I'm definitely a little late on this posting, 6 months to be exact, but hey, early bird catches the worm right? Or is that the wrong saying? Either way, I'm doing it now, for your pleasure, so I better not hear a lick of complaining!!
6 months ago my girlfriend and I purchased a one-way ticket to Seattle, with the intention of being back to Fresno within the next week. How did we do it? Well buckle up your seatbelts boys and girls, you're about to be in for a wild ride (along the PNW).
We boarded a plane, watched a killer sunset, and arrive in Seattle right around 9PM. We went to where we were staying, had some dinner, and cozied up after a long day of work and traveling.
You see, Meghan has an awesome uncle that has in his possession a 1986 Westfalia Van. He's an awesome uncle because he let us borrow and use this Westfalia van to fulfill ours (mine x10) bucket list of driving down the PNW and exploring everything we could get ours hands on.
So look at her! Cute little thing she is. Who wouldn't be 100% amped for a roadtrip in this little thing?! So that's why we bought a one-way ticket, and how we planned to make it back down to California (hopefully in one piece). A lot happened between now and this picture, this picture being our first day of the roadtrip. Follow the pictures below for a quick little synopses of the days up to our Tuesday departure!
We did a lot in 4 days! We drove all throughout the upper Washington area, stayed at Meghan's Uncle's cabin on Camano Island, toured Seattle and the Downtown District, saw Deception Pass (which wasn't really deceiving? I gotta look up the history of the name still), and just enjoyed the beautiful upper PNW.
That following Tuesday, we started our roadtrip! Check out the map below, and I'll break it all down for you:
So here is a little representation of our 6 day trek back down to California. We started in Seattle, drove West to Olympic National Park, camped right past the Northern Oregon border, drove down some more, cut across mid-Oregon, and continued the rest of the way down into California and back home. This was all very vague, I know, please don't kill me. I'll break it down day by day for you.
Day 1: Seattle -> Olympic National Park -> Cannon Beach, Northern Oregon.
This was a great first leg of our trip. We started bright and early to beat as much traffic as possible (the hills in Seattle aren't a lot of fun while driving stick shift in a 30 year old van) and boarded a ferry to make our way over to Olympic NP. From there, we hiked, ate lunch, dinked around a bit, and then got back on the road to hopefully make it down to the border before nightfall. Of course, that didn't happen, but that's ok. Adventure is all about the unexpected. We peeled off to explore the beautiful Ruby Beach, skipped some stones, and saw some beautiful ancient driftwood. From there, we drove down farther to Astoria, Oregon. Why Astoria? Because I am a huge Goonies fan, and that's where it was filmed!! We made it, in the dark, but we made it and set up camp.
Day 2: Astoria/Cannon Beach, Oregon -> Florence,Oregon
So every good roadtrip has a few speed bumps right? We hit ours 7AM when I got out of the van to go to the bathroom and noticed that our front tire was completely flat. Justtttt great. Our first full day on our own and we were off to a great start. Luckily, we had some very friendly neighbors that lent us a pump, and I slammed that gas and hauled out of there at the full speed of 55mph to the nearest Les Schwab. **Shameless plug: if you have never been to Les Schwab before, I fully recommend it. They are incredibly friendly, have amazing customer service, and serviced our van is less than an hour with a patched tire and zero charge. I. Love. Them. Plug over.**
This was an easy drive for us, so we took it easy, explored the Oregon coast and countryside, and just got lost in all things PNW. This might've been my favorite day. We ended the night in Florence, Oregon at nice little RV park and indulged in some yummy food. This would be our last "not camping" meal.
Day 3: Florence, Oregon -> Oakridge, Oregon
This was also a very easy and relaxing day. Our route was short and sweet, roughly 3 hours of driving to our new location. We made a pit stop in Eugene, Oregon, got some delicious donuts, and stocked up on supplies for our camping over in Oakridge. This campsite was beautiful and so clean and perfect. We were right on a river, surrounded by beautiful trees and friendly campers.
Day 4: Oakridge, Oregon -> Toketee Falls -> Crater Lake National Park, Oregon
This leg of the trip is where things got fun and interesting. See I had mapped out our route to where we wouldn't (hopefully) hit any snow. Why? Not because I don't love the snow, because I do, but because here we were driving a 30 year old van, that had zero airbags, camping stuff all over, and no 4x4 or chains. Our entire trip so far I had been monitoring this storm that was right in the Central Oregon area. And guess what? The day before we got here it dumped snow. But since Oakridge had little cell service, I did not know that. So, we show up to Crater Lake with a ton of snow, plowed roads, and clouds in the sky, but with a weather report that looked in our favor. At that moment I decided it's part of the adventure, parked the van at our parking spot, and said I would deal with it when it needed to be dealt with. I came to enjoy this trip, and not stress about it.
The drive to Crater Lake was absolutely gorgeous though, and Toketee Falls was everything I had been wanting. I see why people love that area, and will be returning there as often as possible in my adventurous life.
Day 5: Crater Lake, Oregon -> Mt. Shasta, California
This was a bittersweet part of the drive. I absolutely love Mt. Shasta, so I was looking forward to camping there the entire roadtrip. But I knew that camping there would come the realization that this was our last day of our trip, and I didn't want it to end. But, like all good adventures, they must end. The ending though is what creates the urge to travel more and farther.
This entire roadtrip was everything I had been wanting and craving, and fulfilled a lot of my PNW bucket list. We kept the van down at my house, rebuilt the flooring and put in hardwood floors, detailed the entirety of it, replaced multiple missing screws and bolts, upgraded the batteries, and babied it all that we could. Meghan's uncle came down during Christmas time and drove the van back up to his house in Seattle...but not before we did a little adventuring over to Big Sur and the Central California coast. And we'll be up there in a few months and will tour around in Canada for a few days, another trip I am well looking forward to.
Day 6: Mt. Shasta, California -> Fresno, California (this part of the route was very, very boring, so I took zero photos, I'm sorry).
Thanks for reading!