Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Oregon Coast: We Went There

We went on a trip!  An honest-to-goodness two-days-to-get-there road trip.  And we all survived.  In fact we had a great time and everyone did pretty well in the car, especially considering the longest they've ever sat for a drive was 3.5-4 hours (and really, they don't have much mobility, so they're pretty good sports overall).  The plan was to meet The Wife's family on the Oregon coast where a beach house had been rented, but we wanted to make the most of the drive (everyone else was flying or lives a little closer than we do) so we went a couple days early and took our time visiting the beach and doing some sightseeing.  I hadn't been to Oregon in over ten years and the kids of course had never been so we thought we would make the most of it.  It was marvelous.

Day 1: Driving.  We stopped once or twice in Idaho to stretch our legs and have lunch etc. and then made it in pretty good time to Baker City, OR, where we enjoyed the indoor pool and nice breakfast and Elena of Avalor at the local Super 8.
Some rest stops can be pretty interesting if you look around.
 Day 2: More driving, where the freeway was blocked due to fires and we ignored the gas station guy who suggested a five-hour detour and took Shelley-at-the-visitor-info-booth's advice which only cost an extra half our or so, we almost ran out of gas (I swear I had enough to make it to Portland!), did a quick drive-by of the insanely crowded Multnomah Falls, we found a funny tiny country store to get some emergency fuel (we were amazed we made it), and tried to navigate through Portland before finally arriving in Lincoln City, which was tiny and charming and our motel was a five-minute walk to the beach.
We almost left Kitty at this place.  Can you imagine the nightmare that would have been?
 Day 3: Up to the Tillamook factory for samples and a deserted tour, further up to Cannon Beach for the most glorious time and a wonderful Goonies moment and lots of great jumping pictures (none of which I have among these), then back to Tillamook for lunch, where it was NOT deserted and we waited a long time but it was pretty good grilled cheese.
 Day 4: Exploring Lincoln City and the surrounding area of Depoe Bay etc., where we discovered an aquarium but it was way too expensive so we just had a picnic on the benches outside it instead and went exploring and met a friendly squirrel.  We did a little window shopping, and then the rest of the fam arrived and we settled in to our fun dwelling place.
O hai.
 Day 5: Beach house!  There was room to sleep all 20+ of us and we went straight to the beach, which was so close we could hear the waves through our windows.  We just relaxed and ate and played games and flew kites and dug in the sand all day.  I put on my swimsuit and intended not to remove it for three days.
Just a few minutes away from our beach house!  And the sun is out!
 Day 6: Depoe Bay!  We went to the tide pools and there was plenty of exploring to be done.  Crabs and mussels and seals (so I'm told) and lots of cool places to explore.  More food, more relaxing, more hot tub.  I took a quick morning run on the beach, which was rocky but soooo foggy and magical.
This was a really cool place.
 Day 7: Starting to wind down and preparing for our long drive home.  We went back into town for some last-minute shopping, dining and whale watching in Depoe Bay and then said our sad goodbyes as we drove back toward and through Portland (ooohhhhh, Portland... your traffic was the worst.  Thanks for adding like three hours to our drive) and made it back to Baker City where a lack of motel vacancy almost spelled disaster but a room mixup with the Super 8 management led to an upgrade and a discount.  I'll take it.
My cute girl in Depoe Bay.
 Day 8: They say getting there is half the fun but getting back blows.  We were just glad to finally roll into this valley and know we were less than an hour from getting out of the car.  But really, hardly any complaints from the back seat, they were really good for 95% of the time.
Hello, SLC.
 We were sorry to say goodbye to this cool little house, but probably even sorrier to say goodbye to this glorious (free upgrade!) rental car.  Lesson learned:  Get and use your own insurance.
We'll miss this charming seaside cottage, but we'll probably miss this luxurious RAV-4 even more...
 The Monday after, this was on my mind...
What a nice time to be had.  There were a few hiccups and a really unfortunate accident with a cousin involving an emergency ambulance ride for hip surgery in Portland, and The Boy is going through a weird bedtime reluctance ritual, but overall it was just nice.  It was so great to go to the beach.  The water was freezing and it was often quite windy but it was enough to see and smell and feel it.  I have come to hold the opinion that every human should see the ocean at least every other year.  It does wonders for one's perspective.  It was great to go on a real family vacation and the kids had a great time with The Wife's almost entire family, and I'm glad they've seen the big water.

Next: Disneyland?...