After getting a lot of stuff done to prepare ourselves for the first day of the big trip (and leaving a few items behind), we hit the road at about 2 pm. Traffic was slowly starting to get a little crazy, and I was already itching to get off the interstate. One thing we learned from our big trip in 2006 was that we enjoy driving America’s highways so much more than the crowded and fast-moving interstates. (Something I have in common with the denizens of Radiator Springs from Pixar’s Cars.)
The official playlist for the first leg of the trip was a collection of “Road Trip” songs I had made for my dad several Father’s Days ago: “Holiday Road” from Vacation, “On the Open Road” from A Goofy Movie, “Ventura Highway” by America, “Route 66” by Chuck Berry, “Travelling Man” by Ricky Nelson, and many others. Nothing like great “road” songs for that first part of the trip.
Once we hit Highway 101, we hit the ocean clouds and enjoyed a drop in temperature of 20 degrees. What a relief from the 100 degree weather of the day before! Nice clouds, kids being quiet in the backseat, a beautiful woman beside me, and great tunes on the stereo: perfect.
We stopped at the wonderfully named “Dismal Nitch” rest stop right before crossing into Oregon. It was named because of something from the Corps of Discovery’s Expedition (Lewis and Clark), and the ocean air coming in from the mouth of Columbia would certainly make me feel dismal if I had to stay there for too long. I am not sure, however, what a nitch is. I will look it up later.
Crossing the Astoria bridge, the kids came to life, since we vacationed for a couple days here two years ago. They remembered going to the Astoria tower, the “Goonies” house, and the trolley. We kept on down the road toward Seaside, where we spent July 4th 2 years ago. Found a nice hotel right on the river for a good “walk-in” price, and readied ourselves for dinner.
Old friends from Overlake, Randy and Madelyn Harris, had invited us over and we spent a wonderful evening with great friends. Their daughters and our kids played wonderfully together, the food was absolutely amazing, and we enjoyed the view of the beach from their house. Coolest thing: right next door to their house is the smallest National Park in America!
About the size of a bedroom, the Lewis and Clark Salt Works National Park is where the Corps of Discovery boiled salt water to make salt during the winter of 1801. Pretty awesome, and so cool–living next door to a National Park! How awesome is that!
After a great evening, came back to the hotel where we all fell asleep pretty quickly. It was a great start to what I’m certain will be an amazing week!