The Pixar movie “Cars” was written as a way John Lasseter could revisit his memories of family road trips. A tip of the hat to some of the American towns that had grown with the rise of the automobile and were now in decline, if not gone.
Trasler road trips are not like that. Most of the time, they’re just the most cost-effective way to get to a holiday destination. We want them to be PART of the holiday, but Mrs Dim has to fight against my ingrained “Don’t leave the highway for anything but fuel” instincts, and the reticence of the kids, who find being penned up in a small space with nothing but a phone screen for comfort to be perfectly acceptable.
We went to Disneyland in 2017:
Mrs Dim’s goal that year was to drink coffee on Main Street (pictured) and wear her tiara (not pictured, but it happened). This year I have goals, centered around the Galaxy’s Edge attraction, naturally, but we were also intending to make the journey down more fun than simply blasting down the I-5 and staying in anonymous motels along the way. We were going to take the Oregon Coast road.
The total route would be just over two thousand kilometers. In miles, that’s somewhere between “more than ten” and “less than a million”. Friends advised against the Coast Road because the constant back and forth, as well as the rise and fall of the road often makes passengers motion sick, and the driver doesn’t get to enjoy the view, having to cling to the wheel and actually DRIVE (instead of engaging cruise control and thinking about building a pedal-powered landspeeder, for example…)
Mrs Dim and I discussed it, and eventually I saw her point of view. And it really was a good idea. We’ve taken three days to get here, but the contrast between those first two days, driving down an admittedly winding but beautiful coast, and the last day of nothing but highway (except for the last bit in LA, which included lunacy, road rage and a terrifying lack of observance of road rules…) was incredible.
We headed out from Albany to the coast on day one. With three of us able to drive, we took shifts, enabling all of us to nap, sightsee or drive, depending on where we were in the car.
I didn’t take any pictures en route that first day, but we arrived at Newport by 9.30pm. Although it was almost dark, we could hear the hooting and roaring of sea lions from the harbour. I crashed out, but Mrs Dim and the Weasels walked down to the beach, and figured out a route to the harbour for the morning.
In the daylight, the beach was impressive, but not as impressive as the smell of the horde of sea lions on their floats in the harbour. There were even some out on the island.
One of the closed attractions was this “Undersea gardens”. I have only the vaguest idea of what it used to be, but I know that young me would have loved it. Also, the octopus is not real. Probably.
We set out after a moderate breakfast (you pick a cheap motel, you get toast or yoghurt and you LIKE IT!)
We made good time, but luckily, Laurel was driving when we saw a sign advertising some kind of dinosaur experience. She had pulled over before most of us had finished reading the sign. Laurel likes dinosaurs.
They weren’t all big and scary though:
(This is a joke. It’s a chipmunk. A real one. Not a dinosaur.)
We dawdled, spent too much in the gift shop, and then made it to the next stop in time for lunch at Griff’s on the bay. (At Winchester Bay, which is funny if you know the Griff I’m thinking of.)
The view from the table was probably a metaphor for something.
Laurel pulled the last driving shift of the day, and really earned her stripes. She drove through insanely twisty roads, up and down through dark forest. She was amazing, spotting the roadside deer from a long way off, and slowing so none of them dashed out in front of the car. We DID scare up a bear, but Laurel was quick enough to avoid hitting him.
Our second motel was just like the first, even down to the room number. Better yet, there was a cafe just around the corner. No toast and yoghurt for the start of Day 3!
In fact, it was a REALLY big breakfast for everyone.
But this was the back to the highway day.
Believe it or not, two of those photos include an aerobatic display that was going on in the distance. Don’t worry if you can’t see it, I may have been hallucinating by that time!
We rolled into LA almost twelve hours after setting out, having stopped only for fuel and bathroom breaks. We were sick of snacks, done with our audio books, and terrified of LA drivers. Luckily for us, Mrs Dim had outdone herself with the room she booked.
I wasn’t enthusiastic about the walk that Mrs Dim suggested, but we stepped outside the hotel and the Disneyland fireworks show kicked off. We had a fantastic view, but I had left my phone in the room, so you so don’t get to see it!
Tomorrow is our first day in the park, but it’s also Columbus Day, I think, so it may be busy. We’re just going to stroll around, get Mrs Dim her cocktail and seat on Main Street (she already has her tiara ready) and I’m going to research booking my “Build a lightsabre” and “Fly the Millennium Falcon” goals.
Hope your week is as much fun!