Going with the Flow on vacation

(our bike ride the first evening we arrived)
We just got back from a 7 day vacation to one of our favorite vacation spots, Sunriver, Oregon. We love Central Oregon and the high dessert for it's mix of landscape, it's beautiful, yet unpredictable weather and the myriad of activities available. However, this year has been terrible for the west coast in the realm of forest fires, and about 50 miles away from where we were staying is a large fire that has been burning for quite some time, known as the Milli Fire

About 2 days before we left for vacation I saw a post by two separate people in that area about smoke. I asked them their thoughts and they suggested that if we could get our money back, we consider not coming. However, we had already asked for vacation times off, the house was reserved with it being too late to cancel and get our money back, and we just knew there really wasn't any option other than to go.

As we neared the area we could see the smoky skies. What would normally be a beautiful backdrop of the Three Sisters Mt. range was just a haze. But we were in it for the long haul so we stopped in Bend, purchased our groceries and headed out. We arrived to blue skies in Sunriver and minimal smoke (though there was a slight lingering smell). We knew this could change in a heartbeat because all it took was a shift in the wind. Hubby and I went on a bike ride that evening, while his parents took a walk. Our daughter would arrive the next day with her friend. 

(We loved this sign outside a shop in Bend)

Throughout the 7 days were were there, we experienced smoky skies and poor air quality to some degree or another. Typically we spend most of our time outdoors, bike riding, hiking, shopping etc.. Normal air quality is 0-50 and we experienced one day where it was 89, the rest were well above 150, with one day reaching 223 with ash falling from the sky. Not exactly healthy numbers. 

 Knowing this could be the case, I packed quite a few games with us, just in case we were stuck inside more than usual. which we were. We packed movies, I had some blogging things that I could work on, puzzles, books. We were ready!

(Smoke filled skies kept us from seeing the mountains of central oregon)

When these kinds of things happen (whatever they are...insert your situation here), when they throw a wrench into your plans, into the things you like to do, what do you do? Do you stress out? Do you pack up and leave? Do you not go in the first place? Or do you go with the flow? Making the best of a not so great, but potentially great situation. Because you see, there was never a 100% guarantee of what would happen. All it takes when it comes to smoke is a shift in the winds to either clear the skies or bring in more smoke. You really just don't know.

(In 2012 I took a hike to punchbowl falls, which was affected by the current gorge fires...so glad I went)

We opted to go with the flow and make the best of whatever each day brought. I will tell you this, I never even thought about air quality before this trip. We sure thought about it last week and literally everyday was different. On Sunday night we heard about a fire that was started in our beautiful Columbia River Gorge, it quickly spread and we were hearing that back home was experiencing smoke. We thought, for sure we'd be leaving one smoky area and returning home to another. The winds must've shifted because by the time we came home there has been no smoke since we returned home. We did have traces of ash on our cars though. 

 (The sun on one of the smokiest days...bright orange/red)

 (The moon was the same)

 (When we arrived in Bend on the first day to get groceries before heading south, this was the sky)

(A lighter smoky day, we decided to bike to the park in Sunriver)

(We finally got a morning with blue skies...for the most part)
Back to vacation and going with the flow. We thoroughly missed doing our usual Central Oregon activities, but we weren't going to wallow in it. We took each day as it came. My hubby got in two mornings of really good (exercise) bike rides. We got in at least 2 or three leisurely bike rides and one afternoon went kayaking on the river. We went mini-golfing one day, to the park one morning before smoke got too bad, and the others that were too smoky we went to the village where we went into the shops or we stayed in and played games, I blogged or read, others watched movies, worked on puzzles. I was a bit obsessed with following the posts on the fire in the gorge.

I'm thankful that our family is, for the most part, laid back enough to go with the flow. We love to do things outside, but we are perfectly content, if needed to stay indoors. Hopefully the next time we head back, the weather cooperates. There were some new locations and hikes I wanted to see and do.

Sometimes if we're unwilling to go with the flow, unmovable in what we want or think, we potentially miss out on something just as great. We spent some great time around the table playing games and laughing. We were excited when the weather cleared and we were able to go outside. I'm a very routine person. I have a bit of a hard time being spontaneous and while I'm laid back and can go with the flow, sometimes I have to be really intentional if it messes with my plans too much. 

Often times on vacations I even go so far as to have a more detailed plan for meals, as in what we are making each day. Who is taking each meal, etc. When we have company, I delegate so many meals to each person so we share the load. This year, was more of a go with the flow year. I knew what meals I would make, and how many meals the others would make, but that was about it. It was usually up in the air as to what or who would take the days, usually decided the night before. I could choose to be okay with this, or get worked up...I almost failed a few times...even when we first got there and my thought for shopping was altered. It was good for me...a good stretch to get past my own agenda and be more flexible. 


With Joy Unquenchable,


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