Adventures by Thomas

With my sweetheart being very dedicated to her current dietetic internship and a lot of adventures that have happened this summer and early fall it has fallen upon me to write a little of our goings on.

Well because this summer was going to be Rachel’s last that she truly had free before work and family started to really take over our lives we decided to pack it full of fun little weekend adventures instead of just one big one.  One quick disclaimer is that we had so many different adventures I may end up missing one or two so this should just be considered a summary and not a comprehensive list.

We started our summer by visiting an abandoned town that is legend at my place of work and a little of a legend within the state of Oregon.  It is called the town of Valsetz.  This town was once a logging community completely built and owned by the timber factory at the time.  Due to heavy regulations in the state the mill closed and the company literally ripped up the paved streets and demolished the houses in 1984.  I had heard so much about the legend that I wanted to visit is and hike around the area.  It has reverted to the forest again and all that stands are some hard to find road remains and a foundation for a portion of the mill.


Soon after this time, and I am still not very sure how I did it, I was able to convince Rachel to try some “trail” riding.  The idea of throwing the words “mountain” and  “bike” together didn’t sit well with her so we changed the wording around to make her more on board with the concept.  She had her first experience just before her graduation in the McDonald State Forest.  I found a relatively flat six mile loop and we completed it!  While we have only gone a couple of times that was two more times than I was expecting and it was a blast!

We recently got some sweet canoe holders for our car so we can comfortably carry the boat around and not feel like we are hanging on for our dear lives.  So we multiple times took my parent’s canoe out for a spin and tested some of the many surrounding waters in the area.  During the 4th of July we even went down to the Cottage Grove area to canoe across Dorena Lake and then cycle the Row River Trail which we had done the previous year.



It was around this time that Rachel kept pressing me to try some motorized fun and we again used my parent’s equipment and borrowed their four-wheelers.  That was a blast from which Rachel confided in me that she wanted to get her motorcycle endorsement and license.  Needless to say that she is now endorsed and licensed to ride a motorcycle and I am not!  Yes, I need to get myself in gear and hurry up to be endorsed.


Not Rachel, but a picture of her training bike

I would be remiss in my duty to write this that while there are many things that Rachel has not done in her life there were a couple that I knew that I needed to fix.  The first being that during the summer Rachel informed me that she had never been to the east side of the state.  That had me completely shocked that she hadn’t seen Bend or other beautiful areas and played over there.  I found a place, out of the many, that I hadn’t been to and we took off.  We decided to visit Smith Rock Park to do some cycling and some hiking.  It was beautiful weather and another great adventure.


Possibly even more exciting was our trip to go fishing.  Yes, you understood me correctly that she had never been fishing in her life.  So as a graduation present I got us a couple of seats on an ocean chartered boat to do some rock fishing.  I went this route for fishing because I wanted to make sure that she got to actually catch something and not just wait around for a bite or two.  We ended up catching quite a few fish and sharing the wealth with family and friends.  We had such a blast even if by the end of the trip we were both puking our guts out and glad to be back on land.  We have since turned the fish that we did keep into some delicious homemade fish sticks.  Rachel is an awesome cook so of course they tasted great!


Our last adventures of the summer and fall involved a lot of great hikes and views for us.  We spent some time hiking in the Molalla forest area.  There are a lot of multi-use trails for hikers, equestrians and mountain bikers.  It is on my personal list of cycling places, but a really fun place that is well marked for hiking.  We also played around the Mount Hood area as well, but for us everything that we had done paled in comparison to the hike we had at the tail end of August.


One of the areas that I occasionally get to visit with in my job is a town called Detroit.  It is a very small town of just a couple hundred people with a reservoir that many visit from all over the state to enjoy.  It is in a deeply wooded area in the foothills of the Oregon Cascade mountain range.  I have never really gone hiking in this area, but some small walks along with photography and wanted to see what the area could offer for the both of us.  I found a hike on some BLM/Department of Agriculture’s websites and decided to try it out.  We do a lot of our adventures just with some guess work, showing up and hoping for the best.  As we started the hike we began to admire the beauty of the trees and the surrounding landscape.  Little did we know that just about a mile into it we would be stunned by gorgeous vistas, hidden lakes, small meadow streams and brilliant wildflowers.  While it was only an 11 mile hike roundtrip we both agreed that we would come back to do some camping and that it was by far the best area and hike we had ever been on.  While we will include some photos, they can only go so far as you really have to be there to feel the vibrancy of the surroundings.


I will conclude this part of the Elzinga blog by saying congratulations that you have made it to the end.  It was a great summer with many more on the horizon!


Summer is coming/school is over

I’m graduating in a week. Okay, well I’m pretend graduating in a week as I’m not actually participating in my commencement ceremony. But…HOLY COW…I can’t believe I’m/we’re here. It’s been a looooong road and I’m sad/glad to be done. Mostly glad though.

Here’s a rough list of what’s happened to me (rachel) in the last 3.5  years:
– started taking chemistry at Lane Community College
– moved away from Eugene to Corvallis
– moved 3 times in one year
– took Microbiology, organic chemistry, biochemistry, statistics, psychology, biology, anatomy and physiology, human nutrition sciences: micro and macro, medical nutrition therapy, nutrition through the life cycle, community nutrition, communications in nutrition, food science, food service management, business management, argument and critical discourse, and countless other classes that I can’t even remember
– worked at the Portland LDS temple for 1.5 years
– met Thomas
– married Thomas
– moved in with Thomas
– had a tooth removed
– sold Thomas’s Jeep to pay for school and dental bills
– had a new tooth put in
– had a summer internship
– painted my parents kitchen cabinets
– went to my grandmother’s funeral
– went to the Redwoods, Crater Lake, Vancouver BC- Stanley Park (it was my favorite), Vancouver WA, Mt. Rainier, Seattle, Poulsbo Island, Monterey Bay, San Francisco, Newport, Sacramento LDS temple, Sea Ranch, Grants Pass, Lincoln city to blow glass and other small fun adventures I can’t even remember right now
– got accepted into the OSU dietetic internship for 2016-2017, which was my goal ever since Thomas and I started talking about marriage.
– bought a new car, affectionately known as firefly, which will be sure to take us on many adventures. She’s already doing well.

It’s been a busy, fun, crazy, stressful and wonderful 3.5 years. As Thomas and I were driving to the grocery store tonight (hot Friday night date) I commented that he was going to be getting to know a whole new Rachel because he’s only ever known me in school. We both realized that not only would he be getting to know a whole new me, but so would I. I’m excited to see the person I’ll be after I graduate and move forward in my career aspirations.

On a lighter note, Thomas and I spent the Memorial day weekend playing. We hiked McDowell Creek Falls on Friday night, then went on a fun gift-card paid for date at a yummy restaurant called 1847 in Lebanon. On Saturday we hiked Opal Creek Trail and had Hasty Freeze ice cream. On Sunday we rested, cuz that’s what we do. On Monday, Thomas’s birthday, I spent the morning working on a group project and Thomas spent the morning helping his sister and her husband move into a house in Springfield OR. We then met up with each other at their house and went on a fun 20-some mile bike ride around my favorite bike path in Eugene. It wasn’t what we had planned for the day but it was still super fun. We then ate at one of my favorite restaurants in town and then headed home, in two separate cars- which was lame but it was apparently necessary.

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Capturing the awesome little caterpillar we found in photo
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One of the falls at McDowell Creek Falls
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Last year I was terrified to pick the golden raspberries on the trail, afraid they would poison us. This year, after asking my gardening friends if they were safe, I couldn’t stop picking them and even went into some precarious spots just to see if they were ready. Most of the ones we ate were bitter, but it made for fun memories.
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The restaurant we went to was way pricier than what we normally pay, but thankfully we had a gift card. As evidence of their coolness/pricieness they had this awesome glass fire thing on the patio overlooking the garden. It was a little chilly so we opted to sit inside. 
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My favorite person in the world
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Thomas showing off his serious guns at some old abandoned ruins on our Opal Creek hike
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The beauty of this trail was absolutely astounding. Pictures didn’t do it justice but being there sure did.
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The lighting was harsh but I had to get a picture by some of the awesome beauty.
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The pools were so crystal clear and absolutely stunning. I want to go back when it’s hot out and swim. 
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The return. Less sweatshirts and sunglasses and more tiredness and fun.
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Thomas gives me ice cream when I’m a good girl
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The only picture we got on Thomas’s birthday. Yes I am a bad wife. Or I was just so busy having fun I didn’t even bring my phone with me on our bike ride.


2016 started out with a whimper. Fortunately it has gotten much better and the Elzinga’s are in almost-full recovery mode.

I celebrated my 30th birthday on Saturday, which was a blast. My mom came up from California to spend the weekend with us and we had so much fun shopping, chatting, eating and watching fun TV. My sister and her family came over at night and went to dinner and ate dessert with us. We just went to a burger joint but it was a fun one that I think we all really enjoyed. Then I made a punch bowl cake (because I really wanted to make it) and we all thoroughly devoured what we could. It was delicious with plenty of leftovers. But my mom got me a caramel apple from Rocky mountain chocolate factory and Thomas got me 3 boxes of girl scout cookies so there are so many options that I should just be eating sweets for the next two weeks. I’m happy.

Sunday we spent at my sisters house. I made everyone who was willing watch the Secret of Roan Inish with me. It’s my birthday weekend. jk. Almost all the grownups in the room fell asleep at some point and all the little kids got bored at some point. Except me, so I’m pretty sure I’m still at a good age where I’m not a grown up or a little kid. #12forlife

School is hectic and crazy. I turned in my Dietetic internship application a few days before Valentine’s day and now get to anxiously await April 3rd. At least I don’t have to worry about it for another month or so. Plus I’m in two groups for huge group projects that are worth a large chunk of my grade. It’s a struggle.

Valentine’s day was weird. Since it was on Sunday and we had a regional broadcast for church we celebrated on the 12th (with tulips and cheesecake brownies) and the 13th (with lunch at an Indian restaurant). Plus I had a test on Monday so I basically spent my weekend studying while Thomas watched Midsomer Murders downstairs. Super romantic.

Cycling season is slightly underway around here. The weather is somewhat nice so Thomas is able to take his nicer bike out every once in a while. Though not as far as he’d like to. The other weekend he got a flat riding it on the wet ground, but he’s persistent and doesn’t let flat tires bother him as much as I do. He’s SOOO excited to start cycling again and I’m excited for him too. This winter has been rough on us and I think it’ll be some good exercise therapy for him.

That’s all on our end. Not super thrilling but we kind of like our life.

Friends in town

The weekend before we went yurting Thomas’s friend and ex-mission companion, John Lalone, and his 4-year-old daughter, Rachel, came out to visit us/Oregon/Portland. It was so fun!

Unfortunately the only real thing I have pictures of is when we went to Newport but we did so much more that I’m just going to tell you.

We started out on Saturday picking the Lalone’s up from the airport. Then we headed over to Voodoo donuts in Portland. I’ve been to the one in Eugene but I’d never been to the one in Portland. We actually had to wait in line for like an hour (or so it seemed to me) to get our donuts, but it was fun. The walls were glittery and we could smell the delicious donut-y goodness. I got a heart shaped donut covered in frosting with strawberry filling and Thomas got an m&m covered donut.

After the donuts we saw that the Saturday market was right behind us so we put more money in the meter and headed over. Again, I’ve been to the Eugene Saturday market but not Portland and Portland’s was way fun. Eugene’s is way fun too but I just enjoy new experiences I guess. Then we walked the river path to a fountain and headed back. Rachel Lalone LOVES dogs and so whenever we saw one she got excited and had to point it out. And there are a lot of homeless people that hang out on the river path and lots of them have dogs so we got to see and hear about all of them. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.

After the market we headed over to one of the food cart areas and all decided to try something different. I got reindeer sausage, John got something Indian, and Thomas picked Greek. Then we split a portion of our meal with everyone so we all got to try something new! Totally worth trying!

By the time we got back to the car it had started to rain, but we warned them that it does that in Oregon so they were prepared. Then we headed onto the freeway and stopped by the Portland temple on our way home. We took some pictures and went to the visitors center where we colored pictures of the temple, had a geography face off and the boys got to talk to one of the senior missionaries there that was also a nerd accountant like them (jk, accountants aren’t nerds…). Such a blast.

Sunday was church, of course. But this time we had Stake conference so we sat for two hours and listened to talks. I might have become like a 4 year old and started coloring, demanding snacks and mercilessly distracting my husband. Also our stake boundaries got changed so we had to stay an extra half hour to figure out if we were changing wards. We’re not, but that’s cool.

After church Rachel and I made Halloween cookies and she tried to eat all of them. Can’t blame the girl. After cookies we headed over to Waverly Park in Albany and fed the ducks/chased the geese away from us. It was a perfect fall day so we greatly enjoyed being outside.

The next day I had to go to at least one of my classes but after we headed over to Newport. We ate at Mo’s, bought salt water taffy, watched sea lions, ate ice cream, played at the beach (with Rachel acting like a caracal and digging and splashing copious amounts  of water), toured a light house (or the outside of it) and climbed a fun hill. Really fun day.

The next day they left and I was sad. It was fun to talk to John and play with Rachel. They’re good people.

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I pig tail braided Rachel’s hair to look like mine. I was kind of excited to have a little girl to play with.
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On our way to Newport!
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Rachel and John strolling on the beach. She was positively soaked and dirty by the time we were done, but thankfully dad brought some extra clothes.
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Top of the hill that we didn’t even know there was a path on.
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Rachel’s sweet notes that she dictated to her sweet dad. We really did have a blast with them.

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Goin’ yurtin’, goin’ yurtin’

A few years ago, after I’d moved to Oregon, some of my friends went and stayed in a yurt. I had NEVER heard of a yurt (or elephant ears, but that’s a different story) and was intrigued. They explained that it was basically a suped up camping shelter and ever since then it’s been on my Oregon bucket list to go yurting. This weekend our friends, the Richardson’s, were supposed to go camping but something happened and they couldn’t make it. Brother Richardson asked if we wanted to go and we IMMEDIATELY said we would. Plus this week was fairly stressful at school so it was the perfect end to a hard week.

So after school on Friday Thomas and I loaded up the car and headed to Waldport. The drive over was beautiful. All the fall colors were out and it was sunset/dusk so the lighting was fantastic. We really do live in such a beautiful place. I sometimes forget how blessed we are.

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Blurry, but it really was gorgeous.

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Our cute little yurt, Quasar.

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The inside of the yurt was super posh. There was sleeping room for 8 (though I’m still not exactly sure how that works out) and it came with two space heaters! We weren’t cold at all. 2015-10-16 19.57.05

Also, we took the mattress off the couch so we could actually sleep next to each other without Thomas being squished. We both hit our heads a few times on the furniture next to us but we actually had a really good night. We played games and roasted hot dogs and ate s’mores (with orange flavored dark chocolate- so it tasted like Christmas). It was super fun to finally have a bonfire again and not be in fire danger.

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This was the view about 25 feet from our car. We took a long walk on the beach in the morning before it started raining.

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Grainy morning picture of us. But we were so excited to be so close to the beach we had to get a couple selfie.

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Packing up. While Thomas packed the car, I played with the fire. He’s a good husband like that.

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Our final couple selfie.

Thank you Richardson’s for letting us have an awesome yurting adventure!

Mary’s Peak, School starts and a new tooth

Phew, it’s been a busy few days!

I started school last Thursday, which really wasn’t a big deal. I just didn’t appreciate starting two days earlier than last year. Oh well, I’m already spoiled enough.

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This weekend Thomas and I had an AWESOME hike up Mary’s Peak. I’ve been meaning to hike it ALL summer long (with me being so bored, you’d think I’d have just done it, but no) so it was fun to finally do. Then when we got there there were all these signs saying that everything was closed due to clearing up the paths so we trudged back to our car, $5 poorer (parking) without a 5.5 mile hike to show for it. We decided to try the top parking lot just in case. It also had anti-hiking signs up so we headed back to our car again. But this time a park ranger stopped us and asked us if we were hiking. We told him we planned on it but everything looked closed. He told us that the closures had been delayed and he thought he had taken all the closed signs off, but he hadn’t realized he missed some. We went back down to our original parking lot and started our trek (again). This time we made it back to the top parking lot (where the ranger was) and then we summitted. As we were heading back down to the park ranger parking lot we realized we weren’t entirely sure we knew the quickest way back. So we went and talked to our happy park ranger again (which we’ve decided to name our first something after) and he told us the way. He then asked if we had paid for our parking and we told him we had. He then went in his truck and gave us back our $5. For some reason this was a very big deal for me. Having both the trail really open and my money back was really a tender mercy and I’m super grateful. It made our hike that much more fun.

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Then today I got my new tooth. I lost it last year on October 16th from a stupid campus bike crash (I’m not bitter) and have struggled with insurance, dental appointments, lots of local anasthetic and loss of confidence (full disclosure) for the last 11 and 1/2 months. Now I finally have my new tooth and I finally feel comfortable smiling again! 🙂

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Before- hobo with a glaring hole (kidding)
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Complete smile 🙂

People always claimed it wasn’t noticeable but A) I didn’t believe any of them and B) it was noticeable to me. I’m happy to have my normal smile back. I never realized how much it would affect me not to have it.