A lot to take in driving down the west coast. I have been on a lot of road trips, but this one was pretty awe inspiring. Instead of getting from point A to point B we wanted to get out at every place we saw and we usually did. Basically the drive took us a lot longer than we originally thought. There were a lot of peaceful views to take in while on the road and while camping. I would definitely suggest this drive for anyone who hasn’t done it.
So we left Twisp and drove across the Cascades to Seattle. The drive was great, a lot of beautiful views of the mountains and huge turquoise lakes. Checked out some great camping spots around the lake too. If you want to cross the Cascades, doing it on bike through the Washington pass is the way to do it. Great views and good camping along the way. Although the many days of going straight uphill might be tough.
We stayed with Katie’s cousin in Seattle and had a great time. Checked out some pretty sweet houses on the water, went running along the canal, got fish and chips and sat at Gasworks park while the sun set. Through the window the morning breeze gave us a taste of chocolate when we woke up in Fremont. With everyone biking, walking, and sailing everywhere Seattle seemed like a city with great life in it. It was a great time and we had fabulous weather, although I don’t think I could handle the cloudiness the rest of the time. We then went to Portland to visit my cousin, aunt and uncle. We had a good dinner with great conversation and then a great time over looking the city by sneaking up to Pittock Mansion later that night.
From there we camped for the next three nights across southern Oregon on the beach, the Redwoods, and Big Sur.
Big disclaimer here. The camping I am used to is hiking 5 miles in and finding a spot and then pitching a tent and making a fire. We decided to book spots at state parks along the way. Paid around 35 bucks a night and camped. This was new to me, and we didn’t really look into it that much. It was definitely not the most private way of camping. Needless to say I learned that state park campsites involve people being right next to you and bathrooms and showers. That was the downside of the trip, but we laughed it off and made the best of it. It actually ended up being okay because we spent a lot more time on the road. Stopping along the way ended up being around 10 hours each day, so a quick drive in and camp seemed somewhat fitting.
The Oregon coast was beautiful with forrest meeting cliffs meeting sand meeting ocean. We camped in Bullard Beach park, took a walk to Bullard Beach and found nobody on the trail or on the beach. Walking through the meadow of bushes moving from side to side due to the wind was inspiring. The residue from that nights make shift wine glasses gave for a hint of wine in our water bottles for the following days.
The next day we got up early and headed for Prairie Creek campgrounds in northern California where the site of the Redwoods were all around us. We stopped and had peanut butter sandwiches while walking through the bluffs on the beach. We got in around 2:00 pm and did a 9 mile hike through the redwoods which was pretty surreal. Trees are massive, and the light peaking through the forrest highlighted the largeness of the forest.
We woke up the next morning at 5 am and went out for a morning stroll to the fern field. It was quite amazing to see the field covered in fog and watch it lift as the sun rose over the huge trees that lined the mountain side with nobody else out there. I will get up for more sunrises after witnessing those morning views. We cut over to Highway 1 following the coast. If you want to go to Big Sur, check out Mendocino and Sonoma county. The cliffs are just as big and it is definitely less crowded than Big Sur. A town we wished we could have checked out more and possibly stayed near is a tiny town called Elk near Greenwood state park.
We winded through the cliffs on the coast to the houses/farms inland with beautiful big trees and fresh flower smells. It was a good mix of beauty and simplicity through two different scenes, each being unique. As we got closer to the middle/end of Sonoma we started to climb more and more. Katie has never been scared of heights, but the drive up the cliffs was really freaking her out. She didn’t like the fact that there was inadequate guard rails throughout some of the high points of the winding roads above the ocean. She was nervously driving up on one of the winding roads and all of the sudden 5 cows were on the right side of the road. This really got her going. After that and a few other heights I took over the rest of the driving. She was pretty tense throughout most of the drive so she didn’t really want to stop much.
We got to Big Sur as the sun was setting and took in some great views. The next morning we packed up camp and went north to Sacramento to hang with my grandparents for a week. The road trip was great and we saw a lot. Like my dad said there are great spots in the US to see and experience and this one will stick with us forever.