Like many, I am not comfortable flying anywhere right now, so a road trip is pretty much the only way to get away from home while still adhering to Covid-related social distancing recommendations. And although Michael and I have enjoyed a couple of fabulous camping trips this summer, my dad (who retired at the end of January) hasn't been able to go anywhere since before California first went on lockdown nearly six months ago. So when I officially lost my job in July - a job which had always prevented me from being able to travel during the summer months - the three of us decided to plan a trip. We borrowed a 25-foot RV from one of my dad's brothers and set out on a 10-day road trip up to Northern Idaho where another of my dad's brothers has a lakeside cabin. The record-breaking heat and poor air quality (due to raging wildfires spanning the length of California) on our way home aside, it was a great trip. What follows is a photo journal of our trip.
Note: In planning this trip we happened upon the website for Harvest Hosts, an awesome site that allows members to park their RVs at participating wineries, breweries, farms, museums, and golf courses. We basically planned our northbound route around available Harvest Host locations and, as a result, found several smaller wineries we never would have otherwise come across. Check out the Harvest Hosts website for more details and use my referral code to get 15% off the annual membership fee.
Day 1: San Pedro to Manton, California
We left San Pedro before dawn and headed up Interstate 5. Nearly 9 hours later we reached our first destination, Indian Peak Vineyards, located in Manton, California, just outside of Redding and near the Lassen Volcanic National Park. It was HOT HOT HOT when we arrived, but we were able to enjoy some of their red wines followed by Golden Hour by the vineyard.
Day 2: Manton, California to Willamette Valley, Oregon
Day 2 again started before dawn but rewarded us with gorgeous morning light as we flew up Interstate 5, Mount Shasta in the distance. We crossed the state border into Oregon and had to re-route when our GPS tried to take our 25-foot RV over the Willamette River on a tiny ferry. Luckily the ferry operator knew better than to let us on - we solidly would have gotten stuck on the steep approach ramp. Our detour added an hour to the day's drive, but we made it to Redgate Winery in Independence, where we were delighted by their Pinot Gris and rocked out to some live music from a local band well into twilight. I didn't realize how much I've missed live music during the pandemic.
Day 3: Willamette Valley, Oregon to Walla Walla, Washington
Day 3 commenced with a drive along the always beautiful Columbia River Gorge and took us across the state border into Washington. We tasted some absolutely fantastic wines at Canoe Ridge and Mark Ryan in downtown Walla Walla before backtracking slightly to Purple Star Winery, our Harvest Host for the night. There, we commiserated with the resident chickens, danced in the summer rain, and drank our fair share of the winery's bright rose.
Day 4: Benton City, Washington to Priest Lake, Idaho
Day 4 saw our fourth state border crossing in as many days but ended at my aunt and uncle's cabin on beautiful Priest Lake, about 30 miles from the Canadian border. We were all grateful to be off the road for a few days, especially Rosie, who found perfect playmates in Gus and Coco. Ray tried his hand at wakeboarding, which was way more successful than our search for my wedding band, which I managed to lose in the deck almost immediately after arriving at the cabin. Ugh. #travelfail
Days 5-7: Priest Lake, Idaho
Days 5-7 of our trip were spent relaxing at Priest Lake. We hiked, we ate, and we took a boat ride down to the Elkins Resort, which had tables set up in the grass along the the lake. I can personally attest to the deliciousness of their Huckleberry Mule, of which I had at least two. Michael had to work while we were at the Lake, but don't feel bad. We set up our Moonshade on the beach and established Michael's Priest Lake office... not too shabby if I do say so myself.
Day 8: Priest Lake, Idaho to Bend, Oregon
After several perfect days in Idaho, it was time for us to make the long trek home to California. We blazed through Idaho and Washington and ended up for the night in Bend, Oregon. With no Harvest Hosts in town, we opted instead to get a room at the Signature Bend, which is walking distance to the adorable downtown area and several great breweries, including Silver Moon, Deschutes, and Bend Brewing Company, where we snagged a table for dinner by the Deschutes River. As with all of our stops on this trip, I so wished we had more time.
Day 9: Bend, Oregon to Murphys, California
Day 9 was a mad dash south from Central Oregon to Central California, dodging wildfires along the way. On the plus side, we stayed the night in Murphys, California, a small Gold Rush-era town in the Sierra Foothills that has recently come into its own as a destination for food and wine lovers. I have been a wine club member for years at Newsome Harlow Winery, which makes some of the best single-vineyard Zinfandels you will ever taste. We enjoyed a lovely dinner in town with my friends Scott and Melanie Klann, the owners of Newsome Harlow. Unfortunately, the only photo I managed to take in Murphys was a sad shot of the sun blocked out by wildfire smoke, so I guess you'll just have to visit to see Murphys for yourself.
Day 10: Murphys, California to Home
As with the Day 9 drive, Day 10 consisted of A LOT of driving, and, unfortunately, with wildfires blazing, there was literally nothing to see along the way. In fact, visibility in parts of the Central Valley of California was barely a mile. We made it home, though, and I'm pretty sure no one was happier than Rosie, who immediately crashed on the couch.
So that's it. If it seems like a whirlwind, that's because it was! Would I do it again? Absolutely. Would I do it again in 10 days in blazing hot August? Absolutely not. Would I do it again during a global pandemic? I don't know. Truthfully, traveling right now is really hard. One thing is for sure, however - businesses that rely on tourists are hurting right now. Fingers crossed they can make it through because I can't wait to revisit some of these place as soon as we can get to the other side of Covid.