Family vacations rock*. And FYI, obsidian is sharp as glass.

Am I right? Just look at all of that happiness buried very deep in my daughter’s soul.

After spending a couple of great days with family in Sunriver; the kids, my mom, and I set out for an adventure of our own. This was our first visit to Sunriver, and it was spectacular. But we quickly realized that once our fun cousins left, my kids reverted back to their natural habitat of sitting indoors, on their phones. After a quick search online we found the Newberry National Volcanic Monument with lava tunnels and even the Big Obsidian Flow. After threatening the kids, they agreed to go but not without lots of groans and “Oh my God”s and “why are we going?”  They were loud and clear, as we still don’t have a working radio in our car .  About two minutes into our journey, Google Maps takes us on a 40 minute back country, off roading, brain jarring, jumping bean, Universal Studios style ride. We pulled over several times thinking – this can’t be right. But it was. We finally make it – Google Maps says, “You’ve arrived. Pull over.” And there was absolutely nothing to see. Just more dust and trees. Apparently, the Newberry National Volcanic Monument is a huge area which covers thousands of acres. In the forest. It’s not a monument that has a Visitor’s Center. Or a lava cave. Or obsidian rocks. Or anything interesting.

With dwindling gas in our tank, we turned around. The groans, “Oh my God”s, “I’m car sick” and internal swearing from my kids become louder. I drove as quickly as I could on the shock-breaking back roads, finding any smooth area I could. Even if that meant listening to branches scraping along the side of our car. And running over one chipmunk.

Day 2 without our fun cousins.

Before I move on, I don’t want to pass up the fact that we had two great days with family. We were fortunate enough to be able to stay at our cousins’ David and Anna’s beautiful home in Crosswater. We were treated like Kings and as always it was so good to catch up with my dad’s side of the family.

























Back to day two without our cousins…we surprised the kids the next morning with our plan to make a second attempt to visit the Big Obsidian Flow. As you could only imagine, they were thrilled. They couldn’t keep their excitement contained and there was a lot of energy in the house. However this time, we drove the right way. On paved roads that led us to the Big Obsidian Flow.









And we hiked higher and higher, I reminded my son (each time after he’d pick up a piece of obsidian), “Don’t pick up any more. Obsidian is as sharp as glass.” Here’s a picture of the last piece he picked up.









As soon as he threw that rock, he looked down at his red finger. Then his red hand. Then his red leg…. and then I followed  red tracks along the trail all the way back to our car. He ended up fainting in the parking lot but I managed to catch him.  After passing out for a while, he began to look less green, so why not drag him to one more spot? So glad we did.  I finally found my “Rainbow Falls” at Paulina Creek Falls.

As I told the kids, some things don’t always work out as planned. It’s all trial and error, and an adventure worth taking.

I survived another Summer. I realize I only have four Summers left with both kids home. Just four.  So I’m planning on a lot more adventures. Gotta make the best out of our time together and take risks. That’s what makes life interesting. Let’s not worry about what might or might not happen. It eventually all works out. And if doesn’t, at least we can say that we tried. Plus you’ll end up with some funny stories to tell later.

I’ll leave you with this: Family vacations rock. Obsidian rocks are sharp. Adventures are a must. And after running over chipmunk #2 on our trip, I’m surprised don’t feel as badly as I think I should. Sorry Alvin.



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