Three4TheRoad 2018 – Disneyland and the road home

Disneyland will never be completed. It will continue to grow as long as there is imagination left in the world.

-Walt Disney

After a wonderful Thanksgiving spent with family in Arizona, we packed up the rig, and joined by our daughter Jessica and granddaughter Felicity, headed to Anaheim for a few days at the Happiest Place On Earth! Get ready for a LONG blog post! We had a blast in Disneyland!

We checked into the Anaheim RV Park and rested up before our adventures in the park! For a small fee, the park provided a shuttle to the front gates of Disneyland. A few selfies in the resort common room and we were off!


Disneyland is no doubt a magical place. However, Disneyland during the holiday season is made even MORE magical! The iconic castle was decked out in “Frozen” glory with thousands of twinkle lights and baubles galore!

photo courtesy of Google images

We arrived on one of the lower traffic weeks, the week after Thanksgiving and were pleased with the short time it took to get through security and into the park!


Before long we were walking right down the middle of Main Street USA!



Of course we had to start out our day with an egg nog latte’ from the official Starbucks of Disneyland! It was the holiday season after all!


The park was busy with visitors but easy to navigate during the off season. The first ride we went on was It’s A Small World, which is my personal favorite. There was no line and we jumped right on!


The ride was as I remembered, with one exception; it was beautifully decorated for the holidays with seasonal music playing as we floated along. This was Ava’s very first visit to Disneyland and her eyes actually filled with tears as the Small World boats made their way through the various countries of the world. At sixteen she still beamed with child-like wonder at the magic of Disneyland! Felicity excitedly bounced up and down in the boat, taking in all the sites and sounds!


A trip to Disneyland wouldn’t be complete without a photo in front of the castle, which was just as beautiful during they day with it’s Frozen theme.



The Dumbo ride is a classic that can’t be missed. However, DO pay attention to the signs that tell you how long the wait will be. A line that appears short can wind around and around until you’ve waited nearly an hour to ride those flying elephants!


Mark and I kept ourselves busy taking selfies while we waited for Jessica, Felicity, and Ava to get their turn.


A nice woman who had also been waiting for family offered to take our photo.


It was finally the girl’s turn to take Dumbo for a spin!


No trip to Disneyland would be complete without doing a little shopping and sampling some of the snacks and we did plenty of that!


La Bat en Rouge was our stop for Louisiana cuisine and Mickey Mouse beignets!



Mickey Mouse beignets are delicious! We opted for the traditional but there was also a candy cane beignet for the holidays!

Felicity was absolutely tickled to see a dessert shaped like her favorite mouse!


There was so much to do and see, we weren’t sure where to go next! We had no clear plan; we simply followed the shortest lines.

There is no shortage of shopping choices both outside the park in Downtown Disney, as well as throughout Disneyland itself. We had a lot of fun trying on hats and looking at all the cute souvenirs but we kept to a budget and only purchased a few items.

Felicity’s FAVORITE ride was definitely the Pirates of the Caribbean and we went on it several times!


I remember it from my childhood as one of longest and most creative rides at Disneyland. Everywhere you turn, there is something to catch your eye and make you smile!


Beloved characters are everywhere and the folks at Disney do a great job getting visitors through the lines to meet their favs! On day one we met Pluto and Peter Pan.


Peter Pan was so sweet with Felicity, getting down on her level and talking with her face to face. When it was Ava’s turn, however he was not about to let her stand in front and take away the spotlight! It was hilarious and I wish I had more photos!


On day two Felicity got to meet Jack and Sally from “Nightmare Before Christmas”. All the cast members do such a great job making the little ones feel comfortable. They really do seem like they love their jobs!


Another high point for Felicity was meeting some of the Disney Princesses.


The Disney Princesses were gracious and kind, and they just loved Felicity!


Disney offers so many photo opportunities! We had a great time seeking out different backdrops for photos and the Christmas décor made it all the more festive for this holiday loving family!


Mickey was out doing an appearance so we took a tour through his house!


Mark and I took Felicity on the Thunder Mountain Train ride. It was much faster than I remembered but Felicity had a lot of fun speeding over the track!


On our first evening we stayed for the Christmas parade. The streets fill up earlier than we anticipated so we ended up standing for the duration but made plans to come back the next day and find a spot with a great view.

It had been a full day of exploring and we were tired, but the beautiful lights of the Christmas tree and the holiday parade were worth the wait!


One of Felicity’s favorite Disney characters is Elsa from the movie “Frozen”. She was absolutely tickled when Elsa waved right to her!



The nightly tree lighting was spectacular and photos just don’t do it justice.


After a long day of fun and adventure we headed back to the RV park to get a good night’s sleep so we could come back bright and early the next day.


Once again we were treated to gorgeous, late November weather as we arrived for another magical day at Disneyland!


Our day started out with a stop at the Disneyland Starbucks. It was going to be another full day and we needed our energy!


Once we were powered up we headed over for another ride on the boats of the Pirates of the Caribbean! The early morning crowds were minimal and we had no trouble jumping aboard.


Unfortunately, the Haunted Mansion was having technical difficulties during our stay and we were not able to visit this iconic ride. Looks like we’ll just have to return!


We were, however able to take the teacups for a spin!


As the day got warmer Mark, Ava, and I decided to try Splash Mountain while Jessica and Felicity found Winnie the Pooh.


Sit in the middle, they said. You won’t get as wet, they said!


We lined up early on day two so we could get a prime spot to view the parade and Felicity could hardly contain her excitement!


We took a seat right next to the giant Christmas tree and waited for the parade to begin.


Mickey and Minnie kicked off the extravaganza with a beautifully decorated float accompanied by festival holiday music!


Disney does an amazing job casting their characters! Ava was even inspired to audition for a cast member job as soon as she turns eighteen!


The evil step-mother from Cinderella was so good at staying in character. Felicity kept waving and saying “Hi! Hi! Can you hear me?” and the step-mother just kept going with her sinister look, pausing just long enough to let a smidge of a smile escape as she passed the jubilant Felicity! In true form, sisters Drusilla and Anastasia argued and bickered down the entire parade route!




There were skiers accompanied by dancing snow folk…


And dancing elves!


Not to mention the characters from Toy Story and a visit from Santa Claus himself!


Disneyland did not disappoint! The weather was beautiful, the crowds were managable, and the memories, priceless! We look forward to visiting again soon!

Goodbye Disneyland! We will meet again!

After leaving Disneyland we were really getting homesick and missing the rest of our family. We made plans to return to Washington in time for Christmas.


Even Banjo seemed ready to hit the road! But before we left, I had to leave one last rock at the Anaheim RV Park for another traveler to find.


And we HAD to stop one last time at Porto’s Bakery in Buena Park for some delicious sweet and savory pastries.


Porto’s was born out of Cuban Immigrant Rosa Porto’s love for sharing her wonderful cakes and pastries with family and friends. They currently have six locations in California including, West Covina, Downey, Burbank, Glendale, and Buena Park.


We recommend waiting until after the lunch or dinner rush to visit as Porto’s is a popular stop for tourists and locals alike.


They now ship unbaked, frozen boxes of some of their most popular treats so even if you don’t live in California, you can enjoy a little (or big) yellow box of goodies in your own home!


As we made our way home and traveled further north, the weather turned colder and rainy. The haze over the Lake Minden Thousand Trails RV Park made for an eerie but familiar welcome as we got closer to home and weather more typical of what we see in the Pacific Northwest.


Our first road trip took Three4TheRoad on lots of fun adventures! We saw beautiful beaches as we traveled down the coast. We were all alone as far as the eye could see as we explored the massive sand dunes of Oregon. We were awestruck as we wandered through the majestic Redwood Forests. We enjoyed Thanksgiving poolside in Arizona, and we became children again in the Happiest Place on Earth, Disneyland. Our travels were shorter than we planned our first time out, but we saw a lot of wonderful things and we can’t wait to get out and see some more of this beautiful country of ours! Stay tuned for more adventures!

xoxo Three4TheRoad


Three4TheRoad 2018 – Lake Havasu & Oatman, Arizona

“What makes the desert beautiful.’ said the little prince, ‘is that somewhere it hides a well…”

-Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince


We arrived in Lake Havasu City Arizona in mid November. It’s still hard for this Pacific Northwestern trio to get accustomed to such warm, sunny weather so late in the fall! We planned to spend time with family for the Thanksgiving holiday and arrived early to see some of the sites in and around Lake Havasu.


We were treated to weather in the mid seventies while in Arizona.

IMG_4576One of our day trips included a drive to historic Oatman with the hopes of catching the daily “gun fight” show in the center of town. Oatman is a village that began as a mining town in the Black Mountains of Mohave County, Arizona.

IMG_4572The road to Oatman takes you down a stretch of the iconic Route 66 so of course we had to stop and take advantage of some photo ops!


The holiday season is a big part of our family so we were happy to see desert Christmas trees scattered along the side of the road leading into Oatman!


Since we were visiting on a weekday, the town wasn’t nearly as busy as it would be on a weekend and we were able to easily navigate the small streets and shops, taking lots of photos along the way.


Oatman’s wild burros are descendants of burros brought there by miners in the late 1800’s. They were turned loose when the miners no longer needed them. It is said that they keep “banker’s hours’; coming into town each morning, greeting tourists and looking for food and returning to the hills in the late afternoon. For one dollar you can purchase a bag of burro food and feed the adult burros. Be careful! If they see you with food, they will follow you everywhere – sometimes even into the shops!

IMG_4671IMG_4664Most will allow you to pet them, but if you don’t have food they move on pretty quickly!


There are lots of cute shops and backdrops for great photos in Oatman.


IMG_4593IMG_4592We even came across Elvis (much to Ava’s delight) while we were wandering the streets of Oatman!


The Oatman Hotel is where Clark Gable and Carole Lombard spent their honeymoon and is rumored to be haunted!


Our day in Oatman was so fun we decided to return later in the week when some of our family arrived in Arizona.


It was fun to see the town of Oatman through the eyes of our grandchildren!


They were so excited to see the dozens of burros wandering freely through the streets and laughed at the stubborn one who wouldn’t even move for a passing motorist!


All the girls HAD to have their photo taken in front of “The Classy Ass”!


The highlight of the day for the kids was watching a “real” bank robbery and gun fight in the middle of the street! Donations collected after the wild west show go to local children’s charities.


If you’re in the area, take a day to visit Oatman, Arizona! The town is full of character and friendly folks! On our way out of town we saw a lone burro who seemed like he would be more than happy to come home with us!


Back in Lake Havasu, we visited Mudshark Pizza and Pasta. They have an incredible Happy Hour menu and we were able to sample lots of delicious dishes for half price!
mudsharkThis time of year they offer a delicious Pumpkin Spice Ale served in a cinnamon sugar rimmed glass. It was fun to visit with family and share a tasty meal! Thanks Dad and Mom for the hospitality!IMG_4500At sixteen Ava thought it was pretty cool that no one questioned her for being in a bar! You don’t see that in Washington!


Back at the house I enjoyed painting some holiday rocks which dried very quickly in the warm, Arizona sunshine!


I tried my hand at some Southwest Kokapelli designs on some rock core samples taken from local mines.


We enjoyed a wonderful family Thanksgiving in Lake Havasu City. Spending the holiday poolside was something we’d never experienced before!

We created special family memories this Thanksgiving and ate a LOT of delicious food!

We even took up Pickleball in the middle of November! Who knew?

We were fortunate to be in Lake Havasu City during their annual London Bridge Christmas Lighting Ceremony. The afternoon starts out with a swimming race across the lake, followed by the lighting of London Bridge and surrounding businesses. It was a beautiful, family evening.

We topped off the evening with a stop at Scoops, the local ice cream and crepe eatery!


They serve up tasty scoops of chilly treats in dozens of delicious flavors and toppings, sure to please the kid in everyone!


Though we spent two full weeks in Lake Havasu City, our time there flew by and we look forward to returning soon for more family time and fun in the sun!


We bid a fond farewell to beautiful Lake Havasu Arizona with the promise that we’ll be back sooner than later!


Three4TheRoad 2018 – Palm Springs


We arrived at the Thousand Trails Palm Springs RV Resort and were greeted by gorgeous, warm weather!


Though the slots were very small and close together, the RV resort was well maintained and had many amenities, including a pool, pickleball courts, biking trails, and a game room. We enjoyed spending time at the swimming pool, soaking up the beautiful November weather!



During the day while Mark was working and Ava was attending online classes, I busied myself with rock painting at the picnic table outside. I didn’t produce too many rocks that week. Every noise rustling in the bushes sent me inside thanks to the beware of rattlesnakes signs posted throughout the park!


I did manage to paint a few rocks though.



We found a diner that served delicious breakfast entrees all day!



We were told that while in Palm Springs we MUST visit the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway  and we were so glad that we did! The Palm Springs Aerial Tramway is the world’s largest rotating tramcar, and travels over 2 1/2 miles over the Chino Canyon.


Once you reach the top you can check out the beautiful views at several scenic outlooks.


We walked down the steep steps below the observation decks where you can explore over 50 miles of hiking trails through the Mt. San Jacinto State Park but be warned, at an elevation of 8516 feet the air is quite different, making hiking much different than at lower elevations. We hiked down to a beautiful clearing and took some time to take a group selfie!


Our time in Palm Springs was brief but we had a great time and hope to return! Next we travel to Arizona to be with family for the Thanksgiving holiday!

Happy Trails!  Three4TheRoad



Three4TheRoad 2018 – Wine Country & Ventura California



We arrived in Paso Robles California on October 28th. We checked into the Wine Country RV Resort where it was sunny and warm. The pull-through, concrete RV slabs were well maintained and beautifully landscaped.


The resort is surrounded by beautiful vineyards and stunning sunsets, and offered many amenities like wine tasting, a work-out room, swimming pool, and walking trails.


On our first night in Paso Robles we dined with family at La Cosecha Restaurant. We had a table at the front where they open the entire wall to the outside to allow the breeze to flow. Big thanks to Tracey and Chris for inviting us! The food was so delicious and beautifully plated!


Don’t be afraid to make a mistake. Your readers might like it.

-William Randolph Hearst


On day two we picked up our sis Tracey and headed to Hearst Castle, a National Historic Landmark and California Historical Landmark mansion located on the Central Coast of California. Between 1919 and 1947, it was the residence of newspaper publisher William Randolph Hearst and in 1954 it was turned into a California State Park.

20181029_161415Upon arriving, we were impressed with this structure, assuming it was the castle itself. It was not. It is one of several magnificent guest houses on the property!


Another guest house that welcomed celebrities such as Charlie Chaplin, Cary Grant, Joan Crawford, Winston Churchill, Jean Harlow, and Bing Crosby, to name a few.

J7G_2456The grounds were beautiful, with spectacular views from every angle and gorgeous sculptures throughout the property.

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The Hearst Castle Assembly Room was a grand social on the ground floor of Casa Grande  where guests gather just as W. R. Hearst’s guests did decades ago for cocktails, conversation, and to meet their host.



The tapestries were incredible and surprisingly well preserved.

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The Grand Refectory took its name after the word for a monastery’s dining hall. The bright silk banners, high windows, and gleaming candlesticks served as inspiration for the grand hall in the Harry Potter movies.

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The Grand Billiards Room is decorated with a 15th century Spanish ceiling and a Flemish tapestry from 1500.


The final room on the Grand Tour was the Hearst Castle Theatre Room, a five-story-screen theatre showing the resident film, “Hearst Castle – Building the Dream”.


After our tour of the Grand Rooms we were allowed to tour the outside property and pools at our leisure. Since our tour was towards the end of the day we were able to walk around freely, taking photos with few other tourists on the grounds.


We had a great time exploring and snapping photos of the beautiful surroundings. The weather was perfect for our adventure!

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It was fun to imagine what life might have been like living in a place so grand.

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The outdoor Neptune pool is surrounded by grand columns and exquisite, marble sculptures.

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Our Hearst Castle tour guide was knowledgeable and friendly and was happy to snap a group photo for us.


The final stop on our tour took us to the tiled indoor Roman pool, decorated with eight statues of Roman gods, goddesses and heroes. This breathtaking pool was once the backdrop for a Lady Gaga music video.


Photos just can’t do justice to the beautiful castle and grounds. It was truly an incredible experience and we would love to return!


On our way back from Hearst Castle we stopped by the gorgeous William R. Hearst Memorial Beach that runs along Hwy One in San Simeon. The pier offers fishing and outstanding views.


Our stay in Wine Country included some tasty meals! One place we visited a couple of times was Margie’s Diner of Paso Robles which serves no pre-packaged or processed foods. Everything is made fresh right there in the diner. Breakfast is served all day and the portions are enormous!


Even the fruit cup was served up in a giant portion!


No visit to wine country would be complete without sampling some of the local wines!

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These two intriguing red blends from the Paso Robles Chronic Cellars can also be ordered online.

We left Wine Country and traveled to our next adventure at Ventura Ranch RV Park. This proved to be the stop that felt the most like camping. The winding dirt road that took us into the park was the most rustic to date. The campsites were not paved so a welcome mat outside our rig was a must have.


We were greeted daily by the dozens of resident wild peacocks that freely roam the property and visit the campsites.


Accommodations at Ventura Ranch range from tent sites, RV campsites, cabins, and even teepees! There are fun amenities for campers including a swimming pool, rock climbing wall, and zip line!


A short drive from the campground in Santa Paula was a Mexican market that sold all kinds of sweet breads and specialty foods. We stocked up on all kinds of things that aren’t available in our home town.

A walk on the beach soothes the soul.

On our second day in town we took a drive to Marina Beach Park in Ventura and enjoyed an afternoon walking along the paved shoreline and climbing on the rocks.

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Marina Beach Park is the home of a beautiful, flute-playing siren sculpture made of bronze and standing twenty five feet tall.

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Life on the road isn’t all fun and games. Weekdays are work days for Mark and school days for Ava. Sometimes we don’t have a strong WiFi signal so we have to find a café and set up our computers for a few hours.

This week it worked out well because we were able to get our very first egg nog latte of the season, served in a festive red cup!


Lunchtime in Ventura called for a stop at In And Out Burger!


What a treat for us Washingtonian’s to eat burgers outside in the sunshine in early November!


We had read that there was a moderately difficult but beautiful hike in the hills behind Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula.


If you’re patient and see the hike through to the end, the trail opens up revealing a gorgeous waterfall and wading pool.


Unfortunately the weather was in the high 80’s; too warm for our furry companion Banjo who kept laying down on the trail! Maybe next time!

On our last day in Ventura we went to the iconic Ventura Pier and Beach. The weather was beautiful and the pier was bustling with visitors and people fishing.


We sat in the sand and enjoyed the warmth of fall in California. Ava and I ventured into the water and we were surprised at how warm it was!


I left one of my Mary Lambert lyric inspired  painted rocks along the beachfront promenade.


Ventura Beach and Pier was one of our favorite stops this week. The weather was sunny, the people were friendly, and the beach was beautiful. We will return the next time we’re on the California Coast.


Next week Three4TheRoad heads to Palm Springs!


















Three4TheRoad 2018 – Paicines California


We arrived at the Thousand Trails San Benito RV Resort in Paicines, California on October 21st. The park is a large resort nestled in rolling hills about 15 miles south of Hollister.


We were told that the park is frequented by many forms of wildlife, including deer, prairie dogs, ground squirrels, chipmunks, birds of several varieties, and even wild pigs!


Each evening we were treated to does, fawns, and bucks wandering through the campsites, unconcerned about us or the other campers.


The squirrels and birds loved to tease Banjo as he played in the fenced doggie park!


He jumped and barked at the little critters, but they were always just out of his grasp.

IMG_E3917The RV resort had many amenities but one of our favorite places to go each day was the pool.


Traveling in late October meant few other campers and rarely anyone else at the pool!


The weather was beautiful; in the high 70’s or warmer each day.


On our first full day in San Benito County we drove into Hollister. There we found a cute, little restaurant called the Cozy Cup Café. 



The atmosphere had a comfortable, small-town feel and the wait staff was friendly and accommodating.


The food was delicious and the portion sizes we quite large. You definitely don’t leave hungry!



For lunch the following day we visited Flap Jacks Country Café in Tres Pinos. We sat outside in the warm California sunshine and ate a delicious meal with huge portion sizes. Ava and I each had the Pesto Chicken sandwich and Mark opted for a breakfast dish with the Tres Pinos Scramble.


One thing we enjoy while we’re traveling is making the RV feel like home. We cook in the rig often and like decorating for the changing seasons.


There is nothing cozier than a warm fire and a good movie after a day of hiking, biking, and swimming.


We wouldn’t leave home without our digital photo frame and its ever-changing photo slide show so we can see snapshots of our family and feel connected while we’re away.

We also enjoy baking in the RV while on the road. We cook and bake in smaller quantities and have tried several new recipes!


Although it’s a lot of fun traveling full time, we still have to work. Each day Ava logs into her online classes and focuses on school work for a few hours. Sometimes the WiFi in RV parks is not the greatest and we take a coffee work day at Starbucks or a local coffee shop so Mark can work and Ava can study.


Ava also finds time in the evenings to practice her music on the road. We’re hoping to find some places for her to play some live music while we travel.


Mark is an avid CrossFit enthusiast and likes to find the local CrossFit gyms while we travel. This week he trained at CrossFit San Benito and was impressed with the welcoming atmosphere and personal guidance throughout the workouts. All the coaches were well trained and professional and Mark will definitely return when we’re in the area again!


One of our day trips this week included a drive out to Santa Cruz to tour the historic Santa Cruz Beach and Boardwalk.


We arrived early on a Saturday so it wasn’t very busy. It was almost the end of October but the weather was gorgeous! It may have felt a little cool to natives of the area, but to us Washingtonians it felt glorious!


The sand was warm on our feet and behind us we could hear the joyful screams of children on the Giant Dipper roller coaster!


Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk is located on a mile-long beach bordering Monterey Bay and is the only major seaside amusement park on the Pacific Coast.


The nearly century-old park is a historic landmark and California’s oldest amusement park.


The surf is incredible and strong and while we were in Santa Cruz we saw a playful seal taking advantage of the waves.


The boardwalk was filled with arcade games and Mark tried his luck shooting tennis balls at the target practice booth.



The boardwalk offered games and attractions from an era gone by, including this mechanical feature “Laughing Sal”, who got her start at San Francisco’s Playland-At-The-Beach. She sways and laughs maniacally, scaring children and adults alike!


Ava posed with this guy at Neptune’s Kingdom. He wasn’t very talkative.


As the morning turned to afternoon and the boardwalk got busier, we wrapped up our visit by taking the obligatory tourist head-in-hole photos!



Our time in San Benito County included some beautiful scenery,


gorgeous beaches,


delicious food,


poolside relaxation,


and lots of fun on the boardwalk!


We definitely plan to return!

Next week; Wine Country and Ventura County!

Three4TheRoad 2018 – Gold Beach, Redwood Forest, & San Francisco

Three 4 The Road and a dog – Gold Beach, Oregon


We arrived at our next home away from home, the Honeybear RV Resort on October 15th. Once again we were greeted by friendly, helpful folks who guided us to our space and gave us information about the area. The park sits on a hill overlooking the ocean and we could hear the crashing waves from our campsite.


We took a walk to the beach our first evening in Gold Beach. It was a short distance, but required us to cross over Hwy 101, which can be a bit precarious. The powerful Gold Beach surf was amazing to watch.


Banjo was a little reluctant to play in such roaring surf and gave an enthusiastic warning bark when we got too close to the water.


Sunsets over Gold Beach were stunning! A cell phone camera just can’t capture the beauty we saw.


While we’re traveling we like to support small businesses by checking out local book stores in the towns we visit. Gold Beach is home to the largest book store on the Oregon Coast, Gold Beach Books. After enjoying a latte and molasses cookie at the in-store shop Rachel’s Café, we perused the two floors with aisles and aisles of books. Ava even spotted Elvis in the store and had to get a photo!



No one knows what changes big or small lie ahead. One thing is certain; our journey’s not over. We can only hope that in some small way, our time here will be remembered.

-Disney’s “Dinosaur”


A short distance from our RV resort, along Hwy 101 we found The Prehistoric Gardens. This family-friendly attraction has offered self-guided tours through an ancient Oregon Rainforest since 1955. We had a lot of fun traveling back in time to discover life-size dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures!


We felt pretty small against a backdrop of huge Redwood trees and prehistoric reptiles as we wandered through acres of old growth forest!



Ava even befriended a mermaid outside the park!


Before we left, I  hid a Halloween rock for another tourist to find and enjoy.


We would definitely recommend The Prehistoric Gardens if you happen to be traveling along Oregon’s coastline. It’s educational and fun, and if you visit in early fall as we did, you will likely enjoy beautiful weather and no crowds!

The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.

-John Muir

The next stop on our journey was down a winding, forested road called “The Avenue of Giants”, into the California Redwood National Forest. Redwood National and State Parks protect old growth coast Redwoods and are home to some of the world’s tallest trees.

On the way to our campsite we stopped by a popular roadside attraction in Klamath, California; the Trees of Mystery.


We had Banjo with us so we only visited the attractions outside the main gate.


If you stop at the Trees of Mystery, you HAVE to get a photo of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Big Blue Ox!


We even found a giant bear who was more than happy to accommodate our photo request!


We stayed two nights at the Ancient Redwoods RV Park, right along the Avenue of Giants. The campground had few other visitors in late October and we saw few cars on our daily scenic drives.


We decided to take a short hike through Founder’s Grove Trail Loop, named after the founders of the Save the Redwoods League. First things first; BEAR SPRAY. Hiking through the Redwoods we were surrounded by FOREST. What lives in the forest? BEARS! Did we actually see any bears? No. The trails are heavily traveled with people and their dogs and I imagine most creatures of the forest find their homes deeper in the woods, protected from the road, but it’s good to err on the side of caution.


We were fascinated by the size of the mighty Redwoods everywhere we looked.


Some had burned out centers but they still stood tall; alive and strong in spite of the trauma that befell them.


I was so impressed with the resilience of this tree with a burned out center that I just had to give it a hug!


Everywhere we went, we were in awe of the beauty of nature all around us. Even trees that had succumbed to wind, drought, and age were beautiful where they landed.



We walked the loop, enjoying our time together in the quiet of the forest. We never did stumble into Big Foot, so Ava and Mark decided to do their best Big Foot impression.



Our time at the Redwood Forest was brief but we saw a lot of beauty in the time we were there.


Ava even found a cool car! I’ll bet no one at home has a sweet tree trunk ride!



For our last two nights this week, we stayed in Point Reyes California, a prominent cape on the coast of the Pacific Ocean. Our time there was limited so we weren’t able to venture out to the Point Reyes National Seashore, but we did explore the small town with it’s galleries, shops, and great farmer’s market. We discovered a fantastic place called Bovine Bakery with French pastries baked fresh daily. The smell of warm croissants brought people off the street and there was a line of folks each morning waiting for a sweet treat!


It’s an odd thing, but anyone who disappears is said to be in San Francisco. It must be a delightful city and possess all the attractions of the next world.

-Oscar Wilde


Our final excursion this week was a day trip to San Francisco. The only day we had available to see the city was Saturday so we set out with a positive attitude, knowing that there would likely be a lot of other tourists doing the very same thing!

Ava and I are big fans of musician and San Francisco resident, Matt Nathanson. One of his songs refers to several places in San Francisco so naturally we wanted to scout out as many places as we could and get some fangirl photos! Unfortunately, we weren’t prepared for the lack of parking everywhere we wanted to go. We drove by places like Crissy Field, 9th & Irving, and the Castro District but were unable to get photos. We’ll have to rely on our memories instead!

One MUST SEE was the row of houses used in the opening credits of the television show, Full House. We’ve watched this show in our home since it began and now we’re fans of the spinoff, Fuller House, so we had to stop by.

Full-House-Fuller-HouseThe home and houses surrounding it are private residences so we were respectful of the space and just hopped out for a quick photo.


The iconic “Full House” house is being renovated so it is surrounded by a fence but we were able to get close enough to snap a quick pic. Mark was double parked (darn that San Francisco traffic) so a nice couple took our photo and we did the same for them.


We drove by the “Painted Ladies”, another group of houses used in the opening scene of Full House. This spot along San Francisco’s Alamo Row is one of the most photographed locations in the city.

-photo courtesy of Google Images

For lunch we dined at Split American Food Kitchen on Polk Street. What a treat! The food was delicious and we were seated at a table by the window so we could people watch while we ate.

Mark had the American Burger, and Ava and I each had the Sonoma Sandwich. Everything was tasty!

After lunch we stopped by a charming resale shop called  ReLove that carries vintage, designer, and contemporary clothing, shoes, and accessories. Mark usually stays outside when we wander into such a boutique but he was surprised to find many things that appealed to him. He even ended up finding a pair of Ray-Ban sunglasses for an incredible price!


Ava was delighted to find a gorgeous dress that she can wear for Homecoming next year! I promised not to post a photo, but it is beautiful! And bonus, when people ask where she got her Homecoming dress she can respond, “At a darling vintage store in San Francisco”!


Down the street from ReLove we found a home furnishing store, and though we’re not in the market for furniture right now we just had to stop in and meet the shop dog!

SanFran9The poor sweetie had lost use of her hind legs so she spends her days laying on a rug and greeting customers as they come through the door.


We had heard that when in San Francisco you have to visit Lombard Street, which is famous for a steep, one-block section with eight hairpin turns! We were in our one ton pick up truck so we decided not to try driving down that street but it looks like a lot of fun!


As the day wound down (no pun intended) and traffic was getting even heavier, we decided to head back to the campsite. We only scratched the surface of all the things we wanted to see this week so we will definitely come back! Word of caution, if you want to visit Alcatraz, you MUST make reservations several days to a week in advance. We didn’t know this so we’ll be adding that to our “must see” list the next time we visit.

Next week; San Benito County California!

Three4TheRoad 2018 – Florence, Oregon

Three 4 The Road (and a dog) – Florence, Oregon

We arrived in Dunes City, a few miles from Florence, Oregon on October 8th and got our rig set up at the Woahink Lake RV Resort. Each pull through camp site is divided by large hedges and trees, allowing for privacy and shelter from the wind. Our first stop was a walk to the dunes! There was an entrance right behind our RV resort so this became our morning ritual. There is a road for ATV’s as well as a separate trail for those on foot and our dog Banjo looked forward to his daily off-leash run in the sand where he joyfully jumped and rolled in the dunes, wagging his tail and barking happily!


Dunes City is located in the heart of Oregon’s National Dunes Recreation Area and you get the feeling you’re in the middle of the desert with miles and miles of ever changing sand dunes. Each day the footprints of our previous day’s adventures had been erased and new hills, trails, and valleys awaited us to explore. I remember going there as a child during a family vacation and I was still just as awestruck at the sight of those majestic dunes as I was as a little girl.


We all enjoyed exploring the dunes and it was great exercise. Those dunes are tricky to climb, unless you’re a dog!

We had a hard time keeping up with Banjo who had no trouble navigating the dunes!


Ava was in awe of the landscape and loved exploring every day.



I had a memory of my brother and I visiting the dunes and the first thing we did was run to the top and roll down. I also remember we had sand in our ears and noses for days so this time I opted to do a cartwheel instead!

Girl point those toes!

Downtown Florence is a cute town bordering the Siuslaw River. We enjoyed exploring the little shops and cafes. Mo’s Chowder House was a fun place to grab a delicious meal our first evening in Florence.


Ava and I had the crab melt with a side of their famous clam chowder, and Mark had the bouillabaisse filled with fresh seafood from the area.



Florence is a beautiful, waterfront town and we had fun finding the Sea Lion sculptures designed by local artists scattered throughout the town.




Our days in Florence usually included a stop at the local coffee shop (of course it did, we’re caffeine addicted!) River Roasters is a great little coffee house and gift shop with indoor and outdoor seating along the Siuslaw River. Their coffee was delicious and their pastries heavenly!



The world’s finest wilderness lies beneath the waves …

-Wyland, Marine Life Artist

We knew we wanted to visit the Sea Lion Caves, America’s largest sea caves with  connecting caverns that open up to the Pacific Ocean. Upon arrival, we learned that the Sea Lions had already gone to sea for the season and would not be returning until December. We would likely not see any during the tour. However, we had done our research online and decided that we wanted to tour the caves anyway for a discounted admission price and a voucher to come back during Sea Lion season. After all, who wouldn’t want to take an elevator ride nearly 200 feet straight down to the base of the caves?


A short walk took us to the elevator entrance and a beautiful viewpoint where you can see the Heceta Head Lighthouse in the distance.




Once inside the caves we were treated to a nearly private tour because of the off season week day we chose to visit. We were free to roam for as long as we liked, with a Sea Lion Caves official nearby to answer any questions we might have. The view is stunning and we had a great time in spite of the lack of Sea Lions.


The day was a little brisk, but nothing we native Washingtonians couldn’t deal with and we had the place almost completely to ourselves.

SeaLion10SeaLion9 (2)

We were not able to see any Sea Lions but we sure could hear some off in the distance.


I can think of no other edifice constructed by man as altruistic as a lighthouse. They were built only to serve.

-George Bernard Shaw


One of our day trips included a visit to the Heceta State Park and Heceta Lighthouse, which has helped ships navigate the treacherous Pacific Ocean currents for more than a century. We walked the half mile trail up to the lighthouse and met a volunteer tour guide who gave us a brief history of the lighthouse and surrounding area. Because of the age of the structure we were not allowed to climb the circular stairs to the lens room but we were able to peek up and get a view of the light.



The original light keeper’s house is now a gorgeous bed and breakfast with a spectacular view overlooking the ocean and is often used for weddings and events.



We walked back down the hill and followed the trail to the Heceta State Park Beach. It was a beautiful, sandy beach with huge rocks and caverns. We spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the park until the tide came in and we had to scramble over rocks to get back to the beach!




Heceta3 (2)


Deadwood Oregon, named after Deadwood Creek was another stop along the road we enjoyed. The winding roads along the Siuslaw River were painted in brilliant colors of autumn and there were few other motorists. Traveling in the fall has its advantages!



Once considered one of Oregon’s most run down covered bridges, the Deadwood Bridge is now among the state’s finest. The construction was unique and included flooring that was installed on a slant so that traffic rounding the corner onto the bridge would travel more safely.


A short distance from the Deadwood covered bridge is the Pioneer Historical Cemetery. It was interesting to walk around and get a glimpse at the early settlers of the area.



A day trip to Coos Bay started with an amazing breakfast at the Pancake Mill where we sampled Swedish Pancakes, Dutch Babies, Crepes, and Breakfast Scrambles. We waddled away from the table and headed down the road for our next adventure.



Shore Acres State Park was next on our list and it did not disappoint. The park sits high on a bluff overlooking the Pacific Ocean and from one of the many viewpoints we were able to do a little whale watching.



The beach was a bit of a hike but it was so worth it! We never tire of all the gorgeous beaches we have found. There is something so serene about the seashore and it never gets old.


Beyond the bluff at the top of the park is a year round botanical garden. When we were there they were just starting to set up for their annual holiday lights display. We wandered through the gardens and took some pictures but photos just can`t seem to capture the beauty.

ShoreAcres8Every season offers a unique display of flowers and native plants throughout the garden.





Florence, Dunes City, and the surrounding area offered some great adventures!

Whether we were sticking notes of encouragement on rear view mirrors…


Hiding painted rocks in town…


Checking out the local CrossFit gym…


Trying delicious food at local eateries like the Little Brown Hen Cafe

Taking a drive to see the scenery…

Or just hanging out on a secluded beach…


We did a lot of super fun things in and around Florence, but our favorite spot this week was just outside our RV resort in the middle of the dunes! We are pretty sure Banjo would stay there for the entire trip if we let him!


He would just run and run, sometimes with no notice of anyone or anything around him! One day I tried to have a moment of meditation and Banjo ran up to me, sand flying everywhere, trying to get me to play with him!


There is just something about walking barefoot on warm sand dunes that is so peaceful. It really made us appreciate the beautiful country we live in.


We tried a little sand ”sledding” but without the proper equipment we were not very successful!


We made a lot of memories during our week in Florence, Oregon and though we will be cleaning sand out of the RV for weeks to come, it was definitely worth it!


Goodbye Florence and Dunes City! We will see you again!






Three4TheRoad 2018 – Seaside part 2




The voice of the sea speaks to the soul

Week two, Three 4 The Road! We were having so much fun in Seaside, Oregon that we decided to stay an extra week! The weather was unusually warm for early October and we took full advantage of it! Our daily routine usually started with a delicious cup of coffee at one of the many quaint coffee shops in downtown Seaside. My personal favorite was Beach Day Coffee, on Broadway Street near the Prom. The service was always friendly and the coffee was delicious!


After a warm cup of coffee we would stroll down the historic Seaside Promenade, also known as the Prom, a one and one half mile paved walkway bordering the gorgeous Pacific Ocean. Along the Prom we’d see others walking, biking or pushing a stroller. Twice we even saw a person wandering down the Prom wearing a large panda head as if (s)he hadn’t a care in the world! Perhaps it was a celebrity enjoying the day free of the glaring lens of the paparazzi!

Seaside Promenade, a lovely place to stroll along the ocean. Built in 1920.

As a rock painter, I enjoyed painting rocks at our RV site, then hiding them along the Prom for visitors to find and enjoy.


While in Seaside, we visited the Seaside Aquarium. Founded in 1937, the Seaside Aquarium is one of the oldest aquariums on the west coast. Ava and I visited while Mark was working (yes, we still have to work on this trip!) and found that our favorite part was feeding the seals!


The small fee of $2 for a tray of fish is well worth it for the enjoyment of watching these playful clowns frolic and splash and clap their little fins together. We could have spent the entire day there just hanging out with the seals!


Giant Octopus displayed at the Seaside Aquarium


Learn to see things backwards, inside out, and upside down.

-John Heider

The Inverted Experience was a fun and quirky place to spend some time on one of the chillier days in Seaside. Everything there is either turned on its side or upside down. For a reasonable fee employees use your cell phone to take photos of you in various poses designed to make you appear as though you are dangling from a light pole during a wind storm, riding a bicycle upside down, or casually meditating from the ceiling. We had a great time and laughed a lot! We got to keep all photos and one printed copy as well. So Fun!


The real question is should we trust people who don’t like cheese?

-Jim Gaffigan


As cheese lovers, we had to take a side trip to the Tillamook Cheese Factory! It was busy but not overcrowded and we were able to tour the factory during business hours and see how cheese is made. It’s quite a process!


After touring the facility we went to the tasting section – the BEST part of the tour!



My personal favorite was the cheese curds; also known as “squeaky cheese”, which we purchased (among other things) in the Tillamook Cheese Store!


We enjoyed a lot of what Seaside and the surrounding areas have to offer but our favorite place was the beach. We were fortunate to have warm, breezy weather for most of our visit. Beach combing, playing with the dog, and sitting in the sand enjoying the view became our daily routine.

Travel More. Our new motto!
A swing set in the middle of the beach. What could be better?



The seashore inspired to purchase a pair of Crocs; the perfect beach shoes!


Beach (noun) A place of rest, relaxation, and tranquility.


In addition to the glorious sunny days, we witnessed several spectacular sunsets from many viewpoints in Seaside.





Seaside Oregon, you are lovely. We will be back!














Three4TheRoad 2018 – Seaside Oregon



If not now, then when?

Last spring we started talking about what it would be like to make a major life change and spend a year traveling the United States in an RV. Could we do it? Would our family and friends think the idea was crazy? Was it something we could manage? After all, it would mean learning to balance work and school while traveling from city to city. Our days would need to be carefully scheduled so we could see the country, work on the road, and provide a quality education for our daughter. We discussed the idea at great length and finally came to a conclusion: If not now, then when?

We are fortunate to be able to work from any location with WiFi. Our daughter can spend the year attending online high school classes. There really was nothing holding us back other than the fact that we would miss our loved ones. However, a year is a very short time in the span of a lifetime and with the encouragement of family and friends we decided to take the leap! We sold our home and most of its contents, purchased a fifth wheel, and prepared for the adventure that awaited us. After months of planning and research, the story of Three4TheRoad begins.

Smell the sea and feel the sky. Let your soul and spirit fly…

-Van Morrison

The first stop on our trip across the United States was Seaside Oregon, a beautiful, little coastal town in Clatsop County Oregon. We arrived in late September and to our delight were greeted by sunny and warm fall weather that felt more like summer. Our sixteen year old daughter Ava hadn’t been to the seashore since she was a baby and the golden sand beaches didn’t disappoint! Ava ran to the edge of the water and took it all in with child-like wonder! There is something truly magical about ocean beaches with the gentle sea breeze and magnificent and powerful waves crashing on the shore. I will never tire of visiting the seashore and hope to see many, many beaches as we travel down the west coast and beyond.


During our visit to Seaside, we stayed at the Thousand Trails Seaside RV Resort. The staff was helpful and friendly, the resort was well kept and included many amenities that we enjoyed during our stay.  Our Wirehaired Pointing Griffon, Banjo appreciated the fenced dog run where he could exercise and play with other furry friends. We will definitely return to the Seaside RV Resort in the future. Its proximity to town and the beach make it an easy walk or quick drive to anywhere you’d like to go!


While in Seaside, we celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. Our daughters had called ahead and arranged to treat us to dinner at Maggie’s On the Prom.  There we enjoyed a delicious meal and outstanding service. The restaurant overlooks the beach and prom and serves delicious seafood dishes; with over 80% of their selections either gluten free or gluten free optional. Moderately priced, highly recommend!


I never met a meal I didn’t like

-Miss Piggy

When not cooking our own meals in the RV, we enjoyed several local restaurants, cafes, and coffee shops that we will share below:

The Grizzly Tuna – 850 N Roosevelt Dr, Seaside, OR. Drive thru Tuna & Chips. DELCIOUS! Probably the best fish and chips we’ve tried – like EVER! Light, tasty batter, not greasy, good value, friendly service

Beach Burrito – 507 S Roosevelt Dr, Seaside, OR. HUGE burritos, fresh and tasty. Moderately priced, exceptionally friendly service; even remembered us when we returned later in the week.

Bagels by the Sea – 210 S Holladay Dr, Seaside, OR. Large variety of fresh bagels, bagel breakfast sandwiches, and lunch choices. Good service, closes early so go for lunch or breakfast.

Angelina’s Pizzeria & Cafe – 1815 S Roosevelt, Seaside, OR. Best choice for thick pizza with the works! Nice atmosphere for dine in. Offers take out or delivery as well. Moderately priced, good service.

Pizza Harbor – 39 N Edgewood Street, Seaside, OR. Family dining two blocks from the beach. Best choice for thin crust, wood fired pizza. Delicious and a great value.

Beach Day Coffee – 7 Broadway Street, Seaside, OR. We visited here several times and were never disappointed. Just a few steps from the start of the prom and stunning ocean views. Serving locally roasted coffee from Columbia River Coffee Roasters, and delicious freshly baked pastries. Always friendly. Closes early weekdays & off season.

Adventure is out there

-Ellie, “Up”


One of the great things about Seaside Oregon is its close proximity to so many other great places. During our two week stay in Seaside we were able to visit several places just a short drive down the road. There is no shortage of beaches and we intend to see as many as possible. Even when the weather turned misty and rainy, we had a great time exploring the surrounding areas near Seaside.


Cannon Beach is known for Haystack Rock, a dedicated, protected marine garden that rises 235 feet out of the sand and the sea at the low tide line. The afternoon we spent there was overcast and windy, but even so, it’s an impressive site to behold.


Ecola State Park is part of the Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Park and is a must see! The winding and somewhat precarious one and one half mile road up the cliff to the pay station is worth it for the stunning views of Cannon Beach, Haystack Rock, and the Tillamook Lighthouse that await you when you reach your destination.


Follow the road to Indian Beach within Ecola State Park and walk down the steps to yet another gorgeous beach with beautiful views in every direction. Close your eyes and visualize the actors from the movies The Goonies, Twilight, and Point Break that all had scenes filmed right there on Indian Beach. Watch surfers paddling out to catch a wave, or sign up for a lesson at one of the local surf shops and hang ten yourself!


Surf’s Up! Check out these Seaside surf shops for supplies, tees, clothing, souvenirs, and rental equipment. Want to take a lesson? The staff at Cleanline Surf and Seaside Surf Shop can hook you up with a private lesson or class.

Next blog; Week Two – Seaside Oregon, coming soon!