Sunday, June 18, 2017

The Gang Goes South

Checking in from a sweet airbnb rental with the Eel River in our backyard in Rio Dell (Humoldt County), CA!  3 weeks into this trip and we've found our rhythm, with only a couple kid meltdowns along the way.  The last week was spent along the coast, headed south to California to meet up with Reed's dad and send Reed off for the rest of his Summer.
From Portland, we headed West to a fun little coast town called Seaside.  The kids were practically rolling in the sand before we even got near the water.  The sand is so fine and soft down the PNW coast, not like our Southern Atlantic beaches at all!  And even when the chilly wind is making you wear a jacket, the sand is so warm under your bare feet.
Seaside was had a cute little strip right off the beach with arcades, a carousel, a cool aquarium and oh so many salt water taffy shops!  An embarrassing amount of taffy continued with us down the road (I think there's still some in the van).  This particular store had an impressive 170 flavors of taffy to choose from, the crew discovered some interesting ones!
We had planned to tent camp at the Sand Dunes, but there was a storm coming through, so we skipped that and just meandered down the coast for a few days, staying at random Hwy 101 beach motels.  It was nice having the extra time to explore lots of cool little pockets of the coast.
The first obligatory stop South of Seaside is Cannon Beach (Goonies Forever!).  Cold and windy and rainy weather made for a quick stop.
We went a little further South and checked really beautiful beaches and also things like the country's smallest lighthouse and the Octopus Tree (just the photo op my finger tentacle was waiting for)!

We got to go on a whale watching trip in Depoe Bay where a pod of gray whales lives off shore, so cool!  Blossom was not a huge fan of being out on the deck, but loved getting to see some whales, of course.
Exploring so many little state park beaches was great fun!  There are so many amazing places!  Rocky beaches, ones piled high with driftwood, ones straight off a cliff...
 That little white thing out on the rocks is Reed, who is exploring well past the fenced off area Hahaha!
 We explored a little ourselves here.  This was Cape Arago, which is a great place to see sea lions all on the rocks.  Blossom and I loved exploring our first tide pools and finding anemones and sea stars

We finally made it down to our next campground on the southern border of Oregon at Harris Beach State Park.  SO SO SO beautiful!!  Even the hike down to the beach was a fun little adventure with so many side hikes.  And so many tide pools!  It was hard to avoid stepping on anemones, they were everywhere!  We loved petting the sea stars and playing with hermit crabs.  The beaches here were just basically nature's playground!
 Soccer on the beach takes on a new challenge here where the ball constantly is drawn to the waves.

We all loved this campground and hope to come back again one day!  After a few days there, we packed up and headed South into California.  We spent a whole day driving and exploring around a road right near our Airbnb called Avenue of the Giants, just full of amazing Redwoods!

 This one is the biggest one in that forest, at 53.2' feet around and 362' tall!!!

Reed's dad met us here and took Reed back to St. Helena, CA for the next month.  We'll see him again when we return to Asheville.  For now, we are headed back North into Oregon, exploring to Medford/Ashland, Crater Lake, some hot springs, and maybe Eugene before heading a little East to Bend.  Love to you all!!!

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