The girls and i just got back from a fantastic vacation, our longest vacation in a long time, and only their second trip to Oregon ever. With a little extra vacation time to work with (thanks to crazy work last year and carryover) and dad’s generosity, we were able to make the trip westbound on the train. Traveling by train was great, and it was extra nice having a sleeping compartment for a little extra privacy and better sleep.
This was my first long-distance train trip, and it was a great experience. Pros: no pointless security checks with your shoes off, plenty of space even in the coach seats, good food, chance to walk around at stops, showering en-route (yes, we were spoiled with the sleeper). Cons: it’s still a long trip, so road trip-like travel games and diversions are in order.
Once in Oregon, we went to Aunt Barb & Uncle Wally’s place in Sister’s, up in the mountains where we rode her horse Xena and hiked and swam. Ella was very excited to ride a horse, and was a total natural while she was riding. For a kid who gets nervous on a bike, i was proud to see her so happy and confident trying something new. I hadn’t been out to visit my aunt and uncle in several years, so it was great to be able to see them on this trip.
From there we met up with my brothers and their families, along with our stepbrother and stepsister for a big gathering at dad’s house which started, as it should, with beer and crab.
During our week there we played at the beach, saw sea lions, toured a light house, visited an aquarium, biked, boated, swam, 4-wheeled, ate and played a lot. The kids had some grandparent time playing and touring old town, and the parents got a little play time in the dunes. I was able to get out on a bike twice with friend Chris and some of his fun mountain biking cohorts for some great riding. Thanks to Dan for use of his excellent bike. I was wrung out with all the climbing but had a blast with the twisty trails and long descents.
We returned to the very nice Newport Aquarium to see the sea creatures, get buzzed by puffins (flappy!) and touched the anemone (grabby!). My favorites were the rays, Fi liked the birds, and Ella liked the jellyfish best. We had lots of time on the beach finding sand dollars, making sand castles and watching crabs bury themselves in the tide pools.
I missed pictures of lots of great stuff, but that’s the price of having fun. Lots more pictures in the photo gallery. This was a super fun trip, a grand adventure, a memorable vacation all around.