oregon family visit 2023, part 1 (port hardy to port angeles to ashland)

Allan and I are in southern Oregon for a family visit. Last year I visited on my own, and Allan stayed home with the pups. Right now we have reliable dog care, but it's a temporary situation, so I figured we should jump on the opportunity while we could. 

We drove here, a lovely two-day road trip. Day one is Port Hardy to Victoria, then a ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles, Washington. We stayed over in Port Angeles, had a good diner dinner and breakfast, then drove on Highway 101, winding through portions of Olympic National Forest. It was a beautiful drive, through dense forest and tiny hamlets and many Indigenous territories.

At the Twin Totems Convenience in Skokomish, we found a treasure trove of retro candy and snacks, a walk down memory lane -- Good & Plenty, Mike and Ike, Pop Rocks, Hostess Cupcakes, Milk Duds, Watchamacallits, and etc. (These are things I mostly know from summer camp, as I was not allowed to eat candy!) They also carry every new variation on the current candies, like dark chocolate and mint Kit Kats and fudge brownie M&Ms. (Who knew?) Allan was thrilled to finally find the mythical Zero Bar of his youth. We completely OD'd on sugar and I'm pretty sure we'll be doing the same on the way back.

From the 101, we picked up I-5 and drove the rest of the way through southern Washington State, then Oregon. North of Grants Pass, Allan suddenly yelled, "Oh My God!," scaring the daylights out of me. A while back, we had stopped at a rest stop to use the washroom and stretch our legs, then forgot to make a second stop for gas. The gas guage was on E and blinking. We had never seen that before! 

We pulled off at an exit, and while Allan went to ask at an old motel, I checked Google Maps for the nearest gas station. We got conflicting answers, and I decided to trust Google over some rando. We drove very slowly, with our hazard lights on, to the tiny village of Myrtle Creek, where we were very relieved and happy to fill the tank. Crisis averted, potential nightmare turns into funny story.

When we made it to the Medford area, we met M&M, my brother and sister-in-law, for really good thin-crust pizza at Clyde's Corner, in the little town of Phoenix, then crashed early. 

The following day, we went to my mom's place, hanging out there and taking her for lunch at Brother's, my favourite Ashland restaurant. A wonderful surprise: she's doing better than I thought. My mom is 91 and has some dementia, but it seems much worse on our weekly phone calls than it does in person. Thanks to the constant, loving assistance from M&M, Connie able to live on her own and has a very good quality of life. 

That night we had dinner at Charm Thai Kitchen, also in the town of Phoenix. It's a tiny little unassuming place in a strip mall, and the food was great. Thai food is on the long list of foods we don't have in northern Vancouver Island, so this was truly a treat.

You may notice that my travel blogs are packed with names of restaurants. Eating well -- and diversely -- is very important to us these days. I love living in a small town and a remote region, but when we travel, we really want to eat!

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