Thursday, June 20, 2013

Journey Day 1

What a day! We started the day out by driving down from Newport to Florence to enjoy some sand boarding. Fortunately, as well, dad's dad was able to meet us at the sandboarding spot and catch up with dad while we burned some energy. It's been a little while since we last enjoyed the dunes this much. We raced up the dune hill behind Fred Meyer's and each took our turn screaming down the sand and ending with a crash. After each of us kids going twice, we were pooped. All of us except Clarke that is who proceeded to run from one dune to the next, trying to find the steepest one he could. Much too scary for me.

"Here, let me help you"
 I took more video than pictures so this is the only one I have for now. It's pretty much how the first few times down started: Put feet in straps, decide "I don't think I want to do this", then someone comes up  and gives a helpful nudge. When I get around to editing the videos, I'll  be sure to upload them so my dear readers can see all our spills.

After a quick stop to fill up on gas for the SUV and gas for our bodies  (subway), we traveled down Highway 101 to Umpqua River Lighthouse. 5 years ago, mom and I took a weekend road trip down the Oregon coast touring all the lighthouses. Umpqua River was definitely our favorite with it's unique red light. Since mom and I had already toured it, we let the boys go through the tour. I don't think they enjoyed it as much as we did all those years ago but it did give us a chance to reminisce about the trip and rearrange the back of the SUV to keep thing from falling out. The tour took a little longer than expected so we got a little behind schedule but none of us were too worried about it.

As we drove the 2.5hours to Brookings, we opted to make an unplanned stop at Gold Beach to take our last walk on an Oregon beach together. When we woke up this morning, it was cloudy and pouring down rain but by the time we got to this beach, the sun had been out for a while and created a cozy warmth. Once we each collected some sand and pretty rocks, we made the rest of the way to our dinner spot - Wild River Pizza. Food was pretty good but at this point we were all running low on energy and patience. Another 15 minutes took us to the border.

Welcome to California
Unexpectedly, I was overcome with sadness (certainly not the first or last time for this long farewell). I mean, we are about to dance across the border and it won't be for another year that my family will be back in Oregon (for my college graduation, of course). As per our plan, we videoed ourselves dancing across the border. As with the sand boarding videos, I will have to edit it before posting. I'm certain that I'll have plenty of time during the drive tomorrow to do just that.

So, so long Oregon and hello California. Almost instantly we were transported into another world, surrounded by Red wood trees. For us kids, it was the first time. For a while we drove in silence and there was a sort of peace in the car but at the same time it was loaded as we recognized that with each passing minute, we were getting further away from our once home.
Paul Bunyon and Blue

Along the way we made two very brief stops and some roadside attractions. The first being a childhood memory of my father's - the Trees of Mystery. I wish I had heard about this place sooner because within the last few days of our time in Albany, I heard about this place from several reliable sources who all said it was worth the stop. By the time, though, that we got here, it was closed.

The final stop was the "world's largest totem pole" stretching 160 feet high in the back of a Safeway parking lot. We were pretty impressed with it's height but concerned with how it was being supported (a few pieces of wood shoved here and there). Whatever works, I guess.

Pulling into our hotel 1 hour later than expected (oh well), us kids all decided that we needed a good workout in the exercise room to burn off some of the calories we consumed that day. Clarke pushed himself into running 3.1 miles in 28 minutes (I only dream of running that fast some day), Blake ran 1 mile and biked 10 miles, Jaz did the elliptical and I pulled in at a pathetic jog of 2 miles. I'll admit, I think working out with my siblings was my favorite part. Since it was just in an exercise room, we were all in a row, each on our machines, encouraging each other to meet our individual goals.

There were several points today that the love of my family was truly evident: The look on my dad's face as he joked with his dad, the laughs that ensued when we decided to start writing down all the ridiculous things we say or hear (i.e. "stop touching my colon!"), the wonder in my mom's voice as she tried to remember a picture spot from when she was younger, and the healthy competition that my brothers participate in (today was who can jump higher).

Today definitely had it's downs but it also had some pretty great ups. I hope that tomorrow goes just as well.
The plan: Redwood forest, Glass beach, and San Francisco.
The goal: To enjoy our time together

Until next time, live long and prosper!

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