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Pack a bag and take a road trip. Wendy shares tips to make it a fun.

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Summer not only signals beach trips, staying up late, sleepovers and s’mores, but for our family, it means we will soon take our annual road trip to Oregon.  The Pacific Northwest has always been special to me, I spent my childhood summers visiting my grandparents in Bend, Oregon and exploring all that region had to offer.  Luckily, I met and married a man that also shared the same connection to Oregon, so spending extended time each summer with our own family has been a natural fit. Our kids have become accustom to road trips to Oregon, they have all made their maiden voyage as infants.

 

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A peaceful road trip begins with a little pre-planning to make it fun along the way.  I like to stock the car with snacks, at least one new movie, activities and an interactive game for the whole family.  To travel to Oregon, we split the trip up into two days to minimize the amount of time spent in the car and to have plenty time for a few long stops to get the wiggles out.  I like to pack a soft cooler stocked with small bottled waters, dried fruit, hard boiled eggs, nuts, string cheese, a health bar (Kids Cliff), yogurt covered pretzels and such.

 

I always enjoyed games in the car with my parents when we drove to Oregon like the license plate game and trying to get truckers to honk their horns.  This year I found a free printable from Pinterest that would be easy enough for my 5 year old yet still fun for the 7 and 9 year olds.  We played road sign bingo on day two, such fun!  Any kind of game is fun and breaks up the same ole song on the radio and gets the kids away from a movie or asking “are we there yet?”

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We usually take the quickest route to Oregon, the 5 freeway to the Oregon border and beyond. My husband and I like to talk to the kids about the types of crops that grow in California’s Central Valley, what they look like and how it gets harvested.  Typical crops along the freeway are almond and pistachio trees, corn, tomatoes, garlic and believe it or not, grapes.  Farmers are special to us; my father-in-law (a retired business man) and mother-in-law (a retired AP High School English teacher) became part-time organic hazelnut famers 30 years ago and now tend the orchards full-time now that they are retired.

 

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We also like to find unusual farm equipment being transported or strange looking things for make-believe stories, some may see a power line, but we see crazy Transformer guys coming to get the cars on the freeway, look out!

 

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We have video monitors in the head rests, having such a feature was something important to us when purchasing a new car a few years ago.   On a road trip, its inevitable that a movie will happen at least once on a two day road trip.  There is usually an animated movie or two that has a summer release, this year we added the Lego Movie to our kids DVD collection, fun for the both boys and girls.

 

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Our favorite road trip detour is Lithia Park in Ashland, Oregon.  We stop on day two of our trip each year to eat lunch and play at park.  Ashland is a gorgeous town located in Southern Oregon and is home to the famed Shakespeare Festival that takes place each summer.  Lithia Park is located in the city center and features a tree lined walking path, plenty of grass to play Frisbee, picnic tables scattered throughout, the prettiest creek for the kids to roll up their pants and get their toes wet, and an expansive play area for kids to climb, swing, explore and slide.  We feel that Ashland is a must see when traveling through Oregon!  Note that pets of any kind are not permitted in the park.

 

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Making a road trip has just a few key components, make it fun and plan a few stops along the way for the kids (and the grown ups) to stretch and wiggle before tackling a few more hours until you reach your destination.  So, pack a bag and plan a road trip.  Happy travels and start making memories!

 

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