Whew, we made it back to Portland! That was a long road trip to California. We decided to drive from Portland instead of flying because the price of flight tickets for the three of us was so high. Gasoline was expensive too, but it was still a lot cheaper than flying. Driving was a great decision because we were able to visit more people than if we flew. We had a really great time.
Today, I’ll share a few pictures from our CA road trip and tally up how much it cost.
Portland to Redding
The first leg of our road trip was pretty easy. We took the I-5 down from Portland to Redding. On the way, we stopped at the Oregon Vortex. It’s an old-timey roadside attraction. This spot has a gravitational abnormality. You can see and do all sorts of strange things there. Even Mrs. RB40 enjoyed it and she’s hard to impress. We highly recommend this roadside attraction if you need a break from driving on the I-5. The Oregon Vortex is near Grants Pass, OR.
In Redding, we stayed at a Motel 6. It was adequate… We’re just not used to paying $100 for a roadside motel. Hotels and motels are more expensive than ever. That’s why we tried to stay with families more on this trip.
Funny side story – When we were waiting to check-in, the young guy in front of us asked the hotel if they had the “expensive bar of soap” he left at the motel a few days ago. Of course, they don’t! That’s part of the fringe benefits for the maids. Sheesh, zoomers and their pampered selves. We all rolled our eyes. Expensive soap…
Redding to San Jose
We said goodbye to Redding the next morning and headed off for a half-day side trip to visit Lassen Volcanic National Park. It’s like a mini Yellowstone. We saw snowy peaks, idyllic meadows, peaceful lakes, and some volcanic activities. It was a cool side trip.
In San Jose, we stayed with my brother for a couple of nights. It’s good for RB40Jr to spend more time with his little cousins. They only see each other a few days per year, unfortunately. We also went for a short hike and met up with my old college roommate. He’s moving to Monterey Bay! Next time, we’ll crash at his place. Heh heh.
San Jose to Palm Springs
San Jose to Palm Springs was uneventful. We stopped for lunch in Pasadena. It is such a nice city. The sun was shining and the temperature was perfect. This is what Southern California is all about. Mrs. RB40 exclaimed – “Why couldn’t my parents live here!”
We had lunch at Old Sasook Bakery, an Armenian place. The food was cheap and delicious.
Mrs. RB40 loves this kind of food – lots of carbs. Yummm!
Finally, we arrived at Mrs. RB40’s dad’s in the California desert. It’s near Palm Springs. We stayed with her dad for 4 nights and didn’t do too much. There were lots of errands to do with him. We ate a lot of Mexican food.
Palm Springs to Santa Barbara
Alright, now to the fun part of our road trip. We drove to Long Beach to meet up with families and hung out at the beach for a bit.
It was beautiful. The weather wasn’t too hot and there were just a few people around. We definitely would spend more time outdoors and exercise more if we lived here. Long Beach has a nice vibe. Let’s head up north a bit to get away from the LA area.
Woohoo! We made it to Santa Barbara. Mrs. RB40 and I attended UCSB, but we didn’t visit downtown Santa Barbara often. The campus was a bit out of town and we had no money. Now, we can enjoy the city whenever we visit. Santa Barbara is even nicer than Long Beach. We love it there.
Our first stop was La Super-Rica Taqueria. This place is famous for cheap, large servings, and delicious Mexican food. Even college students can afford it. The food was awesome as usual. My tip is to go there during off-peak hours. There is always a long line during lunch hours.
In Santa Barbara, we stayed at the Oasis Inn. This little motel has a classic vibe. This is what I imagine life must have been like in the 70s and 80s. Regular Californians bringing their kids to Santa Barbara to relax and go to the beach. This place felt good. Not fancy, not a chain, not run down. I enjoyed it tremendously. Unfortunately, the internet was horrible. Very spotty in the afternoon and evening when everyone tried to get connected. But I like that too. You don’t need internet when you’re on vacation, right? The rooms were good and the price was pretty reasonable for Santa Barbara, $150/night.
For dinner, we went to our favorite sushi restaurant – Arigato Sushi! We ate there when they were on a side street and served a normal Japanese menu when we were students. Now, they’re on State Street and they’re booked solid every night. I got us a spot at 8:45 pm. The food was awesome. We splurged and spent nearly $200…
The next day, we went to the beach and tried some food from the Santa Barbara Fish Market. The boat came in at noon and we got uni and oysters at 12:30. There were so fresh and delicious. Apparently, uni is all the rage in Santa Barbara. Back when we were students, I never saw them on the menu. (Not that I would have been able to afford it.) Now, they are on menus everywhere. The uni cost $16 each. In the picture below, I ordered 2.
We really enjoyed Santa Barbara. It’s a very different experience when you have some money to spend. Back when we were students, we never splurged like this. Anyway, Mrs. RB40 and I will be looking to move back to Santa Barbara soon. The city is so nice and we’ll be a lot closer to her family. Housing is quite expensive, but we probably could afford it if we sell our duplex and our rental condo.
Santa Barbara to San Jose
On the way to San Jose, we took a side trip to visit some college friends in Lompoc. It felt so far away from Santa Barbara, but it really wasn’t. I guess it’s just the drive. There were so few cars on the road to Lompoc. Our friends have 5 kids! The oldest one is going to UCSB. Nice! That’s a lot of responsibilities. After lunch, we drove up to San Jose to stay with my brother for one more night.
San Jose to Coos Bay
From San Jose, we took a side trip to Santa Rosa to visit the Snoopy Museum gift shop. Mrs. RB40 got a few things from there years ago and they disappeared from our house. She thinks one of Junior’s friends borrowed and then lost them. Anyway, we had to go to the gift shop so she can get a few things. She is a huge Snoopy fan.
Ugh, it was a long drive from Santa Rosa to Coos Bay. The Snoopy gift shop opens at 11 am so we didn’t leave Santa Rosa until 12:30 pm or so. The road was small and windy most of the way to Eureka, CA. By the time we get there, we were hungry and tired so we stopped for dinner After that, we took Highway 1 up to Coos Bay. This whole drive was nice, but it took a long time because you can’t drive that fast.
Okay, this is where I went cheap. I booked us a yurt at Sunset Bay Beach Park. We’ve been there before and we knew it was kind of difficult to find. However, it was really difficult to find in complete darkness. There was no street light and no cellphone signal. Google Maps got us most of the way there and we drove around a bit. The sign to the park was not lighted and we had to backtrack very slowly before we found it. We finally got to the yurt around 11:30 pm.
There, we ran into more problems. The yurt has a lockbox on it. We input the combo and it wouldn’t open. I went to knock on the yurt host’s door and he wasn’t helpful at all. I know it’s off duty, but give me some tips man. I went back to fiddle with the lockbox and sent Mrs. RB40 to look for a ranger. Of course, there was nobody there at midnight. Anyway, I finally got the lockbox open after about 30 minutes. I used the key to lever it open. The latch was stuck and you couldn’t open it with just your fingers. Inside the yurt was nice, though. Mrs. RB40 thought we’d have to sleep in the car, but I got us in. Whew!
The yurt cost $56/night. It’s bigger on the inside than it looks.
Coos Bay to Portland
The last leg of the trip! We stopped in Newport to eat at our favorite restaurant on the Oregon Coast – Local Ocean. We had the ling cod BLT, crab po’ boy, and fried oysters. Everything was delicious. Newport is a great town to get some seafood. We tried several restaurants on our previous trips and they were all good.
After lunch, we drove home to Portland.
Road trip cost: $1,889
Okay, we spent $1,814 on this road trip. Actually, this wasn’t bad at all. The flight for 3 people would have cost nearly this much. There were tons of flight cancellations that weekend too. It was crazy. I’m glad we drove.
Accommodations – $504
We stayed 1 night in Redding, 2 nights in Santa Barbara, and 1 night in Coos Bay. Luckily, we could stay with families for most of this road trip.
Gas – $558
Unfortunately, we were on the road during the peak of the gasoline price spike. The price got a bit cheaper at the end of our trip. We drove nearly 2,500 miles on this trip.
Food – $721
Food was a big expense on this trip. The price of eating out is just high in general and we splurged on a few nice meals. That’s alright. We’ll cook when we’re home.
Attractions – $105
We spent $30 to visit Lassen. Oh, Mrs. RB40 and Junior spent $35 to visit the Oregon Vortex. That’s about it for attractions on this trip. The beach was free. Oh, Mrs. RB40 spent $40 at the Snoopy gift shop.
Alright, that was a fantastic road trip. We reconnected with families and friends, enjoyed delicious food, and relaxed at the beach. This road trip was more expensive than our previous road trip, but it was well worth it. We had a great time. We also recommitted to moving back to Santa Barbara. It’s a great town and we would love to retire there. Now, we just have to figure out how to do it…
Are you taking a road trip this summer? It’s a great way to see the country.
Subscribe to my YouTube channel to follow along with our travel. This summer should be a lot of fun. We’ll be in Thailand!
Source: Retire By 40
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