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Road trip with the family

08/19/08

Permalink 05:37:22 am, by joseph Email , 2381 words   English (US)
Categories: Fun, In real life

Road trip with the family

I can't believe it, 20 years since I graduated from High School. A lot went through my mind as I packed up the family and we made our way up to the podunk town of Madras. This journey was different for me since this was the first time I was going to drive to Oregon. What usually takes me three and half hours via United, was going to be a bit longer this time around.

Follow up:

Since the wifely person has never been to Oregon, or Northern California for that matter, she wanted to take the scenic route when ended up going through San Francisco then up the 101 to the Redwood Forest and then around Crater Lake and then finally on into Madras. In total it took us four days and 1225 Miles to get to Madras. Along the way we discovered some nice hotels and one really sucky one in San Francisco. Tip #1. When you have three young boys, it is best to find a hotel that provides suites. The one we had in Crescent City even had a full kitchen which was nice since all the restaurants were closed by the time we arrived.

Tip #2 GPS. I'm not sure how we ever got along without GPS systems. But let me tell you, it was sure nice having that bad boy in our car. A big change from trying to read a AAA map when you are driving around in a big town like San Francisco. I used to think MapQuest was leading edge, but even that has to take a back seat. In addition to our Garmin GPS I have GPS on my iphone, and with the Goggle map overlay, I can actually see the road I’m on and the surround area. Yeah I’m a techie nerd and even though I think Apple messed up big time on the new iphone it does have a couple of neat functions. The mapping and the e-mail are the two I use the most. But I digress… What a GPS system does is get you from point A to Point B. It may not find the most sensible route as Ashley, my step daughter, pointed out when we picked her up in Portland to visit my brother in Washington. I have to agree with her, because our GPS tried to force me to take a longer route from Portland to Newport. I finally had to turn it off because the lady kept telling me I was off route.

The trip up to Oregon was surprising enjoyable, once we got on the road. I think there was only one time we had to make an unscheduled stop and that was because Jon Jon decided to blow chunks. floated rightSomething he managed to do four times on our trip. The second time, I didn’t even know he had thrown up. We were in San Francisco on the Fisherman’s Warf and both Jun and Jon were in the twin stroller. I kept hearing a kid crying, and even though I kept turning around to see where the kid was it was all for naught. Finally I looked through a slit in the stroller's cover and noticed something white and creamy all over Jonathan. It seems that the Ben and Jerry Ice Cream we got him didn’t sit too well with him and he tossed that and something orange all over himself. Luckily being in tourist trap central we were able to find cheap shirts (cheap as in quality, not price) for him to wear

floated leftFor those who are planning on going to San Francisco and seeing Lombard street, I would highly suggest driving up to the street rather than walking to it since it is on a VERY steep hill and pushing a double stroller with kids will zap whatever energy you may have. If you do walk, as I discovered once we got to the top, there is the option of taking the trolley there. I guess that could be considered tip #3..[youtube]r_AhjNqSQvE[/youtube]

floated rightAfter San Francisco, we made our way up Highway 101. We stopped by a small grove of Redwoods that is known for one simple fact, that being a large hole in one of the trees that you can drive through for the low low price of $5. It was pretty cool to go through although it was a tight fit for our Sienna as I had about 3 inches on each side with the mirrors folded inward.

[youtube]GYFlX32OLR8[/youtube]I think the drive up the 101 and through the redwood forests was special for the wifely person as she was introduced to real trees and forests. For me, growing up in Oregon and camping every summer, trees are not a novelty for me. floated leftThe same goes for snow, which the aforementioned wifely person refused to believe when I pointed it out to her as we got to the top of Crater Lake. I think her statement was “It can’t be snow, its 76 degrees outside.” She then accused me of planting a bunch of Styrofoam before hand to trick her. When I threw a snowball at her she quickly realized that it was, in fact, snow.

For those familiar with Central Oregon, they know that it rarely rains and the sun is always shining. A fact that I kept telling the wifely person every chance I get. But on the day that we arrived in Central Oregon, it hailed and rained like nobody’s business. It wasn’t for another three days before the sky cleared up enough for her to see the Cascade Mountains. [youtube]3-MSskqcZ0A[/youtube]

The class reunion was held over a three day period and I will talk about that more in my next blog as there is way to much to talk about in this installment.

floated rightThe time spend in Madras was, for the boys, heaven. They had over an acre of land to play on with the highlight being the two tires hanging from my mom’s apricot tree. For Jun Jun, the tires were only a means for reaching the bottom branch and climbing high up into the tree.

The town itself has grown bigger. Now, instead of taking 2 minutes to get through town, it take 3 minutes, a bit longer if you get stuck at the red lights they put in. They also changed the intersections on the north end of town which made it a bit harder to get to McDonalds since the entrance that used to be there has been moved and now you have to drive a couple of more blocks to get to the entrance.

floated leftAfter spending time in Madras, we made our way through the Warm Springs Indian Reservation where I worked for several years. It appeared that not all that much has changed there, Deschutes Crossing is there, as is the museum and range horses hunkered below the closest available juniper tree.

From there we moseyed our way north through Hood River so that we could get some spectacular views of Mt. Hood. [youtube]Hj36JHR44Ps[/youtube] We followed the Columbia River up to Multnomah Falls, the second most visited place in Oregon (a casino near Portland is the #1 for those wondering). [youtube]Bxoxv9ZufSg[/youtube] Since it was at the end of summer, not a lot of water was coming over the falls, but even the water that was coming over provided a serene environment for the boys to scarf down some ice cream and black berries that I picked along the way.[youtube]IgbFFTy8A6A[/youtube]

When we got to Portland, we picked up Ashley who is gearing up to go to Portland Community College. We drove over to visit my brother Bobby who lives in Vancouver Washington. We arrived at his new place but he was nowhere in sight. A quick call revealed that he was picking up his son and was be right over as soon as the bus picked him us. An hour later and still no show, we left as we had plans to visit my other brother Ron. So we drove back to Portland and met up with Ron and his wife Laura, whom I had the pleasure of meeting for the first time. Ron works for Nike so I was able to score some black Labron James basketball shoes which usually go for around $110. Yeah, I was stoked too. It was nice to catch up with him and talk about stories of growing up that our dad denies ever happening. It was getting late and we had to get Ashley back to her place before driving another two and half hours to Newport. A shame really because it has been a while since I had last seen Ron, and both the wifely persons seemed to enjoy hanging out with each other and watching the tv show Jon & Kate plus 8.

With the boys packed into the minivan we make our way to the Oregon Coast and to Newport. There was some debate on the route to take which eventually let me to turn off the GPS since it wanted me to take a longer route through Salem. We finally rolled into Newport around midnight as my dad was putting the finishing touches on our sleeping arraignments which turned out to be their RV, which was equipped with a queen size bed, two tvs with satellite, full kitchen, a nice sized living room with a fireplace, and the coolest toilet that Jun had ever seen.

We stayed there for two nights before making our way back home. While in Newport the boys got to play with their cousins Dray and Cole who were spending the week with their grandparents as my brother-in-law Jerry was undergoing colon surgery. For the most part the boys had a blast playing with each other. [youtube]LdaicMvyaF8[/youtube]Grandpa Ed even took them down to the beach to play and fly kites which gave the wifely person, Jordan and myself a chance to go to the old bayfront, check out the sea lions and eat at Mo’s, which is a must for anyone who loves clam chowder. [youtube]mq9JOyBhGFQ[/youtube]We enjoyed our time there so much that I ended up getting a parking ticket for parking over 2 hours. Since it was only $10 I would say that was a pretty good bargain since most other touristy areas charge twice that to park.

floated rightWe decided to stay an extra day since it was my dad’s birthday and it would be a shame that his favorite son was not there to celebrate it with him. The extra day gave us a chance to take everyone over to the horse stables so Cowboy Ed could show off their horses. This was the first time that the wifely person and her offspring were able to ride a real horse. I think this was a major highlight for them and by the looks on their faces, I know they enjoyed riding a horse. All was not without a bit of work on my part as I ended up having to shoveling horse manure, something I was relegated to doing as a young kid growing up in Madras.

From Newport, we make our way to Eugene, Oregon where I attended college at the University of Oregon and lived prior to moving to down to San Diego. I wished we could have spent more time in Eugene as I really love it there and wanted to take the family to a lot of places around the city. As it was, we spent about three hours there as I showed them the campus, spent time stocking upon U of O gear at the bookstore, and ate at one of the best Chinese restaurants next to the campus.

From Eugene, we started or descent back to California. Not sure it if was all the driving, the lack of sleep or the good Chinese food, but about half hour in I got really sleepy and thankfully the wifely person took over the driving and allowed me a chance to get a quick nap in.

We decided to try and make it to Sacramento which was seven and half hours away. Since I was not driving, I was able to log on to the internet via my iphone and visit hotels.com where I was able to locate a nice hotel just of I-5. If you ever need a place to stay, Hawthore Suites is a nice roomy place to lay your head. The beds and pillows are the softest and the free breakfast, provided you wake up before 9:30 am, will surely fill your stomach.

Coming off a nice rest, I was up to doing some major driving the next day and wanted to drive the last 550 miles back to San Diego. Since we came up I-5 from L.A. to San Francisco, and trust me that is a boring ass drive unless you like looking at a bunch of wastd land and one huge stinky cattle farm, we decided to drive down hwy 99 which is only 10 miles longer. For me it was a whole difference experience since we went through a lot of little farm towns and had places to stop and each once we got hungry.

Coming into L.A. at 6 PM on a Friday was not the most anticipated part of the journey. Fortunately for me, my iphone with Goggle Earth overlay showed where the slow traffic was and we decided to take I-10 to I-15 and then in to San Diego. There was only a brief delay once we got onto the 10 but after that it was smooth sailing all the way home. The only excitement occurred near Temecula where we came across a car fire. I told the wifely person to take a picture as we passed by so she grabbed her camera and rolled down the window. As she snapped a photo the car exploded which solicited a scream from her. It was a big enough blast that I could feel the heat from the burning car.

Thirteen days after leaving for Oreogon we finally arrived back home safe and sound around 9:30 pm.

Overall we had a safe and enjoyable journey. Our van never broke down, we were not in any wrecks, nothing was stolen, we were never pulled over by the police despite driving at 75-80 MPH most of the way.

Parking Ticket: $10
Food, $320
Cost of Gas $500
Hotels $575
Spending time with my wife and kids, Priceless

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