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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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Adam Mankoski

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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