Road Trippin’ (Part Two) – Day One: Washington to California

Part two of my “Road Trippin'” series is here!


In this post I’ll be covering the first day of our trip:

Tacoma, WA → Eureka, CA.


Our road trip began in Tacoma, WA. Our goal was to make it to Eureka, CA before dark. Unfortunately, we left a bit late, so we didn’t arrive quite on time, but who is ever on time with kids?


Here’s the route we took:


We ate breakfast before we left, so our first stop was right before Salem, OR, to eat lunch and get gas. From there, we went to Grants Pass, OR, which was our second stop of the day. It was a pretty easy drive up until we cut across to US-199 after Grants Pass. By then, it was very dark, and the roads were curvy (something we hadn’t thought about before choosing this route). Our oldest daughter gets car sick and while we had Dramamine on hand, we were caught off guard by the curvy roads, so she ended up getting sick.

If I had to do it again, I would avoid cutting across to the coast after Grants Pass. The idea of going down the coast was  nice, but we left entirely too late to be able to see anything and the curvy roads were a bit stressful in the dark. Not to mention that because we were practically in the middle of the forest, there were no places to stop if we needed to.


We made it to Eureka, CA at around midnight. That definitely wasn’t the plan, but after leaving late and having to stop to clean up vomit, we were thrown way off schedule.




Gas Stations/Travel Centers:
  • Pilot Travel Center – Pilot Travel Center, 4220 Brooklake Rd NE, Brooks, OR 97305
  • Shell – 2017 NW Vine St, Grants Pass, OR 97526


  • Taco Bell/Subway (Inside the Pilot Travel Center) – Pilot Travel Center, 4220 Brooklake Rd NE, Brooks, OR 97305
  • McDonald’s – 6025 Keizer Station Blvd NE, Keizer, OR 97303
  • In-N-Out – 124 NE Morgan Ln, Grants Pass, OR 97526
  • McDonald’s – 1730 4th St, Eureka, CA 95501
  • Marcelli’s Pizzaria – 1604 4th St, Eureka, CA 95501


  • Red Lion Hotel – 1604 4th St, Eureka, CA 95501 (free wi-fi, pet friendly rooms available)
  • Rodeway Inn – 2014 4th St, Eureka, CA 95501 (free wi-fi, free breakfast, no pets allowed)
  • Clarion Hotel – 2223 4th St, Eureka, CA 95501 (free wi-fi, free breakfast, no pets allowed)


*We stayed at the Red Lion Hotel because our cat was traveling with us. I’d say it was a decent hotel; the room was okay but it was pretty noisy outside (lots of people walking around for some reason). We didn’t eat breakfast there, so I can’t comment on how the food was. Overall, I would rate it a 3 out of 5. If you’re looking for a really nice hotel, this wouldn’t be it. But if you just need a place to crash for the night, this will do the job.


Things to See & Do:

Because of our late start, we didn’t stop to see anything, but there are lots of cool places along the way.



  • Leave as early as possible. You can see quite a bit of the coastline at around sunset if you leave at the right time.
  • Try to get everything done in one stop (eating, restroom break, getting gas). It will definitely make the trip go a lot smoother.
  • If you’re in a hurry, stay on I5. Going down the coast is beautiful, but it’s a longer route because of the curvy roads.
  • If you’re traveling during the winter months, be sure to check the weather during your trip. There are a few passes around Southern Oregon/Northern California that may be closed due to snow. If you’re worried about road closures and snow, cut across to the coast at Grants Pass. Usually the most you’ll encounter on the coast is rain. We traveled in early February and didn’t encounter any rain or snow, but I think we just got lucky with the weather since January/February is typically when the Pacific Northwest gets most of its snow.
  • Don’t make hotel reservations ahead of time. Road trips can have lots of unexpected delays, so wait until you’re close to your nightly stop before booking your room for the night.




And there you have it. Stay tuned for part three, where I’ll be sharing day two of our road trip: Eureka, CA to Paso Robles, CA.



Road Trippin' (Part Two) - Day One: Washington to California - Mama State of Mind