Seattle to Hood River - Our 2016 Family Road Trip

Photo dump time! For our first family road trip, we traveled west to Forks. The second, we traveled north to Orcas Island. We figured for this trip, we should pick a new direction, so we headed south. Hood River seemed like a cool little town, along a scenic drive (the Historic Columbia River Highway) and had a great hotel option for our family with the Best Western Plus: inexpensive suites and an outdoor pool. To kick off our journey, we took a bit of a detour towards Mt St Helens National Park for a hike along the Ape Caves lava tube

The entrance/only place with ANY light along the trail.
I think I'll put the deets on this in a separate hiking post. In summary, it was super cool, I survived my claustrophobia and it was a good way to break up the drive.
Even if it added a couple of hours to what would have only been about a three hour journey, it was worth putting a halt to the arm wrestling contests before they went south and of course GIANT TUBE OF LAVA. And it was a beautiful journey. Just driving along the Columbia River Highway to Hood River was pretty amazing. 
Once we got settled in our suite, we headed straight for the pool, of course. Luckily, the bad weather curse we had in Orcas did not catch up to us until we were about to leave Hood River, and we were able to decompress and let the kids get their energy out at the pool both days. 
I was not mad about the view of the gorge from my chaise.
The room view wasn't too bad, either.
After a lovely dinner at Riverside in our hotel, we prepped the kids for bed and broke into the libations we picked up at the nearby Safeway.
Adult patio time
The wine and patio relaxation also help us fall asleep amid the kids bickering over having to sleep in a bed together, which they've never done. We did bring an aerobed in advance of such an issue, so they agreed to each take a turn in the bed and on the floor. Although, levels of light vs darkness was a sticking point so we left the bathroom light on and their door open, and we may have fallen asleep by one o'clock in the morning. Ah, if it weren't for trying to sleep on vacation with kids, it'd all be such a CAKEWALK.

Then they were up and at 'em by 6:30 the next morning, of course. So we zombie walked to breakfast at Riverside, which was complimentary except for a few dishes, and I ate the most delicious steel cut oatmeal with hazelnuts and a poached pear. We then headed into town to get some local coffee at Grounds which was yummy and then drove the 'Fruit Loop' stopping at a few places along the way, most memorable being the Lavender Farm.
Just having buckets of bubbles kept the kids so happy! We sat in cozy purple Adirondack chairs, sipping our coffee and taking pictures. Heavenly.
We decided to head to The Dalles for lunch (at the Rivertap Pub which was tasty and kid friendly) and a trip to the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center and Museum
We found this guy ready to welcome us in the parking lot!
This was definitely a good decision, as the science of the gorge was fascinating to us and the activities were a fun diversion for the kids, including dress up, a birds of prey presentation with live birds, and a lovely walking path in addition to all the educational exhibits.
Afterwards, we headed back to the hotel for some more pool time and a bit of a rest before heading out to dinner. I had hoped to hit up Full Sail Brewery and maybe even get a tour. Alas, by the time we headed out it was prime dinner hour and a bit too long of a wait for us. So we headed over to Double Mountain Brewery, which was perfect. 
Their specialty is brick oven pizzas and I devoured my 'Truffle Shuffle' with goat cheese, 'shrooms and truffle oil, as well as my Shandy - a Cider and Pilsner combo. I also enjoyed a bit of my husband's IRA (not a typo: India RED Ale), which was a bit more mellow than a typical IPA.

Of course the kids passed out easily the second night and we all had a nice late sleep in (past 8AM!) before taking advantage of our included breakfast and hitting the road home. Our plan was to stop at Multnomah Falls on our way out, but that plan was completely foiled by the massive HORDES. Not a parking spot was to be found and we noticed that people were being shuttled in from other parks to see the sights. We were just not down for that. So, I guess we'll just have to go back sometime and get up earlier. Maybe a quick family trip to Portland is in order...


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