the Head reps closed up shop for the 4th and stayed closed over the weekend. Good for them. But not so good for M, so she tried Bomber's GS skis. Oh wow. HEAVY! M doesn't have GS skis. Until now she's only skied on Slalom Skis (which in our case are Volkls). When her dad took her up to run GS on July 4th and he didn't think she'd be able to turn the Bombers so her brought her SL skis up too. Just in case. Maybe it was her dad's lack of faith, but M absolutely loved the Bombers. At the end of the day she stuck a Bomber sticker on the back of our van. The next day I returned the demo skis while the gang were out river rafting. I spoke to the rep a little bit and mentioned that, M slapping the sticker onto the van. He asked what we were driving and I told him "a ridiculous big white sprinter." He asked if it had Romney/Ryan stickers on it. It does. He told me he saw it and had tried to get a photo for his boss. I told him I'd text him one. I sent him this one:

Bomber sticker on the van
A little bit about Bomber Skis from their web site:

All BOMBER skis are handcrafted in a small race lab in Italy. The skis are built by a master craftsman. He has over 32 years of ski building experience. BOMBER has created a skiing sensation unmatched in the industry.

BOMBER B-1 is a complete line of world cup quality race skis which include SL, GS, Super-G and DH designs. The B-1 race skis are best described as "the real deal." The B-1 provides super power, speed, responsiveness, and stability.

These are like 'couture' I mean, they are made by a master craftsman? How many things do you own made by a master craftsman? The sales rep says the guy, the one master craftsman creating these skis, makes 15 a day. I can't imagine. I want to go visit the workshop!

And get this:

so if you are in the Mount Hood vicinity and you've never tried Bomber; you might need to check them out. Want to know more? Hit up their FB page:

I've had 3 kids try them. M, the 9 year old above who very definitely loves them and very definitely wants a pair of Bomber GS skis. And K and Tiger. I'll be looking for them to give me their feedback as well. K and Tiger traditionally ski Volkl skis for Slalom & GS although I think right now K is on Head skis. K is a Head fan (there is a previous post of her with her Head boots not very excited about her dad's suggestion that she use her brother's boots. "these (Head boots) only pinch a little dad, it is a competition fit. They are fine."So I am interested to get an opinion from her about the Bombers.

and, our friend PurpleSage at SmugMug got some shots of K running GS on the Bombers:

@Purplesage Photography, used with permission
@Purplesage Photography, used with permission

In the meantime, here is M, in her own words pitching for Bomber. She really wants those skis.

Post by Cailin Yates.

last time I posted an embedded video from FB I couldn't tell in edit mode if it worked, and it did, so I'm going on faith that this shows up. If not, maybe you can follow the link: M loves Bomber Skis

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

River Rafting in Maupin Oregon

The ski team takes one day off from snow in the middle of the trip. It is a chance to do something else, but more importantly give the kids a break. Ski Racing is actually pretty hard on their legs and injuries tend to occur when they get too tired. Also, in Virginia we usually only get to ski on the weekends (unlike some of the larger teams where everybody lives close to the slopes and they have practice 4 to 6 times a week.) So after 3 or 4 days our kids are tired. Generally on the day off the team arranges for a river rafting trip. This year it was with Imperial Rafting Co. in Maupin, Oregon.

I am once again sharing photos from the Smug Mug album by Purple Sage.
I am sharing these with permission of the photographer. Please do not use these photos without his permission. Thank you.

possibly the best sequence of photos... ever! Imperial rafting not only had the rafting, which was obviously a blast, but they had a pretty picnic area and they put out some tables and provided a bbq dinner with salad and even veggie burgers for the veggie crowd. I stayed back with the littles, and we borrowed a car from one of the other families and joined everybody for dinner. Bitsy was complaining that it was hot (it was. like 100 degrees hot.) and one of the other dads asked if we'd brought her bathing suit. We hadn't but she was wearing athletic shorts under her dress and so I gave her permission to get into the water in her shorts. (this embarrassed Dragon and unfortunately he loudly made a big deal of it. She's 7. There isn't anything on her upper body that looks any different from a 7 year old boy. I wish her brother didn't need to act like that.) But once I sent Dragon up the bank, Bitsy relaxed and had fun in the water.

More Pictures; Mirror Lake, Oregon

So Ski Dad "Purple Sage" (also the dad who likes fishing) has some great shots of the kids at Mirror Lake that I wanted to share:

Wintergreen Winter Teams swimming across Mirror Lake 

landed one!

These Photos are used with permission. Please do not use these photos without permission from the photographer. For more photos by Purple Sage or from this trip please use this link:

Monday, July 7, 2014

Mirror Lake Hike

This is one of my favorite hikes out here. I laugh at myself for saying that, there are so many hikes in this area that I haven't tried yet! But I really do enjoy this hike.
We went on Sunday after the kids skied in the morning (M tried GS skis by Bomber and loved them! I'm hoping to get her to give me a guest post about them tonight.)
The hike is on what I consider to be a moderate trail. It is about a mile and a half to the lake, up. The trail is easy to follow, no climbing, but there are roots and rocks. My 4 year old and my 7 year old both walked all the way up, and all the way back down. But whenever anybody got excited and ran, they almost always tripped over something. I think if your kids are hikers this is not a hard trail, if your kids are not used to hiking it might take a while. Remember you are at altitude, bring water & sunscreen! Oh, and you can buy a $5 day or $30 annual recreation pass so you can park at the trail heads. The General Store in Govy Camp sells them but I'm sure they are available all over the place.
There are fish and crawfish and I don't know what else in the lake, and there are campsites in the area too.

little guy & daddy

Bitsy has gotten good at getting the older girls to let her hang out!

Traditionally the kids on the ski team swim across the lake. We got there a little late this time and missed it. I think K swam across, I don't know if Dragon or M did. Dragon brought his fishing pole and took off to a less populated area to practice fly fishing. He caught a trout and something he dubbed "some kind of native fish."

All part of Summer Ski Camp with the Wintergreen Winter Sports Team.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Lake Pictures

The team spends their mornings training in the gates on the snow, that is the whole point of the trip, but in the afternoons there are a variety of activities. On Thursday we loaded everybody up in the vans and went out on the lake for a picnic. The team rented a canoe, some kayaks, some paddle boards, one dad brought out a net and some rackets and they set it all up and everybody hangs out for several hours. Dragon brought out his fishing pole just for this occasion. One of the dads is a fly fisherman and he and Dragon fished together a bit last year. This year that dad reminded Dragon how to cast and Dragon spent nearly the entire afternoon casting and teaching one of his buddies how to cast. The same dad loves to take pictures and shares them via SmugMug as Purple Sage.

He is very generous, they are available for purchase at print price, I have bought some in the past. The print quality is exceptional. He also allows us to share them, so here are a few:

battle on the water!

my fisherman!
all of the above photos are copyrighted by PurpleSage and shared with permission. Please do not use them without express permission from the photographer.

We are here with Wintergreen's Alpine Ski Team, the Freestyle Team is also here with Coach Danny. We've been involved with Wintergreen's team for 5 years now and we highly recommend the experience. We have a lot of fun and the kids learn a lot about skiing and ski racing.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Mt Hood, Week One

So, kinda crazy:
One of Dragon's many crosses to bear is eczema. While we were in Texas it really flared, raised, red, rashy, itchy... not good. So we bought some lotions and some creams and he tried to manage it and he took benadryl as well in case it was a reaction to something in the environment there. Interestingly it started to calm down almost as soon as we left Texas but he'd done some serious damage with the scratching. He's done this before. When we were traveling in Korea he touched everything, hand rails in the subway kind of everything, and then he would scratch at himself without washing. By the time we left Korea he had a nasty skin infection on his face. But I had some ointment left over from a previous incident when he had given himself Impetigo. And now he's done it again. But now he is 12 years old and I would like to see a little progress in the real of self control and self hygieneh. One, don't scratch but if you must scratch (I have my own skin battles, I do understand that sometimes you must scratch) scratch with clean hands! And for the love of God, be self aware, don't touch everything. So we have discovered the Urgent Care in Gresham and now Dragon is on Sulfur based drugs and bactroban. He is also not allowed in the pool (I wasn't letting him go anyway because I was pretty suspicious regarding the nature of his scratches based on our past experiences. Last time he had impetigo he managed to infect his sister, she'd just had her ears pierced and the impetigo jumped to her earring area. Not fun.)

We have friends who were here for ski camp "Ligety-Weibrecht Ski Camp"  and our kids met up with them at the Huckleberry (favorite spot here in Govy. I haven't had one but everyone raves over the milkshakes.) And then one afternoon the campers were headed off to play soccer and they got permission to invite my kids to go along. So... my boys were on the pitch playing soccer with Andrew Weibrecht (he took silver in the downhill at Sochi.) Kinda cool.

The kids and Tim have bumped into Megan McJames, she's a two time Olympian and I've written about her before. We are hoping to have her over for dinner before she leaves the mountain next week. I am guessing she's off to start her own summer training. Last summer I think she was in New Zealand. 

Reliable Racing has POC Helmets (Tim call's them the skull crusher. I don't know the official style name.) for a ridiculously low price. So we are excited to be picking up some helmets. K's helmet has gotten too small, her favorite bubble gum pink helmet. But Reliable Racing had a white one and an orange one. She came home with the white one, it seemed to me that she was resigned to white, and I said something about a ping-pong head and she turned around and walked back to the store to exchange it for an orange one. I am sorry to have made her exchange it, I wasn't trying to tease. It seems that she was more bummed not to be able to pick up another pink one. But the ones in stock are about $180 and Tim paid over $300 for that pink one. So if you are in the market for POC Helmets, and you are close to Mt Hood, we suggest you check out Reliable Racing's instore stock. Excellent pricing.

The old lab got into the trash the other day and is now having digestive issues. I'm trying to decide if it will right itself or if he needs medical attention. And the GSD went for a run with K and Tiger about two miles up a mountain, and then played soccer in the street for an hour and now she's limping. I am hoping she's just stiff and didn't give herself any thing more serious. She seems to be favoring her foot, I can't see anything on the paw.

My husband has been working late and getting up early and fighting hard to get everything lined up so he can be on the hill skiing for camp. Wintergreen's camp started Thursday, July 2nd this year. Wednesday everybody from our team arrived, there was a team meeting and then I'm assuming he went and hung out with the coaches and other dads (few moms show up on this trip.) And he didn't make it home till midnight. Must've had a good time!

And to Mt Hood

and so after a full day touring through California from the car, we made a last minute hotel reservation for an overnight at the Fairbridge Inn in Roseburg, I wouldn't recommend it, and pressed on in the morning. As we couldn't check into our condo until 4 we stopped for groceries and went up to the Lodge to purchase our passes. I am not sure if the whole area is called Timberline or if Timberline refers specifically to the lodge. At some point in my life I'd like to stay at that lodge, it is beautiful.

one of the tricky things about the Sprinter is that if we leave the dogs in it while it is off, say to grab lunch or something, the alarm detects their movement and the car alarm goes off. So even though we are in the mountains and it is cool, there is no leaving the dogs in the car. This worked out well, I am not one for leaving dogs in cars anyway, and Tim is a little more relaxed, but since the car didn't allow it, well it wasn't an issue. Here Thalia is practicing a long down at the entrance of Costco. Carts, kids, and people going in all directions and she has to stay in down. As her ears suggest, this is stressful. But I am sitting right there with her and she needs to learn to down in public, regardless of other activity.

almost there!
feelin' like you are on top of the world!

they are happy to be out of the car. I am happy they could come on this long trip

Avenue of the Giants and other roads in California

"The Bus" ready to drive along the Avenue of Giants
checking out redwoods!
family selfie "in a redwood tree"
such big trees!

kept driving along the coast, out of redwoods fora glimpse of the Pacific Ocean

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

From the Hoover dam to Bakersfield to San Francisco

We drove over the Hoover Dam as I mentioned before, and then west across desert to Bakersfield California. In Bakersfield we met my husband who was on site for a client in California. The next day, Thursday in case it matters, we headed over to the Kern County Sheriff Department. I had contacted a member of their air support, I believe his job there is as a paramedic. In addition to their duties chasing bad guys, rescuing hikers, a victims of motor accidents, and whatever else they do, the air support unit has taken on the duty of keeping watch over my dad's crash site. My husband and I visited the site in  2006. After my father's crash (it was fatal) some people and I don't actually know who, piled up some rocks and created a a little monument with a flag pole. In 2006, Tim and I brought out a new flag, the flags don't last long out in the wind. These guys (the air support unit at the Kern County Sheriff's office) took on the job of replacing the flag since my visit, and for several years we didn't know about it. Then this March a detective from the Sheriff's dept. went along with them for a ride to the site. He took a video of the guys changing out the flag and at some point looked up my dad and that led him to me. He found me on FB to let me know what they were doing.
It means a great deal to myself and the rest of the family to know that dad is being remembered and looked after in this way. tried to embed the video, don't know if it worked. video here

And so because of Josh, I was put in touch with a man named Brad Allen who is a paramedic on the Air Support Team. And so when I mapped out this trip across the country I contacted him to see if I could stop in and say "hello" in person. He was very gracious about it and when we got there we met quite a few people in the Sheriff's department, all of them were very gracious. Then Brad answered some questions for  the kids about what Air Support does, and they got to check out the Helicopters. It was a great visit.

checking out the Huey

I think this is everybody's first time getting inside a Helicopter

Thalia was not okay with the idea that her kids were up in a Helicopter, so she jumped in there to keep an eye on them. Brad wasn't the least bit phased, apparently when they work with the SWAT teams sometimes dogs are involved. 

It was a really neat experience and I am grateful that they let us stop by. I kept it pretty light, my kids have all grown up hearing lots of stories about my dad but their reality is that he's dead. He has always been dead as far as they are concerned. Brad and the others followed that lead and kept it light as well, but they all seemed to understand that it really does mean a great deal that they remember my father in this way. The anniversary of Dad's crash is July 11th. The team will try to get out there close to that date and raise a new flag. When they do, they offered to send me the one that they take down. Very thoughtful.

From Kern County we drove to San Fransisco, we have friends there. Kevin and Nancy had kids at the same preschool as our kids, we only have one pair that over lapped, K & Joe were in class together. They too have quite a few kids, and Kevin is also a bit of computer nerd. We all drove up to Maine together one summer when we had only 3 kids (?) and they had 4. And then we all went to South Carolina for a week a different summer when they had 5 and we had 5. And some years ago they moved to California and we haven't seen them in several years... So we called and crashed their house for dinner. Nancy was working so we missed seeing her, but Tim, and Kevin and I talked and drank close to 3 bottles of really nice red wine and caught up on all kinds of things. The kids all acted like it had only been yesterday since they'd seen each other and disappeared. For hours. I think we left close to midnight. Awesome visit.
From San Fransisco we headed north to see the redwoods...