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The Oregon Coast

    Our 2-years-in-the-making road trip has officially begun.

    We spent all last week tying up the many loose ends at home. We did doctor appointments, last minute shopping, I had lunch with my sisters (and cried when we said goodbye), my mother-in-law came over one day to make slipcovers for the bench seats in the trailer (a full tour is still to come!), we packed and sorted and cleaned.

    Friday was the kids’ last day of school. As I mentioned in this post, we were so pleasantly surprised at how supportive our school district was in helping us make this trip possible. We filled out the forms and brought teacher gifts, hugged classmates and teachers and that was that.

    Later that afternoon, the neighborhood friends threw the kids a bon voyage party which went well into our last evening at home.

    Our parents stopped by, too, then Ryan’s brother and sister-in-law, then one of our good friends. All the while, Audrey was seriously in pain from an earache and up until 2am. Earlier in the day I had taken her to the doctor to get her ear checked (not an ear infection), and we hoped it would just go away (P.S. It didn’t. We’re currently on day 4 and her ear is still sore. She’s been surviving on a steady mix of tylenol and ibuprofen which is working its magic. Poor thing has been in pain and pushing through it like the brave girl she is. We’re thinking it’s just about healed up but your prayers are always appreciated!).

    Needless to say, all the packing and prepping I had planned to do that day didn’t really go as planned.

    Saturday April 30th was our official leave day!


    We spent the morning packing, loading up the car and trailer, making sure we had everything we needed, took a few photos, hopped in the car and off we went!


    From Seattle, we drove south to Oregon, stopping for dinner in Astoria. We ate at a fun restaurant with a glass floor where you can see Sea Lions on the docks below. We didn’t see any, but while using the restroom, they were barking loudly under us! The kids found that to be very entertaining.

    We finished the drive and spent our first night in Cannon Beach, Oregon. My family used to vacation in Cannon Beach when I was growing up, but it was the first time for our kiddos and we loved every second of our stay.


    We enjoyed fancy coffees and the best morning muffins from Sleep Monk, then took a walk down to the beach.


    Haystack Rock is always so impressive – especially on this most gorgeous of all May Days.


    Later that afternoon, we changed into swim suits and played hard at the beach. Our kids swim in the Pacific Ocean all the time at home, but our beaches are much rockier, with barnacles and usually we are in places without a real surf. Watching my babies enjoy the ‘real’ beach -playing in the waves, exploring the tidepools, laying in the warm sand – it reminded me on day 1 that this is why we are doing this trip: to open our eyes and experience the diverse beauty of our country.


    We’re starting a few traditions on the trip. One of them is to take a sunset photo everyday. I’m posting them all on instagram with the hastag #107sunsets and I can’t wait to see the whole collection at the end of our adventure.


    On Day 3, we drove from Cannon Beach south along the 101 with the most magnificient views of the ocean right outside our window. We stopped at a little viewing point and took it all in. While standing there, two whales swam by below! In all my years as a Pacific Northwest girl, I have only seen Orcas in the Puget Sound (that just happened this fall), and the vague shadow and blowing sounds late at night at our friends’ beach house on Whidbey Island. This was my first time seeing a whale out in the open waters and it just made my day.


    We stopped by the Tillamook Cheese factory (not really worth it, but the icecream was amazing), then continued down the coast to Florence.


    Yesterday we explored the sand dunes along the coast. We went on a half-hour dune buggy thrill ride (so much fun) then later ran down hill after hill of soft sand.


    The rain held off for us so we ventured out to Heceta Head Lighthouse. The lighthouse is built up on a cliff that you can walk up to through a pretty tree-lined trail. Down below is a big open beach with caves and rocks for climbing and jumping off of.

    The ocean is just so beautiful. Even on a foggy, overcast day. I know we have so many other places to visit and each one will awe us with it’s unique beauty, but goodness the Oregon coast sure is wonderful.

    The Heceta Head Lighthouse was a really great stop, too. We made it just in time for a quick tour where we learned a little bit of the history of this old lighthouse. It was built in 1892, and renovated just recently to restore it back to it’s original form.


    I have a thing for lighthouses and was excited to see this one and another on the Atlantic later this summer. #fromseatoshiningsea

    After four days of this adventure, we can say that things haven’t gone perfectly (broken valve in the toilet! child up all night with an earache!) but we’re just so grateful for this opportunity. We’re figuring out how to live in a trailer, how to hitch and un-hitch, how to best organize our stuff, how to cook in tight quarters, how to get just enough work time in … and so far, it’s so worth it. We’re together as a family, doing and seeing cool, fun things, taking it all in one sight at a time.

    Next Up: we’re headed into California to visit the Redwood Forest, San Francisco, L.A. and San Diego.

    You can follow along with the day-to-day on instagram (@jonesdesigncompany).


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    62 thoughts on “The Oregon Coast”

    1. What a great trip for your family. Our trip several years ago, included the same destinations. On our trip to Oregon, we included Crater Lake, which is also breathtaking, and also the Wildlife Safari in Winston. The drive-through Safari was SO worth going to. Our kids loved it, but so did we!

      1. We are an English family driving from Seattle to San Francisco in7 days. I am really stressing about campsites – can you confirm which sites you stayed on please and which ones you rated best?!? We are travelling all the way down the 101.

        We are going in 3 weeks and haven’t booked anything yet!!!

          1. We are traveling to Oregon from Louisiana in a couple of weeks. Did you do the dune buggies in Florence? We would love a recommendation on where to stop and let our kids do the buggies!
            Thank you!

            1. We did and it was so fun! I don’t remember what dune buggy rental place we went to, but it was one where our whole family could ride together. We loved it!

      2. the oregon coast is THE best! love the sunset photo idea! one thing we do on our road trips is to send a post card back to us with the date, who we were with and/or a funny story or what we were doing there. it’s fun to get them back & makes a great souvenir!

        1. hi emily & co.
          great trip…we live in la jolla, california. hope you have us on your “list” my husband and i travel
          to the san juans and have gone road tripping coast to coast many times. there is nothing likeseeing the united states! we had a motorhome but i have always wanted a airstream! keep making your
          lifetime memories!!!

      3. What a trip! And it is so fun to follow along! We have dreams of doing this with our family some day so this will be a great resource. Can’t wait to see the rest!

        *Sorry to hear about A’s ear. That is no fun for you or her. A simple idea for you…If you dip a peeled unnicked garlic clove in olive oil and put it in her ear, then cover with a warm rice sock (just rice in a sock, heated in the microwave), it may help with pain and fight whatever is going on since garlic is a natural antibiotic. Hope she’s better soon!

        1. I was going to suggest the same thing. The olive oil and garlic method works really well for quick, permanent relief! We haven’t used the warm rice bag for the ear, but I’ll keep that in mind to bring a little extra relief. Hope Audrey’s feeling all better soon!

          1. Just to clarify, I usually place the (gently smashed) garlic clove in a small bowl of olive oil and warm it up (microwave/stove). Then I drop a couple of drops in the ear. Instant relief:)

      4. So amazing! I am really excited to follow your journey! Best of luck and God Bless you every step of the way.

      5. Wow, what an experience for your family! Wonderful! I love your photos and look forward to following along on your journey. Thanks for sharing your trip with us.

      6. Oh how I wish we had done this with our kids! As I write this, my husband is driving from LA to NY, helping our son move back home. I’m pea green with jealousy that I’m not on that adventure. Enjoy every minute — I’ll be watching!

        1. Thank you, Vicki! We keep thinking the same thing … that we’re so thankful we are taking the opportunity now to do this together. Time flies!

      7. Stunning photos ! Hope someday we can make it to the west coast ! Hope your daughter feels better soon.

      8. I am so excited for your family and I know I’m going to love following along on this journey with y’all! I am a NC girl, but I attended a work event in Portland a couple of summers ago and after the work week, I took a short trip around the Columbia River Gorge and then over to the Oregon coast. I stayed in Astoria, stopped at Cannon Beach and the Haystack Rock, and toured the Tillamook Cheese Factory too! :) And last summer, my husband and I visited the Humboldt State Park and saw the California Redwoods. :) Thank you for taking us along on this journey! (Also, just wait til your kids get to play in the Atlantic Ocean. Talk about the REAL beach!)

      9. Oh, this post is bringing so many memories of our Oregon trip last summer! My parents drive from Fresno to Florence and live in their camper and give tours at the lighthouse…it’s beautiful!!! Have fun in California!

      10. I’m happy to tag along!

        Re: earache, I’ve read that putting a drop or two of tea tree oil (it’s a natural antibiotic ~ make sure it’s pure oil) on a cotton ball and putting it in your ear helps. I’m just getting over an inner ear infection, hadn’t had one for years! I’m sorry for your little sweetheart’s pain ~ they really hurt. Anyway, google that idea if you’d like. Our tjmaxx has been carrying tea tree oil lately, and that’s an easy to find store.

      11. This is such a timely blog for me. My son is moving out to Astoria and I am gleaning all of the information for him. Thank you for the beautiful pictures…makes me feel comforted knowing a little bit more about the Oregon Coast.

      12. I love that you are posting about your trip! This sounds like the vacation of a lifetime and I look forward to your insta posts every day. I’ve got my husband checking in as well! Thank you for sharing it with your followers. You have a beautiful family. Safe travels :)

      13. I’m not sure if I have ever commented on your blog before, but I already love following along your trip! :) I have a thing for lighthouses too. ;) Praying your sweet little girl will feel better.

      14. This is so inspiring. I have followed you and so happy to keep following you! You are doing what I hope to do soonish! Can you tell me if your kids were in public or private school that supported your choice? And do tell the name of that restaurant with the sea lions! My boys would love it.
        Wander on…..

        1. The kids go to public school.

          The restaurant is called Buoy Beer in Astoria, Or. The atmosphere was great, food was good and service was slow, but we weren’t in a hurry.

      15. Emily! You guys are living the dream! We have a little 23 foot Airstream and we are pulling out later this summer – someday we’ll figure out how to do a longer version like you are but in the meantime I am loving living vicariously through your posts! I can’t wait for your adventures to unfold! All the best!


      16. So exciting! Can’t wait to see you adventure unfold! I live just south of San Fran so I’m really excited to see what you do there! I hope that you will continue your drive down through Monterey and Big Sur. I was just there last weekend and Big Sur is just breathtaking with plenty of beachy areas for the kids to explore! My favorite beach is near Rocky Point! If you can snag a camping spot at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park, you’ll find creeks and rivers for the kids to explore, even a waterfall, all right at the coast! (google McWay Falls) Santa Barbara should be your next stop on the way to San Diego. You can rent a surrey and drive along the coastal path as a family. There’s also sailing and a cute little oceanic museum there. Maybe you’ll even have time to drive through Solvang, a cute little dutch town near Central Coast wineries. Oh, and I just read that San Diego’s Donut Bar was rated best donuts in Cali, if not the country! How can you pass that up?! Prayers for safe travel and for Audrey girl’s ear!

      17. Hi Emily,

        I feel for Audrey… My kids are prone to earaches and our pediatrician told us about Mullein Garlic ear drops. They work so well..usually overnight and you can find them at any Whole Foods..just thought I would mention in case it could help. Your trip sounds wonderful so fat!

      18. I live in Vacaville, California. It’s about 1.5 hours to San Francisco along i80. Near uc Davis (college), the nut tree (historic shopping plaza) and not far from Napa. It’s a great family place to hang out if you come this way, I live in the country and its beautiful but in town is lovely too. . Hot air balloon rides are fun and they occasionally float over my house. The Fathers House church is amazing (if you come thru on a Sunday). Journey coffee makes a wonderful lavender latte. Feel free to email if you have questions or want to meet a local lol. :)

        1. Piling on Rachel’s post — visit the whaling museum at Point Lobos just south of Carmel and walk the trails there to see the tide pools, sea otters, birds, and other wonderful creatures.

        2. If it’s not too late to chime in…if you can detour east of SF to Sacramento…some amazing stuff to see here…the California State Railroad Museum, the American and Sacramento Rivers, the capital building, etc. Just a suggestion.

      19. The Oregon Coast is one of our favorite family vacations! If you have a chance to stop (maybe on the way back) at Fort Stevens State Park (near Astoria), there is a beautiful beach with a shipwreck that’s fun to explore, and the views from the South Jetty are incredible! One of the prettiest places I’ve ever been. :) (There’s also a KOA across the street from the State Park if you’re looking for a place to plant that trailer) Enjoy!

      20. I don’t know if you will make it by Sonoma, but the Vella Cheese Factory in downtown Sonoma is definitely worth the time. And Sebastiani winery is nearby.
        I’m enjoying all of your pics on Instagram!

      21. I can’t wait to read what y’all think of the Gulf Coast. The difference (in water temp alone!) is so drastic!

      22. That’s great to hear!
        About your daughters earache/infection. Go to a health food store and buy liquid collodial silver. Put 2 drops in the affected ear, lay on unaffected side for at least 5 min. Do only once a day until it’s better.
        My daughter had terrible ear infection x 1 week, took antibiotics x 10 days, then at the end of the medication, ear ache back! My massage therapist recommended this to me and this is the only ear medication we use for ear aches and infections! Hope this helps!

      23. I’m loving all the beautiful scenic pictures you are sharing with us! Thank you sooo much! Couldn’t help but notice the “child up all night with an earache”. Oregano essential oil is something you can use to take it away. I just dip a Q-tip in extra virgin olive oil, then drop one drop of oregano onto it. Then very gently put in ear & twirl it around gently. You can also gently tug on the earlobe & so a massage down from the ear to just above the collar bones. Do this 2 times a day till its gone. Takes it away every time.

      24. I grew up in North Bend/Coos Bay (remember that big green bridge you went over on Highway 101?)! I love that you are enjoying the beautiful Oregon Coast! I now live in California on the east side of SF Bay – you are going to LOVE the redwoods! Such an amazing thing you are doing – providing so much adventure for your kids. You are BRAVE!

      25. So beautiful! I’m definitely stalking your trip and taking lots of notes because we are hoping to do this with the kids next year! I’m in OC if you need any tips for So Cal. Although, I know you’ve probably got it pretty well planned already. ;)


        1. We are missing a lot of southern california – mostly because we’ve seen a lot of it (ryan and I met at college in southern ca!) and because we can do the west coast fairly easily another time. SO we’re definitely rushing through and just touching on a few places we’ve been wanting to take the kids to. Hopefully we’ll do another california trip and spend more time in each place.

      26. I always enjoy your posts but I’m especially excited to hear about the adventure you are on. What great memories you are creating that will last a lifetime for you and your children. Enjoy. I hope Audrey’s ear is better real soon.

      27. God bless your precious family. May He keep you safe and comfortable as you experience the wonders God has created. Thank you for sharing. You are a joy!

      28. Hey, while in California if you travel through Bakersfield on I5 or Highway 99, be sure to wave as you pass through! We have great Basque food here if you get hungry. Travel safely.

      29. What a great experience for your family. We love Tenzi too (mentioned in your email). Another game that would be good on the road is Color Sticks. Check it out if you don’t have it. Bought mine at Target a while ago. We also love QBitz and Qwirkle, but not as compact as Tenzi or Color Sticks (Mindware games are the best!)

      30. I’m so happy for you & your family to have this experience. What a huge once in a life time blessing & opportunity to cement some great memories together as a family. I’ve loved the updates. Safe travels!

      31. This is so exciting! I’m taking notes for the road trip I’m planning to have happen in 5 years (roughly)! Happy Adventuring!

      32. I think that yours was the first blog that I started to follow…..years ago. My daughter lives in San Francisco (she just moved there 5 weeks ago from Santa Monica) and we live in Newport Beach (between LA and San Diego). Will be watching your travels as you make your way down the California Coast. If you need anything while in Southern California, let us know!!

        Wonderful Beaches in Southern California……the Wedge, Big Corona, Crystal Cove, El Moro

      33. You are probably almost, or in SF today, but as a native San Franciscan, living blocks from Mission Dolores (lucky enough to be our parish church) and right on Dolores Park….have a great time and stop by and see the Mission Murals- my boys would be happy to give you a tour (11 & 5).

      34. What a fantastic trip!!! The trip of a life-time. So happy you all can do this. Talk to people along the way and hopefully some will tell you to stop here or there – places you never might find by yourself!!! Enjoy and keep sending us lots of photos. This was a great post.

      35. This is amazing!! It’s making me realize how much of the US I haven’t seen.Following on Instagram and loving all of the pics! What an incredible experience for your entire family!!

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