Road trips. They’re so full of the promise of adventure, of seeing new places and meeting new people and learning new things.
Our most recent road trip involved family from Boise who traveled with Dan and me to northern California where we were part of a surprise party for a sister-in-law.
The route from central Oregon to the small Victorian village of Ferndale is no ordinary, everyday drive.
It passes through the Cascade Range, across a valley, over the coastal range, and past giant redwoods to the rugged Oregon coast before crossing the border into California.
Since we needed to kill some time before we were due at the surprise dinner party, we played ‘tourist’ along the way. We crossed multiple suspension bridges high in the redwoods at Trees of Mystery.
We walked the length of the Crescent City jetty where 700 dolosse form an interlocking and slightly flexible breakwater (a dolos is a 42-ton concrete block).
(He just said something funny)
From there, we watched for elk and snapped photos at the Carson Mansion in Eureka.
Carson Mansion — Eureka, Calif
Our northern California sister-in-law was properly stunned, which made it that much more fun. We shared meals with our nieces and their husbands and children. And all too soon, it was time to return home.
BILs, SILs, nieces, and nephews-in-law — one can never have too many
Dan and I headed home by way of the Oregon coast. We camped at Winchester Bay and walked along the marina and had fabulous fish tacos at Double D’s Diner and drove out past the sand dunes.
Winchester Bay, Oregon
What I love about traveling with Dan is … well, the part about ‘with Dan.’ We’re interested in the same things—in getting outdoors, exploring, soaking up history, eating good food, and making un-erasable memories.
Did you know there are significant health and well-being benefits involved with road tripping? Listed here are a few:
Provides opportunity for reflection
Road trips offer the perfect opportunity to be still and reflect. Take advantage of the time to think, and read, and journal, and daydream about all there is to be grateful for.
Reduces stress levels
Positive human connections can lower stress levels and improve mood. And what better way to connect with your people than while confined to a seat-belt in a vehicle, right?
Improves mental health
Road trips provide the opportunity to laugh, sing, listen to music, or connect through conversation while surrounded by the views out our windshields. And all that laughing, conversing, and singing contributes to good mental health and general well-being.
Strengthens the immune system
Studies recommend spending time in nature to improve your immune system. Driving through outdoor-friendly places provides opportunity for camping, paddling, fishing, surfing, skiing, hiking a nature-full trail, or simply sitting at a picnic table overlooking a wild ocean—all immunity-strengthening activities.
Enhances our education
I’ll be the first to say that history in school was semi-boring when we had to memorize all those dates of all those events. But reading about the history in places we visit is fascinating.
For example, in 1964, when Alaska had that 9.2 magnitude earthquake, it sent tsunamis across the Pacific. The small town of Crescent City, Oregon, suffered the greatest damage, not counting Alaska. Four waves hit the area—the last one cresting nearly 21 feet—killing 11 people, devastating 30 city blocks, and wrecking 289 homes (summarized from 5 sources and the web).
Now that’s some fascinating history.
I tend to take an ample number of photos while traveling. After thinning them out, they’re permanently on my phone or laptop. I’ve printed some to post in a travel scrapbook, along with ticket stubs and postcards and other memorabilia. But online photo albums and travel memorabilia books aside, there is an entire photo book of burbling memories in my head.
What if you’re pretty much housebound? What if you have no one to do road trips with? Or what if you’re a single parent working a couple of jobs just to feed your kiddos?
While not all of us can do road trips, most of us can practice taking good care of our bodies, souls, and spirits. You may not be able to cross the country or even cross the state on a back country road. But what can you do to allow yourself time for reflection, connection with other people, laughing and singing and listening to music and holding conversations, getting outdoors—even if it’s only on your back deck?
What’s on your list that’s good for your body, soul, and spirit?