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July 9, 2003
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Ashland, OR

11:20 am: We've fallen into a kind of pattern. I usually see Jet to sleep at night, then John and Jet get up early and play and have breakfast until I get up. When I got up this morning, I had some breakfast and watched Jet play with all the toys in the house while John showered and packed up the car. I also got to visit a bit with Emily, who had gotten in at 11. After about 10:30 we get on the road and Jet falls asleep.

He's very regular about the falling asleep bit. Though, this morning we got most of a smoothie into him just before he fell asleep. That was a good thing.

John and I went to a Starbucks and John got a mocha that was lukewarm. He had to argue a bit with the order taker when he tried to get me a plain frappachino. She kept turning it into a mocha frappe instead of a plain coffee frappe.

The Sacramento Valley weather in the summer is pretty warm. I needed the iced drink to combat my sweating. Once the AC was on, Jet fell asleep, and I got to sit up front with John and see stuff.

There are rice paddies everywhere around here. Still under water, even the mature plants seem to need a lot of water to grow in. It's pretty seeing all the paddies with their sun-browned berms. The corn here is well past the corn in Colorado I guess the longer growing season makes a huge difference. The corn here is pretty much mature already, and just hasn't browned or dried yet, for feed corn. There's a huge sunflower field we just went by. The diversity of plants and farms and produce here is pretty phenomenal. even if it takes water from far away places, it's pretty amazing what does grow here.

11:38 am: How cool. We just got to see a crop duster, bright yellow, and working. The pale gray trail of the stuff he was dusting behind and below him, falling on the crops and the very precise turning off of the dusting as soon as he reached the end of the field. There are olive trees everywhere, here, with the gray green leaves.

It's good to get a little journal catch-up time in awe we drive as I don't think that I would, otherwise, be able to write much. Too much is going on all the time, especially with one or the other of us always on Jet-watch. But, maybe, with Marina's parents around, we might get a little time for other things, too. Or I'll just have to figure out how to write while watching Jet play, too. That would be a good skill to learn.

9:27 pm: We lucked into a gorgeous little park and huge play area for Jet, just by asking when John bought our lunch at a Taco Time. He asked for directions to a park and they first pointed out a putt-putt golfing range, so it was understandable that he was a mite dubious about their description of a Kid Kingdom that was about ten miles back along our way in Redding.

But they were entirely right and it was a terrific place. The land was on a community open park, with tons of soccer and baseball fields at the top, and a little side road with a huge, rainbow sign that said, "Kid Kingdom" pointing down the hill. When we got up over the hill, and around the bend, we saw a huge pile of kids on what looked like a volcano, which suddenly started spraying water in the air. On the far side was a huge wooden structure, that on closer inspection, looked more and more like an enormous play structure. We parked on that side, and set our lunch up on a picnic table. John and I were able to eat while Jet refused to have anything to do with his rice. But he did give us plenty of time to eat, and did drink some of our pop.

When he finished, John took Jet into the play structure. When I finished, I threw away what garbage there was, and followed the brief glimpses of the boys that I could see. When I finally caught up to them, they were standing in front of the entry arch to water play area. The arch had several water sprays that sprayed anyone that went through, they were just holes in the tubing, so the tubes were filled with water. Jet studied them thoroughly, and decided to go around them, rather wisely, as he was still in his normal clothing. There were four or five of the arches, and a huge puddle on the far side.

Jet did stomp in the puddles. John managed to remove his shoes before he did so, and we finally just lifted Jet and got all his clothing off, put on the spare swim diaper. He then just stomped everywhere, with his two trucks in his two fists, and happily played with the puddle and all the kids in it. He liked jumping up and down a lot. He also went, with John, to fire the water cannon at random things. Though Jet didn't really aim at anything, he seemed to really enjoy just having the jet go off while he was in charge. That was cool.

It was all cool. The water was great for cooling off, and the volcano gave off a constant mist even when it wasn't erupting. When it was about to erupt, the speakers around the area would start to rumble. All the kids would start screaming, and half would run away and the other half would run towards the watery slope. Jet would have nothing to do with the volcano. I was very glad of that.

Eventually, he was tired enough that we could take him away, change him, and stuff him back into his car seat. He went right to sleep as we headed further north. That was a very good play place indeed. I think it really proves that stopping and asking about local parks is a far better way to go than to just stop at McDonald's.

We got to Paul's fairly early in the evening. We got there before anyone else was home, and got to explore the backyard for a little while. There's a large climbing structure in the back, which Jet was on, with both trucks, instantly. It's actually fairly high off the ground, and there are no easy ways of it for Jet. So it worried me a little bit, but not too badly. Jan and Marina arrived first, then Paul. Jet and Marina got along very well, pretty much immediately. I wonder how much of that is from remembering each other?

Anyway, we had dinner, talked, and the two kids played and played and played. Jet really, badly, needed more play time. And it was fun to just catch up with Jan and Paul again. Yay! This should be a good rest after all our running

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