The Pacific Northwest: {A travel story}

Some people have a bucket list filled with extremely monumental ideas.  Cure cancer, save a life, bungee jump.  Our bucket list consist of places.  Places to see, experience, and enjoy.  We have the big places on the list, like a water hut in Bora Bora, and then we have some realistic places like – the Pacific Northwest.  In summer 2012, that’s the one we crossed off the list – and here is the story…

If you think “Pacific Northwest”, you probably think – rain forest.  Which you’d be right, but in the month of August this rain forest becomes magical.  Sunny, and 60 degrees.  The greenest place you’ve ever seen, and it smells as though you have one of those tree air fresheners taped to your nose.  If the weather was as it is in this month all year long – the Pacific Northwest would be THE place to live.

We took 2 weeks to travel from Northern Washington to San Francisco seeing as much as possible along the way.  If we had to recommend a Pacific Northwest trip to a friend, we’d encourage you not to do this.  There is NO WAY you can possibly see what you want to in these 3 states in 2 weeks.  A month?  Maybe.  This area offers so much beauty and such a variety in landscapes, I think a trip would be better executed by doing one state at a time.  But we crammed as many miles and adventures in 2 weeks as possible and this is a tiny glimpse into it.

Seattle:

We only were able to spend 1 day here with all that we wanted to see.  Cities are always nice to see, but we mostly enjoy the areas that weren’t man made.  Most of our time in Seattle was spent in traffic.  I don’t know what in the world the problem is there, but L.A. traffic was more enjoyable.  It’s truly a gorgeous city though.  Their airport is amazing, and the temps were 60-70 degrees and full sun.  And the smell of pine will knock you over when you step off the plane.  

By recommendation we went to the San Juan islands.  Looking back, this was probably one of our favorite parts of the trip.  We chose Orcas Island as our destination point, and it did not disappoint.  So charming and breathtaking views.  And the Ferry ride was extremely cool!

We took photos with our professional cameras, as well as our point and shoot – and of corse Instagram.  If you are going on a trip just the two of you we highly recommend a wireless remote.  We use this one, and if it wasn’t for a little Gorillapod and the remote we would have missed out on some wonderful shots of both of us.  I of corse wish we were wearing different clothes in these shots, but this trip was very granola, so we made do with sweat shirts and tennis shoes.
Deception Pass in Anacortes WA is truly something to see.  It gets it’s name because generally, the fog is so thick in the morning that you can’t see that it’s there.  As it lifts it reveals how “deceiving” it can be as it reveals parts of the bridge as the fog lifts.  Roger wanted to get up early and see this and I decided the best idea was to sleep and just envision it in our minds.  (Which is a cop out for laziness, but don’t tell)  The view when we could actually see it was spectacular enough!  A local in Anacortes recommended we venture off the beaten path to Bow WA. for lunch.  It’s a miracle we ever left.  We could have picked up and relocated there in a heartbeat.  It’s just a tiny little town filled with gorgeous views and wonderfully quaint places to eat.  We decided that when we retire we are going to move there – I’m going to bake bread at the local bakery, and Roger is going to catch fish for the local restaurants.  There is absolutely no stress in Bow WA.  Heaven on Earth.

Many of the shots with trees are reminiscent of “Where’s Waldo?” in that the little bitty figures in the midst of the trees are us.  We love a trip with such magnificent scenery that you feel small and insignificant.  Between the mountains, the trees, the bodies of water, and the grandness of it all – we easily felt just that.

In Oregon there is a drive around Mount Hood that goes through the most picturesque orchards you’ve ever seen.  If you enjoy drives with no real destination, but with amazing views, it doesn’t get much better than this.

Lost Lake at Mt. Hood – we took a row boat around it for a couple hours.  I relaxed, Roger rowed.  It was incredible.  😉

It’s obvious to imagine that the forests in the Pacific Northwest are the greenest green you could imagine, but what you can’t imagine is how blue the bodies of water are!!  It’s difficult to tell where the sky stops and the water begins!!

There are SO MANY waterfalls in this region that are accessible to view up close and personal.  I believe we saw waterfalls every day of the trip.


This portion of the trip was easily our favorite part of the entire adventure.  This is a must see in a lifetime – Crater Lake.  It is the deepest lake in North America, formed by an imploded volcano years ago.  Getting into the area is a rarity as it snows an average of 44 feet a year and the roads are impassible 10 months of the year.  There was still snow on the sides of the roads when we were there.  In August.

When we tell you this is the bluest water you could ever see – that is NO exaggeration.  It’s like someone dumped TidyBowl in the water.  Roger enjoyed Crater Lake better than the Grand Canyon, which is saying a lot!!  If you need a bucket list item that pertains to seeing the wonders of the Earth, this is one to add!

If I would have had a bride and groom to put into this scene I would have died right then and there from excitement.  But since we only had us, we’ll do.  😉

We camped in the back of our rental car the night that we stayed here.  I don’t think I’ve ever need a cup of coffee and a shower so badly in my life.  But when you awake to scenes like this – the need for typical comforts become insignificant.

The Redwoods Forest = REALLY BIG TREES.  Bring a lunch though, because you will starve otherwise.  That’s lil ol me on the log.  Somewhere out there is a group of Asian men with this exact same shot on account of a bus tour breaking down in the middle of the road.  They told me to stay on the log for their photo.  It was one of the most humorous moments of my life.

The finale of the trip was my retirement community aka wine country.  We’d been to Napa in the past and found it to be the best weather we’d ever experienced, as well as the bluest skies, and lets not forget the important part… wine.  We decided to do Sonoma this trip for something different.  It was not as wonderful as Napa, but let’s be honest – it’s kinda hard to screw up “wine country”.  It was the perfect end to the trip.

And from the bluest skies to the grayest, we flew out of San Francisco (Francisco… that’s fun to say) and said goodbye to the Pacific Northwest.  

Sometimes you come home from a vacation and feel so wiped out that you need a vacation.  This one, we felt renewed.  We didn’t want to get in a car for about a week after thousands of miles of driving, but we felt a peace that only a journey can provide.  Throughout 80% of the trip we had no cell phone service.  Can I tell you how nice it was to be cut off from the real world?  If you haven’t experienced that for 14 days – you should.  Sometimes it just refreshing to be present in the moment you are in and unplug from all the noise of life.  With the exception of our blog.  You should always stay connected to us.  😉

If you are ever planning a trip to the Pacific Northwest and want any info on where we would recommend to stay, see, or eat – shoot us a message!!  We are happy to help you enjoy the trip of a lifetime!!

Thanks for reliving ours with us!!

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Mark - A beautiful story about your trip. I can’t believe how much you crammed into just two weeks.

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