For the love of road trips, part 1

All those weeks ago (when I started this post it was weeks ago, but those weeks have turned into months) we all left Portland in the middle of a snow event. It sounds like I am running away from our traditional Portland winter, which by the way is nothing like winter in much of the United States, but this was all pre-planned. I had no idea we would be schlepping our belongings up a snowy street to pack the car. I’d moved it up to a flat spot the night before for an easy early morning exit.

Our exit out. It doesn’t look like much, but the large fir trees in the park up the street from our house block most of the snowfall, thus moving the car up there for our departure. That’s a snow plow up ahead. The roads were icy under that dusting, but my car is a champ in winter weather, especially with her snow tires.

Our little mini caravan departed Portland on a Tuesday morning in late December. We were lucky enough to have The Pragmatist and his girlfriend with us for the first couple days as they were leaving Portland for Silicon Valley to visit with her family for the new year.

First stop, Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area on the southern Oregon Coast. We passed by this area on our May 2021 birthday road trip, but didn’t have time in our schedule to stop. I knew I wanted to return, so I scheduled this road trip around a visit. Since both my boys were with us, an extensive hike on the John Dellenback Trail, 6+ miles round trip, was on the agenda. My boys love to hike!

Oregon Dunes

As we left the trailhead parking lot, it started to rain, of course it did! Oregon! We grabbed dinner in a nearby town, picked up the ingredients for root beer floats (a family favorite) and headed to the Tu Tu Tun Lodge in Gold Beach, Oregon. As mentioned in a previous post, this cute lodge is located on the banks of the Rogue River and even in December, is a little slice of paradise!

This time we booked the luxury cabin with two master suites and a full kitchen, all with a view of the river.
The Rogue River, just around the bend from where it enters the mighty Pacific Ocean.

The Pragmatist + girlfriend left us for their drive to the Bay Area while we were eating our massive lodge breakfast (included with the room rate).

We were on the road by 10am looking forward to our drive through the California Redwoods, on our way to our Orick, CA airbnb. The Peacemaker hadn’t been to The Redwoods since he was a kid and he was really ready for a fun hike.

We did make a few pit stops along the way as the Oregon Coastline is pretty beautiful.
Boardman State Park, Oregon
The December weather was really lovely…. icy cold, but pretty.
We also stopped at this cute lighthouse in Crescent City, CA.
We made it to Orick just before dark and did a quick walk through Lady Bird Johnson Grove Trail. This is a picture I took from inside an old redwood tree.
Those redwoods though… they are spectacular!

What wasn’t so cool, was the town of Orick, and our little airbnb. Good news, it was walking distance to the little town store. Bad news, that weird little store was the only thing open. The town was dilapidated and fairly well abandoned. It was downright depressing. The town gave me a very bad vibe and even though we were supposed to stay 2 nights, I never unpacked, anything, and made the quick decision that we would leave the next morning. I was that freaked out.

Interestingly enough, this article recently appeared on

Uh, yeah. Strange. And Sad.

More beautiful redwoods to follow in my next post…

2 thoughts on “For the love of road trips, part 1

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