Give two bloggers a 2014 Ford Transit Connect, aka Unminivan, money for gas, and four days to drive 1300 miles, and anything can happen. Challenge those bloggers to embrace their random, wacky side, and you probably have a pilot for a new reality show. There were moments so crazy, they couldn’t have been scripted any better. We’d start the day in search of Unminivan Moments, but it felt like the moments, were looking for us.
Day 2 Unminivan Moments:
Day 2 was probably the best day on the road, if I had to choose a favorite. Hungry, sleepy, and headed north, Nicole Wakelin and I, had no idea Mother Nature would provide the day’s best Unminivan Moments. Our day started with a, you need to see it to believe it, event. We just passed a road sign that said Elk next 2 miles. Well, bring ’em on we said, and in less than a minute our jaws were on the floor. ELK! ELK! Yards away from an Elk Country sign, there was a herd of elk in the field. I caught a little of our excitement on video:
Best. Line. Ever. comes at the end. I thought the camera was off and Nicole says, “That makes up for the lack of moose in my life.” It’s important to note, no elk, bloggers or Fords were harmed in the making of this video.
Thirty miles down the road we ran into a blue ox. Babe the Blue Ox and Paul Bunyan stand guard at the Trees of Mystery. I thought I was hallucinating when Paul Bunyan started talking to us. A friendly fellow, I climbed on his boots, and we swapped tales of adventure.
Continuing on 101 North we drove through lots of small towns. We passed some bizarre buildings, and saw weird things.
Late in the day we drove right past a base camp for firefighters battling a California wildfire. Smoke burned our eyes, and we wondered if we were any danger. It was surreal watching choppers shuttling water back and forth to the fires. I thought we were out of danger when the smoke cleared, but then we had a scary encounter with a T-rex. Yes, deep in the California Redwoods, dinosaurs still roam. Day 2 finally ended in Corvallis, OR, 361 miles from where we started.
Day 3 Unminivan Moments:
Day 3 we left Corvallis and headed toward, Tillamook, Oregon. The plan revolved around cheese. Drive to Tillamook. Tour the cheese factory, then pick up the I-5 to Portland. So, how the heck did we end up in Dallas?
Dallas, Oregon. Whew. Definitely some fun sights on the road, like the deer we saw frolicking in a stream, and the Burma Shave signs in a farmer’s yard. Oh, and we might have found the world’s smallest Ford dealership in Tillamook.
Anyway, we got sidetracked in Tillamook. We stopped to get a closer look at some old Fords in downtown. That stop led to us wandering around the Saturday farmer’s market. Then we started talking about craft beer with the Pelican Pub & Brewery owner. Next thing you know, we’re enjoying fried oysters, elk burgers, and sampling local brews. P.S. Try the How Now, Brown Cow from Pelican Brewery, my favorite!
We’re sitting outside on the patio, when I start talking to total strangers. I know, I know, I do that a lot. So, as we’re talking about the quaint town of Tillamook, this farmer says you’ve got to swing by the Tillamook County Fair. I’m thinking that’s a definite no, until he mentions tonight are the Pig ‘N Ford finals. At first I thought he said Pig in Fork finals, and it was some kind of bizarre bacon eating contest. I mean, come on, we’re on quest for weird, random, off beat attractions and we just stumbled on a race where drivers carry live pigs in Model T Fords. What the what?
I really wish this guy, or anyone we spoke to, would have agreed to let me video them explaining the races. Pig ‘N Ford is a BIG deal in Tillamook. Seriously, BIG. The stands filled up over an hour before the races began. Concession stands sold out of t-shirts and sweatshirts. All this enthusiasm about guys racing old Fords on a dirt track, while holding a live pig!
And, yes, Nicole and I got caught up in the excitement as we screamed “Go Pepsi guy, Go!”, while dirt flew and pigs squealed. Finally, covered in red dirt, full of the best cheese and ice cream, we ended day 3 in Gresham, OR.
By the way, Tillamook is an amazing town. People were incredibly friendly and helpful. Plus, you can be totally cheesy and it’s expected. Don’t go without trying some Tillamook Oregon Blueberry Patch ice cream.
Day 4 Unminivan Moments:
Day 4 was our slowest day of the entire trip. The day that felt like it would never end. We started our day with a healthy breakfast at VooDoo Doughnuts. Healthy…., um well…Then we hit I-5 to Seattle. In case you were wondering, there’s nothing to see on I-5 between Portland and Seattle, except for the bumper in front of you. Nothing. In 2 hours we drove 30 miles. The good news, with the shade of the vista roof open, I was able to work on my tan. We eventually made it with time for one last photo, before the sun set on our Unminivan Moments.
A huge thank you to Ford for encouraging my weirdness, and giving me this incredible adventure. Stay tuned for a Things We Learned On The Road post full of fun tips.