How I Spent My Summer Vacation
Adventures

How I Spent My Summer Vacation – Part 1

Tim and I haven’t taken a summer vacation for three years, courtesy of the pandemic. Our trip this year was planned a year ago and revolved around the World Track Championships in Eugene, Oregon. Tickets were purchased, hotel reservations made, and we just waited for July 15, 2022, to finally get here.

Since there are so many things to talk about, I’ve decided not to try and cram it all into one post. My intent is not to provide a play-by-play of our trip, but a summary of the highlights. Unfortunately, even that can’t be short.

Driving

We put 4,659 miles over 15 days on my Murano. Probably more like 12 days since we didn’t drive for three days when visiting my cousin. We saw parts of the USA I’ve never seen before; some I’d like to see again, while some, not so much. But overall, it was a fabulous drive.

It took us three days to get to Eugene, taking us through Nebraska, Wyoming, Utah, Idaho, and Oregon. Whole days were spent in Nebraska, Wyoming, and Oregon, while Utah and Idaho, especially Utah, were just blips in our day. Our longest day was the second day, from Cheyenne, Wyoming to Boise, Idaho. And I must tell you, southern Wyoming is not very exciting (sorry, anyone who might live there).

It took us longer (five days) to get home after leaving Sequim, Washington. That was because we made more stops than we did on the way to Eugene. We had planned to stop at Yellowstone Park for a couple of days, but when flooding closed roads in June, we decided not to stop there. I know, it’s open again, but we wanted to make sure there were no restrictions affecting our visit. We’ll go again sometime.

Tim did all the driving, not because I won’t drive, but because he prefers driving. I’m OK with that. I spent most of my time knitting, watching the beautiful scenery, and logging things in my travel journal. It’s funny how you forget little details so quickly!! Oh, and I took pictures. Almost all of my pictures, such as the one at the top of this post, were taken through the windshield. We’d try and clean it off each time we got gas, so there weren’t quite so many bug guts to try and shoot pictures through!!

How I Spent My Summer Vacation
Tim in the driver’s seat

Along the Way

We primarily drove on five interstate highways: I80, I84, I5, I90, and I29. I took a picture at one of the rest stops of the sign telling us about the establishment of the interstate highway system. I’ve always known it was started by Dwight Eisenhower, who was President when I was born. I also remember when it wasn’t completed. Maybe there are still stretches that aren’t complete? I just know that I35 ended close to where we lived in north central Iowa in the 60s.

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

With our Florida drive last winter, we started stopping at the rest areas/welcome centers as we entered a different state to get a road map. I love looking at these maps because you can see the bigger picture so much better than you can on your phone. We found, however, that a lot of rest areas were not providing these maps. No maps for Utah and Idaho, and only got Montana in Custer, South Dakota.

We hit the jackpot in Oregon, just after we left Boise, Idaho. There was a very nice welcome center and an equally nice woman working in it. We chatted after I asked her for a map and because we were heading towards the track championships, she offered free t-shirts, pins, and stickers all related to the meet and Oregon track in general. For those that may not know, Eugene and Hayward Field are considered track heaven.

We decided that Iowa definitely has the best rest areas. Most in other states were not well kept. Some even had porta-potties outside. Actually, one of the gas stations we stopped at had them too, probably because there weren’t many stops along this road and there was high demand for the restrooms!!

How I Spent My Summer Vacation
While the rest area may not be great, you can’t fault the view!!

I kept track of gas prices as we filled up – 17 times in total. The most we paid was $5.59 in Cottage Grove, Oregon. The lowest amount was $4.19 in Mitchell, South Dakota. We definitely noticed a trend, however, as prices were generally dropping as we headed home. And did you know there are no self-service gas stations in Oregon? It’s illegal.

Fun Facts

You notice and learn about things when driving that you never see when flying. For example, we crossed the Continental Divide three times – twice going out, and once coming back. I’ve always heard about it, but I don’t think I ever truly understood what it meant. Do you?

Here’s a picture. Basically, it separates the watersheds of the Pacific Ocean from those of the Atlantic Ocean. And did you know there is more than one?

from www.theadventurecompany.com

We hit the highest elevation on all of I80 (8,340 ft) just east of Laramie, Wyoming.

Twice from Boise to Eugene, we crossed the 45th parallel, which is the halfway point between the equator and the North Pole. This is considered interesting because, during the summer, the sun is visible about 16 hours a day, while it’s about half that in the winter. Do you find that interesting???

Across the street from our hotel in Cottage Grove, Oregon, there’s a restaurant called Vintage Inn. We ate there our first night. As I sat there, facing the counter and the window into the kitchen, I thought it looked very familiar. I started looking around some more and even checked out both sides. As we were leaving, I asked our waitress if this restaurant had been something else before Vintage Inn. She said yes, it used to be a Country Kitchen. How funny because I worked in a Country Kitchen for two summers during college!! I knew it was familiar. (Too bad I didn’t take any pictures.)

Next time

In Part 2, I’ll cover more about the track meet and other sites along our journey, as well as our three-day stay with my cousin and his wife in Sequim, Washington. Hope you enjoy hearing about our trip. And who knows, maybe there will have to be a Part 3!!

24 Comments

  • Retirement Coffee Shop

    Looks like a great road trip! RV living is something we haven’t tried but find interesting. I made a few trips when I was a youngster in a cab over camper with my family and a couple of small trips in a small motorhome my father had for a few years.

  • Christie Hawkes

    It sounds like a lovely road trip, LInda. I’m sorry you didn’t have a chance to enjoy more of my lovely state (Utah) and that we didn’t offer a great rest stop. I am happy to see that the beautiful red rock earned a spot in the blog, though. If you ever want to spend more time in Utah, please let me know. There is a lot to see and do. I’m looking forward to Part 2 of your summer vacation report!

    • Retired Introvert

      Thanks Christie. I would love to spend more time in Utah and I think we might someday. There’s so much more for us to see and driving trips seem to be working for us. It’s the best way to actually see the country.

        • Retired Introvert

          I’ve always wondered if you could rent a motorhome. It would make traveling more comfortable. My cousin has one and they travel for two months at a time, only driving about 4 or 5 hours a day and then camping somewhere. I think I would like that. But they also haul a little car with them. Sometimes the thought of all that exhausts me!!

  • Patricia Doyle

    Fun! One of my “possibiities” is to drive cross country… I’ve never done it. I don’t ususally stop at welcome centers as we got so familiar with the Ohio-Florida drive, but now I’ll remember if I do that cross-country trip. I also did not reaize there were more continental divides! Great map you included.

    • Retired Introvert

      We probably won’t make those stops on our drive to Florida next winter either, but it’s fun to do when we get into a new state. I just have to figure out what to do with all the maps I now have!!

  • Leanne | www.crestingthehill.com.au

    Wow! That was a lot of miles in two weeks! You certainly covered a lot of territory. The full-service petrol stations were interesting because I can’t remember the last time I had a cute young guy fill my tank and check my oil (I think I was about 17 and he was VERY cute!) Also funny that you had your blast from the past with that restaurant – our memories are amazing aren’t they?

    • Retired Introvert

      It’s good to get out and about and learn about all these things. And create new memories along the way. Thanks Leanne.

  • Marty

    Sounds like a really great trip. I love road trips and would go on 3-5 every year if I could. My wife isn’t so fond of them, though. So we have to negotiate the distance, number of hours per day, etc. We briefly lived in Oregon prior to my taking retirement, and I loved it there. Eugene I got to visit twice on work trips. The continental divide is one of those geography subjects that I used to zone out on in science class. Your chart helps, though. 🙂

    • Retired Introvert

      It was a great trip but I was ready to come home. Mostly because I get tired of living out of a suitcase and having to pack up again every day.
      We loved Oregon and hope to go back someday.

  • suzanne

    We love road trips too. So many interesting, quirky, fun things to see and do along the way. I did not know that there was more than one Continental Divide. Thanks for the geography lesson on that. I think it’s illegal to pump your own gas in New Jersey also. I remember thinking how odd. It must make the price of gas even higher to have to pay people to pump it. Looking forward to the next installment.

    • Retired Introvert

      Thanks, Suzanne. Maybe that explains why our highest gas price was in Oregon.
      We didn’t have much time to stop on our way west but we did stop more coming home. It’s nice to be able to really see new parts of the country. I love new experiences!!

  • Janis @ RetirementallyChallenged.com

    I love road trips and this sounds like a great one. I’m sorry you didn’t get a chance to spend more time in Utah – it has several fabulous national parks and the red rock formations are amazing. My husband and I discovered the benefits of stopping at welcome centers too. They are usually staffed by friendly, informative people and, often, have treats to hand out.

    I’m looking forward to your other installments!

    • Retired Introvert

      Thanks, Janis. I hope we do get a chance to get back to Utah, as we barely scratched the surface. What we did see was beautiful!!

    • Sheila

      Just a clarification about self-serve in Oregon. In the more rural areas, like all of eastern Oregon, you can pump your own gas. We drive from Boise to western Oregon at least once a year, and we’ve never stopped at the welcome center. Going to have to check it out next time.

      • Retired Introvert

        Oh yes, definitely check it out. That place is full of brochures and maps. And you might get a free Track Town t-shirt!!

  • Lynne Wright

    Just so you are informed, we don’t have self service gas stations in Oregon to provide a huge amount of jobs for the state. Especially in small rural areas this has always been a way for young folks and more unskilled citizens a job. I love it since we have a lot of rain, and the station staff are grateful to have a job.

    • Retired Introvert

      We didn’t dislike it; it was just a surprise!! And we had nice young men filling our tanks and one even washed our windows. It was like the old days when all stations were full service!!

      • Trudy Huisman

        I had no idea there were places that still had full service gas stations! I miss them. I need to plan a road trip. Haven’t taken any since my divorce 6 years ago. My ex and I went on some great ones, especially when we rode our trike (3 wheeled motorcycle).

        Looking forward to hearing more about your trip!

        • Retired Introvert

          It was a surprise for us as well. But it was kind of nice.
          We survived this road trip so I expect we’re OK to do more!! It’s definitely the way to see the USA!!