Monday, May 11, 2009

To Forks and Beyond...

Some days Traci and I look at each other and one of us will say something to question the belief of our current situation, " can you really believe we have left 'home' and are looking at the Olympic Mountains?" It brings home the extent of our journey, the work we have had to do to get where we are, the heavily solicited help from all of our friends and family. We realize in these brief moments how fortunate, how blessed, and how strange our lives have turned.

There are days when we look at each other and say something to question the sanity of our decision to make this journey, "what are we doing leaving our family so we can look at the Olympic Mountains?" The reality of the many risks we have taken to make this 'big trip' happen will overwhelm our initial purpose for making this decision. We have taken our kids' education into our own hands, we have removed them from their friends and family, from the places they have known and feel comfortable in, we have jeopardized our illusion of financial stability. From these planted seeds of risk we have gained countless memories with our children uninterrupted by the steady run a muck scheduling nightmare we had been chasing in Illinois.

This one brief collection of time, one year, will give us an opportunity to be together as a family searching whatever lands we end up in for new sights. We only ever get to look into our children's lives briefly. We have made this decision to take these risks, to go in to a life we did not believe we could experience in the hope we could be with our children for this brief time and learn who they are, giving them a chance to learn who we are as people.

The one thing I've learned about Traci is she really enjoys being a girl with Savannah. They have discovered a common interest in the Twilight books. Their shared interest led to a trip to Forks, Washington, the town Stephanie Meyer chose to set the story. Traci was sharing her Mother's Day celebration with Savannah. We tracked down as many of the sites as possible.

Tracking the sites was the easy part. The trip west from the Kitsap Peninsula to the Olympic Peninsula was the long challenging leg. The Hood canal bridge offers a quick connection from one area to the next. This bridge is being worked on for the next month. The state of Washington is replacing one half of the bridge, I think the east side. The other side had been replaced in 1979 after a storm destroyed that section of the bridge. The state of Washington has provided a ferry for foot traffic across the canal but there is no secondary provisions for automobile traffic directly across the Hood canal. We were able to drive around the Hood canal adding another three hours to our trip. Three more hours stuffed in the car on mostly two lane roads following the curves along the shore of the canal. It was a beautiful drive, surrounded by the hood canal on one side and the Olympic mountains on the other for at least half of the drive.

The long drive was pushing our arrival time in Forks later in to the evening as we had already gotten off to a late start. Leaving the house was held up by a parade in Edmonds, the Fairy and Elf Parade celebrating spring. The parade featured Sophia, our own little fairy. We had found out about the parade two weeks earlier and Sophia had mentioned it daily for those two weeks. She was very excited. All of the fairies gathered at the Edmonds library donned musical bells and streamers and marched down to the weekend open air market. There they were introduced to the crowd as the Edmonds fairies, performed their signature fairy and elf jingle, bowed and dispersed in parents' hands and arms. The parade only had one malady, the little fairy following the librarian stepped too close to someone near her and was bumped to the ground. She cried a fairy's cry and was scooped up by her father and carried through the rest of the parade. We finished the morning at the flower stand where the kids decorated a bucket and planted flowers for mom for Mother's Day.

Traci was spending most of her Mother's Day in the car, driving. She chose to drive and this gave me an opportunity to enjoy the scenery along the way. We stopped at a rest stop offering free coffee and found Paul Bunyan lying on a trailer behind a pickup truck. The statue was a 1950's gas station relic restored for parades. He was currently on his way home from a parade. Paul had at one time been the mascot for a local high school where he suffered having his axe stolen and being spray painted by a rival school. When we saw him he looked relaxed in his well earned retirement.

We were enjoying our drive across the Olympic Peninsula. The kids were entertained watching movies they had never seen that they had checked out from the library earlier. We made our way into Port Angeles, another town appearing in the Twilight books. We stopped at the restaurant where two characters had their first date. Savannah jumped out of the car then quickly jumped back in. She expressed disappointment when she found the restaurant wasn't the building from the movie. Traci explained the sights in these towns were not from the movie but the book and it would take some imagination to see them as being where the characters actually spent time instead of where the movie had been filmed. Savannah bent her mind around this and accepted it, eventually. Forks was now only an hour away.

1 comment:

Townsends said...

Last October when I told you guys that your mother and I supported you in this endeavor. We still do especially after reading your poignant commentary in this blog.
I probably told you this before, I tried to do the same traveling after I got out of the Navy. I had a dream of wintering in Mexico then following the Alcan Highway to Alaska.
Various family things interceded, so I just went home.
I still wish I had followed my dream. Of course, if I had, I would not have met Traci’s mom, and she would never have existed…I think.
Roots are, nevertheless, important and being geographically close to family is important emotionally. Unless the family is dysfunctional, then distance is critical!

Love you this much (x…………………………………………..x)


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