We left Seattle in the morning, making our way south to Portland, OR. Around 12pm, we arrived in Portland, and took a short walk around the downtown. Portland is an awesome city full of eclectic people, sights and food. Unfortunately, since we had a long day of driving ahead, we didn’t get to explore as much as we wanted. Time to plan another trip!
In case you haven’t picked up on this, Taylor and I love cheese. When we started working at Trader Joe’s last year, Tillamook cheese caught our eye, and we had just bought two huge containers of their ice cream when we were staying with Griffin.
Perusing the map towards our route to Eugene, OR, where we would be spending the night, we discovered that we could make a stop at the Tillamook factory!
We pulled into the visitor’s center with the smell and sound of cows in the air. Taylor couldn’t wait for the free samples! While walking around, we learned a few things:
Did you know…?
Taylor thoroughly enjoyed sampling the cheeses, although he did not love the cheese curds.
After we left, we drove out to the beach in order to see the Oregon coast. It was a bit chilly, so we stopped for a quick look and a picture.
On another trip, we’ll have to spend more time in Oregon, as there was too much to see and so little time!
Steve Prefontaine was the reason we were staying in Eugene. Wait, who? He was a well-known runner at the University of Oregon who became influential in the running world. In the 1970s, he dominated the two mile event (3200m), even going to the 1972 Olympics to represent the USA. Tragically, he passed away in a car accident when he was only 24, while he was training to go back to the 1976 Olympics for another chance at the gold. In Eugene, they have a memorial called “Pre’s Rock”, which is placed at the site where he passed away. Many runners who have also been inspired by Pre have left memorabilia, including track shoes, shirts, and bib numbers.
One of his best quotes is “To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift”. Which is so important in our daily lives; to be constantly thinking about how you are using your God-given talents.
Today was the day we were going to experience the Redwood National Forest. And how cool it was! Per usual, we were on the road first thing in the morning.
The Redwood National Forest information center is in Crescent City, and we had a very helpful tour guide tell us the best places to go in our short amount of time.
First, on the way in, we had to stop at this giant knock-off statue of Paul Bunyan, which is carved out of ONE redwood. The redwoods are majestic and have stood the test of time. They can live up to 2000 years old! We are but tiny beings to these extraordinary creations.
Driving on Highway 101, which cuts right through the forest, we walked along a small trail to see the famous “Big Tree”, which is 304 feet tall and 68 feet around!
The Redwood National Forest spans about 40 miles of the California coastline, so about 30 minutes from our first trail, we walked through the Lady Bird Johnson Grove, which was dedicated to the Former First Lady, as she was such an advocate for nature and this forest.
Words cannot explain how massive these trees are, or how tiny you feel in comparison. Their beauty and strength were inspiring, and reminded us to live fully in each moment, as our lives are so short.
Driving back to Crescent City, we checked in to our AirBnb for the night. We had a lovely and kind host named Patree, and she made us a homemade sourdough pizza upon arrival! It was so much fun to hear about her life, and share ours, and we even learned some baking tips. She recommended that we go watch the sunset on the beach, and what a great suggestion.
We felt like we were in a fantasyland; it was a gorgeous sunset.
On Friday morning, we headed southeast to Redding. This town in central-north California is where Taylor’s cousins, Sara and Ryan, live with their four daughters who they adopted from Ethiopia last year. Hana, their oldest daughter, had a track meet, so we met up with them at the high school where it was being held. It was my first track meet, and I had a blast! Hana’s events, the one and two mile, are especially exciting, because the outcome can change in an instant.
Sara and Ryan brought us back to their house, where we met up with the other three girls—Mia, Jasmine and Lily. This was our first time meeting the girls, and they are so sweet and energetic. We jumped on the trampoline, played basketball and cheered on Hana at her race. Even though these girls have only been living in the United States for about a year, they have adapted so well and are full of love and spunk.
Sara and Ryan are both professional runners and have traveled across the world to compete in the Olympics, marathons and other events. For a healthy breakfast option, they have come up with their own pancake recipe, which uses Muscle Milk protein powder along with oatmeal and other alternative ingredients. Sara was so gracious to make us a stack for the road, and they were delicious!
From Redding, we had another four hour drive—to Sonora, where we performed at Sierra Repertory Theatre in the show State Fair last summer. It was our last stop before Yosemite, and we figured if we were in the area, why not visit a few friends from the show?
When Taylor was doing The Sound of Music at the theatre in 2014, he stayed with a wonderful couple named Bill and Kate. They were so generous to let us stay with them for the weekend to rest up before our last National Park excursion!
In the morning, we walked to downtown Sonora, and watched the Mother Lode Round-Up, which is an annual tradition in the town (60 years!) and is the second longest parade in California after the Rose Bowl!
Three of the girls-Ruby, Lauren and Kara-who were in State Fair, were performing in the parade, so we thought it would be fun to watch.
Thankfully, Ruby’s mom and dad (Rich and Angie) had saved us seats, so we were able to sit for the hour long extravaganza. There were so many different entries: rodeo queens, old cars, dance groups, bands and horses!
After the parade, we went over to the Tangenberg’s (Lauren and Kara’s family) and we jumped on the trampoline, took awesome selfies and had delicious chili made by their parents, Linda and Scott.
When we returned to our hosts for the night, Kate offered to take Taylor and me to dinner: our choice of restaurant! So of course we chose the Diamondback Grille-which has the best burgers in Sonora!
We have felt so honored this trip that so many people have been extraordinarily welcoming, kind and gracious. The Lord has truly blessed us and surrounded us with encouragement.
At dinner, we learned more about Kate and her adventures, and when we got back to the house, we were treated to stories from Bill’s life as well. What an interesting couple! Bill has been to practically every place we’d been on our trip- and is full of so much knowledge, seemingly about everything. He also grew up in Brooklyn, showed us a map from 1939! Can you find where we live?
We know a plethora of people, young and old, around the nation and just around the corner, who have offered us stories, experiences, teachings and guidance which we continue to treasure throughout our adventures.
Stay tuned for the last part of our road trip: Yosemite National Park!