Forgive me for saying Californy in the title, after watching The Beverly Hillbillies recently, it’s just so fun to say it that way and I couldn’t help myself. For those of you who have watched that show, imagine Jed Clampett’s voice saying “To Californy we go!” and you can’t help but smile. These pictures were from the drive back. Stopping by the beach on the way home is essential, and has become a tradition. More on the yarn crawl soon, but first our trip to California…
The morning we left to start driving south for Stitches West, it snowed at our house. We’re about twenty minutes from the coast, we don’t get snow here very often and when we do, it doesn’t last long. Bracken hoped for snow all last winter, but we didn’t get any here. This year he hoped for snow again, and his wish came true, but the snow came on the day we were leaving. Poor guy! (The next time he wishes for snow, he told me he will be more specific and wish that it comes on a day when we’re home.) We had a tree fall over in our driveway, but didn’t have time to deal with it as we were leaving (and luckily it was in a place we could drive around), so had to leave that for when we got back. Despite the snow (and the fallen tree), all the roads were clear for our travels, so we were grateful for that.
On the drive down we stopped by the Ashland Food Co-op to grab a quick lunch. (The first time I ever visited Ashland, right after I moved to Oregon, I went to the co-op there and have loved it ever since.) This year, rather than stopping in southern Oregon where my dad and stepmom live for the first night like we did last year, we drove to California and then drove as far south on I-5 as we could, before calling it a night. We were glad we did it that way because we arrived early in the day on the second day (even after getting stuck in road construction for awhile) and giving ourselves more time to set up, and being less rushed, was a gift to ourselves.
I said before we left that we were doing things differently this time around and it turned out that driving my dad and stepmom’s truck made a huge difference in regards to driving in the traffic. There was better visibility, from being higher up, and it made the intensity of the traffic so much more manageable. Bracken had better visibility in the back seat too than in our car and didn’t get car sick in that vehicle a single time during our trip, which was another blessing. It made the entire experience vastly different than last year and we appreciated driving that truck more than we could say.
It was chilly while we were there, but the sunshine was wonderful. When comparing different places to stay during the show, we decided on a place nearby that had a kitchen. Having a kitchen cost a little more initially, but being able to make all of our own meals saved us so much money in the long run. Being able to do laundry while we were there was great too. And the short commute was awesome!
We appreciated knowing our way around more, and having a grocery store nearby. (Jeff and I have been brainstorming ideas for keeping our traveling expenses down as much as possible for next year, everything seems especially expensive in that area.) We stayed at a nice (and affordable) hotel on the drive down, but on the way back up 101 we stayed at a place that cost much more than the first (the nicest place that small town had to offer) that we wouldn’t want to stay at ever (!) again. I’ll leave it at that.
The next day made up for that experience, though, when we drove further up the coast until we reached Arcata and then had a delicious breakfast at Cafe Phoenix. We sat on the back patio, in the sunshine, that overlooked the little garden. I loved that they served organic food that came from so many local farms, as well as their own garden. I also appreciated that they had gluten-free options. We had been traveling and I hadn’t made any of our favorite chia date pudding in awhile, and was craving some. When I saw that they had chia pudding made with coconut milk and vanilla, I ordered some for all of us to share. I loved all their topping ideas- roasted almond slices, shredded coconut, and lots of fresh fruit- yum!
Eating out is a treat for us, not something we do all the time. (Though we just found a new place nearby we like so much, I think we’ll be counting the days until the next time we go!) Most of the time when we travel, we make many of our own meals to save money, and Jeff is so great at whipping up a quick meal while we’re on the road (he’s a faster cook than I am.) Since we make our own meals so much of the time, we love to eat out a few times when we travel. (I know I just mentioned above about keeping our traveling expenses down… but eating a good meal at a good restaurant is such a highlight of our traveling experiences!) I wrote about this before, by the way, and shared a few favorites places we’ve found over the years along the Oregon coast. Whenever we find a great place to eat, I enjoy sharing about it here.
Once we were back in Oregon, we kept our promise to Bracken and went to the beach for a little while. (While we were at Stitches West he begged for more outside time, and Jeff and I were really wanting some beach time ourselves.) I found a rock that looked a bit like a heart, had a ladybug land on me, and then found a small sand dollar, so I felt pretty lucky. (It’s the little things, right?) We could have stayed there at the beach all day, but we wanted to get home and start unpacking the truck while it was still light out.
It felt good to be back home, but we weren’t there for long. We unpacked the truck to re-pack it for our next trip. We cleared that tree out of our driveway, mailed orders out, and didn’t even bother to unpack our suitcase because we just added more to it. Now we’re home again after our weekend in Portland, and I will be happy not to be living out of a suitcase for awhile. Between going to Florida this winter, getting a long-lasting flu, going to California, and then Portland… we missed quite a few of our regular activities. We’re looking forward to connecting with friends and getting back into the swing of our regular activities, but we really enjoyed our travels!