The only problem with a long, carefree weekend? It’s really hard to come back!

We really enjoyed our last minute trip down the coast. We’ve been meaning to take this drive ever since we moved to Seattle 5 years ago, and just haven’t gotten around to it. It’s too long a drive for a 3-day weekend, and we just never took the extra vacation time. But then, Branden’s company instituted a mandatory furlough day once a month. No pay, no option.

Well. That seemed like as good an excuse as any to take a 4-day weekend. Add to that the fact that we only have about a month left in Seattle, and it was time for a trip. We can road trip on the cheap, and we both really needed some time away. So, Saturday morning we put out a bunch of food and an extra litter box for the cats, threw some stuff in the car, and headed out the door.

We drove until Portland, then took a right turn and headed to the coast. We followed the Oregon coast all the way to California. And there’s a reason that it’s a famous drive.

Unfortunately, we forgot to check the manual settings for the camera on this part of the drive, and ended up with very few good pictures. You’ll have to believe me that it was worth the trip.

First, we went through the Willamette Valley, Oregon’s agricultural center. Beautiful farmland, and strawberries! At a dollar a pound!

Strawberries might not seem like that big a deal, but remember that we’re mostly local foodies now, which means that we generally eat what can be grown within a hundred miles’ radius. If it can’t be gotten at our farmer’s market, we don’t eat it. We’re not hardcore about this, and we definitely do buy flour and sugar and other staples at the grocery store, but we stick mostly to the farmer’s market for anything fresh.

I love eating locally. It forces me to be creative with my cooking, the produce is infinitely better, and I really like putting cash directly into the hands of a farmer. I don’t think of seasonal eating as being restrictive or inconvenient in any way. Quite the contrary, in fact. Still, it means long winters with not much fruit. And you can only eat so many apples.

I know now why strawberry festivals are so common. Strawberries are one of the first new fruits of the season, and they’re pure heaven after a winter of canned and frozen versions. Eating locally is about finding abundance in something as simple as this:

We stood by the ocean.

We marveled at the driftwood.

It was huge. (Six-foot husband added for scale)

We watched the surf, and the seagulls, and the seals. With some enabling, Branden bought a new kite, which he flew on the perfect sandy beach in the perfect wind.

I played with texture:

And color:

We wound our way down to California, and stood at the feet of some amazing trees.

(He really should warn me when he’s actually going to take the picture…)

It was impossible to do them justice, so we paid homage to the very small nestled amongst their roots.

There are many, many more photos, but this is already a picture heavy post, and it’s getting late. In all, a good trip.

Yesterday, we came grudgingly back to earth. Time to begin plotting our next adventure, I think…