Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Road Trip Recap

We just returned from a 4-night trip to the Oregon coast, which means this week is Vacation Recovery.  The laundry is piled high, housekeeping has fallen to the back burner, buckets of treasured seashells are scattered around the house, our meals are predominantly freezer leftovers and our kids' sleep schedule is completely out of whack.  The relaxed bedtimes and looser dietary restrictions are slowly drifting back to normal as we return to our regular home routine.  It's never an easy transition back to the real world, but it's always worth the struggle to organize, pack and get out of town. 

You know it's a good family road trip if....

1.  You can find an activity that everyone in your group enjoys.  Maybe this is no big feat for some families, but our group consisted of two small children under the age of six, a teenager, two adults and two senior citizens.  WHAT do you do with that group?  You hop on a big old 4-wheel drive and tour the Oregon Dunes, that's what!  Everyone loved it.  My dear mother-in-law exclaimed as we pulled back into the parking lot after the tour, "I don't want it to be over!" Our teenager smiled.  SMILED, I say!  And there was no YouTube video involved.  Everyone loved it.  Our tour guide was a second grade teacher that could have doubled as a stand-up comic.  He knew his stuff, and made the tour educational while throwing in a good mix of excitement burning up and down those giant, sandy dune hills. 

2.  You can revisit a nostalgic spot.  On our drive north, we stopped for lunch at Bella Union in Jacksonville, OR.  This charming little Italian restaurant was the site of our first date 12 years ago.  Turns out revisiting your first date with three kids in tow is a lot more expensive, and not nearly as romantic.  But still fun. 

Triple B: Bella eating a Bella Burger at Bella Union.
3.  You can wear a sweatshirt.  Or long pants.  Or BOTH!  Escaping the heat is a requirement for any summer trip.  If we're leaving town, it better be cooler wherever we are going.  Loon Lake, OR did not disappoint.  On average, it was a full 30 degrees cooler than home. 

Little people looking for whales at Umpqua Lighthouse
4.  You can squeeze in some exercise.  I've been training for the 6-mile Wharf to Wharf race happening this weekend.  In the cooler climate, I was able to "sleep in" until 6:30am and enjoy a 4.5-mile run in the cool of the morning.  We also rented a paddle boat one day (you know, those awkward little boats that you pedal like a bicycle and look so fun and easy...)  which was a serious work out.  Why do they even rent those things to tourists on vacation?  It's NO VACATION trying to pedal or steer one of those monsters. 

5.  You have stories to tell about the car ride.  Our three year old gets a little bored in the car.  So he asks to stop for a potty breaks.  A lot.  Not more than 15 minutes after we stopped for his potty break he announced, "Mommy, I peed."  As in, he wet his pants in the car.  After we JUST stopped for a potty break.  My husband and I didn't even respond.  We just looked at each other, rolled our eyes and kept on driving.  Well, OK.  We did stop at the next rest stop to get him cleaned up, and luckily we had a towel for him to sit on.  But we had to explain to him multiple times why he had to sit on the towel, because he is in the why why why phase of childhood.  "Because you don't want to sit in a puddle of your own pee for the next 4 hours, THAT'S WHY!!"

And not to be outdone, his older sister lost her second tooth just as we crossed over the boarder back into California.  Hooray! 

Notes for next time:
1.  Diapers for weak bladders on long car trips.
2.  Sand = Good.
3.  Dates with kids don't really count as dates.
4.  Just do it.  It's tiring, it's crazy-making.  It never goes exactly as planned.  But do it anyway. 

"Camping" cabin at Loon Lake.

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