North Umpqua Trail in Oregon.

North Umpqua Trail.

We get 2.5km of Summer Lightning, the lovely Oregonians get this monster!

Oregon state.

Muddy has been to Oregon a few times. My intention was to spend time in Seattle - like a lot of Nirvana fans do I guess. However Seattle didn't do it for me. During the day it is fine; all bustle and life. Yet as soon as the office workers caught their ferries home it died a dead. Not good for a tourist, so slightly disgruntled I headed South to find what was in the area. Ended up in Portland, and thence to Astoria and Bend.

What a great find! Oregon really is superb in just about every respect. Sure Portland is a navigational nightmare, and everywhere is miles from anywhere else, but it's a looker. From then on, whenever we'd fly in Seattle would just be a place to stay the first night. We never did do Washington state, which on reflection was kind of stupid of us.

Mountain biking in Oregon.

Being a family holiday the opportunities for mountain biking were limited time wise. I'm sure you'll be disappointed to learn, but there is tons of other stuff to do. Kite flying in Seaside, eating in Garibaldi, whale watching all along the coast, and inland to the high desert you get the lava fields near Bend and Sisters.

Indeed the only cycling I ever did was at Bend. What a disappointment! High mountains, solitude amongst the trees, stunning views and prime singletrack. What a bummer eh? Did it all on a hired full suspension Klein Palomino, all solo as well.

That takes it out of you. Solo riding way up in the mountains. No idea where I was most of the time, and frankly didn't care. It was a wonderful experience. It's not like riding here in Surrey, where even a 40km ride means you are never more than 0.5km from a road or small town. Each kilometre you travel in Oregon means you get a further kilometre away from civilisation. You don't come across towns, you don't come across roads. Just more forest, more mountains.

Going back.

It kind of got expensive to fly into America, so we kind of stopped. Not been back for eight years now. We used to fly in up to three times per year, for a good decade. It was cheap back then; £250 for a flight. Not now. Last time we looked it was almost £900. And we've doubled the size of our family since. Almost £4,000 just on flights? That's an £8,000 holiday right there.

We also got sick of arse American airport security. Being strip searched three times within an hour pissed me off. And that was each time we flew in. Happens one, fine. Happens every time? Screw you, I'm off to Europe. They eat frogs there you know?

That's wrong isn't it? Save the planet and all that, but we should go back. So we are. Keep our cars until they fall apart, save the money, book the flights. Not going until next year, but the money is accumulating in the bank. Flights will be booked.

Road trips.

Of course having been to North America over twenty times means we know what we like, where we like. New York, Chicago, Vancouver are all fantastic places. But we reserved those for weekend trips, as you do, red eye style. The real America is the road trip.

You have to road trip America. Have to find those 30 mile stretches of straight road. Have to find the endless skies. Not spent a whole day travelling between towns where either population doesn't exceed 400? Where the only comfort at the end of the day is a gas station and truck stop? You've not lived then have you? Road trips, for adults, are utterly beguiling things.

Several times we did journeys of over 800 miles in a single day. Possibly as many as twenty times. You'd think doing that you'd see most of somewhere. In the UK that'd be London to Edinburgh and mostly back. That's the UK done then. Do 800 miles in the States and that doesn't take you across one state, let alone anywhere. 800 miles in one day, let's look at the map, see how much we've done!

Nothing. Not even one fifth of the way across the country. Map over a foot wide, you've done a finger nails' worth is all. Nothing. Zip. Nada.

Yet holidays would consist of nothing but road trip. We went back time and time again just to drive. Some holidays we'd drive in three weeks' more than we'd drive the rest of the year back in the UK.

One year I did over 40,000 miles in America. Serious driving.

Loved every moment of it, never bored. Voyages of discovery really, never on the Interstates, always small homely roads to nowhere. Drive the 101 down from Seattle to California? Why that's but a few days drive! Go for it. Where to next?

Umpqua trail.

Not done it. Want to though, and will in 2015. Have to have targets eh? Got kids so the road trip is out.