vacations

Anniversary Road Trip

For our first wedding anniversary Michael and I decided to take a road trip to Crater Lake. It’s a must-see destination in Oregon and yet neither of us have ever been! Or if I’ve been, I was a kid and don’t remember. I booked a cute cabin at the Union Creek Resort; it was built in 1922 in the Rogue River National Forest and about a half hour drive from Crater Lake. They boasted having a lodge, rustic cabins, an old-fashioned country store, a cafe and an ice cream shop. You can see the map here: groundsmap.

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We packed up the car, and Bella, and hit the road! We stopped in Eugene for lunch. We went to The Cannery, a cool and hip-looking gastropub in the cute little downtown area. I don’t know Eugene at all, I think I’ve just driven through it a few times, but it seemed like a cute town! And of course a popular place if you’re a football fan…

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They had a fantastic tap list –and of course they had my beloved Boneyard beer on tap–which was a slight bummer since I couldn’t enjoy it. But I did get the next best thing– fish n’ chips! I hadn’t had them in ages and these were really, really good. They were small and the size and shape of chicken strips, which I kind of liked. The fries were pretty good too. Michael got the kale salad with chicken and avocado caesar dressing. His salad was fantastic! This place was great! I’d definitely go back if I was in Eugene.

After lunch we were back on the road and the drive was super pretty. We left the freeway and were on a highway right along the Rogue River. The roaring river, the trees starting to change colors, it was picturesque. The drive was a long one, nearly 5 hours total from Portland. We stopped a few times at rest stops for us (and Bella) and arrived at Union Creek around 4:30pm. It felt like we were in the middle of nowhere and we kind of were.

Here is our cabin:

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Our cabin was tucked away from the rest, which was kind of nice. And while it was by the highway you couldn’t really hear noise. The cabin itself was small and very rustic but it was all we really needed. A bed, a mini kitchen, a bathroom, electricity and heat. It beats camping!

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I’d packed a bunch of stuff for meals and that first night there we made taco salads for dinner and relaxed with some card games after the long drive.

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Bella seemed super excited to explore! 🙂

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Our cabin was right by the Rogue River. Here is the Rogue viewpoint:

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Not too shabby, huh??

One of the downsides: There was NO internet, no cell service at all. Which really isn’t that big of a deal because you’re kind of there to enjoy nature, etc etc…but it was slightly inconvenient for practical things like weather. The temperature swing was kind of crazy–in the 30’s and low 40’s at night and early in the morning but getting up to the 70’s in the day time. It made it difficult to figure out how to dress for the day or for activities.

Our first full day there we went for an easy hike on the Union Trail which was right by our cabin.

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It was COLD. It was probably around 9am. We’d already eaten breakfast and got dressed in layers and I wore a wool hat, gloves and my big winter jacket. We hiked out through the woods, didn’t see a single person on the trail, and ended up doing around 3.5 miles.

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Back at the cabin we cleaned up and I packed picnic lunches. We had plans in Medford for the day (about an hour drive south) so we took lunch with us and stopped at Stewart Park along the way. We had our picnic lunches on the bench overlooking the lake.

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And here is evidence of just how bad the drought has been:

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Yikes! That’s really low. After that we drove into Medford, made a quick stop for provisions at Fred Meyer, and then met up with Michael’s childhood friend Chris and his wife Jenna. I hadn’t seen them since our wedding last year (they got married a month after us and I wasn’t able to go to that). It was so nice to see them and catch up! He works for the fish and wildlife and does fire-fighting during the fire season. She’s a fire ecologist (which sounded really fascinating).

We went to a winery called Kriselle Cellars at their recommendation. It had stunning views of the valley, hillsides, farms, vineyards and mountains off in the distance. We all sat outside on the deck while they did a wine tasting flight and I enjoyed my sparkling water. This was kind of the first time I was disappointed I couldn’t partake because of being pregnant. Leading up to this I hadn’t missed wine (or beer) at ALL during my pregnancy. Oh well. Only 6 more months to go and then I can taste this wine:

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Haha! Michael bought a bottle of the Malbec just for me to have after the baby comes. 🙂 It smelled amazing so I’m looking forward to that glass. It was such a nice afternoon. The sun was out, it was hot and Bella could hang out with us as they tasted wine.

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After that Michael and I went and got dinner. It was the FIRST In-n-Out opening in Oregon!!! We’d read about it a few weeks ago (and the 4+ hour long lines) and we had to at least try. I mean, when are we EVER going to be in Medford again, right??

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We got to the In-n-Out and there were people directing traffic. The lines looked crazy. They directed us into the adjacent mall parking lot where there were like 8 or 9 lines of cars (which one article said could hold 200-300 cars!!!). You couldn’t tell what was going on until you were stuck in the line and committed to it.

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It kind of reminded me of the long lines to take the ferry in Washington! But, to be fair, the wait wasn’t TOO bad. From start to finish it was 50 minutes. That could have been a lot worse and they were super organized and the line moved pretty quickly. They took your order before you even got in the line to In-n-Out.

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Finally! DINNER! I love me some In-n-Out! I’m not really a fast food fan and don’t eat it very often but this is one splurge I’m willing to make! Their burgers are so good!

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We ate our dinner, happy, and then made the long drive back to the cabins! It was a good day. 🙂

Travel Alphabet

I saw this on another blog and while I don’t usually do these types of thing, I really wanted to share this one. I love traveling and wish I could do more. There are sooo many places I want to see and so many things I want to do. I need to win the lottery. 🙂

Travel Q & A

A: Age you went on your first international trip:  Not sure how to answer this one. Growing up in Seattle, I went to Canada a lot with my family, and when I was older I went with friends. Does Canada count? 😉

B: Best (foreign) beer you’ve had and where:   It wasn’t necessarily the best but I had Guinness in England. I didn’t enjoy the beer but the fact that I was underage (such a rebel) and in a foreign country made it awesome.

C: Cuisine (favorite): This is too hard to decide. I guess the sushi I had in Vegas at Tao was pretty amazing.

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D: Destinations, favorite, least favorite and why:
Favorite: Probably England because it was the most “exotic” trip I’ve been on as an adult. I loved everything about England and want desperately to go back.

Least favorite: Acapulco, Mexico. I went with my family on a Mexican Riviera cruise when I was 17 and this was one of the worst places we visited. It wasn’t tropical like the other coastal towns we visited, it was a busy, smoggy city and really dirty. And it was super hot. The day we spent there was just miserable.

E: Event you experienced abroad that made you say “wow”:  Stonehenge!

F: Favorite mode of transportation:  The Tube in London. So easy to use and fun. My cousin Anna and I frequently hopped on the Tube and just got off at random stops to explore. 

G: Greatest feeling while traveling: What I love best about traveling is the feeling of exploration. I love seeing new places, eating new foods, and just getting lost in a foreign city.

H: Hottest place you’ve traveled to: I’d say my recent trip to Austin, Texas was the hottest place I’ve traveled to. While we were there it over 100 degrees, humid and hot as hell. It was 100 but “felt like 107.”

I: Incredible service you’ve experienced and where:  Nothing comes to my mind but I have to say that everyone in Texas is super friendly. Never had bad service there.

J: Journey that took the longest:  My trip to London was definitely long with losing a day in the time change. Our trip was supposed to be 10 days but on the day we were flying home, our flight was canceled because of snowstorms in the US. Our trip was extended about 4 more days. Which was awesome! Even if I was out of money.

K: Keepsake from your travels:  I have a snowglobe from Stonehenge that is one my favorite possessions from my travels.

L: Let-down sight, why and where:  I’d say the Wharf in San Francisco. I wasn’t impressed. Every store had the same touristy crap.

M: Moment where you fell in love with travel: In London when I saw Stonehenge. It was such a magical, amazing experience. I wish I could have gotten closer and I wish the tour had let us stay longer. Definitely a must-see.

N: Nicest hotel you’ve stayed in:  I would say The Palms in Las Vegas. It was a last-minute trip to Vegas (literally one day notice of booking plane tickets) and Michael asked his dad if he had any contacts in Vegas to get a good deal on a last minute room. It just so happened his dad was in Vegas on business and he extended his room at the Palms for us to use. WOW. The room was humongous and the bathroom was even bigger. Amazing Jacuzzi tub, views of the Strip…what a room!

O: Obsession—what are you obsessed with taking pictures of while traveling?: I love taking pictures of architecture in other cities. The old buildings in England were works of art and very romantic.

P: Passport stamps, how many and from where?  England, Mexico, Canada. That’s about it right now.

Q: Quirkiest attraction you’ve visited and where: I would say the Dude Ranch where my cousin got married in Texas. It was the coolest thing I’ve ever seen!

R: Recommended sight, event or experience: I have a few. Obviously in England see Stonehenge and Bath. In Vegas, go to a Cirque show–you will not be disappointed. And eat at Craftsteak! The Blues Festival in Chicago!

S: Splurge; something you have no problem forking over money for while traveling: Probably the food. Craftsteak in Vegas is a pretty expensive restaurant but it’s one of our favorites and we try to go whenever we’re in Vegas. An amazing meal is worth the splurge.

 

T: Touristy thing you’ve done: My friend Rachel and I went to Chicago in 2006 specifically to go to the Blues Festival and to see the King Tut exhibit at the museum. The touristy thing we did was a boat tour up the Chicago River. It was worth every penny and so much fun.

U: Unforgettable travel memory: The British Museum. The only reason Anna and I had a chance to see it was because our flight home from England was canceled. I am so glad we were able to go because the museum was amazing. I could have spent days there looking at all the treasures. The Egyptian mummies and art they have are astounding, probably the best collection I’ve seen.

V: Visas, how many and for where? None.

W: Wine, best glass of wine while traveling and where? I’m spoiled living in Oregon. I have good wine all the time. Someday I will make it to Italy or France and have REALLY good wine…

X: eXcellent view and from where?: San Francisco. I loved the scenery and the architecture. We drove to the other side of the Bay to get a photo of the bridge and that was an amazing view.

Y: Years spent traveling?: Since birth? The longest trip I’ve ever been on is 2 weeks.

Z: Zealous sports fans and where?: Haven’t noticed this because I’m not really a sports fan. My brother lives in Philly, though, and says the fans there are crazy!

I’d love to hear about your travels so pick a question or two and answer in the comments.