Continued from Family Road Trip 2013 – part 2. It’s been almost a month since we got back. Pretty lame that it’s taken me this long to finish things up.
Day 10: Yosemite to Nevada City
We took the historical Golden Chain Highway (California 49) out of Yosemite. The forest fire had left the landscape hazy and red. There were times when we didn’t see a car for more than 30 minutes and it kind of freaked me out. I was worried that we’d end up driving up to a road block due to the fire and be forced to turn back. Fortunately, things eventually cleared up and we had a really enjoyable drive through cute little gold mining towns as we drove north along the Sierra foothills.
Also, I have to pat myself on the back for researching food stops ahead of time. Nothing makes me grumpier than being hungry and having no idea where to get a decent meal. I knew we’d be near Plymouth, CA around lunch time so I did a Yelp search a month before we headed out and found a little Mexican restaurant with good reviews. We drove right up to it and had a quick, yummy lunch. From the outside, I’d never have even noticed this place and there really wasn’t anything else around so, yeah. Yay me.
Eventually we made it to Nevada City where our close friends just moved. We checked into a cute little motel called The Outside Inn, cleaned off our Yosemite soot and dust (The Teens actually made a beeline for the motel’s swimming pool and Robert got in a quick 3 mile run) before meeting up with S&K and kids. As expected, The Teens didn’t want to take part in our get together because they had a lot of tv watching time to make up for after not having access to cable while we were in Yosemite. Those poor kids. We tossed some cash at them and ditched them. Meanwhile, we enjoyed a nice dinner and walk about town with our friends and then fetched a growler of beer and headed up to their cabin to visit for as long as we could manage to stay awake (not really late since we’re old).
The following morning we met up again with S and the kids and sat outside with bagels and coffee before we said our goodbyes. Not a long enough visit. Next time we plan to stay much longer and explore the area. Nevada City is a really cute town. It’s off the beaten path and it has a cool, unique feel.
It was hard to catch Astrid not in motion
little-r hanging outside the motel
The Outside Inn
The Outside Inn
Day 11: Nevada City to Dunsmuir
We took the long way to get back onto North I-5. Instead of heading west through Chico, we headed east through Reno. We stopped at the Donner Memorial (I expected more; not sure what exactly, maybe something morbid?) and then drove down to Tahoe City to take a quick peek at Lake Tahoe. Next up we hit Reno for lunch before heading towards Susanville, CA. Susanville marks the entrance into Lassen National Forest, a place where the Sierra Nevada ends and the Cascades begin (so really cool). A bonus was we’d be heading towards “the back” of Mount Shasta. I like seeing big things from a different angle because they often look so different (and in this case, Shasta kept oddly disappearing out of view). And indeed, the scenery was really pretty. Rolling forest hills, very little traffic, and as a bonus we got to see the big trestle bridge from the movie Stand By Me* near the town of Burney.
*Funny story. I knew what town the bridge was near and The Boy and I tried to find a bridge on Google maps that matched up; we thought we’d located it and drove up to it and I started taking photos. It was WAY SMALLER than what I expected. After about 5 minutes of photo taking and convincing myself that this was in fact THE BRIDGE, Robert, wise guy that he is, said, “This aint your bridge, woman.” Of course, he was right. The Boy then located the correct bridge and pointed it out to us as we drove next to it on the highway about 10 minutes outside of Burney.
We arrived in Dunsmuir just in time for dinner. The Dot was having “a moment” so we left her alone at the motel while The Boy, Robert, and I walked down the road to Dunsmuir Brewery Works. The musician was just setting up for a set out on the patio and we grabbed a seat. I love finding little hidden gems like that. Perfect! We enjoyed beer, barleywine (rootbeer for The Boy), a meat & cheese board, a delicious broccoli and goat cheese soup, and took in the somewhat odd local scene.
The not so famous trestle bridge
The road to the not so famous bridge
Robert enjoying a pint at Dunsmuir Brewery Works
The Boy @ Dunsmuir Brewery Works
Days 12-14: Dunsmuir to Bend
Eager to get to Bend as early as possible, we quickly loaded up the car in the morning and grabbed a quick to-go breakfast in Weed, CA then made our way up highway 97. The drive went quickly and I calculated that we’d get there too early to check into our rental house. I was just figuring out what we might do before check-in when I read an electric road sign that said the highway was closed up ahead. Oh great. It turned out that there had been an accident several hours earlier and because there were two fatalities, traffic was being rerouted off to the side, only allowing one direction traffic at times, and at other times, no traffic was allowed through. We sat in the car for about 2 hours, only able to move about a mile or so. We were all feeling pretty sad about the circumstances and feeling grateful that our trip had so far been smooth and safe. Fortunately, we had Professor Blastoff to keep us occupied and we eventually arrived in Bend pretty much right in time to check into our house. Such a cute house!!
We quickly unloaded the car and headed straight over to 10 Barrel Brewing, just a quick walk from our rental. Like most beer places in Bend, it was a mad house and we had to wait about 25 minutes to get a table but we were just glad to be out of the car and too hungry to seek out another food location. After delicious pizza (a beer), Robert got in his last 3 mile training run and we dropped The Teens off at the local theater so they could catch a movie.
And then it was Little Woody Time!!! This was our 4th year attending. It seems to get more and more crowded every year. I got to sample a beer fermented in a tree log. It was odd.
The following morning we drove down to Sunriver so Robert could pick up his race bib and technical tee (and we stopped at the market to pick up groceries). We returned to Bend and decided it would be a good idea to walk from our rental house to downtown for lunch. It’s a quick jaunt across the river. The only problem was it was nearly 100 degrees! I guess I’ve never been in Bend when it was that hot. It was uncomfortably hot. We grabbed a quick bite at Deschutes Brewery and then headed back to the house to cool off. It’s kind of sad that we didn’t do more on The Boy’s last day with us. I’d earlier suggested that we tube on the Deschutes or check out the Lava River Cave but in the end we were lazy, hot, and kind of sentimental — and hanging out together at the house seemed like a good way to spend some time together. I cooked up a pot of spaghetti, made sure The Boy was well fed, helped him organize and pack his bag, made him several snack bags that he could bring with him on his long flight (Bend to SFO to Chicago to Newark, 12+ hours of travel time), and drove him to the Redmond airport (totally cute little airport, btw). I gave him a big hug and off he went. I was surprised that it was much easier to say good bye this time around vs. last year when we left him in New York. I think the difference is he’s become a confident traveler and has proven that he can manage things on his own. It also helped that I would be seeing him again in October when I visit.
After dropping The Boy off we pouted a little and headed back for more Little Woody Time before settling in for a quiet evening before THE BIG DAY.
THE BIG DAY
Robert, The Dot, and I drove down to Sunriver around 7am. The marathon was starting at 7:45 and we had no problem finding parking. We had a few minutes to wish a very nervous Robert good luck and he was off (and precisely 2 minutes after he departed I got a text from The Boy that he’d arrived safely in Newark). I had a map of the course and The Dot and I made a mad dash to the market to fetch a drink and then we headed towards the north end of Sunriver to try and catch Robert at mile marker 18. I figured we’d easily see him at some point in time but I soon realized that a lot of the course isn’t on the biking trails where we were walking and if we didn’t time it perfectly we might miss him. After about 45 minutes of walking, and nearing the 18 mile course marker, I figured that we might be able to catch him at the halfway point first, if we scrambled. The Dot wasn’t really happy about this speed walking, back tracking bit (neither was my sore ankle) but we eventually got there, saw runners and after about 5 minutes, I decided they were running too slowly to be ahead of Robert so we ditched them and headed back towards the 18 mile point (The Dot was really grumpy…REALLY GRUMPY). My doofus move of trying to see him at the 13 mile mark made it even harder to get back to the 18 mile point. I took a wrong turn, then we had to dodge through some private property and fortunately, with minutes to spare, we found the course and there he was, looking strong at 2 hours and 20 minutes. It’s a good thing I didn’t hear him telling me he was running out of gas. I wasn’t worried about him at all…
We dashed back to the start line (we ourselves probably walked about 10 miles trying to catch Robert during the race). Based on his 18 mile pace I figured he’d finish up about 3:25 or 3:30 and I was a bit worried we wouldn’t make it. We actually got there at around the 3:20 mark and he was nowhere to be seen. 3:25. No Robert. 3:30. No Robert. The Dot headed into the lodge to wait it out (it was another hot day, already over 75 degrees at 10am). 3:35. No Robert.
3:36:53. There he is!!! He looked great but I figured something had happened to slow him down so much. I ran over to him after he crossed the finish line and he made a pained look and said his legs were cramping. I told him to keep walking (even though he looked like all he wanted to do was lay down and never move again) and we headed over to the shaded snack tent. He grabbed a chocolate milk and I grabbed a few other things for him. He looked desperate to sit down but I told him to keep walking. After a few minutes he did sit down and started stretching. I wasn’t exactly sure that was a good idea but he was in a desperate state. I really started to worry. None of the other marathoners seemed to be in much pain. There was a sports massage table nearby and I suggested he head over to them to have them help him stretch out the cramping. Luckily they got him down on the table right away but the therapist could tell that what Robert needed was electrolytes. After a bit of stretching they sent him off with instructions to hydrate. Robert spent the next 20 or so minutes laying on the grass, having me lift one left and then switching to another up onto a chair while he sucked down frozen orange pops and sports drinks. At one point he tried to lift his own leg instead of having me help him and he let out a string of profanities (major quad cramp). He eventually stood up and I grabbed The Dot and we made a very, very slow trek back to the car.
He came in 18th overall, 1st in his age group, and 6th in the male masters group. Not too shabby despite the cramping.
So what did Robert learn from his first marathon? Hydration is key. He missed one energy drink stop on the route, it was really hot, and before the race he didn’t really drink anything but a coffee. He says the last few miles were brutal. He had to take at least 10 walking breaks due to leg cramps and saw several runners that he’d passed earlier run past him (including the female marathon winner who came in at 3:25:50). If he fixes all those mistakes will he do better next time? He hopes so. He’s already planning on trying again. And bonus, if he waits until he’s 50 (just less than 2 years), he only has to cut off 7 minutes of his time to qualify for Boston. I love that he’s so passionate about running. I never would have predicted it a few years ago.
When we got back into Bend we hung out at the house for a while. Robert wasn’t up for eating yet or really doing anything so The Dot and I grabbed the bikes that came with the house and rode down to the Old Mill shopping mall. We grabbed some ice cream and then I got a call from The Boy. He was nearly in tears. After the long travel time without sleep or food (despite my best efforts to pack him snacks, he was too nervous to eat), the shuttle to Grand Central Station, the subway ride to his new dorm, the checking into his new dorm, and finding out that he had a different roommate than he expected plus the upcoming heavy course schedule and the end of a long relaxing summer and a major roadtrip = mental breakdown. He wanted to come home. He wanted to leave school. New York City was too distracting for him to write and feel inspired. After a little inner freaking out of my own, I calmed him down and reminded him of all the reasons he wanted to go there in the first place an also reminded him that he wasn’t in the right state of mind to see things clearly. He needed sleep and food and time to settle in. We agreed to talk again after he had a chance to just chill out. Deep down, I was pretty distraught. Should I be encouraging him to stay there? That kid is resilient, though. He texted me an hour later and said he’s glad we talked and he was feeling much better. Does he still want to leave New York after this year? I don’t know about that. After a month of being there he’s back into his routine and seems to be fine. Not loving it but I don’t think The Boy is at a stage in his life where he’s ready to love anything really.
Meanwhile, The Dot was super irritated that he was being so needy. *eyeroll*
Back at the house I convinced Robert to head out with me and eat something. I was kind of freaking out about The Boy’s call and needed to have a long talk about it. We ate at Bend Brew Werks and then checked out Crux Fermentation Project (loved it). It was nice to have one last little outing. We sorted out our feelings about The Boy’s situation and made a plan to keep the dialogue going with him. I’m sure Robert felt a lot better getting some calories and beer in him, too.
So that’s a wrap. The next morning we drove home to Seattle (with the mandatory pitstops at Double Mountain brewing in Hood River and Cascade Barrelhouse in Portland). I don’t know if we’ll do this kind of road trip with The Teens (soon to be Adult Child + Teen) again. I keep thinking that any day now they’re not going to want to hang out with us so much. I mean, we’re kind of boring and all we do is drink a lot of beer.
Bend Brew Werks
Crux Fermentation Project
Crux Fermentation Project
Crux Fermentation Project
Bend vacation rental
Bend vacation rental
Bend vacation rental
Bend vacation rental
Bend vacation rental
10 Barrel Brewing