Wednesday, August 18, 2010

On the Road Again - Pacific Northwest 2010

Recently, Mr. B said something to me about our penchant for travel. It seems that while I felt we've been home FOR-EVER, he feels we're "always traveling." I couldn't figure out what he was talking about since, the way it came to my mind, the last BIG trip we took was in 2008. Sure, in 2009 the girls and I traveled to Utah (to see my family), Nebraska (while we were out thataway), and Colorado (to see his family) for about a month all totaled. The way I saw it, the girls and I hadn't gone ANYwhere since then!

But I checked the calendar. Turns out MY idea of "going nowhere" involves at least one weekend away from home almost every month. Since the new year, we visited family in Southern California for three days this winter, went to Disneyland with Mr. B in May, visited more family in Marin County for three days in July, and camped on the Central Coast in June (with sister-in-law, niece and nephews) and May (with homeschoolers from throughout California), and in the Sierra last weekend (with Grandpa). I guess my idea of "here" is "California."

Well, now we're on the road again. Since last November, we've known we'd be taking this trip north to Washington for the International Kite Festival on the Long Beach Peninsula. The girls and I set out VERY early Sunday morning and had a great stop at Turtle Bay Park in Redding - probably the only real reason to stop in Redding. (Thanks, Amy, for telling me about it.) We made it in time to enjoy the museum and the GPS Maze, a traveling exhibit by, but the bird show had already come and gone. It was really hot, so we didn't do a lot with the outside attractions, including trails through the botanical garden, the Sundial Bridge, and the playground structures. But now we know where to stop whenever we're headed along this route.

Thanks to the Forest Service website, we were able to find a relatively fantastic place to camp for the night. The F.S. listed the campground as "underutilized" as well as convenient to the freeway. Plus, the price was right - Just $15/night. We towed in our little trailer just before sunset to find an almost abandoned campground which had recently had a serious clean out, including tree trimming, site raking, fire ring clean outs and restroom rehab. The host informed us we'd arrived on a fee-free night, too! What more could we ask? THEN we found the ripe blackberries growing along the trails to the wide, shallow river which provided just enough white noise to cancel out the freeway sounds. We'll probably make this a regular stop on this route in future.

The temperatures as we traveled north were ridiculously hot. I expected heat in Redding, but when we dropped out of the passes in Oregon it was STILL hot. We stopped at one of Oregon's many wonderful, wooded, park-like rest stops to play in the sprinklers and have a picnic lunch. While we were there, a family pulled in with their horse trailer and opted to let the horses out for some cool shade. It seems the weather was even too hot for traveling animals.

When we hit Portland, the temps were still ridiculously high. But E came up with a great idea for dinner on our way through town. She recalled Noodles, a place the girls and I discovered last winter during our visit here. The parking goddess was smiling down upon us - she saved us two adjacent parking spots along the curb directly outside the restaurant f0r easy parking WITH the trailer. Sure, we had to pay for two spots. Still, it was a great deal.

Managed to get to Seaview, where the marine layer had taken over and dropped temperatures, around 9:30 p.m.. A VERY long road trip. Next time, it has to be a 3- to 4-day drive. 600 miles per day, one day after another, is just too much.

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