Have you ever done something because you could? Because life just sometimes gets just a little bit too much and you feel like you should mix some business and pleasure?
My friend Heather and I have been talking about going away for months and months now. And as we both just moved into our new office spaces and have been working our butts off we contemplated canceling this much needed road trip. But…instead of doing what most people would do, and cancel the trip, we rented a car, made a few travel arrangements and hit the road!!
We are classifying it as a business trip, and a ‘get outta dodge, clear our heads’ type of trip! A girls gotta do what a girls gotta do. (Side note: In case you were reading this blog for the business portion of the trip I won’t be discussing the business end of this trip here because this blog is only for fun.)
We left town on Sunday mid morning in an electric blue Hyundai, loaded to the gills with stuff we just had to take and we headed south in search of sun. We drove south until we saw the sign pointing us west towards Cannon Beach and we took it. First order of business…the beach. Once arriving in Cannon Beach we walked along the beach and begun to relax. We wondered how long it would take for our brains to realize we were on a mini vacay. We stopped in quite a few spots throughout the day to just be one with nature, and the beautiful ocean.
Once the sun set we continued to drive down Highway 101 until I couldn’t stay awake anymore. Somewhere in Oregon, in the dead of night I saw a wonderful sign that read, ‘Beverly Beach Campground’. As my moms name is Beverly and her and dad have a cabin on Beverly Beach, I thought this would be a safe place to park for a few hours so I could sleep and recharge. It was perfect! We grabbed the paperwork and pulled into a vacant spot and slept in the car for about four hours. It was still dark when we pulled out of there.
We drove until the sun was up in the beautiful blue sky…then I got tired again. Being in your late 40’s and staying up all night is just not the same as being in your 20’s staying up all night. So, we swerved off of Highway 101 into a state park and headed towards the boat launch. We parked and quickly fell asleep with the sun hitting us and keeping us warm. About an hour and a half later we were awoken by an Oregon State Trooper who was making sure we were alive, and that we weren’t druggies. We both awoke before he was able to tap on the window. He scared the shit out of me. I opened the door and he asked for my ID and asked if we had been camping there. I jumped out of the car, his reaction was to put his hand on his belt and to step back to make sure he could defend himself from a crazy little girl with big hair. I opened the back door and grabbed my purse in order to get my ID. I rambled on that we stopped there after it was daylight, we didn’t camp there and that we had been driving all night and that I thought it was safer to sleep for a few hours instead of being tired on the road. He agreed that it was better he and I met in this boat ramp parking lot then in a car crash because I had fallen asleep while driving. He then let me stand close to him as I showed him my drivers license. Once realizing we weren’t wanted by authorities…yet, he told us to be safe and to have a great day.
All this excitement woke both of us up for the day, and so we used the park bathroom, changed clothes in the parking lot and brushed our teeth in the drinking fountain…we were ready to attack the day. And to go hug some trees in the Redwood Forrest.
We drove the coast all the way to the Redwoods, but not without going through lots and lots…and lots of construction. It seems that Highway 101 is currently falling into the ocean. It’s scary to be guided along the lane closest to the mountain while looking over and seeing the Thelma and Louise type of cliff just feet away from you. That and all the Tsunami signs along the way. One moment you are in the Tsunami zone, then wham, your out. Out of harms way…back into harms way…out, in, out in. You get my point.
As we arrived to the edge of the Redwood forest (to the gulf stream waters, this land was made for you and me), we saw big statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe the ox. It reminded me of the road trip we took with Quentin when he was young and we came to this same spot. I have a picture of him standing under Babe and pointing up to Babe’s big hanging balls…yep, I said balls. This bull is definitely anatomically correct.
(Mom sappy moment: Now that my only child is at boot camp to become a Marine, it’s interesting how many things are reminding me of him. Miss that kid of mine, but he’s getting lots of letters and pictures along the way of my trip, one such picture is of Babe’s balls…lucky kid)
We also followed the signs that said we could drive thru a Redwood tree…turned out to be a grandma charging 5 bucks to drive up a little road at the back of her property, drive thru the tree, and then back down. Worth the 5 bucks, probably not, but appreciating someone in her 70’s that is not afraid to collect money from tourists…priceless.
We drove down Highway 101 until we saw signs for the Redwood National Park, and quickly zoomed off the exit to enter the land of the big ass trees! They did not disappoint. We even stopped to take a hike down one of the 10 billion trails throughout the forest. It was amazing, and it was much different then hiking at home, in the rain, in 50 degree weather. Here it was hot, humid but so absolutely amazingly calm and relaxing. Very therapeutic walking thru an ancient forest. But our Search and Rescue peeps would have been disappointed in us, all we hiked with was water and our cell phones…shhh, don’t tell Todd.
After driving the loop thru the park we made our way back to Highway 101, looked at the map on our phone and decided to head to Redding, California…why not, it was getting chilly on the coast (75 degrees), and we came for sun. So 100 degree Redding…sure, here we come!
We decided that sleeping in the car for more then one night was not something we wanted to do in 100 degree weather so we called around to see what was cheap for a two day stay. We decided on the Red Lion because it had a pool, and free breakfast, so we thought. We arrived in our room and quickly took showers as we were not the best smelling girls around. Once out of the shower tho, we quickly realized that our bathroom had not been cleaned, some of the towels looked used (and not by us) and that the beds looked like someone slept in them and no one changed the sheets…eeeek, no Bueno.
I called down to the front office and I asked if we could just get some fresh towels because it looked like our room hadn’t been cleaned. The front office guy quickly told us that he was going to upgrade our room to a premium room and that he would send someone with our new keys. uhhhh, what? That was so awesome of him. We only asked for towels and then we get an upgrade, I like this. So we move all our stuff to our new room, which now had a patio that led to the pool, and the room was much bigger. We each fell asleep in our respective beds with our feet up on pillows since all this heat made our ankles swell into cankles…not a good look.
We woke up around 9 am and decided to go get our free breakfast…well, we were told it was free when we reserved the rooms. It was a nice breakfast. We ate two big plates and lots of OJ then Annie, the wonderful lady who ran the breakfast brought us our bill…uhhhh what? She explained that we didn’t get free breakfast because we got a huge discount on our room rates. Uhhh what? So does that mean that if you pay regular rates then you are paying for breakfast…interesting. So I told her that we will just add the cost onto our room and she said, girls don’t worry about it, I’ll take care of it. Not what we expected. We both told her that she didn’t have to do that, she said she knew, but she didn’t want us to have a bad taste in our mouths over it. She was very sweet.
Next we decided we needed some pool time, so swimsuits on, headed to the pool, got our pool side chairs, walked into the pool by way of the stairs, and wham…stopped cold in our tracks by 20 degree pool water!! whew it was cold. Only took us an hour to get all the way into the water. But damn it was nice. Took care of all that swelling, so refreshing. We laid out in the sun for quite a while, but it was so hot we decided to head for the room.
Next order of business…lunch. Went to a Mexican restaurant just down from our hotel and ordered some drinks (heathers drink was bigger the her head), ordered some food and made friends with Paul, our waiter. We then decided to go shopping. So with drinks in our bellies we made our way over to an awesome clothing store where we met Lupe. She was our personal shopper, and we even invited her up for the Tulip Festival next year! She still wanted to come see the flowers even tho we explained to her what ‘tulip rage’ is.
We made it back to our room, a little melted, but happy. We decided to get showered and pretty so we could go check out the Roadhouse across the street. We were looking for Patrick Swayze, but instead we found Dale. He is the manager of the restaurant who came out to greet us and actually told the waitress he would be our waiter for the evening. We sat outside on the patio, in 100 degree weather. I almost melted but I sucked it up for over an hour before I had to go sit under a roof.
You know when you meet people for a reason when you meet someone like Dale. He was very intelligent, and he was interested in Emergency Management. Ummm…what? Really? I don’t run across too many people who want to go into that field. So we sat and talked most the night, sorry heather, about Emergency Management. I emailed him some links to the FEMA courses he needed to take, I gave him some ideas on how to get into the field and he gave us his contact information so we would keep in touch.
The next day we awoke knowing that we had to leave Redding and not quite sure where we would go next. So we looked at a map and discussed what we wanted to do. I wanted to go north, Heather wanted to go South, so we decided to go East to…drum roll please…Reno!! AKA, the ghetto Vegas…
We loaded up the sparkly blue rental car, and drove across the street to Applebees to eat lunch and we met Jason, our waiter. Seems to be a theme with male waiters this trip…interesting. Heather decided to order desert first, cuz why not, it’s one of the things to do in a little book we brought with us. He high fived her for it…priceless. We shared contact info with Jason as well. Funny that when you put down your cell phone, and are open and engage in conversation with strangers, how much better life is…hmmm…interesting! (note: life lesson right here people, life lesson)
Before leaving town we went to go say goodbye to Lupe. We told her we were serious about her coming up to visit us. She said she would love to come up and visit and was thinking about us that morning wondering where we were going next!
The road between Redding and Reno is a beautiful one. We even drove past snow…yep, actual snow. The trees were gorgeous, the drive was so pleasant, and only a few spots where they were doing road work. Their roads were falling off cliffs too. We saw a roadrunner and lots of turkey vultures.
We made it to Reno last night and started calling around for prices. We got a good deal on two nights at the El Dorado…lets see what this town has in store for us!!!
Let the day begin…