From Tucson to The Dalles, the Correct Account (Read: Daughter’s)

In my dad’s travel blog post of The Dalles he managed to skip part of our trip, the entire state of California. Here is The Dalles, the Correct Account. After Tucson, we drove west to San Diego then up the coast. Now, when I tell people that I traveled across the country, the first question people usually have is about California. What did you do in LA? San Francisco? Which was your favorite? The Dalles, The Correct Account

I studied digital video production in undergrad, so a solid chunk of my classmates went off to LA after graduation. It was one of the most common-sense paths. Somehow, I have never (that is right to this day have never) been to Los Angeles. The Dalles, The Correct Account

My aunt used to live in San Francisco, so I did spend a night there once when I was 10 to visit her and my grandpa as a layover on a hiking trip my immediate family took. I have a picture of the bridge, but that’s about all I remember. We weren’t there long, and I haven’t been back since (again, still to this day). The Dalles, The Correct Account

My father hates traffic and people and doesn’t have the most positive impression of the free-spirited, low carb stereotypes that California is famous for. Out of nearly 30 days on the road, we spent approximately 55 hours in California – and that is only because 15 hours was slightly more than he was willing to drive in a single day and we knew with traffic 15 might be more like 20+. The Dalles, The Correct Account

We arrived in San Diego in the afternoon with enough time for a short walk to the bay before dinner. It was gorgeous. The weather was refreshingly comfortable with the ocean breeze, even though it was nearly August, and the air was clean. It didn’t have the same rigidity that I often identify with New York, though it was clearly a city in its own right, and we happened to arrive on the last day of Comic Con, so we were treated to a lot of interesting sights in the form of costumes. The Dalles, The Correct Account

The bay was lovely, gleaming in the sunlight, with some seating on the pier we wandered out on and not a lot of people around. Exploration was short lived, however, because we were both hungry. Dining options were limited given the aforementioned Comic Con, but we had secured a reservation at a fancy little bar. I tried Wagyu beef for the first time (amazing!) and dad tried to convince me that calamari tastes like an onion ring. FYI – it doesn’t, and now I have trust issues. The Dalles, The Correct Account

Our night in San Diego was short because we had to leave early the next morning to avoid the traffic. At the crack of dawn, we were off. Dad drove this leg of the trip and it was almost as bad as New Mexico. You see, we had to travel around Las Angeles and boy was the traffic frightful. Somehow, we survived and spent a calm night in San Luis Obispo before heading out again the next morning, trying desperately to flee California. The Dalles, The Correct Account

I drove the next leg, to Santa Rosa, California in the Napa Valley. I took us past San Francisco – I guess I could technically see the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance. The traffic was pretty bad, but at least it let us see the sites – like the 50-foot billboard on the Oakland Arena. Dad and I both grew up on basketball and at the time were very invested in the Golden State Warriors. The billboard had huge action shots of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson wrapping the side. Since I was driving, I asked dad to take a picture. I wouldn’t get to visit the arena or watch a game, but this was kind of cool too. He tried to one-up me and get a video. The Dalles, The Correct Account

“I’m getting it! I’m getting it!”

“Dad, are you sure the camera is on? You need to push the red circle at the bottom.”

“No! I’m filming it. I’ve got it; this is cool…. Oh, shit.”

As you can guess, he was not in fact filming it. Instead, we have a 3 second video of his foot when he put the camera down after “stopping” the recording. Oh well. The Dalles, The Correct Account

Once we got past San Francisco, dad needed a nap. I wanted to stop at a cheese shop that was only about 30 minutes out of the way, round trip. He said absolutely not, it is a long day already so we have to just get where we’re going. Well, I mentioned he fell asleep, right? He woke up in a parking lot for a cheese warehouse with a field out back. He wasn’t thrilled, but he ate almost half the cheese and wasn’t complaining then. Finally, I got us back on the highway to Napa. The Dalles, The Correct Account

I will say, Napa Valley didn’t look as pretty as I’d expected. California really is a desert and there were about as many oil wells as vineyards. Obviously, we didn’t stick around long enough to visit the famous vineyards but I did get to taste some Napa Valley wine in a lovely open-air restaurant, so I’m glad for that experience. The Dalles, The Correct Account

Our last trek through California took us through the Redwood forest. I’d heard the trees were massive, but there’s really nothing like standing beside a stump that you could live in to give you a sense of awe – and a sense of what it may be like to be squirrel-sized. The Dalles, The Correct Account

We finally arrived in Gold Beach, Oregon, where the beach was so cold and windy we only walked it for a few minutes before fleeing back to the hotel. If you’ll remember, we were in 114-degree heat down south only a few days earlier so 62 with a wind-chill of 50 was a bit of a system-shock. There wasn’t much to do in Gold Beach, but the view was pretty and the sunset gorgeous, so we took the moment to just relax. The Dalles, The Correct Account

Our next stop was The Dalles, Oregon. I got the feeling pretty quickly that The Dalles didn’t get a lot of tourists. There was nothing wrong, per say, with the area, but walking around I had the sense that I didn’t belong, the locals knew it, and it would be in my best interest to go on and git just as quick as I could. The Dalles, The Correct Account

That said, we went to a nice brothel-turned-restaurant and river walk while we were in town and it was overall pleasant. I mean, the former-brothel was a bit of a let-down. We went at like 11am, so I couldn’t exactly order on of the old-fashioned cocktails which just left me with an awkwardly early burger. But, the menu had the story of the madam and bartender who owned neighboring buildings, funneled each other customers, and ultimately fell in love, so that was a fun twist. The Dalles, The Correct Account

If you liked this blog, you will probably enjoy our comedy murder mystery MURDER BY ROAD TRIP. Our main character, PI Longfellow, had a wild time in The Dalles. Did he fall in the river, get kidnapped by a crazy woman, find a clue, or just be forced to eat at McDonalds by his children, yet again? For more, get the book on Amazon Barnes&Noble or Indie Books