Oct 18, 2014

Stout Grove AKA Home of the Redwoods and Highway 101.

Today was one of those days. You know, the ones where you have no time obligations. The ones where you have a car full of of girls, music, and treats and are headed for an epic destination. I really adore these days. Miriam is home from her mission and she is not staying here in Oregon very long. Her job is waiting for her in Massachusetts. And because she is only here a short time we are trying to cram some fun in.

So this morning we got up and left at 8:30 in the morning. We hopped on I-5 and headed South towards Grants Pass. I love this drive. Through mountains, passes, and valleys all filled with pine trees and trees turning colors for fall. Not too many cars on the road and flying along smoothly at 75 mph wrapped in our little Toyota Camry bubble. Strangely, I have passed my love of road trips on to my girls. We all settle in with our music and food and just enjoy the ride. It is soothing and interestingly seems to be therapeutic to us all. Well... except the part when Tatiana constantly changes the music. And the part when someone feels car sick.

The weather was gray and thinking about raining but we all decided that did not bother us. The gray actually makes the fall colors really pop and I have this strange love of gray and rain. Our trunk was full of umbrellas and rain coats just in case.

We stopped in Grants Pass, Oregon to buy provisions at Wal Mart. My dad had warned me to take the second Grants Pass exit but I panicked and took the first one so we had to spend some time getting over to the Wal Mart that was just off of the freeway by the SECOND exit :) It is very important to have the right amount of sweet snacks and salty snacks in the car so that was our mission at Wal Mart. I also have been contemplating for many weeks the need I had to purchase the Bastille album Bad Blood and since we were starting to have hints of trouble on agreeing on which cd to listen to I figured I could finally justify the purchase....you know ten dollars in the name of peace :) Finally after Wal Mart, getting gas, and such we headed out of Grants Pass on route 199 towards the Redwoods. It really is astoundingly easy to get to the Redwoods...I-5 South to Route 199 to the Stout Grove.

We listened to Bastille. We divided up the Reeses minis. We discussed how candy corn has never broken out of Halloween. This conversation came up because I noticed there were bags of mini peeps in Wal Mart and we were all surprised that Peeps had managed to bust out of Easter. Miriam told us mission stories. We commented on names of roads as we drove by. In Oregon the road name signs are so huge and clear you can not help but notice them.....especially if one is called Suicide Lane.

Hardly anyone chose Friday, October the 17th to be in the Redwoods and it was magical. The girls ran around on the trails and we took way too many pictures. It rained so we all had rain hair. While we were wandering through the grove a sudden wind came up. I had never been in the Redwoods when the wind blew...and all these seeds? Needles? Something? fell from the sky. It looked like a snow storm except not snow. Miriam said it was hurtful snow. But I loved it. It was so cool. All of us got these things stuck in our hair from this sudden gust of wind :)

We played in the grove for a long time and I love that I did not have to check the time once. We could do whatever we wanted. I think it was close to two when we decided to head out. On our way out we drove on this winding, very narrow, packed dirt road for at least a half hour through the redwoods. Half way through this majestic drive I realized we needed the right music and insisted on my Mormon Tabernacle Choir patriotic cd. The kids always moan when I put this cd in but we needed something substantial  as we were admiring the incredible beauty and the immensity of these trees. And it was not Taylor Swift....sorry Taylor :) When our winding road finally ended we were in the back of some town by some homes and cemetery.  I had no idea where we were so I just kept driving.....just kept driving :) In my past life I would have felt anxious and worried a little but I have realized that you are always going to find a main road. And we had time. Finally I discovered we were in Crescent City, California and we eventually found our next road which was Highway 101.

Highway 101 goes up the coast of Oregon and is pretty amazing. My dream is to drive Highway 101 in my future convertible and stop at every single beach and every single viewpoint on this glorious road. But for this day it was rainy and gray and I did not have a convertible so I was not sure how it would go but we all agreed we needed this drive up the coast so it was never a question. Why would you not do The Redwoods and the beach all in the same day just because you could?

The first beach we stopped at was in Brookings, Oregon. I have stopped there before and there are some amazing sea stacks. The parking lot had more seagulls in it than cars and it was raining pretty hard. But we threw on our rain coats and ran to the beach. The surf was rough and I love that. The sand had been beat flat with rain and was smooth. We all ran pell mell like crazies and then I remembered Natalie. She has a fear of tsunamis. I made the mistake of watching the movie The Impossible with her and...yeah. So the rough surf freaked her out and no amount of talking could get her to budge. I wanted to race all over the beach and enjoy the rain and waves but I am the mom :) So after I raced and took some pictures I went back up to the car with her.

She and I watched the seagulls out the window. She felt bad for them because it was raining. And she was sure they needed some of our chips. I said no. I know what happens when we feed seagulls....yes, I do :) The seagulls on the west coast look different from the east coast seagulls they are sleeker and plumper and just all around better looking. The east coast seagulls are mangy and easy to hate but these west coast seagulls were harder to resist. Did I just use the words resist and seagull in the same sentence? One seagull seemed to really like us and he eventually hopped on the hood of the car and peered in at us.

The big girls were on the beach getting into all sorts of trouble so it was good I was not with them to witness their choices. Thankfully all is well that ends well. But lets just say that they ended up on a rock and waves came quickly around the rock and they had to get wet up past thighs to get to safety :) And then they waded across a little inlet that they thought was a few inches deep and was not. Needless to say they were soaking and sandy and cold. But yet somehow content and extremely happy. Miriam declared that it was therapy :)

Miriam getting her therapy :)
We continued to drive up the coast stopping anytime we felt the urge. Running on beaches in the rain looking for perfect photo opportunities. We sang our way through the entire Mama Mia cd.and the entire Taylor Swift cd just to mention a few.

We finally made it home at 9:30 at night. Full of sand and still very wet. But so happy. I wanted to go on another adventure today but they all denied me. I wonder if I will ever find someone who wants to go and see and experience as much as I do?


Betty's Reflections said...

Sounds like you all had a very wet but happy time. That's wonderful.

Charlie Love said...

Sounds like a wonderful day...I love those kind of days where you don't feel the obligations of the world...but only the opportunity to "stop and smell the roses." I'm glad that you were able to spend time with those you love and have a wonderful time at it. :)

Mark Atkinson said...

The redwoods look amazing. Never seen on in person.

Highway 101 must be very cool. I have been on a highway in California that I thought they called highway 1. Maybe it was this one and I have forgot.

The answer to your question is surely yes, and probably at a moment you least suspect. What a funny (and interesting) life...