Since moving to JBLM and the PNW, we’ve found ourselves closer to Ryan’s family, and we’ve done our best to get to see them while we’re here, just as we did with my family on the East coast. That’s how we found ourselves doing the world’s fastest roadtrip through Oregon this past weekend. Ryan’s enjoying two weeks of leave post-deployment, and we wanted to make a point of going at least once a year to see his father in Medford, Oregon, where he lives in an assisted living facility. We went last year with the boys, and this was our first complete family roadtrip with Mieke.
Since we had the time, we decided to make the most of it and go through the Salem area, where a good number of Ryan’s cousins, aunts, and uncles reside. We pulled the kids out of school on Thursday, and we hopped on the freeway, heading South to see his cousin’s daughter’s final cross-country meet of the season, enjoy an evening of tacos and company (thanks, Amanda!), and take a break from our travels.
After spending the night in Salem, we continued our journey towards Medford the next day, arriving shortly before our 3 PM hotel check-in time. Because the kids had been cooped up, we decided to play tourist and get out there. We yelped a good playground, hit up Trader Joe’s for some easy lunch food, and went out to enjoy the unseasonably warm weather. PSA – if you’re in the Medford area and are looking for the perfect playground for kiddos, dogs, and the whole family, you don’t want to miss Bear Creek Park. It’s heaven.
We needed to decompress, and this was the perfect way to do it. Mieke played happily in the leaves, the boys got their crazies out on the playground, and Danny enjoyed some fresh air before we packed it up and went to the hotel to check in.
We managed to see Ryan’s dad and stepmother twice this trip, and I know that it’s good for Ryan to see his dad, show his children who they pray for each night, and really keep that connection alive. Sadly, we never know when it’s going to be the last trip and because of that, we’re grateful for the opportunity to get out and see them, tricky as it might be to coordinate both the time off and the intricacies of traveling with three children and a dog.
Most of all though, embarking on the world’s fastest roadtrip through Oregon gave us a healthy dose of together time, delivering all that time we lost during his deployment in spades. This was our last real trip before we leave for South Africa, so it was good to get out before we buckle down and tackle the final prep and planning. While roadtrips never really seem convenient, per se, we’ve kind of learned how to do them quickly, efficiently, and comfortably – all the details of which I’ll be sharing later this week. Traveling with young kids is always a bit of a whirlwind, but we’re endlessly grateful to have the ability – and flexibility – to do so.
Do you like taking roadtrips? Why or why not?