Our journey through the Pacific Northwest began in Seattle where two of our good friends (Jason and Maura) took us in for a few days. As soon as we got there, the couple rolled out the red carpet for us and we were off to the races. Before we knew it, we had been to the Public Market, caught a fish, seen the original Starbucks and met some of their friends for a rooftop BBQ overlooking CenturyLink Stadium.
The next day we were treated to a boat ride on Lake Washington and an amazing dinner downtown. We were even able to link up with one of our good friends from Hopkins, Erin, who lives and works there now. The weekend was so amazing that Jason and Maura convinced us to stay an extra night to relax, catch up on Game of Thrones and of course have yet another amazing dinner downtown at their favorite Italian spot.
Neither of us had ever been to Seattle and we really enjoyed this city. They clearly love their coffee there, so it wasn’t hard for us to relate on that.
Olympic National Park
After leaving Seattle we decided to spend a night exploring Olympic National Park. Due to our extended stay in Seattle we lost a night, but we were still glad to get into the park and experience it. We decided to camp in the Hoh Rainforest, which is one of the largest temperate rainforests in the US and it was amazing! Tall trees for miles covered in deep green moss, it was like a scene from Avatar. We also were able to see Ruby Beach and arrived just as a fog was rolling in, so it made the whole experience surreal (and quite photo friendly).
The trip to Olympic also marked the first time we were able to get a glimpse of the Pacific Ocean since we left. We officially made it coast to coast!
There was absolutely no way we were going to drive down the coast and NOT stop to explore the wine regions of Oregon. Not only have the Willamette wines become some of our favorites over the years, but when we were in Burgundy it was all the French wanted to talk about! It seems everyone is very curious about what is going in Oregon, so we had to check it out.
We ended up staying right outside the town of Newberg on a farm and the second we arrived we knew we were in for a treat. Our new hosts, Sarah and Bubba were some of the nicest people we have met during our travels. Before we knew it, they had introduced us to half the town and made us feel like locals. They were so amazing they even allowed us to stay for an extra night free of charge. Faith in humanity restored!
Over our three days there, we explored various wineries including Beaux Freres (one of our favs), Soter and Domaine Drouhin. Bubba even brought us some wine from his place Nicolas Jay, which was awesome. We also took a day to explore Portland.
It is funny how some of our most memorable experiences have everything to do with the people we have met. Yes, Willamette is a gorgeous part of the world and yes, wine was plentiful; however, the folks in Newberg took us in and we feel like we made some amazing friends. This made all the difference and we will certainly be back to visit!
Despite hearing about raging wildfires around the Crater Lake area, we decided to take our chances and visit. We had just heard so many amazing things about this area that we had to give it a try.
Crater Lake was formed over 7,500 years ago when a volcano named Mount Mazama collapsed. It created a giant crater and over the years has become the deepest lake in the United States. The cool thing is that the lake is entirely fed by rain and snowmelt!
When we arrived to see this volcanic lake our fears came true. We could see the lake, but we watched as huge plumes of smoke descended upon it. Before we knew it, the lake had disappeared and the smoke from the fires had won. Could not see a thing. It was also crazy how quickly the smoke was able to engulf the lake as the winds changed. We camped for the night hoping we would get another shot in the morning for sunrise.
We got up early the next day and drove in the dark to the lake hoping we would get a chance to see it before we left. Luckily, the smoke had cleared and we experienced one of the most gorgeous sunrises we had ever seen. The colors from the sun reflecting off the deep blue hues of the lake were just incredible. Worth the risk and the visit for sure!
Well, not surprisingly we are very behind. We are currently in Austin, TX and it has been quite a journey from Crater Lake to get here. We drove down the entire coast of California, through Arizona, Utah and Colorado and are now here. We have a lot to catch you up on!
We apologize for the delay but now that we are (mostly) working our way through cities we should be able to get everything up to date. We can't wait to share our experiences and some incredible photos from places like Yosemite, Grand Canyon and the parks in Utah.
Thanks again for following along and all of the support. Speak soon!