For the first time, Zach joined Annie and
me on our annual summer road trip to visit family and friends in northern
California. Jim and Taylor had to stay home for work and school, but Zach
and Annie won’t start fall term at Oregon State until later this month.
Before leaving, I asked Zach how he wanted to do the trip. All he said was,
“I don’t want to get bored sitting around anywhere.” I did my best to
Country Hills Motel near Cave Junction in southwest Oregon
bed: A pullout sofa bed in the living room.
quote regarding bed: “My head sat lower than my feet.”
Oregon Caves National Monument
the caves: “It’s just pathetic. An extremely boring cave. There was
nothing there. A desperate attempt as a tourist attraction. Everything
about the Oregon Caves was just disgusting. I hope an earthquake just
destroys the place. There’s just nothing there.”
“N” About Tree House Resort near Cave Junction
remote facility is a cross between a Boy Scout camp and a hippie commune.
bed: A miniature bunk bed in the kid’s room of the Swiss Family Suite,
about the size of a large outhouse.
on his room: “It was a 6 ½ foot tall house. The bed was six inches too
short. The bedding was just a sheet inside a sleeping bag—not really even a
take on the resort: It was cool to see the tree houses and structures, but
it was incredibly dirty and boring, aside from the zip line. It was a bunch
of hippies making money. The first night, I heard drums in the distance. I
never wanna see it again.”
quote: “I was mildly impressed that it has big trees still standing, but I
can’t understand why anyone would want to spend more than ten minutes
Melanie and Uncle Bill’s house in Sacramento
bed: A comfy couch in their studio outbuilding.
decided he’d rather watch Melly’s kids than go into San Francisco for the
day with the girls. Mom was happy to switch places with him.
babysitting: “I watched Jacob (4) all day and walked around the zoo three
times. Then I picked up the other kids from school and took them to get ice
cream. We had a moment of complete doom. Cooper (6) hid behind a car.
Jacob started crying for no reason. Suzanne (6) started skipping away. I
worked it out from there. But I’m not gonna have kids for a long time.”
Carmon and Steve’s house in the Sierra Mountain foothills
is Jean’s high school best friend, now a home-schooling mother of ten.
bed: A comfy couch in the living room.
quote: “I liked how all of Carmon’s family were chasing the Lord.
four youngest boys all wanted to talk to me the entire time, but they were
polite and knew to take turns. ‘Stop hunting Zach!’ they told each other.
(one of the older boys) took me to a cave where I got to slide into a crack
in the ground with only two inches to spare. It was way better than the
Oregon Caves because it was slightly dangerous and illegal, with water
dripping off the ceiling and graffiti and garbage everywhere.”
Windmill Inn in Ashland, Oregon
the Shakespearean play, “The Winter’s Tale.”
bed: His own queen-sized. “It was a real bed that was quite comfy.”
the Shakespearean Festival: “Shakespeare makes me cranky.”
Where there any surprises about this trip?
didn’t realize that we’d be doing so much ghetto camping.” (At the tree
was the food?
like gourmet food. I’m normally lucky to eat three meals a day and not have
one of them be a Power bar.”
was the worst food?
waitress at the Oregon Caves hotel called me ‘Abercrombie Boy’ and gave me a
was it being alone with Mom and Annie?
alone with Mom and Annie is a very humbling experience because they’re so
much alike. I can’t oppose them or what they wanna do.”
would you do differently?
hopeless. It’s the nature of the beast. You guys freak out by poor
Where might you have gone instead?
“Anywhere but the Oregon Caves. I would have rather slept in the car than
gone to the Oregon Caves.”
did you think of Mom’s driving music?
has good Christian music but otherwise vomit-inducing stuff: hippie-yuppie
music. And too many female singers who try too hard.”
were Mom and Annie as drivers?
girl, Mom’s a pretty good driver. I was really scared when Annie was
driving. Girls should not be allowed to drive unless it’s straight.”
are the ingredients of a good road trip?
wasn’t really a road trip because we didn’t drive all night. This was more
of a vacation where we went to weird hippie places.”
did you learn from this trip?
learned a lot on this trip: Patience, doing stuff you don’t wanna do. It
was good to have some quiet time forced upon me for two days in the tree
house in my little box room. You can take something that’s bad and flip it
upside down to raise up to God. I always try to do that, and I really had
to do that on this trip.”
Would you go on this trip again?
if it were shorter, with no tree house, caves, or drive across the
was the drive itself?
don’t know. I just wanna get a haircut.”
Zach: “My two to three days
of watching or hanging out with the kids. It was the only thing that I
Jean: When the waiter at
Carlos’ Mexican restaurant in Cave Junction told me that for my age I “don’t
look so beat up.”
Annie: “Rappelling off the
platform at the zip-line at the tree house resort. I thought I was gonna
wasn’t home when we stopped to pick him up in Corvallis. He hadn’t even
started packing; he used department store bags for luggage. (Zach doesn’t
see this as error. He considers the very existence of the Oregon Caves as
(Jean’s note: I loved the caves. I don’t know what he’s talking about.)
February, I ordered tickets on-line for our Shakespeare play. I thought I
selected seats in the third row, center. We ended up in the third row from
the back, center. I think I read the seating guide upside down.
wanted to show off her campfire building skills to the tree house hippies at
the communal evening gathering. While hunting for matches, she locked our
only set of car keys in the trunk. We got AAA to break into my Honda.
Overall, Zach was a
wonderful traveling companion. He willingly drove all the difficult
stretches of the road. He slept wherever we stuck him. He hauled my heavy
suitcase up and down the ladders at the tree house. He filled the gas tank
(well, he tried—we’re from Oregon, you know). He called AAA to come rescue
us from the hippie woods. If he wanted to join us again, I’d take him.
Next summer, perhaps we’ll stay in yurts and tour the Sea Lion Caves on the
way to California…?