We knew the first couple days would be more driving than fun. The leg from our home town of Lynden to Sacramento was all freeway we've seen more than once. Approximately 850 miles. We chose to break up the trip by stopping in Ashland and then Sacramento before finally rolling into Escondido.
The first step was entertainment in the car. Harry Potter books on cd fit the bill. Paul and I have read all the books and we've watched all the movies as a family. Ellie, just now old enough to read them doesn't know what she's missed by only experiencing the movies. So far, we're loving it.
Dinner was found in Springfield, OR (just next to Eugene) at Hop Valley Brewing. New to us and fun to explore a little taster of some of their offerings. Beer was good with my favorite being the vanilla infused porter and the Citrus Mistress IPA. Food was 50/50. Great burgers and okay pizza. Pretty darn good wedge salad. So, all in all, worth the stop. Especially during happy hour. A bit more of a "corporate" feel than our Bellingham favorites but we were treated well and the place was busy.
Ashland. OR is a sweet little Shakespearean, artsy, slightly hippy town not too far from the California border. We've stayed many times and enjoy a quaint little motel on the southside of town, The M Ashland. This time around was probably our least favorite stay and yet, we'd stay again I suppose. The staff is super friendly, rooms are very clean and updated. For whatever reason, this time was a little less magical but it may be due to the fact that I had to haul all the bags up the one story flight of stairs all by myself? Paul's surgery prevents him from lifting heavy and we usually stay on the bottom level. Not so this time. It's also changing it's look and maybe losing some of the old school charm we so loved before? The best part of this stay, as always, is eating breakfast at Morning Glory next door. It continues to be our most looked forward to thing to do there and it didn't disappoint. They don't have a website but you will most likely wait in line because it's that good.
Sacramento was our first capitol building tour of the trip. We really lucked out arriving in town just in time to check into our room and make it to the capitol to catch the last tour of the day. Ellie was pretty interested in the architecture, senate/assembly halls and the past governor portraits. The highlights being Ronald Reagan and the Governator (Arnold Schwarzenegger if you weren't already in the know). She was taking photos with her camera and was also on top of her journaling as well.
Dinner was supposed to be at Wahoo's Fish Tacos but bummer for us this location may have closed down or randomly closed this day? Not sure. Plan B took a little while to figure out but we settled on Jack's Urban Eats. The look felt right and we were pleasantly surprised with the quality of food offerings. Plenty of healthy options prepared fresh in front of you but also served quickly. The other bonus to this selection was its close proximity to Rubicon Brewing Company right across the street! After dinner we enjoyed a couple tasters and a pint each. Mondays are $3.50 pints after 5...so yep, we took advantage of that. Yay us! Favorite brews were the Grapefruit Hopsauce, Irish Stout and the Monkey Knife Fight Session Ale. Busy place with great beer and although we didn't eat there, the food passing us by looked promising.
One last fab find for the night started with Paul's decision to get Ellie ice cream for her patience in watching us drink beer. I found a local place called Gunther's Ice Cream Shop. Totally worth the stop in Sacramento! I had the special Salted Peanut Butter Oreo along with a small nutty cone (think mini drumstick). It's a good thing they aren't closer to me on a daily basis.
Needless to say that despite the many miles on the road, we are off to a great start enjoying the food along the way.