Reader's Choice
Trip to Oregon Coast: Tara and John plus seven
By TARA WILKINS

(Editor's note: Our Reader's Choice features give our readers a chance to write about their own trips in the Great Northwest and what they found. This particular feature was written by the mother of seven who, along with her husband, John, took the seven kids on a road trip from Seattle to Seaside, Oregon.)

After celebrating my husband's 40th birthday with family and friends the night before, we packed up the van and headed to Seaside for a few days of R&R. On our way out of town we stopped at Costco to fuel the van and get fuel for us: turkey wraps and a container of almonds. After putting an adventure story CD on for the kids we headed down the road.

Now some call us crazy for taking a road trip with seven kids, but for us it's more economical and they have learned many ways to keep entertained during the ride. They enjoy playing the license plate game, listening to stories on CD, reading, coloring, drawing, watching a movie or napping. It's really not that bad.

On our way down we enjoyed the views and even came across some snow. We arrived in Seaside around 6:30 in the evening, checked in, unpacked the car and moved into our three-bedroom condo. While I put the lasagna in the oven that I had pre-made at home and froze, my husband and the kids set up a game of Monopoly that we played while waiting. After dinner, we read with the kids and put them to bed. Then – finally -- it was our time to relax, snuggle on the couch by the fire and watch a little TV.

The next morning we had a breakfast of granola and yogurt and set out to explore the beach. It was beautiful and sunny out but definitely cold. We walked along the beach, chased the waves and swung on the swings. After a couple of us got caught by the waves we went back to the room to warm up and have lunch. Later that afternoon we walked around town visiting the shops and a carousel mall where we rode the carousel. Then it was back to the room where I began making dinner. My husband took the kids swimming - in an outdoor pool with just a glass divider between it and the beach. Brrr! That was too cold for me but the kids had fun. After dinner we did a little hot tubbing and played Yahtzee.

We drove to Cannon Beach the next day and had fun exploring haystack rock and all the tide pools. There were volunteers who answered the many questions the kids had about all the sea life. The kids went swimming again when we got back and this time it was snowing!

We read in one of the local magazines that Lincoln City hides glass floats on the beach for people to find from October to Memorial weekend. If you find one, you get to keep it – you just go to their website, register it and they will send you a certificate of authenticity from the artist. We thought that would be a fun event with the kids and, even though we were supposed to leave the next day, we decided to book another night to go looking for the glass floats.

We left the next morning for the two-hour drive to Lincoln City. We stopped in at the visitor's center upon arriving to get more info. They told us that the floats were hidden anywhere along seven miles of beach above the high tide line and they hide a few everyday. We stopped at the first beach by "D" River and explored all around there but came up empty-handed. We decided to take a break for lunch and went to a local Mexican restaurant. Then we went to the beach near Alex's by the Sea -- one of the sponsors of the event – and then we broke up into two groups and headed off different directions down the beach.

Along the way we met a group of people having a bonfire on the beach, a man fishing at the edge of the beach and a man loading his truck with driftwood for firewood. The kids all enjoyed talking with them and exploring the little shelters that people had built out of driftwood along the beach. At the end of the day, though, we still had not found a glass float. It was a little disappointing but we had fun trying!

The next morning we packed up and took one more stroll around town before heading out. The girls found some books in the thrift store to occupy them on their way home and the boys each got a small set of Legos. We took one last look at the beach, got our picture taken with the Lewis and Clark statue, visited the Lewis and Clark salt works and headed home after a fulfilling five days on the Oregon Coast.

Photos, from top: The John Wilkins family; Oregon Coast beaches; a young life discovers sealife

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