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Redwoods and Rangers: How our Rialta Coffee Tour got off to a shaky start

June 24, 2013
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Nestled Among the Giants

“Some stuff will happen”, I said, shortly before drifting off to sleep.  “It always does.  Some stuff will happen and it will be hard, but that’s what makes the stories interesting later.  For now, I’m glad that everything is going as planned”.

“Me too,” Carissa said in her I’m-done-talking-and-ready-to-go-to-sleep voice.   “This is…perfect”.

Then we took one final glimpse out of the skylight in our roof.  Towering above us were the California Redwoods.  It was almost midnight on Carissa’s 33rd birthday, and this was how she had dreamed of spending it.  With smiles on our tired faces we finally slipped off into blissful rest.

For awhile.

“PARK POLICE!  OPEN UP!” was the next thing we heard.  Carissa and I shot up out of bed, grasping for clothing, confused, and hoping the girls didn’t wake up (we had nothing to worry about there).  As we acclimated to the awake-world we realized there were flashing lights right behind our vehicle and a very excited Park Ranger behind a very big flashlight with a very big pistol on his hip yelling at us.  For the next 10 minutes I answered a lot of questions about how many weapons I had in the car (answer:  NONE so I’m not sure why I was asked this 3 times) and how many people were in the car and why we were there and where we were headed and why we couldn’t understand that a picture of a tent with a line through it meant “no camping” and so on.  Eventually he settled down and explained that there was a lot of “shady stuff that happens out here” and he had to ask us to move on.  We explained that we were camped by the road on this side of the sign because we had reasoned that we shouldn’t go beyond the no camping sign (hence the lecture on what a tent with a slash through it means) and truth be told, we figured it meant anywhere out there, but what type of Ranger, we reasoned, is running around at 1 a.m. looking for people to harass.

Then we found out the precise answer to that question.

So that’s how it happened that the current leg of our weird journey began with some “stuff happening”.  Truth is, it could have been much worse.  Our entire life is kind of held together on a string right now.  See, we moved into this RV 14 months ago, planning to sell our coffee shop and go on a 6 month tour of the U.S. where we would reconnect with friends and family we hadn’t seen or spent enough time with since moving to the Pacific Northwest 7 years earlier.  Then we would land in Fort Collins, CO, where we would continue our coffee adventures.  Only problem is, we still haven’t sold our shop.  So a few weeks ago we just decided to complete a one-month leg of the six-month journey anyway.  We went about arranging things to where our staff would be able to run the shop, worked our tails off prior to departure so our overall labor cost would be comparable, moved some of Peter’s money to Paul’s bank account, and then planned to leave on Carissa’s birthday (which seemed fitting since we moved into the RV 14 months ago on mine!).  On this leg we’re poking along the coast, seeing the Redwood Forest, enjoying the ocean, seeing some family and researching some great coffee shops.  Then we’ll head east to see Carissa’s brother Mike in Las Vegas, the Grand Canyon, and then end up in OK to see my family and attend my 25th high school reunion.  Carissa’s parents are planning to meet us in OK, take the girls back up to MO, then I’ll head back to OR alone, hopefully to wrap up the sale of our coffee shop (keep your fingers crossed!), after which we’ll continue on with our travels.

We hope you’ll bookmark our page and keep up with our adventures!  We’ll be reviewing coffee shops, collecting ideas for our future work, doing a little speaking and consulting here and there, visiting friends and family, and finding the most amazing things our nation has to offer and sharing them with you.  And given that some “stuff always happens”, we’ll surely have some great stories.  For example, in our next post I’ll tell you how it came to be that we went asleep alone last night overlooking the most amazing ocean view ever and awoke at 4:30 a.m. surrounded and totally blocked in by 20 or 30 vehicles, dozens of Japanese fishermen, an abolone scientist, and then had to rappel down to the coast to escape.  Stay tuned!

Meanwhile, here are some pictures of our Redwoods adventure:

This is actually 3 or 4 trees growing together.  Of course the girls thought it made a perfect FORT!

This is actually 3 or 4 trees growing together. Of course the girls thought it made a perfect FORT!

rw jc girls

Unbelievable!

This one

This one is one of the Grove of Titans:  Believed to be one of the biggest in the world!

Imagine the view through our skylight!

Imagine the view through our skylight!

Bad parenting or adventure encouragement?  It's a toss up.

Bad parenting or adventure encouragement? It’s a toss up.

Here's me at the same place.  One tree had fallen near another.

Here’s me at the same place. One tree had fallen near another.

What a day!  A perfect adventure for the first day of our tour, and Carissa's 33rd birthday.

What a day! A perfect adventure for the first day of our tour, and Carissa’s 33rd birthday.

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5 Comments
  1. Wes Bartel permalink

    Great story!!! Can’t wait to hear about all of the great adventures that lie ahead for one of my favorite families!

  2. Irene Niemyer permalink

    Oh, Don, you keep my stomach in knots! How am I suppose to sleep wondering where and what you’re into next. Just like having a teenager in the house again. Only this time I can do nothing to control any of this stomach knotting stuff. So stay safe and enjoy the ride. I’ll do the worrying.

    Irene Niemyer

  3. Freeda Goodson permalink

    Don, I so enjoy your writings. I hope you plan on turning this into a book because I think it would become a best seller. Your family is beautiful. Gorgeous wife and the cutest kids!! Enjoy all this while you are still young.

    • Thanks Aunt Freeda! I appreciate the kind words and you following along with our adventures!

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