FC: Brittney and John's 2008 Northwest American Road Adventures
1: On June 2nd, 2008 we departed San Jose early in the morning - 6:45AM. We headed north. Our goal for the trip was to travel as much as possible in just two weeks. This meant a lot of driving!!! We had no reservations and no concrete plans - - just the GPS and a basic idea of things we wanted to see.
2: On our way, we saw the World's Largest Tree House! | We headed straight to Eureka, CA and made it there by 12:45 PM.
3: After lunch, we left Eureka for Newport, OR. This was a beautiful drive. We took 101, which runs along the coast. We saw Elk and redwood trees--But what really made the drive spectacular was looking over the coast for most of the drive.
4: We ended up stopping short of Newport and rested at Florence, OR. What a beautiful, friendly town! The landmark of the town is a bridge which was built in 1936. The photo to the right was taken from our seats at dinner. In our hotel room there was a helpful sign teaching how to escape a tsunami. We found this very strange.
5: The next day - day 2 - we wanted to go to both Portland, OR and Seattle, WA. We left in the morning at 6:15 and got into Portland around 9:30AM. We headed straight for Voodoo Donuts--known in Portland for their interesting blend of donuts. Yes, that is bacon on a maple bar!!
6: We then spent the time walking throughout the city. My favorite spot was the Washington State Park: there is a great view of the city from up there.
7: They also have a great rose garden and Japanese tea garden.
8: We left Portland around 3:00pm for Seattle. Our hotel was very close to the Seattle Space Needle. | John was also so wonderful; he found the first Starbuck's for me!!!
9: Seattle is a big city: it felt much larger than Portland. The next day in Seattle we visited the Pike Place Market . . .
10: . . . Where we had breakfast at the restaurant which Sleepless in Seattle was filmed. Then, we walked around town in the rain and also went to the top of the Space Needle.
11: In the afternoon we headed to the Boeing Museum of Flight. It was huge!
12: This was one of John's favorite stops of the trip. He was like a kid in a candy shop. We were also able to see Air Force One.
13: We left Seattle around 3pm for Vancouver, Canada.
14: Our GPS wasn't working in Canada. This limited our ability to explore the city. However, we did visit the Stanley park, which was right on the water. The park offered great sights of the city. We stayed the night in Vancouver and headed out for Glacier National Park in the afternoon.
15: The roads to Glacier National Park were beautiful: waterfalls along the road, big glassy lakes and snow capped mountains. We stopped short of Glacier National Park and stayed the night in Sicamous, about an hour away. The next morning we began driving and when we stopped, we were told that the entire park was closed for tent campers at this time of year (keep in mind it was June!!). Thus, we kept driving for Banff. Along the way we found a beautiful campsite near Lake Louise about an hour from Banff. While we were waiting at the entry gate for the park, John shut off the engine due to the long line of cars - and Canada's no idle policy. | When he attempted to start the car again, it would not turn over. Good thing Brittney had AAA. It took over an hour for a tow truck to get out there. We had no idea what was wrong with the car: everything looked fine. The next town that would have a mechanic was about 57km away. At this point John was feeling pretty sad: a towing fee of over $300 would not go well with a potential auto fix-up fee of over $400. Right before towing the car, Brittney asked the tow truck driver to try to jump start the car. He was reluctant but finally agreed. It worked!!! The car was running - what a relief that was. So, we drove into Banff. We figured if the car broke down there, at least we could find a mechanic to fix it.
16: The exact location of our car broke down
17: Banff was so beautiful! We spent the weekend there waiting for a store to open so we could buy a battery. We couldn't have picked a better place to stay . . .
18: We visited the Fairmont - a castle turned hotel. It was Amazing!
19: We wandered down a hill to discover this: | There were waterfalls, snow capped mountains, and wild animals on a beautiful golf course.
20: On another day we went for a 3 hour hike at a beautiful lake. | We spotted several wild goats enjoying their dinner.
21: Around every turn, we discovered more and more picturesque views. From glassy lakes and streaming rivers to sky high tree and snow. . . It was breathtaking!
22: Before we left, we strolled downtown to take photos of downtown Banff.
23: We left Banff for Yellowstone National Park. We drove from Banff to Calgary and then through Montana. We did stay the night in Great Falls, Montana--it was really getting harder to drive for more than eight hours at this point of the trip. We finally arrived in Yellowstone - this is the famous entrance gate.
24: From there we drove through the park. Along the way we saw more wild animals - from bison to dear, steam from the ground, and snow on the mountains.
25: Our campsite was perfect, right on our own private creek. And it stopped raining just as we were setting up.
26: Before it got too late we went to a local geyser. We walked around until it started raining again.
27: And for dinner . . . we had bacon, corn on the cob, and salad! We were a little unprepared - we had to use plastic forks to cook bacon.
28: After a night of non-stop rain, this is the sight we woke up to. So cool!
30: We arrived in perfect time to see Old Faithful give it her best.
31: We drove the rest of the way through Yellowstone which led us around the largest lake imaginable.
32: From Yellowstone, we drove through Wyoming--we even visited Buffalo Bill's favorite town: Cody, Wyoming. We got all the way down to Denver, Colorado before we got tired and called it a night. From Colorado, we traveled down to New Mexico. I had one of the best Chili Rellenos in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
33: Then, we headed over to Sedona, AZ.
34: We stayed the night in Sedona before going to visit John's brother and his family in Phoenix.
35: John had so much fun with his nephews!
36: On the way back home we had the opportunity to visit the UCLA campus and stop by the EE department where John will be going starting in fall 2008.
37: The purpose of this trip was to cover as much of the North American west as we could in two weeks: it was a driving trip. We are proud to say that we did just that. We had a great experience. We travelled over 4600 miles; John drove us through seven states and 2 Canadian provinces. We made memories together that will never be forgotten!