March 29, 2009

Spontaneous Expedition

I knew I was in for it when he got the map out. Mr. Santos and Sophia had their heads together poring over the map. I walked in and they both looked up with beaming grins. "We're going on an adventure!" they exclaimed in unison.

"Uh oh." I said.

"Wife, pack the bags and get ready! We are going west!"

After eleven years of marriage, I have learned that if I ask for details the adventurous spirit of Mr. Santos dampens. It is much better to just say "O.K."

So, as he and Sophia took the van apart (He did let me know we would be sleeping in the van for a few nights), the little ones and I packed some clothes, cleaned the house, and tied up loose ends at lightning speed.

I knew that this week we would be doing something. Mr. Santos really doesn't like to stay home. Being unemployed has been very difficult for him and going to school every day has helped to give him something to do and work towards. We had a week between school quarters and I knew my visionary man would not be able to handle staying at home with no place to go. I had been trying to make plans. That is how I am. I love to plan things out. All of my plans, however, met with a frown or curled lip. Perhaps they were just too planned. Thank God I had all the laundry caught up in anticipation, though.

By 3:30 in the afternoon, I was in the van with one child and Mr. Santos led the way in our small Honda with the other two children. We headed out - going southwest.

Our first night we spent at Pacific Beach. It was very COLD and WINDY and LOUD (the ocean surf). But it was beautiful. We were the only ones on the beach. The stars overhead were amazing - so many that the sky didn't even look dark.

Psalms 121:1-8 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore.

We huddled together under down comforters in the back of the van and slept with someone's elbow or foot jabbed in a convenient place. In the morning, we ate pancakes at the only restaurant on the beach and looked through our binoculars for the migrating grey whales.

Mr. Santos gathered his troops. "Let's keep going! Northward!"

We did try to stay at Lake Quinnault. It is so beautiful there: A clear glass lake surrounded by wooded mountains with a rugged yet extravagant lodge for enjoying a cup of coffee near a great roaring fire. The trails were open for walking, but there was no place to camp. (camping season won't start for much of western Washington until the end of April) So after the twins -that would be Mr. Santos and his daughter Sophia - reviewed the map, we ended up at Kalaloch Beach.

Our site had a wonderful view. There was no wind and, even better, we didn't have to pay to camp. We walked the beach and enjoyed our campfire, the view and each other. We spent a better night in the van since now everyone knew exactly where to put that spare body part without starting world war III.

In the morning, I figured out how to get everyone scrubbed and washed and looking clean and neat. This helped me (immensely) to enjoy the adventure. We ate doughnuts and drank tea by a nice fire that Mr. Santos had prepared while I was doing all my "scrubbing and nesting."

The air was so fresh and clean. The grey sky, the hugeness of the ocean, and the crisp white surf filled us with a lively energy. There was to be no dawdling, however. We were on an adventure.

"Pack up and let's head out," Mr. Santos commanded.

We continued north toward Neah Bay but, because of car and weather concerns, ended up in our beloved Sequim. We found a spot early on the Dungeness Spit. We drank hot chocolate and roasted hot dogs over a great fire. The wind was blowing hard here, but our site was protected by a small hedge. Noah and I led the way on an invigorating hike. The trail wound through some tall grasses (taller than Noah) and the wind blew hard in our faces. Naomi enjoyed getting to use her new birthday flashlight. The cliffs towered high above the ocean and "The twins" wasted no time in using their binoculars to spy out Canada and any passing ships. We never did spot the migrating whales. We logged another cozy night in the van.

The morning brought me a great blessing - a cold and heavy rain. This meant we were homeward bound - and soon. Don't get me wrong, I like adventures. But, I'm the sleep in a bed and enjoy a warm shower (or at least a daily shower ;)) adventurer.

Ah! But this little story doesn't begin to tell you of all that we enjoyed and learned on our brief expedition. I am thankful for an adventurous husband and for the memories he is giving to me and to our children. I am thankful that the Lord is teaching me to just go with the flow - as uncomfortable as it may be sometimes. If you want to see more pictures of our trip you can head over to my facebook page.


  1. Wow! That was an adventure! I'm cold all over just imagining camping at the beach this time of year. Brrr

  2. Very cool. Spontaneous vacations make some good memories. Remember when mom bought us new dresses and drove us to Monterey one Friday night? We ran out of the carousel on Cannery Row all scared of some man...I can't remember it all but I know I was laughing. I was little, it was funny.

    Love you.


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