Friday, July 21, 2017

Oregon or bust

We're here in Waldport, OR and no one is dead. There has been bickering, there have been tears, there has been yelling, but we're still together and still having fun. Ah...the family road trip. Here are some highlights since we left Amarillo, TX (no highlights from there).

Cortez, CO - next to the hot spot, Durango (which was expensive and not dog-friendly). Stayed the night and then went to Mesa Verde National Park. If you're ever in CO, this is one place to put on your must-see list.
Page, AZ - here we stayed with our great friends, John and Bea. They live on Lake Powell and we spent one day out on their boat on the lake. Beautiful day in a beautiful place with beautiful people.

While on our way out of Arizona to California, we took a little detour through Zion National Park on our way to stay in Nevada. Of course we had to detour because Zion was kinda-sorta on the way and who can resist.

Elko, NV - this was a surprise. It was a stop-over, but we found a dog-friendly pub and met the owner, Scott, who bought us drinks. We also got coffee from a great little coffee shop. It's a mining and ranching town, but there was a lot to do if you need to stay more than one day in this town tucked away in the Northeast corner of Nevada. On our way out of town, while driving on the highway, we saw two antelope males facing off in a field on the side of the road. As we drove by, the one closest to the highway started to charge at the other in a fight for territory or females. I'm guessing they were fighting over girls. 

Susanville, CA - stopped here for the night on our way to the coast. On our way out, we stopped at Lassan National Park. Lassan still had snow (what, what???!!!) and part of the road was closed while the parks service was still trying to clear it. Lassan is a volcano that, appa
rently, is still active and could go any time. It was another surprise on this trip as we had no idea this park was here until we booked the room and it is a stunning park. I recommend if you travel around the country, look up all the national parks, as well as state parks. There are some interesting ones to be found.
This last picture is the volcano. Still active - or could be any time.
Eureka, CA - not what we expected. We were here two days. Everything looked like it was stuck in the 70s (that could be good or bad, depending on how you look at it). They are reviving their downtown and we had dinner at Cafe Nooner, a place that was featured on Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives because it had an outside patio and we could sit with the dog. The downtown was quaint and there were two bookstores, some clothing stores, and restaurants, as well as a theater that was advertising a local play. Oh, Lost Coast Brewery has their brewpub here. Cass and I stopped there for a beer. We also went to Six Rivers Brewery and had a delicious flight and then a combo beer of their Chili IPA with their Raspberry Lambic. Sweet and spicy! While here we went to see the redwoods. We looked for Bigfoot, but he was as elusive as ever. We settled for gazing at redwoods that are quite humbling when you think about it. Some of them are 1,000 years old.

Waldport, OR - beautiful little beach town among many little beach towns along Rt. 101. The water is colder and very few people are on the beaches hanging out like they do in Wilmington. Maybe because it has been, on average, 60 degrees. Not really bathing suit weather (for me at least). We drove on 101 to get here and to most of our destinations around Waldport, which is the scenic route. We saw a lot of people on bicycles riding down from Washington. According to my sister, this is a trip a lot of people take. We saw one family of four and the kids looked like they were no older than eleven. They were all winning at life. What a great family trip! 

So in the beginning of my post, I said we were here. We are, but at the end of the trip. Tomorrow we leave. We packed a lot in. Unfortunately, where Waldport is located, we had to drive at least 1 1/2 hours to get to anything we wanted to see. Some of the highlights of this week in Waldport were:
Depoe Bay where we saw gray whales, driving the Three Capes Scenic Loop and seeing the smallest lighthouse in Cape Meares, going into the Devil's Punchbowl (which Cass called the Devil's Washing machine because if you got caught in it you would have to be rescued by the Coast Guard), went to Blue Heron French Creamery and Tillamook Creamery (Blue Heron was the better of the two), went to several breweries - Block 15, Yachats Brewing and Farmstore (which was amazing), Pelican Brewery, and one winery - Airlie Winery - where Mom sampled some Willamette Valley Wines and ordered a case to be shipped. According to a woman also sampling wine, Willamette Valley is known for its Pinot Noir wine. Saw sunsets every night and one night saw seals. It was a great, lazy vacation, but I think if I come back I would stay in different areas for a few nights, traveling around the state so I could see Eugene and Portland. Tomorrow we leave for home, headed to Boise, Idaho. We'll stop halfway in Bend, OR. Looking forward to getting back to Wilmington.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Day 3 - Russellville, AR to Amarillo, TX

Today's lesson for the Road Trip 2017 is patience.

This is something I lack. This is something I am trying to work on. However, when it's hot, or I'm in a hurry and just want to get somewhere, or I'm hungry, I have a difficult time being patient. At 7 AM, I am all three.

Patience while my dad is tying the straps on the car carrier. Me - knot them and go - 5 minutes tops. Really? What's the worst thing that could happen? It's only full of clothes. Oh, my underwear could be scattered across the interstate while semis run it over. Him - make sure the straps are not twisted. Make sure they are tight. Make sure they are wrapped around the straps of the soft top carrier so they don't flap when we're driving. Use duct tape to tape together any loose ends - 20 minutes+. Patience.

Patience while we are trying to create a spot for the dog in the very back of the SUV. Patience while my mom is undoing everything I've done or telling me where I should put stuff. Patience.

Patience while traveling with a pet. Planning when traveling with a pet, like what restaurants are pet friendly, what attractions are pet friendly, not just what hotels are pet friendly. My parents don't want to leave him in the hotel room alone. So someone has to stay behind. We can't go out to dinner unless we find a place with a patio so he can sit outside, but it's 98 degrees out and who wants to sit outside? Patience.

Patience - lunch outside at Lake Overholser, a state park in Oklahoma outside of Oklahoma City - beautiful view of the lake.

Patience - stopping at a rest stop in Texas because it looked interesting. Shady areas that were like tepees and this view of the landscape:

The footprints of various animals in the concrete, a visitors center full of information about the area. Just being grateful that I have the opportunity to be on this trip.
Patience - and you're rewarded with these gorgeous views!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Day 2 - 'Bama to Russellville, AR

Although it may have been easier to fly to Oregon, 1) I hate to fly; 2) there is something about driving cross country.

As we leave Alabama and head into Memphis, Dad says it is an international shipping hub. There are semis everywhere, and we pass a huge shipping container yard. I wonder what Memphis was like, 100+ years ago. As I drive, I am thinking of a book I read in my NJ book club - I Married A Soldier. The author, Lydia Spencer Lane, was the great, great, great aunt (I don't think it was further removed than that, but it could be) of Linda in the book club. The book was about the young woman's experience as a soldier's wife in the early days of the southwestern frontier, areas we will drive through and visit. Obviously our travels will be easier and more comfortable (more or less - the discomforts will be minor) than hers, but I can't help but think of what it would have been like to travel before roads, before traffic, even before hotels. In the book she talks about how they would just stop and set up camp, set a guard to keep watch. No real roads or bridges. No airplanes. They had to ford rivers with the wagons and horses and hope for the best and that the current wouldn't sweep the wagons, horses, and passengers away. They had to keep a lookout for hostile Native Americans and other hostile people, as well as wild animals. We will have bridges to use to cross rivers, we may experience the occasional hostile driver and will probably not see any wildlife other than maybe a deer, a fox, or something else. As we drive over the bridge from Memphis, TN to Arkansas, I think what a dangerous and arduous trek she had made, several times, in her lifetime. But the expanse of night sky she must have seen, the wildlife, the people. It's not something I can ever experience - a time before cars, technology, airplanes. But, nonetheless it will still be an awesome trip.

But seeing the country, imagining what it was like, is why I like to drive on trips. There are things you can't see or experience when you fly. Do you get to your destination faster? Yes, but what do you miss? You miss seeing a huge Pentecostal church along Rt. 40 that looks like a statehouse rather than a place of worship. You miss seeing Cadillac Ranch (that's coming up outside of Amarillo). You miss seeing storms develop across the sky with lightening flashing through the clouds (I hate the lightening, but it can look awesome). You miss watching the landscape of this country change when you go from one coast to the other. Put a cross country trip on your bucket list. At least one. It's good poop.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Day 1 - ILM to Alabama

So, Day 1 - ILM to 'Bama - home of Jeff "Jug-ears" Sessions and racism. Was that too harsh?

So, we have emoji mascots - Good poop and Bad poop, because you know, shit happens, even on summer vacation. We're hoping for only good shit.

So far the drive has been Good poop - stopped at a decent rest area in South Carolina on Rt. 20 and had a picnic. Angus is a good traveler - slept in the backseat and didn't try to drive at all (unlike Mosie, my granddog, who thinks she can sit on your lap while driving). Walked around near the picnic table while we were eating and didn't bark at all. Drive was easy even heading through Atlanta during rush hour.  We even gained an hour crossing into Alabama - woo hoo - we're in a time machine! Look out Tardis. We'll call ours the Dadis, or the Chuck Wagon. It is his vehicle, after all.

Bad poop moment - the hotel. Room a little stinky until I doused a tissue with lemongrass essential oil and shoved it in the air conditioner and put a few drops in a few plastic cups around the room. Voila! Good poop! When life gives you poop, use lemongrass essential oil.

Bad poop moment - Mom not thrilled about the bed size. I don't blame her - sometimes I feel this way because sleeping in a queen bed with a husband and a 40lb+ dog can get hairy. And this room has two full size beds. I would not want to sleep in full size bed with Mark and Mosie. Angus will sleep with me tonight - so much for a bed to myself. Can't change this one because we have a room with a dog (sadly, not a room with a view).  But, a little food (and beer) in us, some jazz on Spotify, and the mood lifted - Voila! Good poop strikes again! Good always triumphs over evil. Take that bad poop!

Just a drive-by in 'Bama - not that I want to linger long in the land of Sessions. Tomorrow we roll into Russellville to pick up Cass and stay the night. Good poop! It's always pleasant to end the night with a good poop!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Road Trip - 2

So, back in 2001 I took a road trip across the country with Kelsie, my mom, and brother, Zac. I went to see my sister, Cass, who lived in Flagstaff, AZ at the time and, all said and done, drove 10,000+ miles out west and up through Canada before returning home. It was a fun, interesting, stressful trip because traveling can be tough, especially when you're on road for a month, it was one of the hottest years on record (101 in St. Louis when we were there), and, let's face it - you're with your family. Even though I love my family 24/7/30 is a lot of family time. A. Lot. In a Jeep. 

Sixteen years later - road trip #2 with Mom. Cass is going as well as Dad, who only met us in Jackson Hole, WY the first time. Oh, we're also bringing Angus, their dog. What's going to happen on this trip? We're all older, maybe wiser, and definitely have to stop for more bathroom breaks. My sister has only spent holidays with my parents since she moved to California, then Arizona, and now Arkansas 20+ years ago. We've never traveled with a dog for that amount of time. We've also never been to Colorado, Northern California, Idaho, Kansas, Oregon, Louisiana, Alabama. Check, check, check off the map.

Stay tuned for the adventure. Road Trip 2017 begins 7/5/2017.