Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Oceanside Memories

Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city," said George Burns

 and I couldn't agree more! I say I agree with ole' George but it's not because I don't love them. I think living away makes me appreciate them more. I cherish the time we get together. Plus I'm close enough to visit but far enough away to (usually) not get pulled into any drama. 

Last spring, my sister, my dad, and I all made plans to take a vacation to the beach together. 

My dad is a workaholic. He lives in New Mexico with Katie and literally a year or two will go by before I see him sometimes. However, I talk to my dad 3-4 times a week. We discuss books, movies, traffic, or whatever else is on our minds. I love my dad and have mostly considered myself daddy's girl. As an adult, it has been difficult to accept that I don't see him more. I used to take it personally that he couldn't find time to vacation in Oregon. I've learned that my dad just rarely vacations so this trip and commitment from him was a big deal!

My sister lives just four hours away in a small Oregon town. I see her fairly often - probably 5-6 times a year. We were NOT close growing up. As a matter of fact, I'm often amazed that I consider her one of my best friends now. And I adore my niece and nephew. We try and "trade" kids during the summer. This is the first year my boys haven't gone on a camping trip with her. 

The boys and I haven't had a vacation together in the past year. Divorce made my finances tight and it's been difficult so I was excited to have a few days with them away from home. We loaded our suitcases into the car, turned on the tunes, and headed out for the Oregon coast. 

It was during the journey I quickly realized what a beautiful state we live in. We started in the southern part - good ole' Klamath Falls. Our area is high desert - it's not as green as most expect Oregon to be. We have mountains and pine trees and 363 days of sunshine a year. We're surrounded by lakes and rivers. 
You leave the high desert and Hwy 97 to head towards the valley. The drive over Hwy 58 is gorgeous. Lots of green trees and waterfalls. 
You arrive in the Willamette Valley and marvel at the open-ness of the farmland, lush and green. Plus this is where our state begins to become populated. Large urban areas - Eugene, Salem, Portland. This part of the state is home to many vineyards. 
And then of course, we got to Hwy 101. A windy road with the most gorgeous views you'll ever see!
The kids and I decided we wouldn't hurry. We'd stop wherever our hearts desired. Our first stop? Five Guys Burgers and Fries (I have boys, what can I say?). We'd heard people rave about this burger joint. When you walk in your treated to some peanuts. The kids thought this was cool and it helped keep the little one busy while the line was long. 

Their menu isn't extensive - burgers, fries, and hot dogs. But their lineup of toppings was a mile long. It was easier to tell them what you didn't want than what you did. I liked that they had a sign telling you where your potatoes for the french fries were grown. It was yummy. 
After stopping for lunch, the boys opted out of any adventure. Their bellies were full and they were ready for a nap. I asked where they wanted to stop next and their answer was - Rockaway Beach - our destination. 

We arrived at roughly the same time as my sis and dad did and the fun began. The car doors hadn't opened when the kids were begging to walk the beach. We all spent a few minutes hugging before heading out. Last time Katie had seen the kids Nate was in diapers. Marcus was shorter than my dad (by alot). 

We spent three days on the beach. Building sandcastles. 


Flying kites

And just hanging out enjoying time with eachother.

The beach is one of my favorite places on earth and I love all the sights that go with it. Beautiful blown glass artwork, flowers in bloom, funky painted birdhourses and gadgets that grab your attention.

We ate well. Crepes made at the Creperie.

Taffy pulled at the local candy store.

Blackberries picked from overgrown vines.

We attended a very "un-bonfire" hosted by the local chamber of commerce and "enjoyed" local musicians:

We visited tide pools and learned about the animals we saw there:

We watched glass blowers create works of art
 We posed for photos on the beach
 And built campfires in the sand
 Roasted marshmallows on the beach
 Stumbled across wildlife in unexpected places

But best of all and most of all, we created memories. 

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