the beginning of the monumental cross country road trip home, first full day on the road, aka Day One. oh, oregon. oregon, you made it so hard to leave. on our way out, we hit crater lake, wonder of all oregonian wonders. crater lake, where it started to snow as the four of us stood at the edge and peered down into all that deep, deep blue. on the seventeenth day of june, it snowed. and because we were excited, because we were at the front end of two weeks of adventuring and road tripping and the gloriously glorious unknown, we lobbed a few snowballs into the lake. you know, for luck or something. a few family members (who shall remain nameless) (WARD, I'M TALKING TO YOU) stood too close to the edge and I nearly lost my mind over it. however, it did not take us long to recover because, did you know? even the seventh deepest lake in the world has a gift shop. and everyone knows gift shops are the ultimate family road trip reset button. when in doubt, head to the gift shop, scatter yourselves down aisles littered with gift shop kitsch, buy a few postcards, eat a few pieces of fudge, all will be forgotten. this, of course, was the first of many, many gift shops and also where ezra decided that collecting souvenir pocket knives would be, and I quote, 'his thing'.
on this day, a few inside family jokes were born, an abandoned old roadside motel and a pepto pink burger joint called phil's frosty were visited and the last of the oregonian highways traversed. by the time we crossed the oregon state line into california, the light had turned to gold and the weight of the whole thing, the leaving of a place we loved so much, the thought of so much unknown before us, finally set in and as we began to wind and weave our way into the redwoods, we knew. there was no turning back.