Road Trip Part One - Seattle to San Francisco
Road Trip West Coast of USA Seattle to Washington
Having had many a discussion over whether we should do a road trip from Seattle to San Francisco, mainly down to budget and America is not cheap, we thought, to hell with it, let’s just do it. We are unlikely to have this chance again and life is way too short. A good motto we have found on this trip, we seem to have used it quite a lot! 🙂
We picked our hire car up from downtown Seattle and I skilfully navigated us out of the city. Although I was excited about the road trip, as I have mentioned before, I am not the greatest navigator and was worried that a normally very patient Pete might get a bit annoyed with me. However, armed with a iPad and Pete’s phone which showed us where we were I seem to get the hang of it. I am now a seasoned pro at navigating, another plus resulting from us traveling.
Our road trip lasted for ten days and here are some of our highlights!
The place where childhood dreams can come true and ‘One eyed Willie’ is still sailing on his pirate ship. Astoria is a place where a number of classic movies have been filmed, the most famous being the Goonies. Both Pete and I are fans of the film, each having watched it copious times during our childhood. When we arrived at our airbnb in Astoria, Pete mentioned the Goonies our host Nate offered to put it on for us. So on the eve of us going to visit the beaches where it was filmed we were able to sit back and laugh our heads off at a childhood favourite.
The next day we drove down to Rockaway beach and Cannon beach with a stop at Buttercup, a quaint little ice cream shop in between. Although it was a misty day at Rockaway beach we had a great walk and took a ridiculous amount of photos of those iconic rocks. The weather at Cannon beach was much better and we managed to catch an amazing sunset over Haystack Rock. This day was a highlight of our trip so far, such a beautiful place and we recommend it to anyone thinking of visiting the US.
We stayed in a place called Aloha, a suburb of Portland for a couple of nights. Our hosts were Julie and Justin, we were their first guests on airbnb. Julie a teacher and Justin an employee at Nike Head office (supplying cleats to the NFL), were great hosts and made us feel very welcome in their home. Portland was a great city we managed to explore downtown and it had a really chilled feeling. That was until 5pm when the protests started in response to the recent presidential election result. We managed to get back in the nick of time before they began closing train stations! Justin also a fan of the spiced rum and coke rustled up him and Pete a few glasses and we all sat and chatted away. Turns out they are on the look out for job opportunities with the UK, Germany and Vietnam on the cards.
On Friday we headed off to Multnomah Falls then onto Trillium Lake before laying are heads in Noti.
We were up early the following morning and headed to the Redwoods.
North California Coast and Redwoods:
The drive from Noti took us down the I5 to Grant’s Pass and then across to Crescent City. The scenery on this drive was spectacular. The coastline was as beautiful as everyone had told us it would be. The Redwoods were an amazing experience. To drive through such grand and imposing trees felt a little bit magical. Sounds a bit silly but that’s what it felt like at the time. There weren't very many other people around due to the time of year, so at times felt like we were the only ones there. An airbnb host told us that the reason the trees grew so tall was that they absorb the mist which is a common occurrence, this enabled the trees to grow larger than normal trees. In the state park we also saw some male Elks butting horns which was amazing. Trying to get a photo whilst not getting too close was a challenge but we stayed in the car, ready to escape if needs be. Apparently Elk have been known to charge and damaged cars quite badly. As we were in a rental car we thought we had better keep our distance. These were not the only Redwoods we saw on the trip. On our drive to Sacramento we took the scenic route along the Avenue of the Giants. A very apt description of these beautiful trees.
This was another highlight of the road trip. Again, I think we picked the right time to go. The fall colours were dramatic against the back drop of the different falls and we got to see lots of deer. The mountains of Yosemite suddenly come up on you and make the scenery in the park a great mixture of trees, mountains and waterfalls. There are many places to go and we took advantage of a river stop to eat our bagel with peanut butter. This became a staple food of the road trip and was all we ate some days, but we didn’t mind because we got to see so many great places so it was worth it. We would definitely return to Yosemite as it is so big that we only covered a small part of it. You can also camp in the park which would be good fun to do.
Monterey Bay Aquarium
After our visit to Yosemite, we made the 4 hour drive to Marina where we stayed the night. Marina is only 20 minutes north of Monterey Bay aquarium our destination for the following morning. Morning came and our excitement of our impending visit quickly turned sour. As we reached our rental vehicle we noticed there was something on the windscreen. On closer inspection this item on our windscreen was in fact a parking ticket. It turns out that parking by a fire hydrant carries a $35 fine, and parking facing the wrong way on the left side of the the street is a $25 fine. So $60 down before we even left for the aquarium put us in a foul mood.
This parking debacle would soon be forgotten once we arrived at the aquarium and were watching the Sea Otters in action. The aquarium was great fun not sure it is worth $50 per adult, but the money goes to a good cause.
We headed to San Jose stopping off at Moss Landing on the way through. This is where the sea otters hang out, lazing about all day fishing and sleeping on their backs in the water.
After an hour or more we headed north to San Jose our last pitstop before heading to San Francisco.