Family Road Trip: Rocklin, California To Portland, Oregon

Family Road Trip To Portland, Oregon

With our client work done and off for review, we packed up our stuff and hit the road for a family road trip from Rocklin, California to Portland, Oregon.

I don’t know why, but Brian and I both assumed that Portland was really far away, so we never explored road tripping in that direction. But when Dead and Company announced their west coast tour stops and Portland was included, we mapped it out and discovered that Portland is about the same distance from our house as San Diego — and we’ve driven to San Diego several times. It’s a totally doable drive!

We bought tickets right away for the Wheatland, California Dead and Company show. But hemmed and hawed about the others because we already had booked Orlando and the Disney Cruise, and a week at a beach house in Oceanside with friends just before the shows were announced. Could we really work from the road and not be home that much in the summer? We weren’t sure and debated it for months.

Eventually we talked ourselves into going to four of the six west coast shows — Portland OR, George WA, Wheatland CA, and Mountain View CA — and bringing the kids along for the adventure.

After attending all five Fare The Well Grateful Dead 50th Anniversary shows and four Dead And Company shows last year without the kids, Brian and I were excited to bring them along on this trip and share the Grateful Dead culture and community with them.

Our family road trip adventure started Wednesday night with a four hour drive to Yreka. We pulled into the Yreka Holiday Inn Express around 11:00pm and we didn’t book a room in advance, so thankfully they had a room available. In the morning the kids took advantage of the pancake machine and the included breakfast, before we gassed up the truck, replenished the drinks in our ice chest, and hit the road for the drive to Portland with The Grateful Dead blasting over the stereo.

Over the last few years, we’ve gotten pretty lazy about researching our trips and planning everything in advance. It’s just so easy to show up and let it all unfold as you go — and then the whole trip is a mix of discovery and adventure. But there is one problem with this approach: ALL THE COOL STUFF.

Road Tripping To Portland, Oregon

We’ve road tripped to Southern California boatloads of times, but never toward Oregon other than visiting Fort Bragg. As I saw sign after sign for potential adventure spots, I was dying! I wanted to stop at every one, but Brian pointed out that then we’d never reach Portland, and we wouldn’t have time to explore the city or the bevy of waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge. So I made lots of notes and lists and we’re already planning another road trip.

We arrived in Portland in the late afternoon and after checking into our fantastic suite at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Portland Downtown, we made a beeline for Voodoo Doughnut. Brian booked this hotel for us partly because it is a historic building, partly because it is walking distance from the Moda Center, and partly because it was around the corner from Voodoo Doughnut.

We were really lucky that the notorious Voodoo Doughnut line was fairly short. We only had to wait about 20 minutes to pick out our donuts. Then, because it was so hot, we took our box of donuts back to our hotel to feast on our sweet treats in the air conditioned lobby.

After finishing our delicious donuts, we decided to stretch our legs, go for a walk, and explore downtown Portland. While walking around Portland, all Brian and I could think is that Portland is like a mini San Francisco with more trees and plants.

  • We loved the sculptures, murals, fountains, and art installations throughout the city.
  • We enjoyed relaxing and taking a break in the parks and city squares.
  • We were fascinated with the rows and rows of food trucks and food carts lining the streets — and the amazing variety of foods available.

Soon we all realized that we were starving! Luckily there was a Yard House just down the block and I love Yard House! We had a great meal, then headed back to the hotel to call it a night. With hiking in the Columbia River Gorge and the Dead And Company show on our itinerary for the next day, we all needed a great night sleep.

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