Friday, January 6, 2023

Epic Winter Road Trip - The Quest for Sunshine

 This December, we set off on a long awaited 2 week vacation.  And by long awaited, I mean we've been counting down for MONTHS. During those months, the idea of 'x more days until...' felt like the brightest spot in the midst of an onslaught of illnesses. (Anytime the kid is sick, work becomes chaotic, as does school, therapy appointments, etc. Life gets extra messy.)

Now, when My Sailor is serving on a submarine, our trips are kept short and local. Travel is difficult to schedule and usually approved last minute - which also tends to make it expensive. So while he's spending more time on shore (and Holiday Stand Down is a thing) we try to make the most of it. That includes making memories and engaging in experiences as often as possible. I suspect it's fairly typical for Military families, and in that aspect, we are much the same. 

We started our road trip with a detour to see some of The Impossible Girl's cousins in Seattle. Since she'd spent at least half of the last 3 months sick, she missed them a lot, so we made the trip over to Seattle to see them before starting our journey south. 

Road Trip with a Mermaid Tail blanket from the cousins. Makes for great sleep!

We were surprised by a heavy flurry of snow on our way out of the city. It was a beautiful way to start a grand adventure that would cover over 2000 miles.

Our first official stop was a couple hours into the road trip. We stopped at the World Forestry Center in Portland, Oregon. 

Well worth a visit, there was a LOT for the kids to do to learn about the importance of forests on the planet, and the responsible use of them. Admission was an affordable $5/person, and we could have spent much longer than the hour we had there. 

Other cousins joined us to play.

It's hard to leave such a cool place to play, but we stopped for dinner and then headed further south. 

A few hours later, we finally stopped for the night in Ashland, Oregon. The first day was easy and lots of time spent with My Sailor's family along the way. I'm lucky. They are all pretty cool people and it was nice to visit on our way off on the adventure! 

In the morning, we stopped in the hotel breakfast spot before hitting the road and broke out some of our games. 
Dollar store felt checker travel set.
Two older ladies were also having breakfast at a different table and made excellent commentary on The Impossible Girl learning checkers. it was a nice slow start to the BIG driving day. We'd spend the next 10 hours or so on the road.

We also worked on The Impossible Girl's Travel Journal. Our first leg was 460 miles.

A neighbor in the Buy Nothing group suggested a sheet pan made a great lap table. Perfect for Lego building on the go!

Finally we made it to our destination. Hollywood. 
Along this trip, The Impossible Girl discovered the Lyle Lyle Crocodile soundtrack. Top of the World definitely fit our hotel situation! We spent two nights with the hotel with this fantastic floor to ceiling window, about 12 floors above Wilshire Boulevard. Hotel Indigo was lovely. Though the food options were highly limited there, we did discover some chocolate chip pancakes, and the bar was pretty generous - a nice way to start off the vacation.

Tomorrow we'd check a big destination off the kiddo's bucket list (and mine!)

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