As so many others are feeling during the pandemic, we were needing some outdoor time to uplift our spirits. Before the stay at home order was in place for Oregon (March 21st), our family decided to go on a hike at our local arboretum where there are many trails many of which are wide.
Getting the girls out of the house after being cooped up for a while is always a bit challenging. Once they are out they have a blast! So, we lured them out by all dressing like bears. Ha, obviously.
When we started off on our hike it was pretty chilly so the big furry costumes were perfectly comfortable. However, the sun soon came out and we all were pealing off our furry heads and furry skin.
It got us out of the house while staying safe and gave us and those who saw us a well needed good laugh. Mission accomplished!
Each year we have traveled, the last week or so was tricky because we were SO close to home and wanted to just scoot back. We loved our trip (most of the time!) but were looking forward to being back in our home, having a bit more space, having our things, a real shower and toilet and seeing friends again!
When planning for our arrival home we wanted to be sure this was a transition in life we took advantage of. Transitions offer great opportunities for change. We set some goals for us to decrease our trash waste and get us all plugged in with social activities.
Something we noticed while we were on the road is that our trash often consisted of 80% or more plastic packaging. Most of the time we were getting groceries on the go buying in bulk wasn’t an option. It also wasn’t super practical as our food storage space was so small. At home in Portland we bought in bulk with our staples and got other things such a fresh veggies as needed.
Compared to a typical American family our trash was still minimal even on the road but really that’s nothing to be proud of since on average a family of 4 creates a whopping 120 lbs of trash per WEEK! Absurd! On the road we generated a bag about 12″x 12″ including our compost about once every 3 days. But still, it was mostly plastic!
We wanted to make a change! Our goal was to decrease our waste overall, but for an extra challenge we wanted to try going zero waste (for food and household supplies) for a month and see if we discovered some outlets for decreasing waste on a regular basis. We knew it was extreme but we wanted to challenge ourselves.
We started by making a list of the things we semi-regularly ate that came in packaging. Here’s what we found: Tofu, salsa, pasta sauce, tortillas, bread, sauces, olive oil, almond milk, yogurt, along with other things. Then we made of the list of the things I could make instead of buying which was surprisingly most of it. Sure, it would take a lot of time but that was part of the plan.
Justin did a lot of research and found that there was a local bulk tofu place in Portland (Ota Tofu). He also found a couple other store options to buy other items in bulk such as olive oil.
Getting plugged in socially
The other goal we had was to plug us all into social activities. That was a big piece that we were missing on the road. In hind sight things are so clear. If we do decide to do another trip, meeting up with families early on will be a must. We found a number of different classes, camps and lectures that we would all have fun doing. So many super fun and exciting options out there that we were all really looking forward to. My calendar was packed with dates and deadlines to sign each of us up for different things.
We also wanted to be sure that Justin and I had a balance at our home that included time to ourselves, exercise and family time. We had a plan!! It was solid! It felt great!! Home sweet home, here we come!
It was the end of February and we only had a few stops left before we made it back home to Portland after 6 months on the road. From Lake Shasta in Northern California we were approximately 400 miles from home and had just 2 more stops: Valley of the Rogue State Park, near Grants Pass, OR and Eugene, OR to visit friends.
We headed to Bailey Cove State Park not knowing if we would find camp spots open or not. The boating area attached to the camping was busy but lucky for us the campground was almost empty. We chose this campground because it was right near a cave tour we wanted to take part in.
Let me just say that this place is awesome!! If you are ever in Redding, CA this is a place you can’t miss. The place was so large we didn’t even get to see it all with a whole day of exploring. Turtle Bay Museum is a mini aquarium, zoo, science center, history museum, botanical gardens and playground.
Our plan was to travel from Twisted Oak Winery to one of many RV parks in Redding, CA. We hadn’t made reservations, as we didn’t think northern CA would be a popular camping destination in February. However, when we were about an hour away from Redding we began calling RV parks, and realized they were all full!
California can be a tricky place to find good campgrounds at reasonable prices, so we decided after Yosemite to take advantage of our Harvest Host membership to spend a night at a vineyard in the Sacramento area.
Justin and I had done a short Yosemite visit on our Honeymoon road trip and it was enough to put it on our list of parks to return to for future years. Well, the year had come. Unfortunately we weren’t ready for family hikes due to our oldest’s leg still healing but we had a great time none the less.
Fresno was a good location to land on our way home to Portland because of their zoo. We didn’t want to spend a lot for camping which is a tricky task in CA so we chose to stay at the Fresno County Fairgrounds for $35 per night.