Monday, June 20, 2016

Best Vacation. EVER! Part 1

Welcome back!!
I think that I have about 500 pictures left of our vacation (after editing). .
I thought that I would share some of them! My crew will be in a lot of the first post. .Not so much on the 2nd post.
Oregon was loaded with incredible scenery and a beauty like nothing that we have really seen before!
Hope you enjoy our little mini tour!
Flew into Portland on Thursday afternoon. .
The kids loved flying. .but we were all exhausted!
Got our suburban (perhaps the nicest one I have ever been in!!) and drove (well--after we figured out how to get OUT of Portland!) a short distance to Troutdale, more like a little suburb.
The next morning we headed off. .stopping at several waterfall areas on the way.
Of course, we were all in awe of them--we don't have access to small waterfalls. .let alone waterfalls the magnitude of Multnomah Falls (which is the one pictured here!) We hiked a short distance up to the bridge you see. .And Cami mentioned that she would like to hike to the top.
Always ready for an adventure--I was totally in!! Grant showed up shortly after we got going too. .and the three of us hiked another  mile and the remaining 542 vertical feet up to the top. We actually turned around once when Cami decided she was too tired to keep going. .But after Grant mentioned something about "only coming 800 miles to see the top" we found a second wind. .and projected our wind onto the little one. .And made the rest of the climb!!
If you could have seen that little girl's face when she realized that SHE had made it clear to the top. Priceless!!
I will never forget it!!
A sweet lady took our picture at the mouth of the falls. .
And the walk down was significantly faster and easier than the way up!!
We enjoyed seeing the locke and dams as well as a fish hatchery and even Mount Hood from a distance on our way to Aunt Jane and Uncle Pete's. The whole impetus for our trip was to visit them. They moved from Kansas about 4 years ago. They live near UP's family in the high desert Oregon country. And what beautiful country it is!
A little scenery from their west deck!! AMAZING!
And while I didn't happen to include a photo. .the view to the south from the same deck shows the "three sisters" mountains. I could drink my coffee there EVERY morning and never grow tired of it!!
We enjoyed hanging out with AJ and UP over the weekend. .
And hands down. .from all parties in my family. .our time with them was the best of the whole trip!!
Sunday we drove over to Smith Rock after brunch. .
The name is a misnomer. .it is more like a BUNCH of rocks--sporting sheer cliffs on the east side of them that people enjoy climbing. There were some hiking trails there too. .I don't know if it was because it was Memorial weekend. .or if the crowd is always that big. .but there were people EVERYWHERE there! Hiking, climbing. We enjoyed watching the climbers through the binoculars. Those people are C-R-A-Z-Y!!
AJ, the kids and I enjoyed using one of the really nice walking trails that curved around the top of the mini-mountain that we were on!
Here's a different view to the south of the main climbing areas sporting a winding little river!
Amazing views!!
It was really warm--in the low 80's when we headed south Sunday afternoon.
So we were a little surprised to see. .
THIS when we reached Crater Lake several hours later!!
They had just opened up this pass two days before we got there. .
And once again. .
The scenery was AMAZING!
Hiking in sandals through the snow. .
Off the bucket list that came!!
And my toes graduated to a totally different level of their normal cold!!
Much of the lake was still frozen. .
And there were SO many people checking it out, just like we were!
We must have stopped at nearly every pull out area there was to get the vehicle parked in!!
The kids were always ready to jump out and take another look at the crazy amazing view!
Though it was one of the worst nights sleep I had during the whole trip (me-though-not the bed or accommodations!). .
I think my favorite place we stayed was this old hotel in Prospect Oregon. I hadn't made reservations for rooms, other than a beachfront hotel for a couple nights in California. I didn't want to rush to get someplace. .and I didn't want to stay too long somewhere else if we were ready to move on. As our travel plans fell. .I was afraid that we would either be driving in the dark (and missing the scenery) or staying somewhere yucky. .so Sunday morning, after I had called a couple places that were completely full already, I found a room big enough for ALL of us due to a late cancellation!!
The Prospect Hotel is a completely refurbished bed and breakfast on the historical roster. It was a little odd, staying in a HOUSE (because that is actually what it was--luckily we got to stay in the house, rather than in the newer "hotel-like" rooms built on a side lot) with rooms full of other guests. .but the big wrap around porch-complete with porch swing, NO TV OR WIFI, and old furnishings were a hit with this girl. .everyone else--not so much!! We set a time for our breakfast. .and enjoyed eating in their 2nd floor dining area at a huge table set with beautiful dishes and a delicious homemade breakfast-down to my mimosa!! I would stay there again in a HEARTBEAT!!
After taking a post breakfast hike down to see the local waterfalls, we headed for Crescent City California! (While the kids were all over getting out to see every nook and cranny of Crater Lake. .they were totally over it by the time we made it to the big California sign!!)
I knew that I wanted to experience staying right on the beach during our vacation. I was sure the kids would love that. .and they did!! We stayed at Oceanfront Lodge in Crescent City. .and loved every bit of it!! Here was the sunset view from our balcony! We were also able to see the gray whales in the distance (after a wonderful woman shouted to us from the beach to take note of them!)
Jeremy and I hiked over to see the lighthouse area that was a block from our back door. The kids did some tidepooling. The water was C-O-L-D. .and all the signs around about the dangers of the Pacific ocean and warning you to never turn your back on it--kinda freaked out this mom!! So we made sure that our hotels all had indoor swimming pools for the kids to enjoy!
There were also lots of "pull out" areas along Highway 101 where you could park and hike or park and take in all the breathtaking views!! We stopped A. LOT! Every day!
Tuesday morning we headed south on highway 101 to Redwood Park. We paid our $5 fee to check out the drive through tree and take our pictures with it (this was not it). But we found some equally huge redwoods along the scenic drive!
We stopped and got lost in the forest (yes, kind of literally)--but the 4 mile hike that we took was so quiet and peaceful and majestic! It was probably one of my favorite memories of the trip. The kids loved it too!! Though Devin didn't turn out to be much of a hiker! The kids all got some great photos while we were at it. .though I bet I got the award for MOST PICTURES TAKEN. Grant gets the award for MOST PICTURES POSTED ON GOOGLE IMAGES--haha!
We had stopped that morning and grabbed stuff for a picnic lunch. .so when we found the beach again near Orick, California. .We stopped for lunch and playing. That was a fun experience! Though it was pretty windy and cool there. .we ate in the back of the suburban. .and it took me quite a while to venture down to the ocean! The waves were much louder there than the they were around Crescent City. .Even after 5 days on the ocean. .we never tired of any aspect of it!
The last place we went before heading back to Crescent City for our second night there. .
Was to Fern Canyon in Humboldt County California.
We waited longer than the guys would have liked to make our turn through the current construction site of their windy, little, narrow dirt roads that drive into the recreation areas and further on in to the area known as Fern Canyon. There were ferns everywhere. .They grow up the entire inch of the vertical walls that surround the small little ravine in the bottom. I've never seen anything like it. .and for a woman who loves everything horticultural-I was pretty excited to get to experience the moments!
 More hiking and picture taking occurred there!
Which wore this crew out! It was a quiet ride back through the magnificent redwood forest!!
I'm guessing you are tired of seeing and reading. .and we are only through 1/2 of our trip. .
So I will be back later this week. .
To share some more details and photos!!
Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Hi Melanie--great trip. Hubby and I are very familiar with all these places---right down to Troutdale, where we always stay since it's so much easier to deal with than Portland!
    Glad you guys had so much fun. Ha-made me think of the quote "I don't think we're in Kansas anymore, Toto"!
    Have a great week

    1. HAHA! Thats what I said when we got there!! Portland was a nightmare--when you are used to two lane highways!! We were glad to be in small towns and rural areas nearly the whole time.

  2. Love it! We will be on the west coast, staying near the beach in California...leaving Sunday...and your pictures are awesome! Glad you got to do this! I have spent time on the Atlantic Beach in Ft Lauderdale, FL and am looking forward to ocean/beach time in California. So glad you got to have all of your bunch together for such a beautiful trip. My trip will be via Amtrak with Tom, Amy & her kids. I am looking forward to reading about the rest of your trip.

    1. Well I hope you guys have an amazing trip Cindy!! Enjoy it!

  3. Oh, Melanie, that looks like an absolutely wonderful trip! And I can't believe how big Cami is getting - they sure grow fast, don't they? Hope all's well with you and yours - it certainly sounds like it is. Thanks for sharing your adventures. Cynthia

    1. SOO good to hear from you!! I have done a bad job at keeping up with other blogs! Hope things are well for you in Florida! I will try and catch up soon! I have been thinking about you lately, as the Monarda that you shared is blooming wonderfully!! Thanks so much for that!!

  4. I love waterfalls too! Not having them here may feed that drive to hike miles to see them. Thanks for sharing your experience. Go Cami!
    What a beautiful place. I will leave the snow hiking in sandels off my list. Staying next to the ocean would be so cool. Hope to do that one day. Your quirky B&B sounds like someplace we would enjoy. Much more interesting than cookie cutter motel rooms. Those forest photos look amazing. What a trip. I'm off to read part 2.