Back in 2013, before we had a Youtube Channel or our nice Go Pro camera (or even a baby!), Will and I took our first every road trip as a new family. This week I have been getting all our ducks in a row for our trip to Canada next month. And in doing so I realized I never mentioned or documented our first ever road trip on social media! So I put together a video and wrote out this blog post. So here we have it: Our Pacific Northwest Adventure. And thank goodness for saved Google Docs and Shutterfly scrapbooks to help me remember with the details. Our first stop was in Seattle where we did the obvious choices (space needle, pike place market, got coffee from the first ever Starbucks, saw the gum wall) but a few other side adventures as well: hiking the 2.8 loop trail at Discovery Park to the lighthouse at the end of the point and taking the ferry to Bainbridge.
Once we got to Bainbridge with our rental car, we drove to Olympic National Park, heading straight to Hurriance Ridge. This still remains top on our list of best hikes ever! Well mostly because of the nostalgia of being our first as a new married couple. But also we were blown away at all the wild life we saw during this hike, including a bear!
We stayed the first night at the Lake Crescent Lodge within Olympic National park. It was adorable and walking distance to so many great hikes. Book way in advance as this place fills up fast!Within Olympic National Park we also did the hike to Sol Duc Falls, the “Hall of Mosses” at Hoh Rainforest, the Spruce River trail down to the Hoh River, Ruby Beach, and saw the worlds largest spruce tree and cypress tree at Lake Quinault Rainforest Village. The second night we stayed at Rain Forest Resort Village in Lake Quinault. It was a convienient location to seeing the trees and there is a restaurant on the lake across the road. After leaving Olympic, we drove through the town of Forks, WA (home of Bella and Edward for all you Twilight fans) and we had lunch there. We headed into Oregon making our first stop in Astoria (for all you Goonies and Kindergarden Cop fans) and we climbed the top of the Astoria column before heading down the coast. You could spend weeks, maybe months exploring the Oregon coast and all the little towns along the way and still not see it all! We tried to do it all in two days. What can I say… we were rookies. But we did get to catch a lot of our top spots including: Seaside beach, the Haystack Rock and tidal pools at Cannon Beach, Rockaway, the Tillamook Cheese Factory, Cape Meares Lighthouse, Cape Blanco Lighthouse, Lincoln City, Cape Foulweather, Newport, Yachats, Florence, the Oregon Dunes, Winchester Bay, Coos Bay, Bandon State Park, Gold Beach, and Brookings.
If you had to pick one part of Oregon Coast to make your home base, I would choose Florence. It’s somewhat in the middle and there are tons to do in that area. We really liked the Heceta Head Lighthouse in Florence and the Sea Lion Caves, although the latter is a bit of a cheesy tourist spot. But we saw so many cool sea lions so we thought it was worth it. We stayed the night at a Comfort Inn in Florence. Nothing to write home about but it had free breakfast so that helped. We ended up spending so much time in Florence on day two that later that night, we ended up having to drive to our next hotel in the dark for about 45 minutes. So I still wonder how much we may have missed driving in the dark. Guess we will just have to go back some day! So after finishing the coast, we really should of turned around and headed back north towards Portland but neither of us had ever seen the Redwoods and Will was desperate to have me squeeze that into our itinerary. So rather than trucking it all the way down to Redwood National Forest, we went to the much closer Jedediah Redwood State Park in Crescent City, CA and it did not disappoint! Highly recommend if you are ever in this part of California. We did the scenic drive through the park and also hiked along Stout Grove Trail. We stayed at a very skeezy Econo Lodge in Crescent City. Would not recommend this motel. After our redwood adventure, we head back into Oregon but this time headed through the middle of the state toward Crater Lake National Park. There is not real direct interstate to get to Crater Lake and I felt like this was the longest drive ever to the middle of nowhere. But once you get there, so worth it! Unbelievable. Unfortunately, there was a horrible nearby forest fire so there the air way filled with thick smoke making our views not the best, but still a sight to see (you can really see the smoke in our video). We did the scenic loop drive plus two hikes (5 miles to the Mt Scott summit and 2.2 very steep miles on the Cleetwood trail to touch the clear blue water of the lake) ….all in one day. Again this was ambitious and I would set aside at the least two days for Crater Lake if you have the time. We did not. So we carried on towards Bend, OR.
We stayed the night in Bend at a Motel West, nothing special but at $65 it did the trick. The next day we got up early and drove north to Mt Hood, we went straight to the Timberline Lodge (as seen in the opening fly over scene in The Shining), and had brunch buffet there. It was the best buffet of our entire lives and we still talk about it to this day. We had plans to do more hiking but we were so exhausted and since we just gorged ourselves we decided to ride the ski lift to the top, have a look around, and ride it back down. It was perfect. After we left Timberline Lodge we headed west towards Portland but took our time stopping along all the beautiful stops along the Columbia River. We saw Bonneville Dam, Horsetail waterfall, Multnomah Falls (most popular), Wahkeena Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, Latourell Falls, The Vista House, and Crown Point State Park. We then had a day and a half to spend in Portland before we caught the red eye back home. Portland was really cool! We went to the Lan Su Chinese Garden, Washington Park’s Rose Test Garden, the Japanese Garden, Powell’s Book Store (that Will still talks about), and the farmers market. I loved the Chinese and Japanese gardens the best. We also had about three more hours before our flight so we went to the zoo. Everytime we go to a zoo, Will and I remember…hmmm why do we always go to zoos, we are never as impressed as we think we are going to be. But kids seem to love it. Lastly we stayed in Portland at the Monaco Portland which is a Kimpton Hotel. I know lodging is a great way to save money but its one thing that we like to splurge on for one of the nights on our trips. This was our last night and it was the perfect ending to the trip. If you are ever in a big city and there is a Kimpton hotel, stay there! You will not be disappointed.
Check out the you tube video I made as well if you want to see some shaking cell phone camera work. But that was our trip! It only took me 5 years to write this all out but I am glad I finally did. And you won’t have to wait 5 years for the next one, I promise! We leave for Banff and Jasper National Parks in Canada in 48 days!
until next time! Priscilla