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No Brakes On The Way Down!

We have been enjoying the magnificence of having a house with wheels on it! Oregon has been our backyard and we have nearly seen every nook and cranny of this beautiful state!

At the moment I am here in Wilsonville, Oregon writing under the cool shade of a tree in the summer heat. Last I left off we were at Chinook Bend RV park roasting mushrooms over an open fire and enjoying it with the friendly staff! Well, we stayed two days at Chinook, walking around the watery fields filled with Lamas and Horses, enjoying the numerous parks surrounding the area and of course swinging to unimaginable heights on the tire swing! But after two days we wanted to start exploring more! Lalika and I were like kids in a candy shop, except Oregon being the Candy Shop! 😀 Our next stop was called McMinnville, Oregon and Lalika and I were super excited to go, mainly because we had done some research on the area of McMinnville and we had found out that it was home to the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum, as well as a Wings and Waves Waterpark: dedicated to all those metal birds in the sky!

We left Chinook early in the morning singing “On the road again”,  but as we were driving we soon came across something amazing! Sand Dunes as far as the eye could see and Pine forests! Together in the same place, right next to each other! Sand and Forests! Of course, we couldn’t resist going and seeing if it was actually real and not a mirage playing before our eyes! It was all Real and we spent a good hour running up and down the dunes and watching the dune buggies climb the huge hills in seconds while it took us 15 minutes! It was truly a beautiful experience and I will never forget the desert that met the shadiness and quietness of the pine forests! 

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We continued on our way and arrived at McMinnville early in the afternoon but decided that we were only going to go the next day the museum and water park, so we enjoyed the facilities of The RV Park we had pulled into, which included a pool, rec room and a walk through the golden wheat fields! We went for a little walk and ended up outside the Aviation and Space Museum where we marvelled at all the old aeroplanes that were parked on the lush green grass of Evergreen! 

When we returned, we met and became friends with an older couple from the lower parts of Oregon who owned the huge BUS RV next door to us. They gave us a tour of their home which was equipped with a dishwasher as well! After a little while, we had a home-cooked meal and went to sleep early, buzzing with excitement for the coming day! 

We had decided to do the two museums first before heading to the waterpark. We entered the aeroplane exhibitions first and saw every single one of the planes whether they were, fast or slow, big or small, sleek or fat, long or short. I think I may have gotten plane poisoning! But we did see some amazing planes including a Blackbird (the fastest plane in the world) which in one hour can transport you across the whole of the United States! We also saw the displays of the elegant aeronautic designs of two unknown bike mechanics: Orville and Wilbur Wright, as well as the “Spruce Goose” which is the centrepiece of the whole museum! Then after the Aeroplanes we entered the Space Museum, where Lalika and I rode on a replica of a Space Odyssey Mission ride and saw an Unmanned Space Craft destined for Mars! We didn’t spend as much time in the Space Museum as the plane one, mostly due to the fact that Lalika and I had a view of the Waterpark and that was all we could think about! 😀 

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We left very soon and after changing into swimsuits we crashed the party at The Wings and Waves! The four super fun slides actually come out of a real Bowing 747! 

If you don’t believe me check out http://evergreenmuseum.org/ to see the whole waterpark exhibit! But anyway, my favourite slide was the Green Tornado! You go through neon lights and a water fan before coming out into a tornado. Then you go backwards down the slide before coming down to the bottom!:D It’s Awesome! Lalika and I also surfed some waves in the twister and Wave pool! We had fries and pretzels for lunch which gave us more energy to play. A jump in the Vortex was on our list and it was so hard to get out because the current of the water was pushing and pulling you. We stayed until closing time and then returned to the RV park for one more night. 

Evergreen is a great place to learn and have fun and these are the ways Lalika and I learn as home-schoolers, In 3D! The next morning we left McMinnville for a dive into nature! We drove all day to get to Silverton RV Park and by the time we hooked up it was pitch black. That was ok, what concerned us was how to get enough hours of sleep for our hike the next morning! The Trail of The Ten Falls was the 15 kilometre (9.32057 Miles exactly) hike we did. It was quite an easy walk as there were no hills or mountains we had to climb, but only a flat dirt path that gave way to Ten Majestic Waterfalls every 30 minutes! I had a great time, taking photos and enjoying the surrounding nature of wildlife! 

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Hike of the 10 Waterfalls

Tree Face

Forest of Falls

Majestic Twin Tree

The hike took up all day and by the time we returned to Husky it was once again midnight dark! We had dinner and went to sleep to wake to the sound of chirping birds and the early morning summer sun. By the time we left Silverton the hot sun was high in the sky and as Lalika and I were playing cards in our booth back-seat. Then realization really set in… that we were actually traveling with no limitation and it was a very cool realization! 

We drove into Portland, Oregon at around 11:00am and immediately begun to sightsee. We went to a science centre called OMSI where we went to the IMAX and Planetarium where we watched a story on the stars’ constellations and a story about chimps and elephants. Then we explored all the exhibits and games that the science centre had to offer before we took a hair-raising lightning photo! We also went on a tour of a real diesel submarine and we were showed all the rooms and conducting room as well as the kitchen where I volunteered as the cook! 😀 

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That day was a great learning experience and as the day drew to a close we pulled into Pheasant Ridge RV Park which is about 40 kilometres (24.8548 Miles exactly) outside of Portland.  The next day was a working day for Mum and Dad, so Lalika and I took it upon ourselves to explore every inch of The RV Park. We found the Rec Room and settled down for a little while until a girl called Grace (10 years old) began to talk with us. Turns out, Grace and her family were staying here at Pheasant Ridge until their house was being built. Grace worked in the camping shop for pocket money and she showed us how to keep an accounting book! We became great friends with Grace and her sisters: Isabel and Rowan and had a blast with them exploring Big Foot’s cave and watching America’s Funniest Home Videos 😀 

Reka and Grace

Blueberry Picking

We ended up staying in Wilsonville for more than a week, making one more excursion back to Portland with another new friend of ours: Richard. We went to the biggest book store I have ever seen! It was huge. It’s called Powell’s Book Store and they have more books in one room then I have seen in my entire LIFETIME!! The books are sorted by room colours – each room colour has a different theme. Of course, I couldn’t resist running around getting over excited. In the end, we bought two of my favourite books.  😀 

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We also took a 7 kilometer walk (4.3496 Miles exactly) to Tualatin (the next town) in 40C/104F heat, uphill the whole way, passed sun-ripened blackberries which truly came as a wonderful refreshment, but were also rewarded when we arrived at a small mall, where we had toasted sandwiches in an air-conditioned bakery! Yippee!! 😀

But then we had to walk the 7km back 🙁 Oh, well. Anyway, after a week, it was time to leave and Lalika and I were really sad, but Dad said it was highly possible that we could come back after our next amazing destination: Mt Hood! The tallest mountain in all of Oregon! 

We spent two nights in the Mt Hood car-park. 

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Mount St Helen

The first night we just enjoyed the mountain from the bottom but the second day we climbed the gentle giant nearly to the top! We climbed to 2550m / 8366ft high, which was less than 1000m from its peak. We first planned on only climbing halfway, to a place called Silcox Hut, but once we got there we wanted to challenge ourselves a little more. Oh wait a minute, I forgot to tell you something. Here it is SUMMER!!!, and it was 26C / 79F at 800m down from the summit and guess what? SNOW EVERYWHERE – can you believe it? There were people skiing and snowboarding!!! Unbelievable! In the end, we climbed to the top of where the chairlift ends which was only 400 meters (1312.34 feet exactly) from the very top peak of Mt Hood!

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We were expecting  to take the chairlift down to the bottom, but the Operator said he could not let us down on it  because of liability/insurance issues and because there are no brakes on the way down! At first, we thought we were stuck! And at 2550m high, (8366.142 feet exactly) we had nowhere to go but DOWN! It had been very rocky coming up with no proper track, sometimes scrambling over Snow and Ice and we were not looking forward to coming down that way again. Then my Dad got an idea. “Lightbulb” 😀 “Why don’t we go down the Ski Run?” I was against the idea 100%, – I mean it’s a SKI RUN for Pete’s sake and it’s covered in Snow and Ice in the middle of Summer, not to mention the snowboarders and skiers!!!  I felt like the Universe had turned on its head and I was in an alternate reality! But Dad was determined! With the words “Just watch me” my Dad began simply running, without slipping, down the ice-cool Ski Run! And with that, with NO BRAKES ON THE WAY DOWN, we followed, shoe-skiing down the mountain. My heart leapt into my throat. What a feeling! The coldness of the Run was a polar contrast to the powerful heat of the sun, which burnt down on my back. My shoes started to fill with the wet icy snow and I felt like I was running in a slushy machine. My head was hot, my feet were cold, they just kept picking up speed with NO BRAKES ON down Mt Hood! What a way to go. My screaming changed to a heavy laughter as we all giggled our way down like a pack of silly schoolgirls. It took us 2 hours to climb up and less than 10 minutes to come down! Now I can say I shoe skied down snowy Mt Hood in the middle of summer! 😀  We were down in no time and after coming down the mountain we were all hot and thirsty so we cut up a Watermelon and ate the whole lot, right there and then!  What a good drink! We had an early night that night due to all the activity and fresh air, which I confess drained me a little.

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Oregon 's Mt Hood

The next day I called Grace in Wilsonville and told her we were coming back for another three whole days!! YAY! 😀 This is where I am right now sitting, under the shady oak tree recounting my story 😀

And so “That’s all Folks” for now…… But hold on…I got a little ahead of myself here, as I missed out an interesting adventure on the way to Mt. Hood, you might all be interested reading about. In fact, you might even call it a Rite of Passage for my brother and I. 

Stay Tuned for that  in the coming days  😀

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