Thursday, July 11, 2013

vacation.....all i ever wanted

Ok, so I admit you have to be a certain age to sing the title of this post the way I do. I've been singing it for a few days now, ever since returning from a 9 day camping road trip. I know it's not everybody's idea of fun to haul two of their three kids, plus the dog and a tiny trailer over 800 miles (1800km) each way, but it's definitely mine.

We set out at 6 AM for the first ferry of the day so we could get an early start. We had lots of driving ahead of us, as well as shopping to do. Along the way we saw a few interesting sights. Mt. St. Helens anyone?


None of us had ever seen it before and we didn't even know it was visible from where we were. But there it is. We actually questioned if that was Mt. St. Helens, but really, how many Washington mountains have their top blown off? Pretty neat to see on our first day out....

We made it to our campground in Hammond OR (just outside Astoria) around dinner time and shortly after we went down to the beach. Now I have to say that I really wasn't prepared for the wide openness of the ocean. Yes we do live in a beach town, but we have all of Vancouver Island between us and the wide open Pacific. So really, it's like we're on a peaceful little bay. The wind and the waves here were incredible. Sand dunes for miles and crashing waves you could hear from at least 500 feet away. It was a great start to our trip.


The campground beach gets better through. There is a 100 year old shipwreck! Yes! The Peter Iredale wrecked in 1906 and what remains of it's steel hull sits on the beach. There really is no way to explain the feeling I got looking at this strangely beautiful piece of history.


We had to keep moving so the next morning we packed up to head to Reedsport OR, heart of dune country, where we would spend two nights. Along the way we stopped in Cannon Beach, where I went  into Center Diamond Fabric Store. What a store this is! If you are ever anywhere even remotely close to Cannon Beach OR, you should run to this store. Such a great selection of modern fabric, as well as a huge selection of batiks, books and possibly everything else you could ever need. It was really unexpected to see the fantastic selection in a relatively small town! Know what else I didn't expect? The wind sculpted trees. Pure craziness, but I guess that's what happens when the wind blows in off the ocean non-stop.


Farther down the coast is Manzanita, which is not only a gorgeous town, with a seven mile stretch of white sandy beach, but it's the friendliest toward dogs of any town or city I've ever been to. ANY restaurant/cafe/bakery/coffee shop with outdoor seating welcomes your dog in the outdoor area. What a blessing for people traveling with dogs. I wanted to stay forever.


As we came into Reedsport OR we knew the first thing we wanted to do was check out the dunes. Seriously, 300 feet high? You better believe it!


Just one of the many casual set ups we saw. Ha! People take their dune adventures pretty seriously in these parts.


I'd say my kids and dog enjoyed the beaches in Reedsport.....


We couldn't stay long though, with only two nights before we had to leave for California. On our way we stopped in the woods for a picnic. These tall trees were just a hint of what was to come. Incedentally, this stop was just outside Crescent City CA, home to Pelican Bay State Prison. Now that may or may not concern the casual picnicker, it didn't bug us to be less than a mile from a Supermax. We thought it was kind of interesting and did some reading on the prison and the current issues facing both staff and inmates. You can actually get a glimpse of the prison from the freeway, which is as close as I ever hope to get.


Our tiny trailer is a 1978 Boler that has been lovingly restored. Bolers are fiberglass trailers that were built in Canada from the late 60s to late 70s. Ours is one of the latest built. It's also bigger than most. A regular Boler is 13' while ours is a spacious 17'. The company went through an ownership change in the 70s and the new owner decided that some people might like an extra 4' so the design was changed. "Real" Boler people don't consider ours authentic, as the original company owner/designer had no input on the changes. We however, don't care about that. The trailer is perfect for us :-)

So. Onto Eureka CA, which is pretty much as far south as we went. No trip to Eureka is complete without a drive-by of the famous and huge Carson Mansion. This house is massive even by today's standards. I can't even imagine what people must have thought of it 127 years ago when it was built.

carson mansion

Old town Eureka is a really beautiful part of the city, with some gorgeous homes and a revitalized shopping district. The harbour isn't bad either!

eureka ca

From Eureka it's a short run down the freeway to the Avenue of the Giants, a 30 mile stretch that winds through the redwoods. Jackpot. This is what we came to see. Trees 300 feet tall and 40 feet around. No words can describe how tiny you feel. It's dizzying to try looking up at them.

avenue of the giants

We spent four nights in California, including the Fourth of July. We enjoyed Eureka's street fair and fireworks. I had no idea until we got home that I lucked out with this smiley face fireworks shot. Total score!

happy fireworks

More time was spent at beaches


in caves


and exploring.


But then it was time to go home and say goodbye to California. So long, Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse.

Trinidad Memorial Lighthouse

So long, gorgeous sunsets.


We made our way home and even after being back for three days, I'm still in vacation mode. I really should get out there finish unpacking *sigh*


  1. Wow! Now I want to visit the west coast even more. Incredible trip!

  2. What fun! It looks like a lovely trip!

  3. Wow, that's an epic journey. Looks like a load of fun though.
    And I want that house :)

  4. Wow -- it sounds like an awesome adventure to me! I'd LOVE to have a camper, you lucky girl. And, I've never seen the redwoods -- they're on my bucket list. Thanks for sharing your awesome pictures!

  5. Oh wow that looks like such an incredible trip! I love your pictures, and now I want to drive the 800 miles it would take us to get to the beach too!!

  6. What an amazing experience! Nothing beats a touring holiday.. We did one a few years back in Scotland and you can see so much when you move around.

  7. Amazing photos! Thanks for sharing them with us. I feel like I went on this trip with you.