In 1988 my family decided to spend a summer along the Oregon and California coast. I was 8 years old at the time and my sister Erin was 5.
The first day was spent driving from our home in Vancouver, down Interstate 5, through Seattle, down to the Washington-Oregon border, westbound along the Columbia River, across the huge bridge to Astoria, Oregon... the northern-most point of the western Oregon coast.
August is peak tourist season in Oregon, and unfortunately every single town's hotels and motels were booked up for the night. It was around 8pm and we were arriving in the town of Seaside. No-Vacancy sign after No-Vacancy sign, my parents dediced to head into these 100% full hotels and asked if they happened to have a free room, of if they knew of a hotel or a motel that we could try.
Luckily, one woman who owned a motel in Seaside was kind enough to call one of her friends who owned a motel in the nearby town of Wheeler. She managed to find us a vacant room there, which we gladly took. Of course, no one in my family was familiar with Wheeler, but we decided to head down Highway 101 until we reached it.
Wheeler was approximately a 30 minute drive south of Seaside. When we arrived it was pitch black outside, but we could see the "Wheeler Motel". We parked the car and got out.
This was the first "hotel/motel" experience, at age 8. Previous to that we had stayed in cabins or we had gone camping. Of course, little did I know that we were spending the night at your typical trucker's motel - a basic, no-frills motel. My sister and I shared one bed. My mom slept on the other while my dad had to sleep on the couch because there wasn't enough room for him to share the bed with my mom! Talking about the bare minimum! Nevertheless, we made it though the night. The next morning (when this photo was taken), we went back to Seaside and found a wonderful hotel where we spent the following 2 or 3 nights.
In July 1999, my family took another trip to the Oregon coast, but this time we made reservations well in advance. For good times sake, we drove past Wheeler on the way to Tillamook. Funny enough, the motel was still standing, but it seemed like they renovated it, and now focuses on doing fishing trips from their newly-built docks!
Now every time someone in the family mentions Wheeler, we always smirk and giggle. And now you know why we do. :)