We went on a trip to Eugene for 4 days last week and I couldn’t wait to get home. I have felt this way before, but it usually surfaces after a few weeks on the road. This wasn’t even a real trip because Eugene is only 2 hours south of Portland! The funny thing is that we had a great time. We usually drive through Eugene on the way somewhere else and rarely stop. That’s a shame because Eugene is a really nice laidback city. Mrs. RB40 said it felt like Portland 20 years ago and I agree. It was great to finally be able explore the town a little more. If I couldn’t wait to get home after a short trip, can I still travel for months at a time?
This trip was actually a business trip for Mrs. RB40. She was in a seminar the entire time we were in town. Her company paid for the hotel so we tagged along to explore and visit with my old college buddies. Eugene is the third biggest city in Oregon, but it feels so much smaller than Portland. That’s because the Portland metropolitan encompasses 7 counties and a lot more people live here than in the Eugene area. It was a nice change of pace for us. I didn’t get stuck in any traffic jams and the pace of life seems more relaxed. Here are a few more things about Eugene, Oregon.
- The University of Oregon is located there. Did you know their mascot is Donald Duck? UO is one of the top public universities in the state.
- Track Town, USA – Eugene is the birthplace of Nike and home of running legend, Steve Prefontaine. The Track and Field Olympic trials are often held at Hayward field in Eugene.
- #1 Hippie Town – It’s a stereotype, but it’s true. Eugene is where old (and new) hippies go. The Oregon Country Fair is a huge hippie spectacle that has to be experienced to be believed. It’s fun for all ages and is held near Eugene every year.
This visit was great because I got to catch up with two of my old friends from college. Usually, we get to spend about an hour or two together every few years. This time we spent a bunch of time at their house and even got to know their kids a bit more.
We also went to the beach and climbed the Oregon Dunes. RB40Jr had a great time running around on the sand and finding shells. The beach was really nice because it was 97 degrees in Eugene. Oregon beaches are always cold and it’s the perfect way to escape the heat. In fact, another heat wave is coming this weekend so we may go to the beach again in a few days.
In town, we visited Eugene’s great parks and walked to the Children’s museum. We took Pre’s trail to get there, but RB40Jr renamed it to The Hateful Trail. We were wearing sandals and the trail was covered with cheap wood mulch. I know cheap wood mulch because that’s what I use for landscaping. This mulch has a ton of splinters and is fine for the garden as long as you wear gloves. The trail was great for runners with sneakers, but it was terrible for tourists with sandals. We had to keep stopping and pulling out splinters. Eventually, we walked on the side of the trail, but that didn’t work for Jr. either because his legs were getting cut up by the weeds. It’s tough being a 5 year old.
Couldn’t Wait to Get Home
Anyway, we had a very good time in Eugene. Why couldn’t I wait to get home? There are quite a few reasons actually.
- RB40 was in her seminar from 9 am to 10 pm every day, so she wasn’t with us except when she was sleeping. Traveling is exhausting when you have to watch a rambunctious little boy all day. Thank goodness my friends had some kid toys for him to play with. Also, I couldn’t work on the blog while we were gone and a bunch of stuff was piling up.
- I didn’t like staying at the hotel room. The room was fine, but the AC was nuts. There were two settings — on or off. The industrial strength AC would come on full blast and we’d be shivering. We felt so dried out by the end of the trip because we’re not used to having the AC on constantly. At home, we don’t even use the AC. It was uncomfortable.
- Every meal we had was too salty. We usually eat out about once a week when we’re at home and we’re not used to so much sodium. Unfortunately, we had a regular hotel room and couldn’t cook on a trip like this. All the restaurants we tried used way too much salt. Hamburgers, pizza, Chinese food, biscuits and gravy, crab dip, fish and chips, clam chowder, Caesar salad — all were very salty. We couldn’t wait to get back home and eat healthy again. Too much salt is not good because it can screw up your kidneys and raise your blood pressure. All the extra salt probably contributes to why we felt so thirsty all the time in addition to the heat.
Eugene was nice, but we’re really glad we’re home. I’m going to cook mild and healthy food for the next few weeks. We’ll have a lot of vegetables, fish, and tofu for a while.
Traveling is Fun, But…
Traveling is a lot of fun, but I don’t know if we can do long term travel anymore. Before we had RB40Jr, we used to take 3 week international trips every year and we were fine. In 2003, we went backpacking in Europe for 8 weeks and I went to Thailand for 3 weeks immediately afterward. Now, I’m complaining about a 4 day trip to the next town? It’s a bit pathetic…
This is why I can’t understand people who plan to travel long-term after they retire. It takes a special breed to travel for months at a time. I don’t think we’re in that category anymore. This is worrying because I want to take a year off to travel around the world after Mrs. RB40 retires. We need to do it very soon because we may not be able to handle it later.
This feeling will only get worse as we age. We’re taking a trip to Thailand later this year and my mom told me she doesn’t want to come with us. That’s surprising because she hasn’t seen her siblings for over 3 years. She said traveling is too stressful now. She is getting older and starting to have some health issues so she wants to be close to home. It’s a lot easier to deal with health issues at home than on the road. Traveling only gets more difficult as you get older.
What do you think? Can you travel for months or years at a time?
Images by Wikipedia, UO, and Joe.