Monday, August 13, 2007

An End To The Suspense!

A couple weekends ago, two very large clans converged and descended upon an unsuspecting Ft. Stevens.

The Umfleet tribe numbers 17. The Browns: 19, plus one girlfriend.

I'll wait here while you do the math...

Okay. Put your toes away. The total is THIRTY SEVEN. Between Umfleets, Darlings, Gilberts, Browns, Tywoniuks and Fennels we overtook the better part of a whole loop of hookups.

It was truly a family reunion as every single member of both clans was able to come. All the Umfleets hail from Oregon and live within about a three mile radius so that's not such a great feat. Not so with the Brown troupe. They came from Calgary and Ft. Macleod, Alberta, Canada and the Seven-Fennel's-Plus-One trekked all the way from Grand Forks, North Dakota! Now *that's* commitment to getting together!

Once the weather broke, we pretty much commandeered Coffinbury Lake. There were relatives as far as the eye could see.

Didn't get any pics of the ocean 'cause I forgot my camera when we went for a bike ride to the South Jetty, but it's probably a good thing. It turned into a nearly-nine-mile exercise in group dynamics whose final leg was about three miles of peddling on looser-than-expected beach sand. I would have been worried for my precious Kodak. GREAT workout, though, and miraculously, I survived it.

OH! And, the BIG NEWS, you ask?

Grace abandoned her training wheels!

Sorry, Beth, there is no third bun in the oven.

Not a tear, not a crash, not a "Daddy! Don't let go!!"
James just held her up by the back of her shirt long enough to get her balance and she was gone. After the first loop we instructed her about starting from a standstill and she virtually didn't stop riding until it was time to go home.

She did the ENTIRE big bike ride without a single whimper or complaint... though she did finally tire of waiting for me and came marching down the beach to walk bikes with Auntie Dawn and me. Pretty amazing for just barely five.

Well, I think so, anyway.

Wade, a Tywoniuk "second tier adult" (you can't call 'em kids anymore when they're, like, 20...) dubbed her "Gracie Pace Car" because she was always out in front. She didn't like the name until I explained to her was a Pace Car is. Then she thought it was totally cool, of course.

Everyone seemed to have a really great time.

I guess the kids did...

We almost never saw them except in multicolored blurs... either racing past our various camp sites on their bikes and scooters, or holed up in the darkness of Dawn and Jeff's tent, their faces recognizable only in the illuminating glow cast by their Nintendo DSes.

They would pop in occasionally for sustenance, however.

James and the girls even managed to squeeze in a shellfish extravaganza, I referred to fondly as the Exploding Crab Fest. You're not eating crab correctly if you don't end up with some pulverized crustacean shrapnel in your hair. Being allergic, I sat just out of range and enjoyed vicariously.

Oh, and of course, there was...


The Camp Fire Hamburger!

Oregonzola Blue Cheese stuffed burgers topped with... ... BACON, Robusto cheese, dijon, Beth's homemade 'Chup and pickles on a toasted bakery sesame seed bun, washed down with some local Pinot.

Now THAT's camping, my friends!

Well, actually, it's not *camping* in my opinion of you're sitting just outside a 34 foot RV... but it's some danged fine outdoor dining!!

Up next: Beets the size of your head and the hazards of home electronics of planetary proportions...


Me said...

YEA Grace!! And what a CLAN it is! Was there room for anyone else at Ft. Stevens and the lake?
What fun!!

Lisa said...

How fun! That reminds me of our family reunion in New Mexico last September. We also were able to coordinate getting people from far-off lands together for the first time ever. It was a blast and the kids only came to us for food or first-aid.