Thursday, July 27, 2017

Summer Road Trip: Part IV

The final chapter of our trip!!

Saturday morning we packed up and said goodbye to our little campsite.

 Rory and her hiking stick.
She used this stick walking to and from our campsite.  Every day she would stash it in a bush where it would be waiting for her when we got back from our day trip.  And then she would use it to hike back to our campsite.  She would only leave it behind on the last day if I took her picture with it.

 We left the campground and went back into Portland...our plan was to picnic in Washington Park this time and then perhaps hit up their Farmer's Market.  However, Saturday in Portland is way different than a normal week day!  It was so crowded in Washington Park we couldn't find a place to park anywhere!!  It was absolutely insane!  I hate crowds...it's a big turn off to me.  We ditched our plan to picnic in Washington Park and decided to not even try the Farmer's Market...we knew parking in the city would have been a nightmare too.  Perhaps if we had a local with us who knew the shortcuts and how to navigate a little better we could have succeeded.  But after a long week, none of us were up for fighting with crowds.  

We decided to head more into the burbs and found a really nice park for our picnic with easy parking.
 Much better.

While at the park we booked a hotel in The Dalles (yes, that's the name of the town, THE Dalles).  It's a little over an hour east of Portland.  We thought we just get a head start on our drive to Boise.  And we all liked the idea of getting to the hotel to chill, swim and SHOWER!

But before leaving Portland we were about to get on the freeway when we all saw the Portland Tram.  On a whim, we decided to check it out...just one last thing before saying our final farewell to the city.

 The tram is basically for commuters, it connects the hospital to the Oregon Health and Science University.  They have a balcony at the top to lookout from and the views are beautiful!


 You can just barely see Mt. Hood in the distance.




After the tram we all loaded up in the car and made our way out of town to The Dalles.

We found a very authentic Mexican place for dinner and then we swam the rest of the evening.
The next day we drove to Boise and then home.

It's funny because a lot of times people will say to me, "Oh my gosh, how do you do those trips with so much driving with a big family?!" 
 I won't lie...driving long distances is super hard with kids.  Reality check:  We have fighting, we having yelling, lots of whining...you name it, we have it.  Everything will be going smoothly one second and then all hell breaks loose the next...and I have no idea what triggers it.  It's just life.  My kids aren't perfect...and I"m definitely far from perfect.  Often times I'm convinced that every road trip we do it takes a year off my life from all the crazy in the car, ha!  But, it's all worth it!  I wouldn't trade these trips for anything!!

This trip was full of brand new things for us and definitely an adventure, never knowing what to expect from day to day.  We had some hits and we had some misses...but as a whole everyone had a blast!
We all give our Portland/Oregon Coast trip a big thumbs up!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Summer Road Trip: Part III

We dedicated another day to Astoria.
Our first stop was the visitor center.  They were so helpful and friendly!  They gave us a map of the area and told us some hot spots we needed to check out!  Our first stop was the Astoria Column.
 It stands atop Coxcomb hill and was built in 1926.  The outside of the column is entirely covered with a spiral mural dedicated to the events and people who settled the area, including Captain Grey and Lewis and Clark.  There is a spiral staircase (with 164 steps) to the top where you can lookout from.

The views from the top:
The Columbia River. 
The other side of the bridge (highway 101) is Washington.



 Youngs River.
And I'm pretty sure (although it didn't come out in photos) you can see Mt. Rainier and Mt. Hood from the lookout.  Pretty cool!




 We had our picnic lunch under the column and then headed out for a hike that started right next to the column and led down through the woods to Cathedral Tree.

 Oregon has the biggest slugs!  And they are everywhere!
We had to oooooh and aaaaaah over every one.  Some local hikers saw us doing just that over one particular slug and chuckled at us.  I guess they are pretty used to seeing them in their yards on a daily basis.
But seriously, they're huge!






 Cathedral Tree!

So since we were in Astoria we HAD to find the Goonie house after our hike.
Unfortunately, they have it pretty much like Fort Knox around there...and believe me, we weren't the only only ones there trying to get a peek!  I wouldn't be able to stand living near the Goonie house!!  They must have a ongoing line of traffic at all times around there.  And we were there on a Friday...what's it like on a Saturday I wonder.
 This is the sign they have posted at the entrance of their street.
We decided we probably shouldn't go any further...sad face.

 This is the best I could get of the Goonie house.
Not too shabby.

 They did have the jail, now a museum and the Jeep Cherokee from the movie.


 Complete with the bullet holes!


After Astoria we headed back south to the town of Seaside.
 The girls didn't hesitate to get their suits on and jump in!

 There were crabs everywhere at this beach...as a wave would go back out there would be a few crabs on the sand every time.  And Haley (who went way out) said they would crawl on her legs!  Yikes!!
Morgan's goal was to catch one...which she did eventually.  She's smiling in the picture, but it really freaked her out to hold it, ha!







After the beach we walked through the little main street and found a place to grab some dinner before heading back to our campsite.
Pretty full day indeed!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Happy Birthday!!

Happy Birthday Morgan!!
Today your are 11!!

We love you bunches!

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Summer Road Trip: Part II

 After walking around downtown Portland we headed over to Forest Park.
This park is amazing!  It's over 5,000 acres with over 80 miles of trails throughout the park.  We basically saw just a snippet of what this park has to offer.

We decided to hike to the Witches Castle/Stone House.
 This building was actually once a bathroom in the 1930's, and today locals say it's haunted....ooooh, scary!

It's a pretty cool building with plants and moss growing all over it...and unfortunately quite a bit of graffiti as well...sad face.






 And of course our day would not be complete without a picnic somewhere!


After our hike we strolled over to the Audubon Society (also in Forest Park) right near the trail head.
They have a facility that houses several types of birds of prey that have been rescued but cannot be released back into the wild because they have become too dependent on humans.  At the time of our visit they brought out a Horned Owl, Vulture and a Raven.  And of course more hiking trails!  So many trails everywhere!  Gotta love it...I wish we had more time to explore, but we had to head to our campsite and set up before it got too late.

We camped at L.L. "Stub" Stewart State Park about 30 miles west of Portland.  This is a fairly new park and it is HUGE!  It would be a mountain biker haven as there are trails throughout this park to ride.

  When we made reservations for this campground the only sites they had left were "hike-in".  We went ahead and booked it because at $11 dollars a night we figured if it was super terrible we'd just go somewhere else and know that we weren't losing too much money.  But we were pleasantly surprised!!  It turned out to be an absolutely beautiful place to camp!  We did have to hike in, about a half a mile, but they supplied carts for us to haul our gear and with everyone chipping in it wasn't bad at all.



The only con I would say about this park were the mosquitoes.  
Luckily, I had some bug spray packed!

We heated up some potato soup for dinner, took an evening walk through the park and then off to bed.
I slept terrible in case anyone was wondering.
Tent camping is hard on me!


The next morning we headed out right after breakfast for Cannon Beach.  It took us about an hour to get there from our campground...not too bad.


We arrived right at low tide so the woman at the visitor center said to go straight to Haystack Rock first to see the tide pools.  So that's what we did!


With the tide so low the beach was enormous!
The girls found tons of sand dollars!  Unfortunately, we weren't able to find a whole one that wasn't broken though.  They also had a ball digging up the little sand crabs which were also everywhere!
Except for Rory...she was NOT a fan of the little sand crabs!


I can see why this is a popular destination, it's so pretty!



Where ever there is water, my girls will be in it...no matter the temperature!



Cannon Beach is such a charming beach community.
Everyone, I repeat EVERYONE grows hydrangeas there, it's like it's a town law or something.  And every hydrangea bush is massive and so beautiful!  For whatever reason I always think of my grandma when I see those types of flowers...I'm not sure if they were her favorite but I do know she had them growing in her front yard.  After seeing them all over at Cannon Beach hydrangeas have quickly become my favorite flower at the moment.
And weird...I didn't get a picture of any of them!!


We took the long way home and drove down the coast.
We heard good things about the Tillamook factory and decided to check it out.


The views from the lookout points were amazing!




Unfortunately the Tillamook Factory was under construction so they only had a temporary visitor center set up.  So it lacked quite a bit.  But we did get some ice cream!

We got back to camp in time to heat up some veggie soup and then roasted s'mores in the communal fire pit.
A perfect end to the day.



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