Bill & Family’s Excellent Adventure

FAMVAC1_1Day 1: Cram the compact car (Scion “It’s Hip to Be Square” xB) with suitcases, and stuff to keep the kids occupied. Outfit car w/special hanging stuff holders for each kid. Electronics ready to go.

For all grown ups who think… “When I was a kid, we didn’t have dvd players and we had to make our own fun..” I would like to respectfully point out that when you were a kid, you didn’t wear seat belts.  You got to move around the back of the car, burn off energy, goof off in the back of the station wagon, lay down and sleep.  Kids today are locked into place for hours on end in the car. The NEED SOMETHING to keep them from going loony.  Let’s belt you into a seat for four hours and see how you do.

Day 1: continued… drive 2.5 hours to Medford, OR.  Eat at Kaleidoscope… great pizza! I had sausage and pepperoni (avoiding the crust to be lo-carb), kids had pepperoni, Margi had (and loved) the Roxy Ann Pizza (chicken, portabello mushroom, roasted garlic, artichokes, sun dried tomatoes, mozzarella, and marinara… “Yummo!” she said).

Next, play at Rogue Family Fun Center… climbing structure, kid-sized go carts, arcade, bumper boats, and mini-golf. This worked great for us, as it broke the 4.5 hour drive into 2 manageable chunks, and let the kids burn off energy.  IT WAS HOT, triple digits. But we’re used to that…

FAMVAC1I have to say I LOVE MY iPHONE!

  • The maps feature is amazing.  I pre-programmed all our stops (bookmarked) into google maps.  Whenever we wanted to go somewhere, the GPS found our location, and plotted a map to our next destination.
  • PLUS… I found an adaptor that made my iPhone work as an iPod with my car-radio. That meant I could play my own music and podcasts thru the car stereo.
    • Margi and I fell in love with the STUFF YOU SHOULD KNOW podcast from  So entertaining, informative, funny… We probably listened to 50 podcasts on the journey… everything from Alien Hand Syndrome to Habeas Corpus. The kids had their own videos, books, workbooks, and Nintendo-DS’s to keep them going.
  • I also came to love YELP (free)… it helps you find local restaurants and coffee shops, complete with ratings.
  • AROUND ME, is another free app to quickly find places on your iPhone.

Day 1: continued… back into the car… Drive 2 hours north to Eugene, OR. We checked into the Holiday Inn Express. We both liked this hotel.  Clean and spacious rooms. Went swimming. Had dinner, but I forget where.  Margi reminded me… we tried Outback (my daughter’s fav), but couldn’t get in. We went to an okay steak place nearby, but forgot the name.  Then… off the the Lane Ice Skating Arena, where our kids strapped on skates for the first time.

THEY WERE AMAZING!  Our daughter was instantly hooked… The place was almost empty… maybe 8 people on the ice. A very nice kid named Alex (13 years old, and a FANTASTIC skater) helped them out, and gave our son a real hockey puck!!! By the end of the night, the only person on the big ice-arena was our daughter.  She wouldn’t quit (she got her mom’s stubbornness tenacity).

FAMVAC1_2Margi was also amazing on the ice, but wouldn’t let me take pictures… Then off for GELATO, at a great place called Lago Blu Gelato.  One chocolate, one vanilla (kids), one dark chocolate hazelnut for Margi.  I was still, at this point, being lo-carb, so nothing for me.  The Gelato was wonderful… and back to the hotel where we put four very tired people to bed.

Next morning… I found some of the best coffee in my whole life at a little coffee shop near the university.  It’s called Espresso Roma.  Great, full, rich dark roast coffee. Yeah. Excellent, hip place.

More tomorrow…