camping

Total Solar Eclipse in Oregon

With my boys so heavily into outer space and celestial bodies, we made our way to go on a long drive to Oregon to watch and experience the great American total solar eclipse which happened August 21, 2017. I was not much excited about the eclipse but my excitement was for what interesting places to see in Oregon. Lots of pine trees? Pine scent? Love it! But no, we didn’t smell the pine trees, haze yes. Too bad, it’s brush fire season. We got to see some along the highway on our way home.

We had to get the best possible spot that would make our 14-hour drive trip worthy. Best, meaning no traffic, with cellphone signal, not cloudy and not hazy. First, the mandatory welcome to Oregon picture. We’re about an hour away from the border of California and Oregon but the main driver was so sleepy so I decided to drive. Not fond of the road as it’s just a two-lane roadway that sometimes has a passing permitted markings and sometimes no passing zone. And you have a truck with a trailer in front of you, oh boy. All my passengers were sleeping and I was droopy eyed but my brain said I should be wide awake. When the a/c blows it made me sleepy but when I look to my left, the view was fantastic. I feel like seeing Mars! Too bad I can’t take pictures. To make the story short, I was able to let them sleep and wake them up when it’s time to have our pictures taken at Welcome to Oregon sign.

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So many things happened and I can’t squeeze them all in here. Maybe in a separate entry. We were able to pick the best spot (based on our requirements) and it was in between John Day and Mt. Vernon, Oregon. We got a dry camping spot at Clyde Holliday State Recreation Site by the pond for just $11/night. Dry camping meaning no water, just portalet for potty. I’m so glad I brought our own camping potty. Anyway, it’s just for the night and the following morning. The main campground has showers and bathrooms. So it’s not a big deal. Here’s our set up.

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The park gave us 4 eclipse eyeglasses for free! We paid $50 for 6 pairs of glasses of the same kind. But it’s okay. Who would go on a 14 hour drive to view the eclipse without glasses on hand? But still, we can bless the people of Chile by sending our used eclipse glasses.

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I appreciate the fact that Oregon prepared for the eclipse. They even had a presentation in the middle of the campground.

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On the morning of the eclipse day, while others head out to town to get some breakfast, my family just chilled and waited for a hot breakfast. Hot, meaning, hotdogs and squished bread that I grilled and some cup noodles and green tea. Glad to have used our camping stove that’s been with us since 2012. Very useful!

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How to make green tea? Boil water, then add the teabag. Wait for a few minutes. Easy peasy. :) The sound of the stove makes me feel like we’re in a youtube cooking video, Almazan kitchen. IMG_8099

Since total eclipse will be around past 10, we were in no hurry to prepare our stuff. Mich was busy with every BTS songs and everything kpop. Ad had been setting up his telescope and camera while hubby was preparing his binoculars with improvised eclipse lens filters. And I got to sketch too!

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From time to time we this was how we look. :)

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I can’t remember ever experiencing a total solar eclipse. Hubby said, when we were in high school there was a total solar eclipse in the Philippines so I consider this my first.

The great American total eclipse was promoted in all possible media coverage and social medias. It became a huge tourist event (people from different places flew and drove to the path of totality), family affair and an avenue for celebration and reunion of some sort. Lazy towns became lively. Bouncy castles and playgrounds were set up for kids. All sorts of BBQs were being sold. Concerts and festivities were all over. It’s fun!

I can’t explain the feeling of excitement and much anticipation of what it would be like. And the 2 minutes and few seconds of total eclipse happened. It became dark like a night. Birds chirped. I was awed by God’s creation. In ancient times, it could be a source of bad omen, talk about superstitions. But now, it’s a feeling of happy moment that when you see something unusual like the moon covering the sun, we could see how powerful the sun is for us. And that perfect timing of rotation and revolution only comes from the master of the universe who created it. So glad we could experience this event as a family. Something to cherish for the rest of our lives. That happy feeling inside of me is unexplainable. We thanked my husband for pushing this family trip that he planned since April of 2016 and we thanked God for His provision in everything for us to be able to come here.

This is the picture I took using my Iphone at the exact time of the eclipse.

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Photos of the eclipse that Adrian took using Nikon DSLR attached to Celestron telescope.

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And here’s the time lapse video of the before and after the eclipse. We truly enjoyed our trip.


Camping: Lake Powell

This is what camping on a 100 F weather in Arizona looks like. Everything is bright and clear till 8:30 p.m. Welcome to Wahweap Campground in Lake Powell, Page, Arizona! This is Lake Powell Resort’s campground area. The view is amazing & relaxing. It was a busy season. Glad we made a reservation just in time. Given some more years and the trees will grow much more, providing bigger shades and it will be perfect. lakepowell

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Here we pitched our tent carefully because it was super windy that time. We saw some flying tents around! And while it’s still 100 degrees, we went to the resort’s lounge to have dinner and avail of their wifi. How can I survive with my GPRS cellphone signal?  lakepowell2

At 9:30 p.m. we were swimming under the stars. Cool! Yes, we needed this to relax our tired bodies from the long drive. Resort amenities are also open for campers. Yay! But the problem with swimming, you have to take a shower, dry up before you go back to the tent and sleep. Complex task!
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Our first night was awesome. The night sky was clear and stars were very visible, we even saw the Milky Way! For the first time, I saw a shooting star. :) It was nice to just lie down on a beach chair under the bare sky and watch the stars till you get sleepy. Adrian was busy with his telescope that night.
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At 6 a.m. I woke up to this calm view and prepared our breakfast composed of baked salmon, pork tocino & quinoa multigrain rice mix (wow fancy! fancy leftovers 😉 )…Everybody was able to sleep well. Thank God for camping fans. It’s rare that we get to use fans in camping. Yes, because it’s summer and we’re in Arizona. :)

lakepowell5This is Lake Powell. The gorgeous Lake Powell. We went exploring the area, in the next blog coz it’s too much in one blog. See yeah!

 

Lake Tahoe Camping

As expected, we were hurrying to reach the campground before sunset. We passed by KFC to get some chicken for dinner. Thankfully, we got a bucket meal so it was less work for me to cook dinner when it’s already dark. Fast food is good food for campers. Haha! No bad chicken for dinner when everyone is hungry. :)

We reached William Kent campground with still some sun and was able to check out the area, meet some neighbor campers and set up our tent nicely. The campground was small and surrounded by residential areas. Though lacking in most essential amenities that we are looking for in a campsite, but we find it relaxing and more enjoyable than the other campsites we’ve been to. There’s no shower (it’s okay because we are checking in a hotel the following day), no light in the toilet (it’s okay, we have flashlights), not even flush (oh-em-gee) but it’s not smelly unlike other vault toilets (but it’s well maintained) probably the reason why there’s no light so you won’t see everything. It was quite a walk down to get to the toilet area. The good thing here is the proximity to the lake. It’s so close, just across the road.

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Here, the kids were playing while bringing stuff for our set up. I made sure that the food that we have are secured in that cabinet. We’ve heard that bears are common here, so better be wise not to invite them to our camp site.

tahoe8 After breakfast, which is as usual, “the trio” (spam, eggs and rice), we went to the lake. Lake Tahoe is very beautiful! So calm, and inviting! I’ve never seen such clear lake water as this one. But it’s so cold! I don’t know if this lake gets warm.
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Why so blue? So clear? I don’t know. I was too preoccupied by the beauty of the lake that I don’t want to read any more information. tahoe2 tahoe3

The area surrounding the lake is a very nice place to run or walk. I should have brought my running shoes then. :) I remember, we’ve seen a brace of ducks here that are so cute to look at!tahoe4

Family picture is a must! We had too many shots for a family picture by the lake but only a few were good enough because we were shooting against the light and just using a self timer plus the never-ending laughter. Anyway, that’s the best part, laughing all the time.
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We took a little time to check out the home of 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley.

tahoe10_edited-1 It’s been half a century since the 60’s Winter Olympics but Squaw Valley is still gorgeous up to this day. I love to hang out there!tahoe9

Playtime is part of the game at The Village, Squaw Valley. Trampoline anyone? Kuya feels he is too old for this.
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Camping @ Flaming Gorge

I was hoping that this year will be a year of camping since we started early. In January, we went camping with the crossroads ministry. We are looking forward to this summer to go to the wilderness but circumstances won’t allow us so I’ll just write something about our extraordinary camping experience few years ago.

It all started upon learning that we will be going to Manila, Philippines. We decided to visit the other Manila, which is in Utah. Manila is a small town in the Northern Utah and Southern Wyoming boundary. It is named after the Philippines’ capital, Manila, in honor of the US victory at the Battle of Manila Bay.

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Contrary to Manila, Philippines, this Manila which is the home of the Flaming Gorge, is a less populated area. At 5pm we can only see a few people. I can’t believe that there were only 300+ people residing in Manila, Utah according to 2000 census. Let’s say it doubled in the next 10 years, it’s only 600 compared to Manila’s million population. Anyway, we love both Manilas.

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We camped at State Line Cove Campground on the sandy shore of Flaming Gorge on the boundary of Utah and Wyoming. But before we enter the campground, we literally went in and out of Utah and Wyoming border as we drove along curve roads.

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The scenic views and geological sites are plentiful. As the sky changes color from blue to gray then to bright sunny yellow, the views change as well as we drive along winding roads, from lush green to red/brown rock formations. flame4

I love trees! Any place that has beautiful trees such as this is a paradise for me. There is no entrance guard or staff here to check in so you’re on your own to find your reserved spot.
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I’m glad that my men know what to do. My husband is such detail-minded and good in logistics, so we just let them do their job while Mich and I explore and take photos everywhere.

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My husband checked the weather and it will be raining at night. We have to prepare for the challenge. Unfortunately, our camp spot was very open so this is the best location to pitch our tent. As usual the boys pitched the tent and the girls took charge of the kitchen to prepare our very fancy dinner, Spam. Haha! 😛flame6

These two young trees have proven themselves to be strong, resilient and dependable. I admit, I laughed and questioned their ability to withstand strong winds but I was reminded of the verse in the bible that says, “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” 1 Tim. 4:12. I should have not looked down on these skinny trees because God used them to protect us from calamity. flame2

This tent was not only a room for us but also a refuge. It shielded us enough and didn’t make us wet even under very strong winds and rain. It didn’t even get damaged or suffered any broken part. This tent has served us many camping trips until this day.  flame12

I don’t know if we should be glad that these friendly antelopes here were not intimidated by humans or should we be sorry that we were “intruding” their somewhat commercialized habitat. We didn’t know that there’s a lot of pronghorns and other types of deer and antelopes roaming around here.

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There’s plenty of them around the campground. And Mich tried to follow them. flame9

This was the last picture taken before we sleep. Dark clouds gave us warning about the coming rain. We were joking and laughing. We even played bingo and watched a movie inside the tent. Would you believe that? We were just so secured that God will not let any harm to go near us. Psalm 4:8 says “In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.” Thankfully, God allowed us to have a good night sleep and let the storm pass in the morning. That night we kept our belongings inside the car and left only what’s needed inside the tent. A tray of Red Ribbon ensaimada (so every time I see this bread, I am reminded of manna from heaven) given by a friend and some bottled water saved us from hunger during the raging storm. As far as I can remember, we were the only tent in that area of the campground. The nearest to us was a small RV camper that left earlier than us. Around 8 AM, the storm was gone. The sky was clear and the sun shone brightly as if nothing happened. We prayed and thanked God for His covering, protection and provision.

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