Park 1: Redwoods (West Coast Road Trip)

So, we arrived at the first of the 3 major Parks that comprise the building blocks of this trip, and it was amazing!

Would you believe I had a few friends tell me there wasn’t much to seeing the redwoods? Maybe this was just their way of lowering the bar so that I loved these majestic beauties even more. If so: thanks, Andy & Jonathan!

Suffice to say: these trees more than live up to their reputation. Thy are majestic, beautiful, awe-inspiring. Some are 1500-2000 years old. They make you want to get quiet, and then get on your knees. One walk we took, aptly named “Cathedral Walk”, felt worshipful and quiet, and sacred. Another highlight was Avenue of the Giants, a 30 mile stretch of road that continuously feel like you are driving through a postcard.

I’m yet to be convinced that the girls appreciate much of this (more on this later). I keep on asking them questions like “what did you like about that walk?,” or “what did you learn from that talk?”, gauging their interest-level and retention level. So far, they respond with fairly flat answers: “cool”, “good”, “pretty tree”, etc. But, even if my most pessimistic impressions are correct, I still think the act of visiting these places is a worthwhile endeavor. Like a lot of the best things in life, sometimes you have to act your way into loving it.

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Happy birthday, lovely girl

Abigail turned 9, a few hours ago.

Here we are with a very special view, off the Mendocino coast.

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Quotes- on appearance

Cyn, on evies appearance: “are you going for looking cute, or being safe?”

Evie: “being cute!… and being safe, too”

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Crossing the California border, West coast road trip Day 4

Another ~200 miles south today.  Here’s our route:


As I mentioned yesterday, one thing that I’m really learning on a trip like this is that routine is really important.  Just as at home, it’s important for us all (especially younger ones) to have a predictable schedule. So, we’re working in rituals: when breakfast is, what happens after breakfast, who helps do what when we’re breaking camp.  Doing things in regular, predictable ways is good for us all.

And that makes all the highlights of a day like today all the more special.  Today, we past the southern Oregon coast, which is full of dunes.  Proceeding the dunes were some spectacular vistas of the Pacific.  I’m a good driver, so I’m exaggerating here… but it is a little scary to be driving and be tempted to stare at some of the most beautiful things I’ve seen in my life.  Seriously- why is this area of the country not talked about, more?  It’s spectacular!  Here’s a picture near Humbug Mountain (a place I hope to return to):

Image result for pacific ocean oregon humbug coast

The other fun thing routine and an expectant attitude allow for is surprises.  And we got one, just south of Humbug.  Cyn was looking out the window toward the ocean, and let out a gasp. I got excited. “Did you see a whale?”, I asked.  She did… but not like I was expecting.

What I thought was driftwood on the beach… turned out to be a beached whale.  


On to tomorrow… when we begin to explore: the REDWOODS!

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Day 3: the Oregon Coast

Today we went from Tillamook to the Oregon Dunes, just south of Florence. Here’s the map:


Today was our first full day, and it felt like it. We are getting in “vacation mode”, which means we are getting used to being in the car, looking out the window, and catching up with each other.

Is it a surprise that, even in a 4-person family, you still have to “catch up” with each other? Maybe it shouldn’t be, but we had to spend some time (hearing about the end of each others’ school years, and also had to go over the rules about being polite to each other when in conversation.  We also learned that, when tired or bored, Evie comes up with impromptu silly/crazy songs.  Ask her about them, sometime.

But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a lot to enjoy on our route! Here’s our highlights of today:

  • Kiwanda beach & dunes: lovely spot, beautiful beach… and who knew there was so much surfing in Oregon?
  • Yaquina light house: this was the surprise highlight of the day.  We didn’t checked out this place on a whim, and ended up staying for several hours.  Our favorite part was seeing the tidepool life at the bottom of the lighthouse.
  • Devils churn: an enormous surge channel that, true to its name, makes a lot of noise
  • Oregon coast beaches with sand that goes on and on forever.  Seriously, I had no idea the coast lines went on and on like this, with such fine sand.

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Day 2: getting to the Oregon Coast

Today we made it through Portland and stayed with Uncle Matt long enough to see his business, Handcrafted Movement, and their new site.

Once we left Matt in Portland, we headed down south of Portland, to the Coast.  This is when the real adventure begins: This will be my and the girls’ first time to the Oregon Coast.  We’ve been to Portland several times, but we have not explored the Coast.

We made it as far as Tilamook, OR, home of cheese!  Abigail asked if they named the town after the cheese company… that tells you how well the cheese is known. But the tour of the factory did not disappoint.

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West coast road trip: We’re off!

Summer is here!

And that means we begin on something I’ve been looking forward to all year: we’re taking a West Coast Road Trip. We’re going to take ~2 weeks to travel down the West Coast, about as far as Yosemite & Sequoia Park in California.  We have the road, we have our car (Abbey & Evie are modeling our rented Chevy Tahoe, above), we have some camping equipment, and we have each other.

Here’s the outline of the trip for the next 2 weeks:



I mentioned I’ve been looking forward to this trip all year.  In fact, to be honest, I’ve been looking forward to this trip since before the girls were born. These types of trips my family took while I was growing up, and they remain some of my very favorite memories of all.

Here’s us in 1991 (I believe I’m around 12 years old, here), at Yellowstone National Park.  I’ve just taken my first “hike” of my life (at this time, I wasn’t aware people still hiked!).



What’s so special about a Road Trip?  For me, the biggest thing is that it expands your horizons.  You get out of the world you were used to, and move beyond your normal boundaries.  You get to see new landscapes, new people, new towns. For me, I remember seeing beautiful landscapes I never knew existed: high tundras, big mountains, and large prairies. I also remember visiting towns and people that were  different than the one I grew up in.

Realizing there was so much out there wasn’t just exciting in the moment.  It meant that, even once I got back to the familiar, I somehow carried these larger experiences with me.  It meant that the horizons of what I thought was possible, or what I could encounter in the world, was bigger than I previously thought.

Finally… and this probably goes without saying: having the experience with people you love matters a lot, too.  I’m excited to have this Trip for the four of us, and the people we meet along the way.






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