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Mommy trip with Preschooler to Ashland to SOU graduation and more.
Then it was finally time to stop stopping and head to the hotel, so we could take a break from the driving! I made one wrong turn, but turned around and around till I figured it out. Then on into Medford area, where I was finally out of the beautiful Rogue River Gorge area. It was sad, I didnât want to leave. Anyway, onto exit 14 and out hotel, and we arrived before my parents, so called everyone, and the room charges for 3 phone calls was $11! Insanity. They were only a couple min at the most each. I had wanted a separate room for DS and I, but my mother decided to get a suite at a different hotel instead.
So we ended up at Windmill Inns and Suites in Ashland, only a couple min drive from my sisterâs and the college where we would be attending graduation Saturday. When I arrived, I parked right in front of the hotel, when normal checking in would park, the parking lot was packed anyway, and the hotel was huge, not tall so much but sprawling. They have almost 300 rooms, and 4 or 5 wings). I had to wait a bit at check-in, but the lobby was comfy and nice, and the staff was very friendly, as my preschooler sat on the counter at check-in. I was given 2 room card keys and a map to my parking area, entrance and room. Every door in this place requires a card key, so donât loose or forget yours, or you will have to wait for a friendly soul or trek all the way around to the lobby main entrance. We were on the second floor, so lugged our luggage up a huge flight of stairs (I didnât notice an elevator here, but there is one I noticed when I walked inside). We then went to our room. This suite room 286, if I remember right, was right next to housekeeping, which did bother me at first, but it proved not to be a problem at all. We got most of our luggage in and then I made the costly telephone calls. After we talked with people, we went swimming, the pool was perfect for me, but too cold for DS. So, though it was hot out he went in the hot tub. We didnât know if they would have towels at the pool, so we took our own, but they did. However, they were hidden in a couple storage cabinets so I didnât see them at first. I also didnât see the timer for the hottub, it is usually a red color, so I just didnât see it, a little girl about 4 pointed it out to me. Then up to our room, cleaned up and went to use the computer. I wanted to get directions and times and cost for Wildlife Safari in Winston Oregon, as it would be on the way on our way home. My grandparents had wanted me to take DS on the way south, but I finally decided that we could try it on the way up. If we missed it I wouldnât be as upset as missing Crater Lake. The computer and Internet and printing is free, there were two printers and two computers. I was glad it was free, at Embassy Suites at the Airport when I needed to use it they charged. One thing I did notice walking around was the smells, I think it was because I caught a cold the day before, but I also have allergies and asthma, and I was catching whiffs of smoke near the pool, and air fresheners, and cleaners now and then. The next day I didnât notice anything at all really. Then back to the room to wait and relax, and we got a call from my parents and sister, and everyone was on their way. We had plans to meet up that night for dinner.
At 7:30 or so we headed over to my SisterÃ¢s place right next to the SOU field. And then followed her to eat. We ate at a place called Muchies. And the whole way there DS was saying Ã¢I want to eat MUNCHIES!Ã¢ It was hilarious. My sister loved this place and after living in Ashland for 6 years I guess she should know! She had taken me before, but I am not sure what I ate there last time it was 5 years ago and pre kiddos. Anyway it is situated a short walk from Lithia Park. The parking was limited and we had a stroll to the restaurant, but it was warm and the kids were happy (DS and my 8 yr old niece). We were a party of 7 (2 kids, and 5 adults). The waitress was really nice, and the place is on the underground floor, so you want down into it. Tables and chairs, no booths. Quaint and homey. One thing, bathrooms of places I go interest me, and this one had foundation blocks as one wall, and was stuffy, with an air cleaner going off, so my asthma didnÃ¢t like that. Anyway, I wanted to order the quiche with fresh fruit, so did my dad, but for some reason they didnÃ¢t make them that day. They were also out of one other thing we wanted. So We (dad and I and my mother and my sisters boyfriend) ordered a yummy warm roast beef and Swiss on foccacia bread with sauce, and dipping sauce, and split them. My sister loves the Ruben there, and my niece ordered a burrito (which wasnÃ¢t that great, and she didnÃ¢t each much of). DS just ate off of our plates, some fries from my mom, and some of the burrito, and some of my side salad. My father got chili and I got salad with the sandwich we split. We made sure to save a bit of room for dessert, and my sister loves the chocolate and peanutbutter cake, and I got the carrotcake (IT WAS HUGE), and my niece got the chocolate cake with cream cheese icing that was very moist and yummy. Everything was delectable, and not too $$ considering we had shared (for the most part) our entrees. The waitress was closing up as we left and their were chairs on the other tables, but they didnÃ¢t rush us, and were friendly even when DS ran behind the counter to check if they were bringing him his cake!
Driving back to the hotel I took a couple wrong turns, listening to too many Ã¢driversÃ¢ but we made it fine, then crashed as we were all exhausted, I had driven for at least 7 hours, and my parents for about the same or more from Seaside to Ashland. One little side note, we brought my niece back with us, so she got to stay with us at the hotel also. The bed set up worked out great for us, as my father has a bad back, and likes to stay up late and watch TV. DS and I stayed in the Ã¢living roomÃ¢ with our own TV and the refrigerator and microwave, and pull out couch. I left the AC on low fan all night and heard nothing. The main room was two queen beds, so my parents shared one, and my niece got a huge one all to herself.
Today was our free day before graduation on Saturday. We woke up about 8 and got ready, and went down to breakfast, my mother joined us. They have quite a spread for a âcontinental breakfastâ even had make your own waffles, which took a minute but I got the hang of. However, if you need protein beware the only choice for you are hard boiled eggs in the minifridge with the creamcheese and yogurt. They have the travel channel playing on a big screen tv for people and an overflow room if the breakfast room fills up. It is a bit strange staying here after being used to Embassy Suites, which are open in the middle, to eat at a hotel in an enclosed (roof at a normal height) is a big claustrophobic. My son and I shared a waffle, and an orange, with some juice, and I snagged some apples for later. Not like we had a lack of food though, we all took home boxes from Muchies last night and they were waiting in the fridge for us.
After breakfast, we woke up everyone went into Medford. On the way I noticed a hot air balloon, what a fun thing to notice. Well we needed to find a swim suit for my niece (she is moving and they couldnât find it), so off to friendly Fred Meyer and WalMart to find a swimsuit. I also needed to get two items for Isaacâs birthday as he will be 3 at the end of July and I knew what I wanted but we didnât have it where I lived. At this point dad and niece were starving as they hadnât eaten, so we drove thru at Carlâs Jr, then headed over to Wal Mart. I lucked out at WalMart, and got the two items I needed. All this time I was driving, and was really tired of it. By this point my mother and DS and I were ready for lunch so we headed back toward our hotel and right across the street was a restaurant my parents really enjoyed the last time they were here so we went. I had , DS had a soft taco that was really a quesadilla, my niece got pancakes and bacon (she loves it!), and my father had , while mom had, . The interior of this restaurant is all done fishing/camping style, with implements on the walls and rustic wood interior, oh and the bathroom was like one at home complete with evergreen toilets and granite looking tile, and an aquarium with âNEMOâ in it, and other saltwater fish.
After that we were winding down already, so off to the hotel we all and went swimming this time. My niece loves to swim, especially with auntie, so this was great fun. The kids spotted a moth by the gate to the pool (which again you need your card key for), and immediately wanted to take it home. My sister and her fiancee met us at the pool, and sat in the shade of some trees and an umbrella over a patio table and chairs where she poured over a Bridal catalog, and tried to unwind a bit before the stressful and long overdue graduation with her MASTERâS DEGREE.. yes I am proud! My niece, mother and I had a swimming race, I admit it, I won. And played Marco Polo, but they both kept cheating, and wouldnât say Polo when I said Marco.. lol.
When we were finished swimming we had planned to go to the Shakespeare Festival but alas, they didnât allow children under 6 and my 4 yr old wouldnât be able to go. That and no one wanted to pay the $32 for a seat except for me. So instead we (Mom, Dad, I, niece and son) drove to Medford and went to the Family Fun Center. At least I didnât have to pay as each game is a .25 cent token, but the kids had a blast, and there is a big inside climbing area. We played inside till it cooled off a bit, and then played miniature golf (there are two courses to choose from). Instead on going on other things like the bumper boats, we went back in and used up our tokens to get tickets and little prizes to take back. I was still a bit peeved about them not allowing children at the Festival and think there should be activities geared toward younger kids also, like a childrenâs theater. Etc.
By the time we got back to the hotel it was late so we all crashed.
Ashland day 3
Niece had to be up early to get ready for graduation, so I told my parents not to wake me up till 8am. Well I woke up at 7:58 and no one was there! So I waited a few min and called my dadâs cell, a second later they walked through the door. They had went for breakfast. Graduation was not till 9am or so, so DS and I ate, and we all headed out in my van.
Graduation â information would be boring to any not attending or family ï
After Graduation we were all hungry, so we chilled at my sisterâs for a few minutes, gathered our berrings, and headed out for Red Robin, but needless to say it was packed, not a parking spot AT ALL, so we headed into Medford, the long/short back roads way, to Applebees. However, in Medford there was a car show right near the Applebees, so it was also packed, but we did find a parking place, and had to wait about 15min or less for table for 8, they said it would be about 30 min. As far as standard fare goes, Applebees is a good family restaurant, they are equipped to handle children, with clean restrooms ;), and fancy drinks for those who just graduated and needed to chill out.
After Bear Park we dropped off my dad and cousin and took the kids to Science Works. Unfortunately we only had Â½ an hour because we arrived at 4:30 and they close at 5. Bummer, but the guy at the entrance let us in for free! It is a really fun place, and safe for kids of all ages, there are about 5 rooms of different science things to do. The kids loved it all, but here are some of their favorites. #1 was the climbing toy that had tubes for balls to go in and comes out in another part. #2 was the lighting flash room, you strike a pose and the light flashes and leaves your shadow on the wall. #3 and the one we were caught doing at the end was the bubble room. The big bubble machine that you can put over your entire body didnât work for us for some reason, but we made other huge bubbles, and a bubble wall.
After Science Works we headed to a very cool park on . They have a water feature play area, where the ground is all cushy and there are water fountains and other water things for kids to play in, and there are dressing rooms also if you are smart enough to prepare ahead.
Back to the Hotel we got ready for dinner. That evening we went out to eat, it was a party of 15 or so, with 4 kids! We went to a little place on Hargadine street (and 1st or 2nd, there is a parking lot across the street from the restaurant so you can find parking even though it is on a steep hill), in Ashland called the Dragonfly, my sisterâs friend had chosen it, as it was her and my sisterâs party. Unfortunately I wasnât that hungry as we had just eaten at ton at Applebeeâs only a few hours earlier, and our reservations were at 5pm. Their atmosphere is very unique and eclectic, and their food is a Latin/Asian mix. We were seated outside, in their garden area. Which was not only perfect for the kids, it was more informal, and wonderful for meeting new people, and relaxing in the warm weather, under the shade. I had a starter (shared) of the Leaf wraps, they give you huge green lettuce leafs that you put goodies into and wrap it, very yummy. I also had a pomegranate cosmopolitan ( I never had a flavored one, only regulars, but it was wonderful). Then I did have their apple onion soup, and it was so good, topped with brie cheese, I forget how all he explained it. Then of course we all had all the types of deserts, the bananas foster, chocolate cake (decadent is the only word to describe it), flan, and . And we each dished up a bit onto our plates. MMMMMMMM!
That evening we went swimming again and took it easy, as we were leaving the next day.
- Some things I want to see the next time I come, the Museum of History, the Museum of Natural History, and Oregon Caves.
June 17th- Heading home and Wildlife Safari.
DS and I woke got ready, loaded the van, and said goodbye to everyone and headed down to breakfast. My mom showed up and we ate together before we left. It was about 1 hour and 45min to Wildlife Safari, on the way we stopped at a reststop to use the bathroom and I grabbed some fliers. Lucky me, I found a 10% off of Wildlife Safari. We got there a little after 9am, and so drove through, and saw all the animals, they all looked healthy and were up eating when we got there. Some of the animals that amazed me were the cheetahs, I recorded the sound they made, it is like a yippy cat chatter. Very funny, I never knew they sounded like that. The elk I saw was an 8 point I think! We then went to go into the walk around area. We went to see the monkeys, and other things, I skipped on the train ride, as I didnât want to pay the $1 and I was ready to get back on the road, but not a train rail LOL. Anyway we ate at their White Rhino Restaurant, and were the first customers, and only ones while we were there. They open at 11am, I think. Anyway We had the mushroom and swiss cheese, hamburger, with fries. Amazingly the fries were excellent. They season them with herbs. We watched the monkeys from our table, ate leisurely, then headed to see the snake house, and check out the gift shop. The gift shop was pretty affordable and DS got some kid binoculars for $3.00, and I picked up a few postcards and a light up fancy pen. I looked for shirts for him, but nothing fit. Overall I thought they were a bit expensive when paying to drive around, but the walk around part was free, unless you wanted pictures, or to feed the animals in the petting zoo (who were not out when we got there), or wanted to ride the train. We didnât do any of the extras so for all that for under $20 including lunch I think was a good price.
So it was back on the road for us. We finally got home about 4:30-5pm. We had to stop for gas, and I got us some frozen yogurt, me a smoothie, and DS a mini yogurt (rainbow kind with sprinkles, that was so bright it made you wonder how something like that couldnât be toxic).