Great American Road Trip – Day 1: Sea Lion Caves

I love road trips. As a child I remember taking road trips in our Ford disco van. Seatbelts? What were those? We’d lay the bed down in the back of the van and my sister, her friends and mine would all form a pile with pillows and sleeping bags. My first philosophical experiences consisted of staring out the window and contemplating existence while listening to Oingo Boingo or The Fixx on my Walkman.

When I was 17 my friend Ross and I (newly licensed) told our parents we were going to Sadie’s Mexican Restaurant in Albuquerque during spring break and would be back in 10 days. Oddly enough, they said “okay” and we drove my Subaru Brat some 5000 miles. But that’s another blog.

Then in college I drove across the country several times back and forth to New York and loved to see this great country (and listen to a little country on the local radio). One time I drove thru Yellowstone and Jackson Hole and got a taste for it passing through. I’ve always wanted to go back.

My first date with my wife Tawny was a road trip in my brand new cherry red 1993 Honda Civic SI hatchback. Our date started with dinner at the Pink Door in Seattle and 600 miles later had included a tour through Eastern Washington (Grand Coulee, Winthrop, Twisp, Soap Lakes).

Early in our relationship we drove to Las Vegas to visit Tawny’s father and drove down the coast. It was a great experience – Redwoods, Monterey, Big Sur, San Simeon, etc. It was an experience we wanted to capture again with our daughter. So, in May we bought a travel trailer (an r-pod) and a new car (Nissan Pathfinder) to tow it.

Monday July 8th we left Seattle and drove down the Oregon Coast on our Great American Road-trip trying to recapture our youth. This time we had our daughter Clara and her cousin Cody in tow. Instead of Walkmans they are armed with iPhones and iPads and DVD Players. Our first day was marked by how many times we had to say “Hey, take those damn headphones off and look out the window” to no avail. Hopefully we’ll have better luck in the days to come.

Our intent is to stop at the various roadside attractions made popular in the 50s and 60s and still stumbling along today. Today’s stop was the Sea Lion Caves on the Oregon Coast. Its the largest sea cave in North American and home to a large population of Stellar Sea Lions. Although pungent, its a great experience to watch these bulls and cows interact.

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After the sea lion caves we drove to North Bend, Oregon and found a campsite (i.e. parking strip) at the Mill Casino where it was blowing so hard (perhaps 20 knots) we couldn’t comfortably sit outside. So the kids swam in pool, while I cooked dinner (first dinner in the R-Pod! Hurray!). Then the kids decorated their bunks. Sweet.

All in all it was a great day. Tomorrow – the GIANT (ALL CAPS) REDWOODS!

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Day 1: 419 Miles
Gas: 2.5 Tanks
Fuel Economy: 10.8 MPG
Average Price: $4.00 a gallon
Conclusion: Rethinking the whole RV thing…

Categories: Great American Roadtrip | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “Great American Road Trip – Day 1: Sea Lion Caves

  1. Pops

    Sounds wonderful…..great memories, like father, like son…only the principals have changed!!! How’s the Pathfinder???

  2. julie

    omg 10.8! you better be buying some lottery tickets.

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