Category Archives: Field Trips

San Francisco, Here We Come!


In the dim light of early morning, our luggage looks like an explosion in a clothes factory.  We are ready to go.  Our plane does not leave super early, though, so we will have time to eat breakfast before we go join my sister and nieces.

My sister, Gail, has a work conference in San Francisco, so we are taking Ja’Ana, Alissa and Michaela down there for the ultimate homeschool field trip.  Part of the time, we will all sight-see together.  Part of the time, she will be involved with her conference and I will be the tour guide.  We will all be very cozy in one hotel room every night, and will be riding public transportation instead of renting a car.  For this and other reasons, J and I are each taking only one small suitcase that can be carried onto the plane and one backpack.  We should have plenty of clothes, as we are only going to be gone for a few days.

Rob, Lovana and Patsy will hold down the fort here, and Ron and Jake will hold down the fort at their house.

I have a map of San Francisco in my backpack.  Although I can get that information on my phone, I’m hoping to be able to see a larger version better.  We have downloaded an app for the public transportation system, including the cable cars, onto each person’s phone and purchased a ticket for unlimited riding that can be used for the entire time we are there.  We will just have to have the driver scan the phone, and can get on and off as much as we want.  The hotel is near the cable car line, as well as the bus lines.

We downloaded another app that tells us about many, many sights that can be visited in the city. We have chosen quite a few that would be fun for the girls and I to do.  Most of them are historical museums.  One of the things I have done with Ja’Ana and Alissa this year is study the great earthquake and fire of San Francisco in the early 1900’s.  I hope to see some information about that at one of these museums, as well as some gold rush exhibits.  We will be taking it easy, though, and will see what we see while still having fun, rather than run everyone ragged.  Michaela, especially, can out-walk us all, but needs down-time each day.  So, we will explore, then go back to the hotel and chill out.  Then, the last day, my sister is treating us all to a tour.  We will get on a bus and ride around, seeing sights, such as the Golden Gate Bridge and more.

It should be a grand adventure!

Thanksgiving Week Fun–Mission Mill Museum


The schools around here have the week off.  We decided to take the homeschooled girls on a field trip, and they are doing a small amount of work that was left over after they both got colds last week, but that’s it for them for the week, as well.  My sister planned it, and my aunt and I took the kids.  I had never visited this historical sight before, and enjoyed it tremendously.  It is located in Salem, Oregon.


We toured the old woolen mill, and the houses surrounding it.  Some houses img_3593had been moved to this sight, but the mill was always there.  We were amazed to see that the machinery still worked (at least some of it) and they ran some of it while we were in there.  In other places, buttons could be pushed to start machinery, which was a hit with Jake especially.


These homes were residences of early missionaries to the Oregon Territory.  They took a ship to Oregon before the time of the Oregon Trail, started out in one place which turned out to be flooded too often, so moved.  It was fun to see the houses.


In the parsonage, there were quite a few interactive exhibits set up with kids in mind.  Jake loved “cooking” with the play food, building with blocks, and other fun activities.

Does anyone know the purpose of the crinkly cast iron base and iron pictured above?  The base has grooves in it, and the iron part (on top with a handle) has a matching grooved surface.  So, you can hold the handle and roll it back and forth.  But why?  It wouldn’t be good for ironing, since it is crinkly.  Our best guess was an old-fashioned panini press–ha-ha!

After we had gone through all of the buildings, we browsed our way out through the gift shops, bypassed the cafe although it looked good, and enjoyed a wonderful lunch my sister packed for us–in the parking lot.  It was a great day!


Field Trip to the Columbia River Gorge


The Columbia River Gorge is famous for being windy, among other things.  Yesterday was no exception!  We stopped at Crown Point, a very high view point, and almost got blown away.  It was fun and the view was amazing!


Multnomah Falls was our next stop.  It was a beautiful day for a little hike.  Some of us went up to the lower bridge, and some stayed below.  Jake felt that someone should carry him, the the girls took turns.  Finally, he started hiking around on his own, but he milked it for as long as they were willing to carry him!


There were salmon spawning in the little river at Multnomah Falls.  It was awesome to see them fighting their way up a tiny little rapid and then laying eggs in the calm waters near the edge of the stream, often near branches that extended over the water.


When we got to the Bonneville Dam Fish Hatchery, Jake was not at all sure he wanted anything to do with feeding the huge rainbow trout that were in the holding pond.  But, by the time we got to the second area, a pond, he became very excited about the idea.


He loved throwing the food, or flicking the food, as his mood dictated.  We took a nice stroll around the grounds and saw several ponds with various fish in them, including some massive sturgeon.  We did not go into the visitors’ center, though.  By that time, they were hungry and we went back to the van and ate our picnic.  I’m sure it would be fun for another time.


After that, we went over to Bonneville Dam itself.  To get there, you need to go through a security point, then drive over the dam.  Jake especially liked doing that.  Then, in the visitor’s center, we looked around and went down to the viewing windows in hopes of seeing fish.  We thought we would, because of the ones in the stream at Multnomah Falls, but we did not.  Still, the whole experience was fun.

Back into the van we went, and drove up to Cascade Locks for ice cream (or onion rings as some preferred), and headed for home.  Everyone was happy and had a nice day.  The weather was so nice!  It was a great fall trip, and I’m glad we did.