Thursday, September 24, 2015

Our Roadtrip from Phoenix to Portland - Part 3


Tonight I wanted to wrap up the rest of the pictures of our road trip to Portland (after scarfing down a triple-chocolate muffin from Costco, of course)!

Day 7
I was definitely sad to be leaving Portland so soon, but I was excited to be visiting the beautiful Crater Lake on our way home! As we got closer to the lake, we discovered that due to a forest fire, the North entrance to the lake was completely closed. If we wanted to see the lake, we would have to enter from the South entrance--adding 2 hours to our planned 10 hours of driving. Michael asked what I wanted to do, but he already knew I really wanted to see Crater Lake. We had come all this way! He wanted to see it took, so we took the detour and I am so glad we did! Crater Lake is gorgeous. Its water is the most beautiful, brilliant shade of blue I have ever seen in my life. We learned that the water is also some of the cleanest water in the entire world!


We didn't get to stay very long, but I'm glad we got to see it at all! Soon we were back on the road and headed to Lake Tahoe! We arrived in South Lake Tahoe when it was already dark out, but got to explore the area the next morning. Two lakes in two days -- woohoo! :)

Day 8
Lake Tahoe was even bigger than either of us expected, and we both want to go back and spend a few days there. Camping, boating, paddle boarding, hiking. . .there is just so much to do there!! We only had a couple of hours, so we spent it near Emerald Bay.

After lunch, we were headed to Tonopah, NV. Tonopah is an old, tiny mining town and let's just say there's not a whole lot to do :) That was fine though, because we were absolutely exhausted and didn't feel like doing anything anyway! We dragged ourselves down to the restaurant downstairs for dinner (Michael had French Toast, and I had ice cream :P), and then crawled into bed and watched Hitch. We stayed at the "Tonopah Station", and they had some eclectic decor.

Dinner of champions.

Day 9
The last day of our trip! Where did our vacation go?? This was probably our roughest day of driving because we just wanted to be home. We had planned our route to go through Las Vegas and over the Hoover Dam in case we wanted to stop, but neither of us wanted to so we just drove straight through. Once we crossed the state line into Arizona, we encountered some crazy storms! It was pretty strange that during our entire trip through the Pacific Northwest, the only time we got a drop of rain was in Arizona of all places haha I'm not complaining! :) After what felt like forever, we were back home and reunited with our pups and everything was right with the world. :) 
I am the worst copilot. I give wrong directions even when I'm holding the GPS in my hands. :P After 3,470 miles of dealing with my wrong turns, this guy didn't once get mad at me for it. In fact, he kept me laughing the whole entire way. There's no one else on the planet I'd rather explore the PNW with. <3

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Our Roadtrip from Phoenix to Portland - Part 2

Hi there!

A few weeks ago, Michael and I took a 9-day road trip from Phoenix to Portland! It was an amaaazing trip that I will never forget. :) In my last blog post, I talked about the 3 days it took to get to Portland! Starting right where we left off. . .

Day 4
We woke up in Lincoln City, OR, and drove 2 hours over to Portland. Finally, we had arrived!!!

Our first stop in the city was the Portland International Rose Test Garden. I had no idea that there are hundreds of different species of roses, but there are! This garden grows different types of roses in all the colors of the rainbow. The garden was so beautiful and, as you can imagine, it smelled absolutely LOVELY.

Right next door is the Portland Japanese Garden, so we checked that out too. It is so beautiful and peaceful. Even though it's outdoors, I felt like I had to whisper the entire time we were there! haha

Michael being Michael :P

After our morning walks through these 2 gardens, we drove to the nearby Pittock mansion, which is a restored mansion that was built in 1914. I love visiting historical homes and learning about the people who lived in them and the culture at the time, and this was no exception. I didn't take many pictures, but look how beautiful even the back of the house is.

We were pretty hungry after doing all of these touristy things all day! I searched on Yelp for some Thai food, and we settled on a place not too far from our hotel. . .only to discover it was completely shut down. We randomly picked a different Thai restaurant, and I don't remember what it was called but I remember it was near a community college. Anyways, Michael says he was served the best fried rice he's ever had! The most memorable part of the dinner for me is when Michael was given this teeny tiny box to put his leftovers in. I was cracking up!

After dinner, we stuffed ourselves silly on ice cream from Salt & Straw. When we ordered two scoops, we didn't realize that they would be monstrous. That didn't stop me from eating every last bite of my Cinnamon Snickerdoodle and Chocolate Gooey Brownie ice cream cone. I'm drooling just writing about it.

Day 5
I call this our wilderness day! The entire day was dedicated to exploring the beautiful outskirts of Portland. It's crazy to me you can see waterfalls from your car while driving down the road. WHAT?! I could hardly contain myself with excitement from the first waterfall we saw, Wahkeena Falls. Michael and I pulled over to check it out. I was literally jumping up and down because I was so overwhelmed with how beautiful it was! We found a path near the parking lot and decided to follow it for a little bit---about an hour later, we had hiked up to the very top of the fall (with my purse and all LOL)! I'm not sure what I was expecting to see at the top of the waterfall, but I was not expecting to see a pool of water flowing out of a hole in the ground! 

This was definitely one of the most beautiful hikes I have ever done!!

After that adventure, we made our way to the Fruit Loop to eat some local produce from some farm stands! The Fruit Loop is literally a 35-mile loop with tons of different farms and small stores to stop at along the way. I had the most delicious peach ever, ate my first huckleberries (#oregon), tasted fresh jellies and mustard, found beautiful sunflowers, and fed alpacas! I didn't realize this before our trip, but guys, I really want a blanket made with alpaca wool. Oh my word, these creatures have the softest hair. Blankets are pretty gosh darn expensive, but ah so warm and cozy!

I can't decide what I love more about this picture - those chompers on the big alpaca, or the sweet little baby alpaca

On our way back to Portland, we stopped at famous Multnomah Falls! Wow, what a view! We also had dinner right there at the water fall -- our one "fancy"-ish meal of the trip. It was so special! :)

Day 6
The next morning, Michael and I fueled up at Blue Star Donuts. Guys. These beautiful things melt in your mouth. I had a blueberry bourbon basil donut all to myself, and Michael and I split an original glazed donut. I washed it down with some Stumptown cold brew, because the lovely man who helped us assured me that would be the very Portland-ian thing to do. Again, it was delicious. After breakfast, we went to check out Forest Park, which is a very long trail that is lush and green and over-brimming with beauty, and I just really wish there was a trail like this in Phoenix to run through. Like the Redwood forest, it just doesn't seem real to me.

We didn't have time to walk very far before we were back in the car and headed to Husum, WA, for some white water rafting!! This was my first time white water rafting, and Michael's second. The guides from Wet Planet are AWESOME, and very thorough about going through all of the safety procedures. After the safety talk, you gear up (wow, I am glad I don't have to put a wet suit on every morning :P) and are bussed out to the river. We got in our raft with our guide and 2 other couples, and away we went! After a little while, the rapids become a little too intense for the beginners class, so we had to get out and portage. We walked up this cliff, and we had the option to jump 20 feet into the 40 degree water below. I gave a big HECK NO, but Michael did it! He always has a blast doing the things that give me heart attacks. :P Soon enough, we were back in our raft and flying down the river. At the end of the river is a 12 foot waterfall, and the guides give us the option of getting out of the raft before the water fall, or going over it. Michael and I decided to go over it, and I am glad we did! It wasn't nearly as scary as I expected.

That night, we ate dinner at Pogy's Subs, and I don't have any pictures or anything, but the food was great and the customer service was the best that Michael and I have ever, ever had. We were both just super impressed, and I highly recommend stopping there to anyone who happens to go through Milwaulkie, OR. :)

Thank you so much for reading!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Our Roadtrip from Phoenix to Portland - Part 1

Hi there!

A few weeks ago, Michael and I took a road trip from Phoenix, AZ to Portland, OR, and it was one of the best weeks of my life! We did so many fun things, and saw so so many beautiful sights. It is a week I will always remember and cherish!

To help me remember ;) I wanted to share some highlights from our trip on my blog!

Day 1

The first day of our trip had a late start, as I went to work in the morning. I got home around noon, and we took off to Santa Barbara, CA! We didn’t have very much time for stops along the way, but we managed to catch a beautiful sunset while passing through Ventura!

In Santa Barbara, we stayed with my best friend’s grandma, Kathy! Kathy was so sweet and generous to let Michael and I crash at her house for the night. She also had a friend visiting for the night, and the four of us ate Chinese food and watched America’s Got Talent. We wanted to rest up for a long day of driving the next day, so this mellow evening was just what we needed!

Day 2

The next day, we woke up bright and early because we wanted to make it to our campsite in Trinidad by night fall (about 12 hours away). Once again, we didn’t have much time to stop along the way, but we did stop in San Francisco for lunch and I had THE yummiest pesto chicken sandwich at Mission Picnic. Oh man, their pesto is so good!

We made it to Elk County Campground in Trinidad, CA, after the office had closed, but luckily management left a folder out for us with a receipt and a campsite number. We set up our tent and squeezed in a quick walk before it became completely dark out. It wasn’t until the following morning that we were able to see what a big, beautiful campsite we were really in! 

Day 3

The next morning, we explored around the campsite a little bit. The surrounding forest was so lush and green, especially to this Phoenix girl’s eyeballs! We even found a pond! It was so nice to spend a morning walking around after being cooped up in a car for 2 days. :)

After our mini-adventure,  we were headed to our next destination but  agreed to pull over and stop whenever we wanted to check something out. Our first stop was at Agate Beach. It was super chilly and foggy, but we didn’t mind because we were just so excited to see the coast! :) There were also a couple of teepee’s out on the beach, so of course I had to go sit in them to truly get the full experience. :P

We weren’t there very long before we were back in the car for the most surreal, beautiful drive of our lives – through the Redwood National Forest! I can’t even put into words how insanely gorgeous the Redwood Forest is. We had planned to drive through it, but had no idea what was in store for us. I am so very thankful that on this particular day of driving, we were not in a rush and had the time to pull off at random spots and hike through the magnificent trees. Although unplanned, these spontaneous mini-hikes became one of our favorite parts of the entire trip.

The height of the trees is so overwhelmingly tall. It makes you feel tiny and insignificant in comparison, like a little ant standing next to a man. The width of the trees is also incredible. How can a trunk grow so thick?? Some trunks would look like a combination of three or four trees that were combined into one. Then you look at the color of the trees – vibrant green. The leaves, the moss, the grass at the base of the trunks. The most beautiful shade of green I have ever seen. I felt like I was on a movie set, and my character was a nymph that lived in a magical forest. My pictures from Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park don’t do it justice, but here they are.

We eventually made our way into Crescent City, where we stopped for lunch and visited Battery Point Lighthouse. The lighthouse was closed to visitors for the day, but we still had a good time checking it out from the outside (again, we just really like being near the water!)

 I was really infatuated with these hanging bottles at the Lighthouse haha

By the end of the day, we made it to Lincoln City, OR! I was so excited to finally be able to say "We're in Oregon!" :) Lincoln City is a little town right off the West Coast, and it was chilly and beautiful. We wanted to grab a bite to eat, and there was a "Humble Pie" near our hotel. We thought it would be like the "Humble Pie" that we have back home, but no, this is definitely not apart of that chain. :) The walls were bright yellow, and covered in writing with Sharpie markers. The employees were wearing tie dye, and had great customer service. We ordered right when they were about to close, but they were so friendly about it and were joking with each other while we waited for our food to cook. We carried our pizza back up to our hotel room, where we ate dinner while watching the sun set.

Eating pizza from my hotel bed with this view? This is what dreams are made of!

We went to bed pretty early that night, to rest up for our first full day in Portland!