Exotic Beasts, Foreign Lands: Adventures of ‘Two Guys in a Minivan’

A vacation, by definition, should be a reprieve from the everyday, a time to refresh, recharge and have an adventure. It can be a time to repair loosened human connections, put the world back into perspective or recover gratitude for the things that make up our routines.

August was all of these things. My partner, Troy, and I drove away and returned home, 12 days later, on Highway 299, the North State’s auto artery that connects the eastern California counties to the coast.

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Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge

In between our eastern exit and our western entrance to and from the North State, our trusty Ford Windstar collided head-on into walls of tumbleweed and played late-night wheel-dodge with armies of jackrabbits in southern Oregon. Her dusty windows offered a panorama of the dry plateaus of southern Idaho and whistled with relentless winds in the stunning Columbia River Gorge.

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Public Art in Boise

We had a close encounter of the aquatic-kind in southern Idaho’s Magic Valley, explored Boise’s quiet sophistication and let our taste buds guide us through Portland’s eclectic mix of urban neighborhoods.

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A box of Voodoo Donut delicousness in Portland

With satisfied bellies, we adventured west, then south, following the tectonic curves of Oregon’s awe-inspiring coastline and returned to Jefferson State through California’s equally awesome coastal redwoods.

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An Oregon Coast native

For now, I’ll begin at the end, back home in the North State, with a few shots of the final sunset on our August exploits, from the beach at Trinidad. But I hope that my upcoming series, “Two Guys in a Minivan,” inspires you to embark on your own emprise. If you don’t have a month, take a day at the lake, a hike in Lassen Park or a quick jaunt to a nearby wine region. It may ignite your smoldering wanderlust.

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Sunset on the beach at Trinidad

Admittedly, I had a hard time getting back into the rhythms of responsibility, but discovered that 1,900 miles of wandering gave me a renewed perspective on the place I call home.

Stay tuned to anewscafe.com in the next few weeks for tales of Adam and Troy’s adventures, in Adam’s 5-part series “Two Guys in a Minivan.”

Adam Mankoski is a North State transplant who feels completely at home. He enjoys experiencing and writing about the people, places and things that embody the free spirit of the State of Jefferson. He and his partner own HawkMan Studios and are the creators of Redding’s 2nd Saturday ArtHop. Email your NorthState weekend events to adamm.anewscafe@gmail.com.


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is a recent North State transplant who feels completely at home here. He enjoys experiencing and writing about the people, places and things that embody the free spirit of the State of Jefferson. He and his partner are the owners of HawkMan Studios and the creators of Redding’s 2nd Saturday Art Hop.
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13 Responses

  1. Barbara Rice Barbara Rice says:

    OMG is that one of those famous Maple-bacon doughnuts in the box???? How was it???

  2. Avatar Adrienne jacoby says:

    TRAVEL (even around the block) . . . it does a body good!!! Thank you, Adam, for:
    #1. Your most excellent and enjoyable writing skills.
    #2. The hint (and tease) of a great trip.

    Doni . . . where do you find these great travel writers? Not only do they go interesting places, they also write with great readability. Peter Greenberg, eat your heart out!!

  3. Avatar Viki Twyman says:

    I wish I could have been a stowaway in that minivan!

  4. Avatar Darcie says:

    Can't wait to read more of your adventures. We just had our first voodoo donuts 2 weeks ago!

  5. Avatar Jeanette Ernst says:

    Sounds like a great trip 🙂

    Reminds me of a 6 1/2 week trip with my sister to see almost all of the United States.

    2 Sisters, an Astro Van with a map & a plan!

    I wish I had your skills to write about it.

  6. Avatar Troy Hawkins says:

    VooDoo is the bomb! My favorite was the Peach Fritter with cream cheese frosting and peach sprinkles. Bury me at the door!
    Boise was one of the most delightful spots on our trip. An AMAZING downtown FILLED with public art, great food, public fountains, walking boulevards, a zoo, museums, formal gardens and all with a population of only 190,000.
    I'm looking forward to the Adam 5 full stories about our trip. It's like doing it all over again.

  7. Avatar Ann Webber says:

    Vicarious joy! Thank you.

  8. Avatar Lisa Lee says:

    Excited to read about your journey! Road trips are my favorite thing to do!

  9. Avatar Karen C says:

    That was an unusual picture of the gorge. Where is the water?

  10. Avatar Joanne Lobeski Snyde says:

    Thank you for a great piece Adam. Traveling away from home energizes you and gives you a clearer picture of the place you picked for your home. There are seagulls in Redding, but no sea breezes or endless expanses of water stretching to the horizon. Thanks for taking us with you. I want to read more.

  11. I enjoyed reading this post. We are building a website to help promote public art in Boise. We would be thrilled if you gave us permission to use the photo of public art in Boise in this blog as the main photo of the section.

    Here is a link to the page:

    Boise Public Art

    We can remove it immediately if you do not wan it there.

    Thanks.