Thursday, October 16, 2014
The pic of the Garmin above tells a lot. We kept it on basically whenever we were moving 'forward' on our journey. For example, it was not on when we were running back to town from a campsite or otherwise exploring and not 'traveling'. It was not on during our numerous ferry rides totaling about 700 miles.
So, here we go:
Miles driven: 9,463
Hours driven: 197
Gallons of gasoline: 631 (approximately)
Camp nights: 55
Hotel nights: 3
Friend's house nights: 3
Days between showers: 3, on average
National Parks: Grand Teton, Yellowstone, Glacier, Banff, Jasper, Denali, Kenai Fjords, Kluane, Olympic, Mt. St. Helens, Redwood, Dinosaur.
State / Regional Parks: Sinks Canyon, WY, Holter Lake, MT, Inga Lake, BC, Liard Hot Springs, Eagle River, AK, Captain Cook, AK, Porcupine Creek, AK, Prudhomme Lake, BC, Green Lake, BC, Cal-Cheak, BC, Sequim Bay, WA,
It seems like the last few days of the trip went by very quickly and we were suddenly at home. There was not even that many photos taken. Here's the best of them...
|Mount Shasta in northern California. Yes...it's a fine example of windshield tourism. We didn't even stop the van for a good look. Maybe that had to do with the nearly 100 degree weather.|
We spent three days with our friends Brian and Celestine at their home outside of Sacramento. Pretty much we just spent time relaxing, enjoying sleeping on a real bed, and enjoying the great company and good food. These folks have been great friends over the years and we always enjoy the time we get to spend together, which thankfully has been fairly plentiful over the past few years!
Our plans to head south and visit Yosemite were dashed by a wildfire that had closed access to Tioga Pass to go out of the valley to the east. It would have been a long out & back adventure, adding maybe 300 miles to our planned route to do this. Yosemite will have to wait until next time. So, we headed east and stopped to explore a bit around Lake Tahoe on the California / Nevada border. We bopped around south shore a bit, then headed up to Emerald Bay to camp. We were treated to some great views, and ended up doing a very nice hike.
|Lake Tahoe basin from Echo Summit on US 50|
|Emerald Bay of Lake Tahoe|
|Proving to Meghan that even an old man can climb a tree!|
|Our hike gained a bit of elevation from the campground just above the lake!|
|Meghan 'straddling' the Nevada / Utah border in Wendover|
|Salt Lake Olympic Park|
|Climbing wall above the pool|
|Freestyle ski jump practice|
|The dryland ski jumps, for training in the summer|
|Meghan and Willow chilling out in the Yampa|
|Oh, and me too!|
|This excavation site is inside a large viewing center where you can get pretty up close / personal to some amazing fossils.|
Nine-weeks on the road gave all of us memories that will last a lifetime, and for that I am grateful because those can never be taken away. I'm so glad to have had the opportunity to do this, with the two people I love the most in the world, and that they had the guts and patience to make it happen.
A summary of stats from the trip will be posted shortly, and may be a bit of a work in progress as I find notes or tidbits to add.
Thanks for checking out our blog this summer.
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
After catching a fairly early ferry from Victoria to Port Angeles, Washington (Back in the USA!), we began our exploration of the Olympic Peninsula, and particularly Olympic National Park.
One comment on the ferry service--those folks are absolute masters at the art of fitting vehicles onto a ship! We were #14 on the stanby list and when they squeezed Byron into a space that I was amazed at, they still fit on something like six or eight more vehicles, including one that arrived ~5m before the ship departed.
|OK, this was actually done on Vancouver Island, but I decided to add the pic to this post. Nice work Meghan!|
We were reminded of just how wet the area is though, because the mosquitoes were relentless!
|Sol Duc Falls, Olympic NP|
|Cape Flattery lighthouse|
|A clear day, or hour, at Hurricane Ridge in Olympic NP|
|The patrol shack at Hurricane Ridge|
The next morning, we caught a short ferry across Puget Sound and proceeded to the home of a college friend of Rebecca's, Bernie Thompson. Meghan immediately headed to the trampoline in the back yard to jump for a while...that got out some good energy!
Later that afternoon, we caught a bus into downtown Seattle to explore a bit. We first headed to Pike Place market and saw the vendors throwing fish, visited the Gum Wall, Rebecca stood in line at the original Starbucks to get a collectible mug for her growing 'You Are Here' collection. We then walked over to Seattle Center to see the space needle and lots of other stuff around there, then had dinner back near Pike Place. Overall a great day in Seattle!
|The 'Gum Wall' at Pike Place Market in Seattle. Curious, and sort of disgusting.|
|Cool outdoor art at Seattle Center. It was really a beautiful day there!|
This fountain is timed to the music and shoots to some amazing heights. Think Belagio, but smaller, and you can play in it!
From Bernie's we crawled along through Seattle / Tacoma traffic for a while heading toward Mount St. Helen's. This would be Rebecca and I's (grammar???) second trip to the mountain, but this time the weather actually looked like we might get to see it!
|Mount St. Helen's Crater from the new visitor center|
|This ridge is well behind the visitor center, maybe 5 miles from the crater. The 'blow down' trees are still there from the 1980 eruption, and a clean line where the energy of the blast was sent upwards at the ridge line. Wow!|
Pics below are from our trip down the Oregon coast.
|Meghan found this cool depression in the rock that led to this big 'cave' where the waves were crashing through from the other side. It was quite a scramble to get down in the hole, but really cool!|
We all really enjoyed the drive along the Oregon coast. I'd highly recommend taking the time to do this and explore some of the scenery and many little towns, each of which seeming to have a unique character. After a long day of driving and exploring we found ourselves 'between' any state & national parks again. Luckily, we found the Secret Camp RV Park in Gold Beach. It is situated along the south shore of the Rogue River and offered some nice amenities and reasonable seclusion in our 'Honeymoon Site'.
After a restful night, we headed out to cross the border into California where some big redwood trees awaited in Redwood State and National Parks. While we didn't have a ton of time, we took the scenic byway through the park, stopping to do a hike where we saw and touched some amazing trees. Interestingly, this route ended up taking us out the east side, and significantly north...back into Oregon, where we caught I-5 to head south toward Sacramento where we would reunite with the Carey's (who were with us at the beginning of this adventure).
This does not do justice to how tall these trees are!
|That's a BIG root ball on a fallen tree!|
|How many of us would it take to join hands around this one?|
After a couple of great nights in Wrangell, we again boarded a ferry for a 15 hour trip out of Alaska to Prince Rupert BC. The unfortunate part of that journey was a 1:45am arrival at PR, where we had to clear customs and then find someplace to camp for the remainder of the night. We got lucky in that the first provincial campground outside of town did not close the gate at 11pm as the Milepost indicated. We found a spot, and got a few hours of sleep. In the morning, we found that the propane tank on the van was out after 19 days, and our fridge was quickly warming up. Most importantly, Rebecca could not make her morning coffee, so we were in full crisis mode. We made a quick trip back into Prince Rupert for propane, and some Tim Horton's coffee & breakfast sandwiches. All was again good in the world...we were off toward Prince George.
After some haircuts and shopping in the big city of Prince George, we camped at a provincial campground with a nice lake. Meghan and I took advantage for a morning dip..refreshing!
We worked our way down to Whistler where we checked out our 2nd Olympic host city of the trip. Great place that looks like a nice resort city and would have been lots of fun during the games. Of course, the official host city was Vancouver, but Whistler was home to the mountain events.
|The Olympic cauldron.|
|An amazing rooftop tree in Vancouver!|
We took a day in Vancouver and explored Stanley Park and saw the rose and other gardens, beach area, and took a long walk around part of the park. We then went to Chinatown for a meal and some exploring. I think that Meghan was a little scared by the smells and some of the fish and dead animals in the markets. We also went to Granville Island and picked up some gifts in the public market and enjoyed the ambiance and chaos.
From there, we caught the ferry to Vancouver Island and arrived too late for a campground. After a bit of driving toward our destination of Tofino, we "bootlegged" a camp on a beach. Clearly illegal, but we really didn't have a choice. We cleared out pretty early and got back on the road to Tofino.
|Still chilly on the beach headed for Tofino, but beach time is beach time!|
|The beach had several structures built for shelter that looked like fun to hang out in, so we did.|
Some folks we met on the ferry to Wrangell told us we had to go to Tofino, that we'd love it there. They didn't say why. Turns out, there were lots of VW vans of various vintages all over the area! Byron felt very at home, and we got lots of the vibe like Byron Bay in Australia...Byron's namesake.
|The walkway to one of the beaches in Pacific Rim NP.|
|The water is pretty cold up there, and Willow still didn't think much of the waves.|
|Meghan built her own version of the structure we saw on the beach!|
|And Willow enjoyed the warm sun and sand.|
|Surf Junction campground made use of old car tires as shingles for their shop building. While not the most attractive thing I've seen, they get an A+ for re-use!|
|Lighthouse at Ucluelet.|
|Meghan 'inside' a big Douglas fir tree.|
|Yep, that's GOATS on the grass roof near the Coombs|
Oh well, it was an amazing visit, as you can see from the photos above...All taken by Meghan, who took over camera duties for the visit. Nice work!
Victoria was out last stop in Canada before catching a ferry the next morning to Port Angeles, WA. Sadly, the ferry schedule did not allow us to explore the city. It gives us a great excuse to come back, for we have a feeling there's lots more great stuff to see all over Vancouver Island.