This is the last time I take directions from Mapquest! Those buggers nearly ruined my Memorial Day vacation to Portland this weekend!

They had me going all the way through Hood River just to get to Portland, when according to the GPS on my phone, I should have gone from Goldendale straight through I-84 West! That's what I get for printing out Mapquest directions instead of going with my tried and true phone voice lady. (Remind me to tell you in person my hilarious idea for a new GPS voice!)

We ended up being on the road for over four hours. First of all, the directions were JACKED UP, and then we got stuck behind a large army caravan. Then the whole town of Lyle, Wash., was having their Memorial Day parade and shut down the highway in BOTH directions for an hour. Luckily, some guys on motorcycles knew a shortcut through town that took us around the parade and back on the highway! Whew! Otherwise, a normal three-hour trip would have taken us FIVE freaking hours.

Our vacation was worth all the miscellaneous road tripping, thank goodness!

We arrived in Beaverton, Ore., and met up with my friends Katie & Ryan. I've known them since our daughters were babies in the same day care at Easter Seals Jane's House. (Ryan is now a big-time software developer in Vancouver, Wash., and Katie just had a bouncing baby boy about five months ago!) Katie & Ryan took us to Willow Bar Beach on Sauvie Island. Our daughters played in the sand, built a couple of sand castles and splashed each other in the water. That gave me plenty of time to catch up with them about their new lives on the westside.

Next, it was time to jet back to Beaverton to have pizza and salad dinner with my friend Valerie & Bill. Our daughters swam in their pool for the rest of the night, while us grown-ups gossiped about people we knew from way back when (it was only a few years ago that Valerie was the anchor on KIMA-TV before getting a new job on the Portland news television scene! Bill kept us entertained with stories about his friends, recent trips abroad, and how much he loved looking after the landscape of his childhood home (in which they now are raising their kids). We ended our Portland vacay with a trip to the Oregon Zoo. We did not leave until we saw the cheetah and the giraffe. We got more than the price of admission when we stumbled upon two humongous turtles getting it on in broad daylight! Whoops!

🎶I don't see nothing wrong with a little hump & grind.🎶 #sundayhumpday

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This was probably one of the best vacations I've ever had. Sharing it with my little one and my old friends was a big reminder of just how fortunate we are to live in a country where people from all kinds of backgrounds can end up being friends and share our joys with our children. and how indebted we are to our veterans and active duty friends and family. It also makes me proud of the members of my family and friends who have sacrificed their lives to help keep us all living in a land where these freedoms are never taken for granted.

Here's all the pictures I'm putting in my photo album of Memorial Day Vacation 2017!