But when they changed their plans time and time again, the dates became confused, the periods were mislaid, and one day seemed so much like another that one could not feel them pass. Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude
Where does the time go? Is it that time already? How time flies. In the blink of an eye … We found ourselves saying these things again and that can only mean one thing. It is time to shake things up and do whatever it takes to renew our appreciation of time. We needed to break out of our routine to remind ourselves that who we spend our time with, and the quality of that time matters so much more than how much we accomplish.
For our family, traveling is our shortcut to a fresh perspective. Whether it is for an afternoon or for a month, the next town, next state or next hemisphere, it works every time! This spring break, we stayed relatively close to home due to school projects, homework and only a week to get somewhere and back! The last time we went on a trip it lasted over five years so this “week-long” thing felt like a challenge. We mapped a 730-mile loop that started at our doorstep in Bellingham, Washington.
First Stop: Portland
When we drove across the USA in 2015 along the Oregon Trail from Provincetown, Cape Cod to Baker City, Oregon we celebrated “arriving” by spending some time in Portland. That was the trip we discovered Pine State Biscuits on Alberta Street. The kids were so excited to return for “biscuit happy hour” and it did not disappoint. In 2015, I wrote, “Portland has become an adjective, “That is so Portland! This is so Portland!” Perhaps that is the moment when a city shifts from being a place to become a part of us.”
Second Stop: Neskowin
Where, you ask? You may not have heard of Neskowin, but it is the perfect seaside town because many people don’t know it exists. It has a population of 170 residents, and it is only 90 miles from Portland. The beach is protected and sweeping all in one breath. We only know about this charming coastal village because my sister brought me as a gift, to celebrate my completion of graduate school, way back when. This time, we returned again because of her beautiful Airbnb. After bonfires and smores on the beach one night we awoke to gray whales frolicking in the bay. They stayed all day to make sure every beachcomber noticed their procession. This time of year, nearly 18,000 gray whales migrate North back to Alaska and their presence left an indelible impression on all of us.
Third Stop: Manzanita/Cannon Beach
Lunch at Marzano’s Pizza Pie in Manzanita, Oregon is now a family tradition. We have been twice but apparently, that is all it takes for us to commit for life. We ate early so we could save room for one of our favorite restaurants we have ever had the pleasure of dining, The Irish Table in Cannon Beach, Oregon. As I wrote in 2015, this stretch of coastline welcomed us home, “As the trees grew bigger and the sky became smaller, I felt like I was ringed in a familiar cocoon. The smell of damp cedars accented by the promise of dripping blackberries overwhelmed my senses. As we descended toward the Pacific Ocean, the coastal fog appeared to be preserving the evergreen hue of the landscape with its quiet strength.”
Fourth Stop: Cape Disappointment State Park and Astoria
When Lewis and Clark can be included on a road trip, we do our best to make it happen. We were very “disappointed” to find the Cape Disappointment State Park closed and so we settled for coffee in Astoria. We remembered what we learned from the Corps of Discovery during our 6,000-mile road trip in 2015, “The gift Lewis and Clark gave us over 200 years later is the excitement inherent in the possibility of expansion.”
5th Stop: Grandma and Grandpa’s and Home
With possibility flowing freely again, new dreams started to come into our experience as we drove to Grandma and Grandpa’s house to catch dinner. The fact that we could stop by their house on our way “home,” after spending a week at my sister’s place, truly captured the essence of a new and yet familiar adventure. We had a “home” for which to return, and that alone is strange and exciting.
In coming home, the expanse of time we were searching for washed over us. We will see how long it lasts but we know what to do when time feels like it is slipping through the hourglass once again.
As John Steinbeck said, “People don’t take trips, trips take people.”