Our Summer Travels, Part Two

Last Monday, I shared with you the first half of our travels as we moved from Wisconsin back to Washington State.  Hopefully, you’ve recovered enough to stick with Part Two today!

We spent a day driving from Vernal, UT (where we saw dinosaur fossils and had excellent Mexican food at a local place) to Reno, an eleven-hour trip. And this was the view for much of it, minus the tree.PCS-Pt-2-1

While we did appreciate the stark beauty of the salt flats, we were thankful to be traveling at 75 mph rather than 2 mph in a wagon.

We didn’t explore Reno, just had a yummy dinner at a funky little soup and salad place. The next morning, after the hooligans sampled everything on the hotel’s breakfast buffet (as if it were different in every Holiday Inn Express), we headed to Mariposa, CA, and Yosemite.

We took a winding road through the mountains, so didn’t run into traffic, but we all experienced motion sickness from the hairpin turns. A little ramble on the rocks and a picnic lunch took care of that, though. This is one of my favorite photos from the trip, mostly because these two hooligans rarely pose together.


We got to Mariposa late in the afternoon, and didn’t venture to Yosemite until the next day. When we arrived in Yosemite Valley, the smoke from forest fires was fairly thick (this was a couple of weeks before the Rim Fire that’s burning now), but El Capitan, Half Dome, and the surrounding granite cliffs were awe-inspiring, even through the haze.


We explored the Visitor’s Center and took a little hike.  While we’re glad we can say it’s another national park we’ve seen, it’s probably not somewhere we’ll drive 1000 miles out of our way to see again.PCS-Pt-2-5-ChaosServedDaily

The next day we went in the southern entrance of Yosemite to Mariposa Grove to see the “big trees.”  We saw the famous tunnel tree, and hiked through the Grove, then took a steam train ride, since the kids love anything have to do with trains.


We started the final leg of our trip the next morning, driving from Mariposa to Eugene, OR. I think Eugene is a town I’d like to visit again…nestled in the mountains, near the coast, a college town so fun places to explore.  We stopped for lunch at In-n-Out Burgers in Redding, CA, and the middle hooligan lost another tooth (he lost one the first day of our trip at lunch, as well). He was quite pleased with himself. I was beginning to worry that the partial roll of tooth fairy dollars I had in my purse would be depleted before we arrived in Washington!PCS-Pt-2-8-ChaosServedDaily

Anyway, the following morning, we grabbed lattes and branched off the interstate to see the ocean again after two years away. We stopped at Yaquina Head to see the lighthouse and do a little beach-combing. Did I mention that active-duty military members can get a free National Parks Annual Pass, just by asking at the entrance to a park?  If you’re active duty, please get yours….a ranger at Yosemite told us it’s a test program this year, and if enough people don’t take advantage of it, Congress won’t reapprove it for next year.

But I digress..although we did use our pass four times during our trip, saving about $60 on just those.  Yaquina Head was super cool, not to mention cold and windy.PCS-Pt-2-13-ChaosServedDailWe took this photo on the beach…I think I’ll use it for our change-of-address cards. When I get around to those.


After stopping for more lattes to warm up (and steamed peppermint milk for the hooligans), we continued up the Coast towards Seaside, where we were spending our last night on the road. We conveniently passed right by the Tillamook Creamery and our car was drawn like a magnet into the parking lot. We ate ice cream while checking out the tour, and the kids drove the cheese van. Not really. I bet you were worried, right?


The fog we’d been in most of the day lifted just outside Cannon Beach, and we took this great shot from a overlook, above the fog and looking down on a little seaside town.


We arrived in Seaside around dinnertime, so we ate at the ever-popular Pig-n-Pancake. Really, that’s the name of it. It’s a total tourist joint, but who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner, especially on a cold, foggy night?  We also stumbled (almost literally) on this postcard photo spot.  I really hope Princess Thundercloud learns to come out of her shell a little. Not.


We walked to the beach after dinner, but couldn’t even see the water, the fog was so thick…and we were about 20 feet from the surf. Luckily, hot caramel corn was just being poured onto the cooling slab at a candy shop, so we snacked our way through our disappointment. The next morning, the fog had lifted a bit, so we played on the beach for awhile, but couldn’t really wait to get back to Washington.  I do love this photo of my baby girl, wandering towards the tide. Don’t tell her I called her a baby.


We simply had to stop as soon as we crossed into Washington.  You knew we would.


We arrived at our house around noon, spent the afternoon remembering how much we love it, checking into the hotel, and then met our friends at Steamers, our favorite fish and chips place, for dinner.

To recap, for those of you keeping score:

4810 highway miles driven (not counting excursions at various stops)

87 hours spent in the car driving (again, not counting excursions)

13 different beds over 29 nights

13 states driven through

8 state capitols passed by

4 National Parks/Monuments

I hope you’ll check back next Monday to read about exciting adventures as our household goods were delivered (with a lot of mishaps) and we raced to get settled before school started!


9 thoughts on “Our Summer Travels, Part Two

  1. I wish that we could have met you at Mariposa Grove; but I don’t think I could have pulled off that drive by myself… I love your sense of humor about everything. The number of miles would have been TOO MUCH for me. And, Princess Thundercloud is such a wallflower NOT 😉

  2. I love it! Wish I could take a trip like that……….I know you’ll treasure those memories forever! Thanks for sharing. :)

  3. I’m always impressed at your photography, Megan. You’ve captured some precious memories. The shot of the Princess on the beach is amazing!

    I’m sure there’s an award for 87 hours sent in a car with 3 little hooligans! Even if they are cute ones!

  4. Loved this travel log! The National Park pass for military is a GREAT tip…we..too took advantage of that on our cross country trip last summer!
    Your kids will appreciate these pics and memories in years to come!

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