Call us crazy, but we decided on a road trip for a vacation this summer.
With two toddlers.
Actually, we don’t refer to our trips as vacations. We like to call them adventures.
This adventure was truly wonderful. There were occasional difficulties that come with driving close to 3,000 miles with two toddlers, but then there are difficulties just walking from the bedroom to the kitchen when it comes to toddlers.
We wanted a vacation, but needed it to be fairly inexpensive. By staying with friends and family when we could and in VERY inexpensive hotels (motels?), and making our food on the road, we kept it fairly cheap.
If we had a bigger car, we could have brought our tent and air mattress and camped some nights to lower the cost even more. In fact, we’ve already decided that when our kids are older we will definitely do a camping road trip!
Anyway, enough chit chat. Here is our vacay in a nutshell.
We drove to Chico and stayed with one of my BFF’s from High School. She has a little one and another one on the way and I never get to see her, so this was a ton of fun. Breakfast together, playing, a walk to the park, naps for the little ones, ice cream, and swimming in a creek.
That night we headed up to Klamath falls to stay the night (It was super smoky there due to fires and we kept seeing crazy lightning while driving.
Continental breakfast of champs and an hour and a half drive to Crater Lake. It was still a bit smoky, but a cool stop nonetheless. We walked around and looked at some exhibits and then drove around part of the lake as we exited.
This was a longer driving day as we were headed all the way to Vancouver, Wa. We made an unscheduled stop at a waterfall that ended up being really cool and then hit up a DQ for lunch and treats!
This day was our one special dinner on the whole trip. we went to The Old Spaghetti Factory in Portland. It’s right on the river and a fun place. great for kids. There is a balloon artist who made the girls fun balloon creations and ice cream comes with everyone’s meal.
After staying the night at hubby’s cousin’s house, we took off for the Columbia River Gorge. We spent the day hiking and sightseeing. We stopped at a bunch of overlooks and waterfalls and hiked a few as well. Ellery was great in the pack and Addie hiked a ton and then went in the Ergo when she became tired.
We let the kiddos put there feet in the water at the base of some waterfalls and when I jumped into one freezing pool, I came up to see Addie with her shoes off, ready to strip down and join me. It made me so happy, but it was a little late and the water was sooo cold, so we kept it to toes only. I was sure proud of my adventurous nature-lover!
We stopped in Hood River at their awesome waterfront park. I sat with Elle for a bit while she napped in the car and Addie and hubby watched the Kite Boarder and played in the water.
That night was quick freezer meals from The Grocery Outlet and staying at the cousins again.
This day ended up not following our original schedule and was the one day where the girls were a bit difficult. We went to breakfast with the whole fam, then headed to the Portland International Test Rose Garden.
Afterwards I navigated hubby over to Burnside Bridge to check out the famous skate park. We then went on a 2 hour boat ride down the Willamette River. It was a big boat and the kids were great for the first hour, but the second hour was not so fun. Lots of whining and crying from the one who missed her nap and lots of naughtiness by the toddler who wanted to be independent even though she had no life jacket and the railings were not super safe.
We survived the boat ride and let the girls play in the fountain along the river. Then, as they threw simultaneous tantrums upon leaving, we decided to skip Powell’s Books and VooDoo donuts and headed home for another frozen meal dinner (surprisingly yummy) and bed.
We grabbed some golden arches breakfast and drove all the way to Mt. Rainier this day. We had a small detour at the tallest dam in Washington and then for some roadside blackberry picking, and then were awed with mountain views as we drove up to Paradise Lodge.
we hiked all around the base of the glacier that day and then went back into town to our cabin on a fishing lake. This was sort of a funny event because it was more rustic than we planned and the grocery stores I had looked up online weren’t really grocery stores. So, thankfully the minuscule town of Elbe had a bomb walk up pizza window. We picked up a pizza and enjoyed a nice dinner with views of the lake and mt. Rainier.
We visited the adorable and historic church in Elbe, and a unique metal sculpture park. We let the girls play in the lake and had some family down time. Addie had me read her Sarah Plain and Tall from start to finish in one sitting. Then we headed up to Longmire for a meadow walk. Back home for re-heated pizza and mac n cheese (budget, remember).
This was a long drive day. We started with breakfast in the cabin (I had thankfully already purchased eggs and bacon before we left Vancouver).
Then, we packed up and went into town for lunch in a train car (the rest of our lunches were sandwiches made out of the trunk of the car thanks to an ince chest and some pre-planning).
We did an awesome steam train ride with some epic views of Mt. Rainier and a great museum stop.
Then, it was on the road again all the way to Grants Pass, Oregon with a stop in Salem for T-Bell and a picnic at the park to give the girls some run time (We had them race, ha!).
In our dreams, we would have done a jet boat ride here, but with the kids and my pregnant belly it was not a good idea, so instead we drove over the river, grabbed some Dutch Bros. coffee and then went to The Oregon Vortex Mystery spot. We took a tour and the girls were great.
After that we drove to Redding for a late lunch and then all the way to my parents’ house in Santa Rosa. We put the girls to bed and enjoyed a bbq dinner with my family!
It was time to head back home. We survived a road trip with a 19 month old and a three-year-old! Yay us!
Have you ever road tripped? Where to? Where should we go next? We’ve already started thinking about a Sedona/Zion road trip!