Road trip to Oregon
April 4, 2002

We had been talking about a road trip for some time. It came down to a choice between a few exciting destinations. The choices were the Grand Canyon, the Oregon coast, or Yosemite. Charlotte and I had been to the Oregon coast a long time ago when we were living in Colorado and had really loved it. We've also done road trips up the coast, but never quite past the Oregon border. Charlotte had done the Grand Canyon a really long time ago, but the distance didn't go well with the few days we could take. We're off to the Oregon coast!

We drove up I-5 so we could get there as quick as we could. Our first stop when we got to the coast was a town called Florence. We found a nice hotel right at the mouth of the river where we could unwind after the long drive. The pool was a big bonus.

After breakfast, we were all excited to get to the big sand dunes. The weather wasn't cooperating a whole lot, but you've got to tell yourself it's only water. Our first stop was Honeyman state park. The sand dunes here are unbelievable. They say they get to over 300 feet tall. Climbing dunes is such a blast. It's really quite a remarkable distance to the ocean. The kids and I hiked out through the dunes for a long time and never actually reached the ocean. We saw quite a few dune buggies having fun on the dunes as well.
We made another stop further south at Bolon state park. There was a view of some more dunes, but actually not a whole lot to do here.
Just past the park in Bolon, we stopped to check out the Umpqua lighthouse. One of these days it might be cool to get a photo of every lighthouse we see. I think it would make a great story.
Speaking of lighgthouses, our next stop was the Coquille lighthouse in Bandon. We had a great tour inside the lighthouse and then went out on the beach to check out something big we saw from above. It turned out to be this big dead ray. It stunk like crazy, but the kids loved it.
We then stopped on the other side of the river in Bandon to go rock picking. This beach was totally covered in tons of cool rocks and driftwood.
Because we had such a good time in this area so far, we decided to stop at the Bandon state park even though it didn't look like much from the road. It turned out to be an awesome beach. It was very quiet with lots of great rock formations. We played here for a long while.
Somewhere along the road heading south, we were forced to stop for this terrifying T-Rex. It's probably a famous landmark.
The sun was finally starting to come out as we stopped at a large beach in Brookings.
We finally crossed the border into California and stopped at Crescent City. Looks a whole lot like Oregon, except for the sun. We also stopped seeing all the logging along the highway that was everywhere in Oregon.
Along the highway we came across a nice meadow with what looked like deer crossing signs. It turned out to be a big elk area. We stopped to enjoy a herd grazing.
We then made a stop at Patrick's Point state park. We walked along stunning narrow paths out to the top of this big rock. The view was incredible.
We wound up packing so much sightseeing into one day, that we had to find a place for the night in the dark. You know when you say, let's drive just a little further and see what the next town looks like. Well we kept this up until past the kid's bedtimes and found ourselves in Willits. Can't say I saw much of the town, but here we are getting ready to leave. Don't ask me about the significance of the caging of our children.
We're now back in familiar territory as we make a stop in San Francisco at the Presidio.
We make one last stop in Davenport before finally making it home to Santa Cruz. Looks like it'll be a sunny, warm day when we get home. The trip has been a blast, but I'll be happy to stop driving for a while. I guess the Grand Canyon will be our next stop.