It was Going Home day and it was a 7 hour drive, if we drove the most efficient route without stopping, which as you can probably tell by now, is not how we do things. I needed the kids home by 7pm so their dad could pick them up to stay with him for the weekend, although they wanted nothing more than to just go home and wake up in their own beds in their own rooms, they had gotten a call from their dad saying he was thinking of taking them to the Oregon Coast for the weekend. I don’t think they were too excited about that.
They were, however, excited to explore as we traveled home.
And to, of course, grab some caches and photos.
It was a gorgeous day and we stuck to the coast as long as we could.
Then, once we got to Astoria, OR, our goal was to climb the Astoria Column and launch airplanes off it.
We bought a year-long parking pass, which cost me a whole dollar, and a couple of wooden plane kits that cost just a bit more. The kids were allowed to launch off paper airplanes if they promised to retrieve them, but no one said anything about the wooden ones. So, up we climbed.
And got to the top. Whew! There’s Washington to the right.
Quin launched his plane, ran down and got it (Hi Quin, you’re tiny!), ran back up and launched it again. 4 times.
Kendrah and I waited up top to admire the view and jockey for position on the little balcony to get some cool shots of the town of Astoria, the Columbia river flowing into the Pacific Ocean and our home state across the water.
Then it was time for finding a few caches and a place to eat lunch so down we went.
We picked up what planes we could (some flew into the woods) and said goodbye to this cool old column and although time was running out I wanted fish ‘n chips and figured Astoria would be the place to get the freshest.
We did find a place, a little tugboat on the side of the road with customers lined up over halfway down the block. I figured it HAD to be good for everyone to be waiting for it and assumed (incorrectly) the line would move quickly. Still, we waited and waited and fidgeted and whined and eventually got to the head of the line. Then we waited for the order to be done and as soon as it was, we dashed off to the car and ate on the way home. It was good. Probably not good enough to wait a half hour for, but better than anything else we could have gotten.
Unhappy Frog and the rest of us, now equally unhappy, crossed back into our home state and drove the rest of the way home with very few stops, getting home in time to unload some of the car before they were off to their dad’s. They were happy to discover he’d decided to stay home and not take them to the coast.
When I checked my mileage for the trip, I laughed out loud because it was exactly 5,550 miles. I came home with 2,450 photos and I still had a few bucks in my wallet. I’d say the trip was a huge success and I hope you enjoyed trailing along with this blog.
To recap, we drove in and out of 12 different states in 26 days, visited an old friend, my sister and her husband, my parents, my brother, my brother and his wife, and my sister-in-law and nephew. We set up camp in 6 different states and spent more money on juice and ice in that month than I anticipated I’d do in a lifetime. We found 210 caches, and saw (I lost track of how many) National Parks and landmarks and monuments. We reached over 9,000′ in elevation and went below sea level. We saw museums, factories, parks, muffler men, ocean, desert, mountains, mine shafts, fireworks and trains. We ate in some extraordinary restaurants and sometimes didn’t eat a real meal all day. We listened to 5 or 6 audio books and tested the limits of the speakers with some music CDs. The worst thing to happen was having a rock hit my windshield creating a large chip. The nearest miss was going 42 miles past having the gas light go on. We never once felt to be in danger and we never saw so much as an accident happen to someone else. We were blessed with amazing weather and so many memories of the places we saw.
Now we return to everyday life! And yes, the kids have been bugging me to plan another road trip for next summer. Now, if only I could get paid to do this…