This past Saturday, we drove 8 1/2 hours north to Klamath Falls, Oregon to attend a service for Jason's Great-Aunt Julie (from his mom's side), which was held Sunday morning. Pretty much all of his mom's family lives in Klamath Falls (population 19, 462) or Merrill (a small neighboring town - population 897) and we haven't seen them since the last funeral about 12 years ago.
Although it was a somber occasion, it was really nice too see our relatives. We spent the majority of the day after the service at Uncle Don and Aunt Connie's ranch, which is located out in the country in Merrill. This was Sierra and Cameron's first small town experience. Our cities' population is approximately 910,000 so that gives you an idea of what they are used to.
The kids toured the ranch, moo'd at the cows, and caught (and released) blue-bellied lizards. We ate delicious pulled-pork sandwiches for dinner out on the back deck and got caught up with what everyone had been doing over the past several years. Sierra got to meet and hang out with cousins she hadn't seen (and obviously didn't remember) since she was 1 year old. Lucky for her, all but one of her cousins are girls.
About 30 minutes later, a thunderstorm started brewing in the sky. We all stood out in the driveway and ooh'd and aah'd over the beautiful lightening on the horizon. About a half an hour later, Jason and I decided to head back to the hotel. We weren't 5 minutes away from the ranch when the rain started. It went from sprinkles to a torrential downpour within seconds. The rain came down so hard (I've never seen rain this fast and hard in my life) that the wipers struggled to keep up with the water on the windshield. It became so difficult to see, I asked Jason to stop the truck because I started to feel panic setting in. He slowed to a crawl while I regained my composure.
Immediately my mommy senses kicked in and I remembered that Sierra was out with the girls in this storm. We drove directly to the Polar Bear Drive-In to see if the girls were still there. They weren't. We pulled in the parking lot and called Sierra on her cell phone. She said they were on their way back to the ranch. We told her when she got there to stay there and we would bring her home.
When we arrived at the ranch and picked up Sierra, she recounted her experience during the storm...
After they left the drive-in, they headed to one of the local elementary schools to enjoy their shakes and ice cream on the playground. Unfortunately about 5 minutes later, the downpour drove them back to the car. With Sierra and 2 cousins in the back seat, they pulled out of the school parking lot to head back to the ranch. Sierra said she heard a sound and looked over her shoulder out the back window. At that moment, a tree fell down across the road directly behind their car. Sierra said they were "freaked out" and looked for falling trees the whole way back to the ranch.
On our way back to the hotel, we drove by the school to see the location where the tree fell. The tree was so large it blocked the entire road. People were already busy cutting it in sections to remove it so cars would be able to pass. Sierra said it was the most exciting thing that has ever happened to her. I don't even want to think about what might have happened if the girls had left the school yard just a moment later than they did.
The next morning, we went to breakfast at the Black Bear Diner (a recommendation from the hotel concierge). The portions were enormous (the biscuits were 4 times the size of regular restaurant biscuits) and tasty (thank goodness). Had I known this, I would have got a half order of biscuits and gravy instead of the full sized one. After breakfast, we hit the freeway for the long ride home.
Below are photos I took of Mt. Shasta (located in California just south of the Oregon border) on our way to Oregon. I don't remember much from our last trip to Oregon 12 years ago. And I certainly don't remember Mt. Shasta being so majestic. Although these photos are nice, they don't do justice to how it looks in person. She's a beauty!