Michelle was feeling a bit restless last week and suggested a short road trip to Tillamook for grilled cheese. Loving road trips and all, I agreed instantly to her wifely demands. Michelle planned the trip for us. We were to pick up the kids from work and drive to Vancouver, WA for dinner then stay at a hotel with a pool. Maddex has chosen Days inn as the hotel he identifies the most. He calls them out when we drive by them. All of the kids require a pool when we hotel. Based on MillFam requirements, Michelle picked a Days Inn across the street from the Vancouver mall– and that’s extent of the planning we did.
Our weekend was slammed and we were not going to have time to pack, so we packed before. Saturday Michelle and the kids packed the car with snacks and entertainment. Here’s where a big chuck of Kev pride comes in. The kids packed dolls, transformers, books, Legos, and drawing things like crayons and paper. No tablets, or phones, or TV, or Movies, or DVD players, or radios, or electronics at all. We limit the TV our kids watch, and they don’t have electronics yet. Once they do I’m pretty sure they’ll be lost to the screen; for now, we’re delaying that. Our kids are entertained by simple things – which pleases me.
When the kids desire more entertainment in the car we listen to a book, or we take a break and explore. On this trip we listened to a few Magic Tree House books when the kids wanted books and we stopped at a park the first day, and found a camp ground the second day to stop at. Both of those stops were not planed we added them in because trips are meant to be fun and adventurous. Trips are not about getting somewhere and nothing in-between.
After being in the car for a few hours I wanted a drink, the car needed some fuel, and good parenting suggested we feed the kids. Michelle found a park in Castle rock on the intertubes, but we were not able to find the park. From the looks of it someone took the park out and replaced it with a hole in the ground. We carried on a bit further south; We pulled off in Kelso for a soda and fuel. Whilst fueling Michelle found us another park on the other side of the freeway a short distance from the fuel station. We ended up in the Tam O ‘Shatner Park. The kids played on the toys, ran in the grass, consumed fruits, and used the washroom.
Vancouver – Days Inn
We made it to Hotel around 15:02 or there abouts and checked in. Sad face, the hotel pool was closed for hot tub maintenance. The kids batted their eyes and looked cute for the front desk gal who told us we could head across the parking lot to the comfort inn and use their pool; Score. Kids and I walked over and the Comfort inn to check it out. They actually provided us with a keycard for 24-hour access to the building and pool. We went back to the room, put on swim suites and we all went over the pool for a swim.
Kids did amazing in the pool. Mila swam a bit with no life jacket. Maddex was jumping in with no life jacket, and K was in the water splashing all over the place. Last time we were in a pool Maddex was having no part of no life jacket. This time he was jumping in and struggling to keep his head above water a few times, which did not slow him down at all; he kept on jumping. Mila hung out around the ladder and used it to stay underwater with her mask on as long as she could. Makes me excited and happy to see them improving; all of those mornings in the hot tub are paying off.
After the pool we had dinner at sweet tomatoes. Unlimited salad and soft serve ice-cream. From sweet tomatoes we went back to the hotel, parked and walked over too the mall for a walkabout. The mall has a small play area the kids played in, jumping from squishy animal thing to the next. K managed to climb up a few of the bigger ones to her own surprise. She gets super excited up there trying to say look at me!! Look what I did.
Back in the hotel room, Maddex slept on the floor on a camping mat, Mila slept in a bed, and Khaleesi tried to sleep in a bed. Maddex said the camp mat was comfortable and Khaleesi ended up on the floor in a pillow nest because she was having a hard time falling sleep in bed with Mila. Morning started around 6am when I hit Maddex in the head with a pillow to wake him up for another swim. Mila woke up and snuck out of the room with us. Instead of a swim we had waffles in the hotel lobby. Two weeks of a no sugar for me busted with a waffle covered in butter, peanut butter, and syrup – mmmmm so good. After the waffle we hit the pool while K and Momma had some food and cleaned up the room a bit.
Yeah ice cream!!! – kids love being covered with ice cream
Playing Cheese in the mall before bed time
“I am bat mom” – walking back to the hotel Michelle put Maddex’s jacket on and played bat mom
Michelle reading to the kids before bed
River Stop somewhere in the Tillamook Forest
We’re pretty flexible and enjoy getting there as much as the destination when we travel. When the MillFam travels we pick end points, rough time tables, and make up the middle as we go. The middle normally becomes the most memorable part of the trips
From our hotel to the Cheese factory it’s a two-hour drive, plus or minus depending on traffic. Traffic was not horrible, and we let the hotel earlier then planed. Tillamook was going to happen before 11, which is too early for grilled cheese. With time to kill I felt adventure was needed. Once we hit the Tillamook forest I keep seeing river rocks and a river to the right. I pulled off the road in a few places wanting to stop and hike in the rocks, but none of my stops were working access to the river wise. Eventually we saw a sign for a camp ground; score. We pulled off and followed a muddy dirt road through a gaggle of park peeps cutting trees until we found a spot to park and hike.
The spot on the river below our packing spot was fairly small. To access the better play grounds, we were forced to cross the river a few times. Kids and Knocked up momma did excellent crawling over logs over the river. No one fell in… After some walking on the rocks and water we ended up finding another section of the campground. Wanting to keep with the dry family theme, we took the safe route and walked back to the car along the road. Kids sure had a great time tossing rocks, climbing, and chasing a salamander into a pool. Short walk along the river provided adventure and broke up the drive.
Family by the river – we used the backpack to hold the camera
Maddex found a water fall we jumped over water to see – he was proud of himself
Kids tossing rocks into the river
Khaleesi got into the rock tossing too
Tillamook Grilled cheese and some Beach
We made it to Tillamook around 11:20 or there abouts and took the self-guided tour. Before heading in for the tour the Kids ran up to the boat in front of the building, then ran around it a few times to burn on steam. Looking through the glass at the line workers moving blocks of cheese some was education for the kids. Some of the line workers took time and looked up to wave at the kids; cute. On the upper floor of the tour there’s a big cow which excited Khaleesi. She ran up to it and yelled “COW!!! COW!!” then Maddex ran over and tried to milk it. After the tour we had our samples, cruised the store, then ordered up some grilled cheese and mac-n-cheese. The kids had a wash room breaks, then we chased food with Ice-cream. – Before loading the car our kids ran around the grass near the boat again for a bit, and K received a fresh diaper.
Up the road about 30 minutes we pulled off at a random sign reading beach. From the car part we walked to the beach and played in the sand for a bit. Mila and I ran to the water and back. Maddex dug holes in the sand and burred himself. Khaleesi and Mila hunted for rocks and shells. Momma and I went for a walk. MillFam had Great time at the beach. After the beach most everyone passed out in the car while I drove north towards home listening to a book. We made it home in time to feed the kids, read a book then bed time.
Kids in front of the Morning Star Tillamook sail boat
Watching Cheese be Made
Mila running back from the water
K – um, not sure what is thinking here, but I liked the picture
Maddex in the fortress we build