Oregon-California Family Road Trip: 11-Day Itinerary

We recently embarked (and returned all in one piece) on our first {family of four} multi-day road trip.  The journey was eventful to say the least, and to my surprise, a whole lot more enjoyable than I anticipated.  I’ll admit that I expected wild tantrums occurring in the backseat along with piercing baby cries that would be impossible to quiet.

And while there was some of unpleasantness, it certainly wasn’t the norm.  More often, we found ourselves enjoying the scenery, having the luxury of researching possible lunch and rest stops, and actually engaging in grown-up conversation! The one thing that did cut into our travel time (and sometimes sanity) was the amount of bathroom stops required for a 3.5 year old!

We’ll dive into more specifics of each of our destinations (and even pit stops) in the coming weeks and months (we covered a lot of ground!), but first we want you to see the bigger picture, and a few statistics for fun.

Day 1: Salem, Oregon

A good distance away (but not too ambitious) from our home in Seattle for the first leg of our trip, and also the home of my husband Slaed’s aunt, uncle and cousin.  Here we visited with family and took some time to explore the capitol.

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Keepng Feet Warm, Dry and Supported: Muddy Munchkin Boots by MyMayu Review

I’ve been disappointed by kids rain boots ever since Bergen started to walk.

We live in Seattle.

We need boots that keep his feet dry and stay relatively dry inside.  Rain here isn’t just a once in a while thing. Boots can be necessary multiple days in a row, and often more than once a day.  We don’t have time to wait for wet boot linings to dry.

We also need boots that last.  With frequent use, we can’t worry about tears and gaps developing after just a season (or a few wears).  Our son is very active.  Between playground romping, hiking, scooting around on his balance bike, and trekking through the neighborhood, he’s quite hard on shoes.

Plus with this frequent use, the boots have to be supportive.  Clunky rain boots that cause him to trip and fall just won’t work.

Up until this recently, we made do, but we really weren’t happy with the (run of the mill) rain boots we’d purchased, and even with a lot of research for alternatives and trying to scope out what other kids were wearing, we were coming up short.

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Baby and Child Bike Seats: 10 Tips for Successful Family Rides

As we near the end of summer, it’s hard to believe I’m actually looking forward to more bike riding since the temperatures are cooling down a bit.  You see, we’re wimps with the heat, and find it more ideal to hit the road when the thermometer reads more like 60s and low 70s rather than the high 80s we’ve had all summer long.  Let’s just hope we continue to get a few rain-free days thrown into our mix.

What’s been nice about our family bike rides is that it hasn’t taken much for them to be successful.  Making it all work has been fairly intuitive, though admittedly it doesn’t hurt to have an expert cyclist (husband, Slaed) on board.  Our experience has been with the Yepp brand of child bike seats using both the front baby bike seat, and currently the rear child bike seat. We’ve broken down our success into 10 tips (some technical, some just practical) in hopes that other families (YOU!) will have more courage (and be prepared) to get out there on the road and enjoy themselves together!

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Savoring the Season with an End-of- Summer Bucket List

We still have several weeks before our little guy embarks on the brand-new adventure of life as a preschooler.  I know the summer isn’t really over, not until September 22, and the fun at home doesn’t stop just because someone is in school for a couple of mornings a week.

However, I still feel like it’s necessary for me to make sure that we’re getting the most out of the summer season.  After all, as much as we really don’t mind it so much, Western Washington isn’t exactly known for it’s spectacular fall, winter & spring weather.

To accomplish this savoring, I just took a few moments to jot down a quick list.  I even consulted Slaed (husband) and Bergen (now 3-years old), so this list reflects all of our contributions.  Also, to help with some inspiration, I referenced the The Kid’s Outdoor Adventure Book to make sure that were weren’t missing out on any quintessential summer activities.

When it was all said and done, I came up with 11 items.  I made the list last week, and what do you know, we’ve already accomplished several! To see some of those in action, visit our instagram feed. I may have had a certain trip to the coast in mind when brainstorming… Just because we did something once though, doesn’t mean we have to check it off the list and move on, and yes, just because the calendar says it’s “fall” doesn’t mean the “summer” fun stops!

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Yepp Maxi Child Seat: Family Bicycling Fun

The addition of the Yepp Maxi child seat into our outdoor adventure arsenal couldn’t have come at better time and season.  This year’s late spring and early summer in Seattle has been one of the best yet.  To be honest, I was worried that we wouldn’t have enough of an opportunity to properly test the seat out during this transitional time.  Historically our Junes are gloomy; nicknamed Junuary due to the frequent rain, continued lower temperatures, and overcast skies.  Not so in 2014, and we’ve got the outside memories to prove it.

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Seattle Cherry Blossoms Two Ways: University of Washington and Kobe Terrace Park

If I had to pick my favorite aspect of spring in Seattle, it would be our gorgeous cherry blossoms that pop open all over the city letting us know we made it.  We made it through yet another dreary, gray winter, and it’s time to celebrate.

It’s no secret.  The “quad” at the University of Washington is one of the best places to view the beautiful bloomig blossoms.  The surrounding buildings add a great backdrop, the brick walkways tie it all together, and just being on a college campus brings a sense of wonder and possibility.

This spring we’ve actually made it to campus twice.  The first time by bike just before the flowers were at their peak.  Sure, the trees didn’t quite have the cotton candy effect of when the blossoms are truly in their prime, but I’ll take that experience any day over what happened when we returned a week or so later.  Let’s just say a sunny, warm (for Seattle) Sunday isn’t the best time to enjoy a relaxing, leisurely stroll around the quad.

So my mental scrapbook of our collegiate cherry blossoms will look something like this:

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Notes from a Blue Bike: Journey On and Live Life with Intention

Home may be where the heart is, but on the open road lie your five senses, and when you return to your heart, you’ll better see, smell, and hear. -Tsh Oxenreider Notes from a Blue Bike

Validation.  We’re doing something right.  A family further along, having lived through our current season of life has given me inspiration to journey on. But now, even more, I know that I need to be careful in my choices.

Yes, forge ahead, follow your heart, just go, but also…stop and think, and as the sub-title suggests live intentionally.

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