Yessir, finally! Were on the road with the two boys. First stop is Portland and a night at Chris & Jeannes place. Highlights = putting the two boys plus Daylon down to sleep and ordering Urban Fondu desert takeout. Then this morning Jude and I went out to get coffee and breakfast for everyone else. Driving through Portland's Forest Park, Jude asks me to stop so we can find bears. So... That's what we did. We found a turnoff and explored Wildwood Trail for a half hour. No bears, but Jude and dad discovered that he has an innate love of the outdoors. This is gonna be a fun boy to raise. Greyson will love the outdoors too, I'm sure...
Day 2: Salem (Dallas) with Mitch, Kel, Grant and Cole. Absolutely loving the family time, the BBQ, and watching Jude, Grant and Cole wrestle each other. Grant and Cole treat Jude with great "delicacy" (delicateness?) as they play the night away. Jude loves his older and wiser cousins, and the four parents realize we really must make annual plans to rent a vacation home for a long weekend.
Day 3: Bandon (S. Oregon Coast) driving through the Willamette Valley between Salem and Corvallis reminds me why I love Oregon. Lush woody hills, vineyards, creeks, lavender farms, fruit stands, orchards. It's a beautiful place. Grey slept a good 3.5 hours on our way across the coastal range to Bandon. Once in Bandon, we check into our inexpensive motel with a room literally overlooking the famous sea stacks and cliffs. After dinner, Jude and I drive Grandpa Don to the tiny airport where don has his Cessna tied down. Jude watched ad Grandpa Don took off into the sky. Quite a memorable moment for Jude, seeing him fly off into the clouds. Back at the motel, we put the kids to sleep and Grandma Linda keeps an eye on them as Rachel and I walk hand in hand on the cliffs as the sun drowns out over the horizon.
Tomorrow, breakfast, then off to Medford!
Day 4: Bandon to Medford. It's 9:15 am and Jude is still asleep. What's up with this kid? Is this the beginning of a stage on life (also known as the rest of his life)? ...
The remainder of the day is spent in the car driving the tiny road between Bandon and Roseberg with grandma in the front seat and Rachel wedged between the two car seats in the back (not sure if we've me filmed this but when our CRV eventually dies were getting a bigger suv). Greyson, once again, sleeps the entire ride from Bandon to Medford (3.5 hrs). Upon arriving in Medford, we fire up the backyard BBQ and grill some protein. Linda's yard looks great, good job landscaping over the last fee years! After the kiddos go to bed, we watch a mildly entertaining Liam niesen action flick.
Day 5: Medford. Jude and grey wake up pretty early from an already poor nights sleep. Linda goes to work and it's time for Grey's mid-morning nap. When he finally wakes up it's about 11am. By this time, rob and Rachel are in dire need of good coffee. We dive over to Jacksonville and spend an hour at Pony Espresso. Rachel logs onto her work computer to check her email and belatedly turn on her out of office notification (oops). Jude has been a good boy at Pony Espresso so as a reward he and dad visit two playgrounds. The first one he "don't like it the wood chips" (he didn't like the wood chip surface). The second park he liked the school bus, but the flirty jr highers are hogging the drivers seat. Later that night, Rachel and rob enjoy a humble date playing mini golf and racing each other in go carts.
Day 6: Crater Lake. Unfortunately I've let the story lapse by a couple of weeks and I'm finishing up this story 2 weeks after it ended (it's currently July 28th). If I recall, Day 6 was our last day in Medford. The sun decided to shine that day - ostensibly because we no longer had the time to swim in Don and Linda's pristine pool, the sun decided to mock us. Around mid-morning, we packed up and visited Del Rio Vineyards in Gold Hill, Oregon. Had a great time visiting Delores, one of Linda's great friends and one of Rachel's old friends and mentors for her days living in Medford as a child. From Gold Hill we trekked through the state and national forests to the rim of Crater Lake. On cue, both kids squaked, complained and cried as we pulled into our parking spot from the long journey. This caused our Day 6 sight seeing to prematurely end, and we departed to our small, tiny, rustic and downright uncomfortable Mazama Village Cabin. At this point on our trip, both boys are tired. Mom and dad haven't slept well in several days, and we're beginning to get tired. Just when we start to feel a little cranky, we grab an incredibly satisfying dinner buffet at the Annie Creek Restaurant in Mazama Village. I'm not sure why they don't market this place, but it's fantastic. Definitely worth a stop if you happen to be on highway 62 in the middle of nowhere. I wish we could say we slept well that night, but it was actually the worst night of all. Not because the place was small or uncomfortable... just because the two boys were miserably omnipresent through the night.
Day 7: Bend. The next morning we packed up and drove the 6 miles back up to the rim. We once again oooh'ed at the lake's beauty and serenity. Then scooped up the boys and drove up the highway again. Our destination this time was Bend. Our hotel wasn't ready so we stopped at the Lava ... Something.. national monument. Not sure why I can't recall its name, but it had the word Lava in it, and it was an over-sized lava dome right off the highway. Very fun, very scenic, lots of pictures. Jude enjoyed chasing the squirrels. We arrived in Bend at a beautiful, overpriced, and rather lifeless inn with a view of the Deschuttes River. If I recall, that night spent an hour at the play ground, finally letting Jude swing and slide. Funny how no matter how nice and swanky you plan your vacation to be, if you have a toddler, they just don't care. They only care about the play ground. Lesson learned. After the park we found good Thai food and settled down in our big, fancy, clean, beautiful hotel room. Incidentally the boys slept well that night, leading me to believe that the environment does influence their attitudes and endurance.
Day 8: Back home. But not yet. First, we awoke, visited our favorite Bend coffee shop (Thump), and drove down south to the High Desert Museum. This was a winner. We really enjoyed the variety of things to do and see here. It was very toddler friendly, and interesting enough to keep the parents curiosity going. When both kids were worn out, we loaded them up and drove the long distance back to either Portland or Seattle (we decided it depended on how the kids were doing). About 2-3 hours after we left Bend, both kids had still not fallen asleep for their naps. It was getting bad. Jude had gone from loopy to plain mean. And Greyson swung between quiet angel and beastly infant. But then, around Mount Hood, both boys fell hard into deep sleep. Rachel and I decided if the boys were still asleep we would continue on home to Tacoma. And incredibly, thankfully, and mercifully, both boys were asleep for 3 hours between Mt Hood and around Tacoma. Back home in Tacoma, we unpacked, enjoyed our familiar home, took Jude to a park, and got ready for my parents to arrive that evening from Austin, TX. Yes! The adventure continues!
I'm not sure what sort of family vacation we will do next year, but it will undoubtedly be NW local, and will involve playgrounds, swings, slides and fields to run in.
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