Thursday, July 2, 2009

First Vacation!!

We're on our first road family road trip! It was hard to narrow down just enough pics to reasonably put on the blog, but here's the first few days worth. We made it to Bend, Oregon on our first day with daylight and energy to burn, thank goodness! Will is an excellent traveller, and we've heard minimal fussing from someone who can't even look out the window! Bend was the first city that I decided to live in, because of the beautiful, unique older homes surrounding the river parkway and walkable downtown shops. That, and all of the women that we saw had no makeup and casual, air-dried hairstyles. It didn't take long, however, to realize that all of these Columbia-clad, ladies seemed to be traveling "together". I guess that's what you can expect when the nearby mountains are referred to as "the Sisters".

Next, we travelled south to the Crater Lake National Park, and got beautiful, postcard worthy photos, and about 30 mosquito bites! Our picnic lunch turned into something from a Hitchcock movie! We skipped the ridiculous restaurant there that charged $13 for a hamburger, and $5 for peanut butter and jelly, but found some postcards in the gift shop. After a winding drive around the deepest lake in the U.S., we headed into Medford for the second night. There we ate an amazing dinner at Kaleidoscope, a beautifully funky Jerry Garcia-inspired pizza joint. The breadsticks were amazing! After a full belly, and a good nights rest, Will and I had the hotel pool all to ourselves, then we hopped back on to the road to visit the "House of Mystery" or Oregon Vortex, where I'll admit I felt very strange (much like vertigo, on the verge of a headache) and saw things I couldn't explain. The guide described it as "seeing things as if looking through a fishbowl". For example, on completely level surfaces, two people could switch places and grow taller or shorter, and objects appeared to roll uphill! That place even appeared on an episode of my beloved X-Files, titled "Rush".

Next stop was the Oregon Caves which were at that top of a very tall, steep mountain. So steep, that the chateau there is six stories tall, and four of them are walk-out levels! Unfortunately Will was not allowed inside since he couldn't walk it by himself, so he and Dad took a hike while Becky and I toured the immense caverns. Then we drove several more miles to arrive late in Crescent City, CA. The last stretch was long and winding and gave both Will and me an upset stomach. There was nowhere to pull over to feed the starving boy, so I fed him in the car, and he lost it shortly after. Poor boy, but he didn't seem to mind and was happy to hop in the bath as soon as we arrived.

The next day we got our first short, cold walk along the ocean in 30 mph winds, then drove Hwy 101 into the Redwood Forest. We saw Paul Bunyan and his big blue ox at the Trees of Mystery, and took a gondola ride up over the 300 foot trees. We drove the Avenue of the Giants which is indescribably breathtaking. Not only are they huge, but the forest is so enveloping and lush, and fairy tale-like. Everything is bigger, the rhododendrons, the clover, the driftwood...the only thing that's not big is the road! It's just a two-lane, barely wide enough between those massive trunks for the constant stream of motor homes and travel trailers. We stopped at a "pizza place" on the avenue that turned out to be a preposterously fancy fine-dining establishment where I had an embarrassing social misread. You must realize that most stops in the avenue are run-down looking, cafe/burger joints in between trinket shops and KOA grounds. We walked into THIS place, in which every 10 piece place-set, linen draped, candlelit table was EMPTY, and the server starts by asking if we have a reservation! I said, "Oh, I didn't realize that we needed one. Was that a joke?" The humor of the situation was lost on her as she pulled out her reservation book, and she explained that they did have a reservation for that time. We proceeded, awkwardly, to be seated and peruse the truffle-oil, and prosciutto peppered menu. Mixed green salad $9, fettucini alfredo $ just seemed a bit much to us for a place where road-tired tourists pay $7 to drive through dead trees (yes, we did), and the only locals are farmers. But everyone knows that I love to appreciate good food, and thanks to Dominick I now really know what that is, so we stayed put. We decided on the pepperoni and wild mushroom with marinara wood fired pizza, and we were not disappointed. I just wished I'd have brought a skirt for the occasion.

We headed back up the coast and spent another night in Crescent City, then up the Coastal Highway to Newport, my new favorite place. We checked into our brand new Holiday Inn Express, which put everyone in a great mood with all of it's trendy decor and cushy amenities, and were directed on the recommendation of the very friendly staff to a local fresh seafood boardwalk restaurant. The food was incredible-- we started with oyster shooters courtesy of Becky (a first for all of us), and a diversely flavored meal of salmon, crab, clams, and tuna that left all of us mmm-ing and raving well into the next day. In the morning Terry, Will, and I headed over to a local glass blowing gallery where I got a private lesson and made my very own "stuffed float" which I got to fill with items that we've picked up along the beaches. This was a dream come true for me! I love art glass, and this was a perfect opportunity to create a beautiful keepsake of our first family vacation! Then we promised Dad a day at the beach, so we drove to the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse State Park and looked for creatures in the tidepools for a while. Terry positively glowed as he hopped around picking up rocks to find tiny crabs, sea urchins, eels, starfish, anemones, etc. He was really in his element, and we wished we'd had more time before we had to leave when the tide came in. I marveled at all the fun fieldtrips the kids here must take: the tidepools, aquarium, under sea gardens, glass blowing galleries, harbor, etc. The fieldtrips are some of Terry's fondest memories of Ketchikan, AK.
More Later!

1 comment:

  1. Wow! You guys are having so much fun. Nana and I say several times each day, "I wonder where William is right now?" Looks like a wonderful trip with lots of memories to take home. Can't wait to see your float! Neat-o! Love you!