Where to begin??? If you have not seen my latest Instagram update, then here it is. After leaving Williams CA and heading to Grants Pass Oregon, my "shingles" and I write that with quotations as you will find out a little later, felt a little better. We went to Grants Pass, Oregon where my moms oldest sister lives. She moved there about 10 years ago from Orange County. So when I get to see her, its time well spent. The most exciting thing we did was the Hellgate Jetboat Tour. This adventure could not have been more fun. We left around 8:30am and went right to the launch docks. This excursion is for any age. Even little ones. Our three boys, ages 8,6 and 2 loved it. The ride down the Rogue River was scenic and great. We saw 2 bald eagles, in which our bird enthusiast 6 year old loved. We also saw several other types of birds. The driver shared the rich history of the area with us. We ended up down at the caverns and from there on, the river became too shallow to go any further. We turned around and we went back 5 minutes up the river to the OK corral where we were served a family style lunch in a large outdoor patio with around 100 other guests. We were all off 3-4 boats from the excursion. Food was good and service was great. The bar line was a little long, but I'm glad I didn't up having anything to drink because the ride back up the Rogue River was insane. Now, they warn you that you will get wet. Soaked? I was not prepared for. I had my phone out a lot of the time, taking pictures of the boys and their reactions to the splashes from the water here and there. Our driver did several 360s or what he referred to as "Shake n Bakes" which were great as well. Most of us had our cameras out. I would then stuck my phone in my back pocket and hold on or hold Trenton. This is where things got crazy. Our driver turned our boat around so we faced the other two boats head on. He then hit the gas and as we got between the other two boats, they hit the gas, causing a massive wave to crash into the front of our boat. We hit the wave of water full speed which then filled the entire front half of the boat. Mind you, we were in the second row of the boat. We had all felt like we just jumped into the Rogue River. It was shocking and fun. I quickly handed my dripping wet phone to Travis to stick in the backpack, which was dripping wet. It was a very hot day to the drench of water felt amazing. Yet still shocking. It was so much fun and so worth doing. I highly recommend it for any one traveling to this area.
After this adventure, my "shingles" were feeling much better. We were able to leave the boys with my aunt and sneak off for a date. YES! A DATE! As we head in to next year and our year long trip, these date nights will be important for us to squeeze in. Even if that means we put the boys to bed and drink a beer around the campfire. Us time is going to keep us going. So, my bestest told me that her family owned a winery not far from where we were staying. We jumped at the opportunity and drove the 30 minutes to Gold Hill to wine taste at the Folin Cellars. The drive was beautiful. I cannot get over the rivers that seem to be around every turn, the open space, the huge trees and beautiful landscape. We had a great time at the winery, and received special treatment, as we were the only ones there. I'm assuming not many people go wine tasting in the middle of a Monday. We left with a delicious bottle of Temperanillo and headed back.
On Tuesday, we had breakfast with some of the amazing ladies in my Aunts church group. These ladies have done a lot of praying and supporting of our Jake, so they were anxious to meet the famous (so he believes and we will keep it that way) Jake.
After this, we packed up and left Aunt Kathy's, which is always hard to do when you don't have a date of seeing them again. We hit the road, heading to Portland for 2 nights, or so we thought. On the drive, we pulled off and drove through the Wilderness Safari. If you are ever in Winston Oregon, this is a MUST stop. The animals roam completely free. It was an incredible sight and a great break from the road. The boys were especially in to it when we got to feed the animals from the car. They put food pellets in the window crease and the emu and ostrich would just about put their heads in the truck. If you do stop here and are pulling a trailer, I also recommend leaving the trailer in the parking lot. They don't allow you to stop along the road if pulling a vehicle behind you. When you spot a rhino, in the wild, near your truck, you want to stop for sure.
So, things were going smoothly, I thought. We hit the road again, only to find that my "shingles" had spread across my neck and down my arm. I was in so much pain, things were blistering, (I know, a little too much info) but its reality. We decided that Id hit an ER that night after we dropped off the trailer. Well, we stopped in Salem Oregon and Travis made an executive decision when we saw a Hospital sign. He dropped me off and left to find a campground and dinner for the boys. I walked in alone, on the verge of tears. Again, I don't cry. Really. I'm a hard ass and it drives Travis crazy. Yet between the pain and frustration, I was just about done. Once I said I had active shingles, I was taken immediately to an isolation room. With masks, gloves and gowns, the nurses came in, hardly touched me and told me the Dr would be in soon. In cases like this, its oddly nice that hospitals don't scare me. They actually are quite comforting. I know what each monitor and each beeping sounds mean. I know what everything on the walls are used for and I know the procedure of things. A doctor finally walked in, took one look and said, "Nope, not shingles. They don't spread like this. They look like this, and feel like this, but they sure don't spread like this. This is contact dermatitis". A wave of relief washed over me as he took off his mask and gloves, yet then I was curious as to how this is treated and how much longer before I scratched my neck completely off. He gave me a high dose of steroids and sent me on my way. I was given a prescription for steroids that Id take for the next 10 days. After going to bed last night, the rash had receded and was drying up. Today has been a much better day.
We decided to leave the trashy RV park Travis has found and make it all the way to Washington, our final destination before we head back. We made it here, with most of our sanity in tact. Boys were stir crazy and exhausted. We are all tired and looking forward to settling in here for the next 4 days. Major celebration on our hands Friday as Amanda and Tim tie the knot. For those that don't know, Amanda is my late husbands little sister. Its always bittersweet being with them all, because there is a gaping hole with him not here, but I am also beyond blessed to call them all family. Heres to a cheerful 4 days with this tribe, always full of love and laughter.