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Long, long Trip Report - 9 Days In Redwoods/Oregon w/2 kids

Peachtree City...
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Long, long Trip Report - 9 Days In Redwoods/Oregon w/2 kids

There's not too many actual Trip Reports posted here, but hopefully there are some here who might find this useful or even (gasp) enjoyable so I'll post it here. I just came back from this trip last night. Lots of help on this, the Redwood, and Oregon forums - thanks especially to half/Brit who helped me in every one of those. TR in first reply!

Peachtree City...
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1. Re: Long, long Trip Report - 9 Days In Redwoods/Oregon w/2 kids

PROLOGUE

Mid-30s dad taking his two girls (8 & 6) to Redwood National Park after his 8-year-old used it as "her" park for a big school project. We made a loop of it through Portland, all of it new territory for us. A spring break to remember - and here we go!

DAY 1: ATL -> PDX -> Shady Cave, OR (Sat)

Our nonstop flight leaves Atlanta with a slight delay and arrives in murky Portland just before 1pm. As a southerner who loves murk and really does not get much of it at home, I am completely good with this. I would be happy to live in murk. Days in the 50s where it looks like it's going to rain but never quite does, days where it's endless coffee and dark interiors and introspective music, are happy days for me. In general.

Though it must be said that it can detract a bit on a vacation, particularly one that involves a lot of outdoor activities, and even more particularly when you've got two kids to look after and you're the only parent. So I do breathe a sigh of relief when the rain dries up a little south of Eugene on our long initial drive from PDX to Grants Pass. And surprisingly, it never returns on this 8-day voyage into RAIN COUNTRY. The ponchos remained folded up, which saved me from having to figure out to refold them without my wife present.

Lunch at the Mexican place in PDX (salmon tacos were a bit messy to eat but I loved them and they're a novelty to me - kids thought there was too much rice in the burritos, which shocked me that I'm raising burrito snobs), dinner at Sunflower Thai in Grants Pass (steamed shrimp in lime juice with chilis - good stuff, and something I'd never seen in a Thai restaurant).

Grants Pass seemed an obvious place for an overnight, but I wanted to get as close to Crater Lake as possible so we drove an additional hour to Shady Cove. Beautiful country! And we knew it'd get only beautifuller. On this path I had my first sighting with that mythical creature I didn't know still existed, the Oregon Gas Station Attendant (petrolius oregonus). You can recognize the distinct "NO, THIS IS OREGON!!" cry of the male by the particular shriek emitted when you don't know any better and are about to insert your credit card at the pump. It made for a nice, lazy touch to not have to get out of my car on the rest of the trip. I hope there's not an etiquette to tip these creatures, as I only now just thought about it.

Sundown took place halfway between Grants Pass and Shady Cove (the Thai, while good, was not quick) which was pretty concerning for me as I had paid the charge for a room overlooking the Rogue River at our hotel, the Edgewater Inn, and I am normally a no-frills lodger. But thankfully we made it into town before dusk ended, and had a nice twilight view of the lovely river from our lovely hotel. And we all crashed within the hour. I am eternally grateful for kids who can take a 6-hour flight immediately followed by a 5-hour car drive.

DAY 2: Shady Cove -> Crescent City, CA (Sun)

My kids were up before I was, sometime around 4:45. To some, this might be considered jetlag, but this was exactly what I wanted. On a trip where almost everything we wanted to see was out in the open and not behind locked doors, I wanted to use as much daylight time as I could possibly get. So it was that we gave the receptionist at the Edgewater Inn a shock as we marched in within seconds of her unlocking the door for breakfast at 6am. She was a nice person and we chatted a bit in the rustic lobby as we had a modest breakfast of fruits and pastries. After that, another few views of the Rogue from our balcony and the hotel's pavilion, and we were on the road by 7. The Edgewater was a charming place and I recommend it.

We followed the Rogue, stopping for a bit at the Rogue River Gorge. I had not done any research on this, but the Edgewater receptionist had mentioned it and I'm glad I followed her lead. This was a quick roadside detour that had marvelous views of the Rogue as it funneled its way downstream. You can also see lava tubes from times past, along with plaques that explain what lava tubes are which was helpful. A small quarter-mile trail shows you what you need to see, and it was a nice scenic amuse-bouche for the entree to come ahead.

That would be Crater Lake National Park. I had honestly not put it on our itinerary when planning this trip out 6 months ago, since we would be going off-season and (more to the point) I imagined my snowdriving novice self would not be able to handle the road conditions. But then I made the fatal mistake of seeing photos of the lake in winter, and it started churning in my mind. And coupled with the relatively light snowfall the region has seen, I started to realize it might not be impossible with the VW Jetta I was driving. The Oregon forum helped me come to this decision as well. The forecast called for overcast skies with the sun breaking out by early afternoon, but I couldn't afford the time to wait with my last-minute scheduling (indeed, last minute - I changed my ATL departure flight less than 24 hours beforehand). I'd read I'd have a 50% chance of viewing the lake, and while I couldn't fully grasp what that meant, I knew I'd have a 100% chance of viewing more snow than I'd collectively seen in my life, and so long as it was safe driving I knew my kids would get a thrill from that alone.

We entered the park around 8:40 and drove up to the South Rim. I soon understood what it meant by no visibility - we could see around us fine, but peering downward was pure fog. A little disappointing, it must be said, but we loved the drive to the view and my kids were in awe of how deep the snow was. We played in it and tromped around until the opening hours of the Visitor Center. We headed down, and watched the good 20-minute video they have on the lake and it's history (the best of the 3 NPS videos we saw on our trip, well worth the time). I am not above saying I took a photo of the lake as it flashed on the screen - second-hand isn't so bad, and we were at the source at least. But as we were leaving the attendant told us the fog was lifting! We didn't dally - we headed back up and indeed we were blessed with a gorgeous view that kept getting better during our time up there. I felt fortunate to have the perspective of seeing what a difference the weather makes. It was everything I hoped for when I saw that initial photo. 50% chance of viewing the lake, indeed! And where I come from, batting .500 is a shoo-in for the Hall Of Fame.

We left Crater Lake and began our somewhat long journey to California from there. On the way we stopped at Grants Pass for a quick lunch - Taco Bell for my kids, and the leftover burrito from PDX for me (in my view, it is impossible to have a bad burrito). I also saw a Dutch Bros Coffee stand and decided to get something to drink since I was in the land of Java. Alas there was a person in front of me who was taking an extremely long time (like, minutes-long) figuring out what she wanted, so the cashier walked towards me to see what I wanted. I confessed I didn't know the menu since it was my first time there, so I just picked a latte. Whereupon she said, "You're serious it's your first time? Well then it's free!" So let me give a brief thank you to the indecisive coffee drinker from Grants Pass.

We drove into California and made the veer-off onto Howland Hill Rd a little after 3. We made it! It was so gratifying to see my kid really get excited by what she was seeing, after doing all of her class project on Redwood National Park in the fall. It wasn't just a matter of seeing the trees, but identifying some flora and fauna that she had used on her diorama and such. We did the River trail tying into Stout Grove, with the slightest touch of Hiouchi to walk to the river. Back to the car and we rode Howland Hill out all the way into Crescent City for dinner at Sushi Kyu. Following dinner, we stopped at the Crescent Beach Overlook and then went down on the Endert's Beach trail to the Pacific. We stayed there until about 15 minutes before sunset, to make sure we had enough light to make it back to our car, whereupon we drove to the Econo Lodge and checked in at 8:15. My 6-year-old, in an unprecedented move, walked straight into the room, got into bed, and pulled the covers over her head. I can understand - it was a pretty full day!

DAY 3: Crescent City -> Garberville, CA (Mon)

We got up early again today, but my kids have a thing about experiencing hotel breakfasts (even barebones Econo Lodge-style breakfasts) so we got ready to go and grabbed things from them as they opened at 7am. I spied the Java Hut down the street and got my breakfast there. I knew immediately that I would miss these ubiquitous espresso stands when I would conclude this trip.

The morning (and indeed full day) alternated sunshine and fog. A guy at the Econo Lodge said, "I hope the weather will work out for you", but this was perfect for me. The inherent mystery of the redwoods alongside the inherent mystery of the fog make for a beautiful blend. Couple that with my latte and my Robbie Basho CD playing and I felt I was living out my fantasies. We spent the morning at the Klamath Viewpoint, the Coastal Drive, the Newton Drury Parkway, the Big Tree, and the Lady Bird Johnson Grove, before closing this stretch of the park at the modest Visitor Center.

From there, we headed to Trinidad for lunch at the Beachcomber Cafe, which had an easygoing vibe that I really liked. I can't drink alcohol anymore for medical purposes, but the Lost Coast root beer on tap was amazing, even better than getting it from the real thing later that day. The bulk of the afternoon was spent at Patrick's Point State Park - we visited the Yurok Village, and did a bit of the rim walk taking in Wedding Rock and Patrick's Point, before driving to Palmer's Point to cap it off. We didn't have the patience or timetable for real whale-watching, but we enjoyed pretending to in any case, and the views were outstanding.

A late afternoon drive to Eureka. My kids were a little tired from the hiking, which was expected and I certainly didn't want to wear them out. But then they really wanted to walk the streets and see all of the Victorian buildings after getting a view of them, so we strolled about 10 blocks round-trip or so. The Pink Lady was their favorite. This was a nice surprise - I love Victorian architecture so I knew I'd want to see these places, and it was nice to see it shared among the others too. Dinner at the Lost Coast Brewery, which is a fun place and they loved it.

It wasn't on our agenda, but since they really hit it off with Eureka I thought we could drive a little out of the way to see Ferndale on our ride south. I'm generally too cheap to stay at the Gingerbread Mansion, but I was interested to see it and the surroundings. And it was well worth the ride - a more low-key version of Eureka. There were even Victorian public restrooms - that killed me. And my kids loved the old historic bridge by I-5 as we were heading back - I misjudged my speed and the way the incline gave way to the straight-top, which gave us a brief Evel Knievel moment - they would have been happy if we'd gone back and forth over that for an hour.

We drove into Garberville about a half-hour before sunset. It's certainly got the vibe to it - lots of people hanging out on the streets. If that's something that concerns you, it might be something to think about - but stuff like that doesn't really phase me. We checked into the Humboldt Redwoods Inn, which was staffed by a nice lady who gave us a good room. It was a 2-bed setup, but with each bed in its own room, so my kids felt like this was the most luxurious place they ever stayed. An easy place to chill out and prepare for the next day.

DAY 4: Garberville -> Brookings, OR (Tue)

We dropped our old-school hotel key in the slot, and headed down to the Eel River Cafe for breakfast. My daughter said the vintage neon sign of the guy flipping the pancake was "hypnotizing". A good, sturdy breakfast in a place that feels like living history. The pancakes were huge - it made me a little melancholy, seeing that I couldn't finish the stack of 3, wondering if this is something related to aging. The 22-year-old me would have been appalled!

We picked Garberville as it appeared to be the closest place to start the Avenue Of The Giants drive. We spent our morning on it, veering off to drive our car through the tree at Myers Flat (the little Expressionist redwood fairy-tale village they made was a big hit too) and to do some hiking through Humboldt Redwoods State Park - we did from memory Gould, Founders, and the introductory loop through the Rockefeller Forest.

We had anticipated eating in Arcata at Hole In The Wall, but we spent a little longer hiking than planned and decided to visit the Eureka location instead. It meant we missed seeing another town, but it was only too practical. They weren't kidding calling it Hole In The Wall - even with my gps I drove by the place 3 times before I found it! But it was well worth it - an immense barbecued tofu sandwich with fresh avocado on a Dutch crunch roll. This became my unintentional dinner as well.

Back into Redwood National Park, and a brief stop at the elk areas around Davison Rd. We had no luck yesterday but lots of females are out today. Our first time seeing these majestic creatures in the flesh.

From there onto Trees Of Mystery in Klamath. My kids had heard the legend of Paul Bunyan a long time ago but didn't remember it, so I started to tell them about it again and mentioned the big statues we'd see. They asked, "were those stories true?" I said, "maybe you can ask the statue." They said, "statues can't talk!" and I said, "well, we'll see." Needless to say the talking Paul Bunyan made a big impression on them. We took the skylift to the top (about 1/2 viewable) and then did the hike, unaware that (a) it was going to take us down to the bottom of the mountain and (b) it was steep! I saw the sign saying "Advanced hikers only" and then the "Look out for Bigfoot" warning and thought it a bit cutesy. No, pretty intense! No wonder they hand out walking sticks. My kids asked me about halfway into it if they were really advanced hikers. I said, "if you can make it to the bottom without rolling, I'd say yes!" And they did. Their reward was to take the Skylift on a full roundtrip afterwards.

An early dinner (for them) at Perlita's in Crescent City. The menu looked really good from the onset, but I just couldn't bring myself to eat much after the sandwich at Hole In The Wall. I did get a vegetable tamale though, since those are rarer than hen's teeth in Georgia. Good stuff, and my kids celebrated their hike with an horchata, which is like ice cream for them.

Nothing we really had to do after dinner than drive, so we went to check out the Battery Point Lighthouse. It was almost 6, so we couldn't go into the house, but the bridge to the house was exposed so we had the novelty of walking around it. But then we heard the tide was coming back, so we quickly sprinted across - kinda fun. And that was our final moment in California - I love the state the more I visit it.

We drove up the 101 into Oregon to our hotel in Brookings, the Blue Coast Inn. I asked for beach access and was advised to drive about a mile up to Harris Beach State Park, which was a mellow way to spend our evening. Lots of good sand for writing messages on, and my kid made a makeshift model of redwood cathedral trees using driftwood pieces stuck into the beach. A nice way to bridge the two moments of our trip as the sun set.

DAY 5: Brookings -> Reedsport, OR (Wed)

We showed up for breakfast as the owner was unlocking the door. Just instant oatmeal, but my kids are good with that. We quickly exited and hit up some beautiful walks along the Samuel H Boardman Scenic Corridor soon afterwards - Natural Bridge and Thunder Rock Cove in particular. I know it was a Tuesday morning, and that the southern Oregon coast does not get much traffic, but it was still shocking to have such beauty all to ourselves! I "Oh wow"ed at least once every minute or two driving up to Port Orford, with a few stops for Cape Sebastian State Park and a latte fix.

We arrived at the Cape Blanco Lighthouse a little after opening. What they say about the wind is true - I took a photo of my longhaired redhead looking like Cousin Itt. The shopkeep who sold me my ticket told my kids to pay attention to the tour because he'd quiz them on it, and after we did on tour (on a beautiful morning) sure enough they wanted to go back in for the test. They passed! For lunch we backpedaled a bit to Crazy Norwegians, but it was well worth the detour - I ate a lot of quality fish & chips on this trip, but I'm giving the gold star to them. The merionberry pie was a beauty to behold as well.

A brief stop at Bullards Beach to take in the Coquille Lighthouse and the driftwood-laden beach adjacent. With this trip my kids appreciate just looking at the beauty of a beach setting without feeling the need to get into the water - thank you, cold Pacific Ocean.

This leads to what was the most frustrating part of the trip - a plan to go on a dune buggy tour through the Oregon Dunes. Warning: I'm calling out names here. I had planned to use Spinreel for this - they get good marks, and I called them about 2 weeks prior to confirm they'd be doing tours this week. I was told, "yes, but check back with us on the day or the day before to make sure about weather conditions." So when I called in Port Orford, I was told, "no tours this week, our whole fleet is down for maintenance to prep for summer." GRRRR. Thankfully I picked up a brochure for Sand Dunes Frontier at our hotel this morning, so I called them - they said they were good for today, so long as my kids met the minimums of 42", 4 years old, 40 pounds. I said no problem. Kinda sucked because it was 25 miles up the road further than where I was planning (I had booked our hotel in Reedsport, expecting Spinreel to be one of the last activities), but in the end a ride is better than no ride. Only to show up, pay for the ride, and then have the driver say, "your youngest is too small to go on the ride." I complained, and they tried to frame it as me being the irresponsible parent willing to risk my child's safety, when I was rather concerned about them giving very specific limitations that apparently have no basis in reality. When I went back in to get my refund, they said, "yeah, if their chin can't measure up to this counter they're too small" - well, then measure that with a ruler because it's well above 42"! My kids got an earful of this, to which I later told them, "this is why I want you to understand how important it is to learn, because otherwise you'll just spout off garbage like those lazy-thinking people."

But the pearl to be gleaned from this - and what a pearl it was - was that the Sand Dunes Frontier driver suggest I check out Sandland 4 miles up the street. We went there, and yes, (a) my kids were both good to ride, (b) tours were still available, and (c) unlike either of those two places, Sandland was offering a full 60-minute ride that would take us to the ocean! It was amazing - and the ride was even moreso! Our driver, Mike, looked out for my kids while still giving us the thrill-ride to end all thrill-rides. All of that prior frustration aired out on a wide-open ride at 70mph.​ Hitting the dunes sideways on like 60-degree angles with a half-moon visible in the blue sky - I honestly felt like I was on a different planet.

Our brains pretty much emptied out afterwards, we waved a fond goodbye to Sandland and headed back south. We stopped at the Oregon Dunes Overlook, because we decided, "y'know, I bet we could really load our bodies up with sand if we doubled down." And we really wanted to experience both things - the thrills of a dune buggy, but also the feeling of just being out by ourselves in the midst of it all. Have you ever seen that 60s Japanese movie, "Woman In The Dunes"? I love that film, and it was the first time I'd ever seen such an environment - and now I was in it! After the rush we had just experienced, what a way to chill out.

Back in Reedsport for an immense dinner at Harbor Light - everything sounded good, so I ordered almost all of it. That's what happens when you're in an area known for its cuisine. Oysters, tempura-style mushrooms, salmon chowder, etc. Oh, that...feeling...is...coming...back... must...[choke]...continue!

It's near sundown and the time is right so we drive a mere few minutes away to the Dean Creek Elk Viewing area. And indeed they're out in full force, a bull among them (and a bull who could not stop staring at my phone, creepily enough). Enough excitement for one day? Probably so. We check into the Economy Hotel, a budget place with lots of hidden treasures (sculpture out front of American Indian maiden with beaver, guitars for sale in the lobby, snazzy retro-cool room lighting). It feels a bit like home, oddly enough.

DAY 6: Reedsport -> Garibaldi, OR (Thu)

Out the door at 7 - no hotel breakfast, so we all agree to try a place next door to Harbor Light (sorry, can't seem to find the name) for some made-to-order smoked-salmon & cream cheese bagels, with an ever-present latte. To go, of course. As I tell my kids every single morning, it's going to be a busy day (and they never call me on it, bless).

Initial stop at the viewpoint for the Heceta Head Lighthouse, which only led to the stop for the lighthouse itself. A nice brisk start to the day.

Cape Perpetua came next. The helpful attendant suggested on such a beautiful day we'd best be over at Devil's Churn (high tide having just ended). Pretty cool to find sea anemones and mussels in the waters around the basalt formations. We then headed back to the car and drive up to the lookout before lunch at the Luna Sea Fish House in Yachats.

My youngest kid is an aquarium freak so I knew I'd be taking them to the aquarium in Newport, and it lived up to its reputation - I like how they keep it local as opposed to the encyclopedic approach in Atlanta). We showed up just in time to see the sea stars and urchins get fed, which was fascinating! Realizing that this huge prickly thing in front of me consumes objects was an obvious yet previously unimaginable point.

From Newport to a brief stop at Cape Foulweather to look out at Devil's Punchbowl (Oregon took all the good names). The seas are beautiful but choppy, which was what we heard from the Depoe Bay tours we called - no venturing into the waters for whales today, unfortunately.

That still didn't stop us from checking out the Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay (and yet another gorgeous bridge that we crossed under to access). I loved the planned-out kids activities there - scavenger hunts and origami whale instructions and such.

The upside to the lack of a tour was the ability to fit one more thing into the day. So it was we decided to fit in a stop at the Tillamook Cheese Factory today, rather than tomorrow morning. I enjoyed watching them process the cheese, all the whole taking a mental stab at how long it'd take me to consume one of those uncut blocks of cheddar (79 minutes bring my best guess). But of course we were here for samples and ice cream - I picked Oregon Black Cherry, and I picked wisely, but I sorta kick myself for not trying Mountain Huckleberry since you can only get huckleberries on the Cartoon Network around here.

Dinner in Tillamook at the Pacific Restaurant (a pound of clams, I'm a simple guy sometimes) and then we went to our hotel, the Econo Lodge in Garibaldi. A nice surprise to come up and see the vintage trains next to the hotel. All of these budget places had such character! The trains were all once part of the Oregon Coast Explorer fleet, which made me realize that in less than 24 hours we'd have the coast all explored ourselves.

DAY 7: Garibaldi -> Portland, OR (Fri)

More hotel oatmeal for my kids, more lattes for me. We mosey our way up the 101. We didn't take the Three Capes Loop, but honestly this farming landscape is breathtaking and provided a nice balance to the overwhelming beach beauty we had absorbed lately.

Not that we were through with beaches - the free time we bought by seeing Tillamook the day before allowed us some chill-out time in Cannon Beach. Playing in the sand, primitive shelling, that kind of thing. It was as "downtime" as we got and it was nice to drift a bit.

Back on the road to enjoy the foresty drives and viewpoints from Ecola State Park, before going on to Fort Clatsop. We are planning to visit the first Lewis & Clark fort on our summer road trip, so it seemed nice to see the last one too. The fort is well-presented and the video was kid-friendly too, though my 6-year-old informed me afterwards "they said Sacajawea's name wrong!"

Lunch in Astoria at the wonderful Ft George Brewery before heading up the Astoria Column on a fine day. We've climbed our share of columns and monuments, but we've never been encouraged to throw gliders from the top before!

We've seen all we planned to see in Astoria but we have a bit more time to spare, so we take the 101 bridge across the Columbia. Once we cross, we open the door and plant our feet for 5-4-3-2-1-yes, we can say we visited Washington too! Satisfied, we crossed back over.

Final coast visit to Ft Stevens State Park, if only to see the Peter Iredale and to say goodbye to the Pacific Ocean. I allow everyone to step into the water, only to get hit with the biggest wave we saw (ankle deep, but still) and I deal with very wet socks the rest of the day. An enviable souvenir.

On to Portland via Hwy 26. We steer into Powell's Books around 5:45. I reveal the significance of Powell's to my book-loving kids on the way and they are thrilled. I allow a book apiece which they pick up within 12.6 seconds into the children's section but we traipse around a bit longer getting a feel for the store. Nothing beats a good bookstore, excepting a good record store, though I restrain myself from the latter on this trip.

We walk down the street to Ristorante Roma, which I thought would be a nice return after days of seafood places. The place has a great atmosphere, and despite the unsightly appearance of a bearded guy with two small girls without a reservation at 7pm on a Friday, they seat us and promptly bring out sumptuous pasta plates.

The sun's setting, so we head across town to our destination, the one hotel I spent money for. And I knew it would be money well spent - the Kennedy School. Seeing this erstwhile elementary school and telling our kids this was where we were staying was priceless, especially as we wandered down the crowded Friday night corridors with dim lighting, casual crowds with microbrews, and the occasional old-school drinking fountain. I got a room with a blackboard, which amused my kids until bedtime. As night came and the lights were turned out, I saw a lovely moon and Mars shining through the windowpanes - a nice astronomy lesson to close out the session.

DAY 8: Portland (Sat)

I want us out the door early for our last adventurous day of the trip. An impromptu stop on 33rd St first, though. Driving to the Kennedy School, I noticed a "real" school on the route, Beverly Cleary High, and remembered that a celebrated novelist from my and my daughter's youth resided from here. A few google searches later, I learned that a sculpture garden devoted to her characters were across the street, so we had a nice pose with Ramona before moving on to the polar opposite Portland experience, Voodoo Doughnut. A fair amount of doughnuts and Stumptown coffee later, I'm sold.

And from there, the Columbia River Gorge. We may have been slightly early, since the fog was hanging just slightly as we arrived at the Northwest Women's Viewing Point, but how many layers of the perfect onion peel should we be entitled to unfold, really? Final big hikes of the trip at Latourell Falls and Bridal Veil Falls. We of course stop in at Multnomah Falls but just head up to the closed-off bridge. One thing, it's a nice way to get photos of the bridge without people being in them!

Back on I-84, and I get that Southern Oregon Coast déjà vu as I "oh, wow" all the way along the gorge. To the Panorama Viewpoint to marvel (too weak a word) at Mt Hood before heading south. To the Timberline Lodge, a driving experience that could only be bettered of they'd ever reissue the soundtrack to "The Shining." Lunch in the lodge, which was really just an excuse to share a hot chocolate. At 38 years old, I saw people skiing for the first time in my life.

Back to Portland, heading to the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden. It's a little early for the namesakes, but we enjoyed what we could see. We are garden novices, though, so it's a lot of "oh, look at the pretty flowers that are beside those other...pretty flowers."

It has been a big day indeed, and the end is nigh, so we head back to the hotel for some time in the soaking pool before calling room service. Room service is a novelty in our family, so we played it up in our finest pajamas, munching on margherita pizza and fish & chips. A nice way to end our final night.

DAY 9: Portland -> ATL (Sun)

Aka the only morning with no alarm, so we rise at a decadent 6:45. Oh yes. Breakfast at the a Kennedy School restaurant, and the serene scene is a nice contrast to the bustles of nights previous. School's almost out, and sadly we're not being held back.

A few hours to go, so we decide to see more gardens. We move to Washington Park in time for the Japanese a Gardens to open. My kids are half-Japanese and we're no strangers to Eastern gardens (unlike western ones), and the Portland variant is as impressive as they say. The kids scavenger hunt they hand out is nice too, and it adds the benefit of labeling some of the center pieces - seeing them address the rock garden as "Buddha and the four tiger-cubs" makes an abstract image very approachable, likewise the maple known as the "dancing peacock" - it opens your eyes to the hidden worlds behind all these objects.

We had enough time, so we walked briefly through the Rose Garden too until time to head to the airport. We knew that little would be blooming, but we did find a few lovelies. But no matter - we may have been early for this, but we were dead-on for literally everything else.

Thanks for reading this long report, and thank you to all who helped to plan this trip, whether or not you know how much of a role you played.

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2. Re: Long, long Trip Report - 9 Days In Redwoods/Oregon w/2 kids

Great trip report. Thanks for posting. Enjoyed reading all about your experiences. It brought back fond memories of our trip to the area last July.

PS. Link to the trip reports sticky at the top of the road trips forum- we have a number of road trip reports posted there.

3. Re: Long, long Trip Report - 9 Days In Redwoods/Oregon w/2 kids

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