We had it all planned out. We’d been coming up with ideas and mapping routes for a year. The summer before he started junior high, Geek Spawn and I took the back seats out of the Creeper Van, replaced them with an inflatable air mattress and our suitcases, then hit the road on a trip that we would never forget.
Leaving at 2 in the morning, we drove about 9 hours to the home of Wifey’s friend outside of Sacramento. They fed us, let us sleep on a hide-a-bed and gave us a place to shower. The next morning we were off to San Francisco.
We were trying to keep costs down apart from our planned activities, so in San Fran we looked around Fisherman’s Wharf, played some olde tyme arcade games and looked around the city. The reason we went to San Francisco at all was to see the Walt Disney Family Museum, which was awesome! After having a peanut butter sandwich below the Golden Gate Bridge, we headed north out of the city, stopping in the tiny town of Willits. We parked behind a Les Schwab and went to sleep.
The next day took us through the redwoods. We got to see amazing trees and even drive through one! We were moving right along, trying to get to the home of one of Geek Spawn’s friends who had moved to Coos Bay, OR. We finally found him and he told us about a local church having a 3rd of July BBQ, so free dinner! We also got to enjoy the Coos Bay fireworks show that night. We drove out of town a little ways that night and found a place to pull over and sleep.
Independence Day took us up the coastal highway through Newport, where we visited the Oregon Coast Aquarium. After that, we continued on to Pacific City where a friend of mine happened to be on vacation with his family. They gave us a place to shower, then we lit off some fireworks and slept in our van in front of their house.
Early the next morning, we toured the Tillamook Cheese Factory and went on north to my favorite city, Astoria, Oregon. We did some fun Astoria things: Ran around the war batteries, looked at a shipwreck, walked out on the jetty, saw the Goonies house and Kindergarten Cop school, and waited 2 hours for fish-n-chips. Awesome! We slept that night in the Safeway parking lot.
Sunday morning brought us to Long Beach, Washington. We began each day with a devotional and conversation about what to expect in junior high. We did our daily devotional that morning right out on the beach!
After seeing Jake the Alligator-Man and eating some amazing Chico’s pizza we went on to Aberdeen, Washington, home of the Star Wars store. We spent way too long in that store! We took a ferry across the Puget Sound to Seattle where another friend of mine let us shower. We zipped through Seattle, stopping briefly to get pictures of the Space Needle and slept at a rest area north of the city.
In the morning we went to Vancouver, Canada. At the border, we were detained and searched because the Canadian officers didn’t believe we would go all the way to Canada for lunch! We found a hiking trail that led over a high suspension bridge and went the location used for filming Psych. That took most of the day, but then we went back to the USA and drove to the little Bavarian-style town of Leavenworth, WA, where we pulled over and slept in a local neighborhood.
The next day of our journey brought us through Cashmere, WA, where we toured the Applets and Cotlets factory and then on to Wenatchee where we spent the day with my uncle and aunt. We stayed the night with my cousin’s family.
The final day brought us through a little pit stop along the Columbia River Gorge called Biggs Junction. There we met up with my parents for a Cinnabon at a gas station and then continued home.
This was the most fun, relaxing, interesting, adventurous, exciting, spontaneous, random, thrilling week I think I’ve ever had. I’m so glad I took that time to connect with my son before he started junior high. It’s time that neither he nor I will ever forget!
Thanks for reading! Have you taken a trip like this with your kids (or parents)? How did it go? Does our trip look like fun to you? My Wifey would not have liked sleeping in the van at all! Talk to us!