USA

Northern California Coast

Time for another road trip in the Chinook, our favorite mode of travel.  We've been busy the last few months launching our new mobile bar business, Petite Street.  We also added another member to our family, our puppy Maple. This was her first time on the road and we were both excited to see how she liked it. We packed up the Chinook and headed west to the coast.

Our first stop on our roadtrip up the coast was at Van Damme State Park in Mendocino. This is one of our favorite campgrounds. The campground is across the street from the beach and is underneath an amazing canopy of trees completely covered in moss. It is the greenest place we have ever been. The campsites are very secluded, especially further back into the gully and some sit next to the creek that winds through the campground.

We spent the whole next day here and it ended up being one of the best days of our lives. We started off the morning with some hot coffee and then took Maple on her first hike. The Fern Canyon trail starts at the end of this campground near our campsite. You are surrounded by plant life as you follow the creek through the dense forest.

The rising valley walls are covered in ferns and the trees here have grown tall so they can reach the sparse amount of sunlight available.

After our hike we packed up and headed to the beach for the day. It was a perfectly sunny day and Maple's first time at the ocean. When the sun began to set Jeff set up the tripod to get a group photo. He turned on the timer and ran over. When he got there Angela noticed something shiny on Maple's collar. It was a ring! Jeff then got down on one knee and proposed! It was such a perfect moment and one neither of us will ever forget!

Tip: You can also camp at Van Damme State Park right on the beach across the street if you are in a camper. Just back up into one of the beachfront parking spots and pay at the Ranger Station. There are even some fire pits on the beach you can use.

The next morning we went to downtown Mendocino and had a nice brunch with some mimosas to celebrate before continuing down the coast. We passed through Fort Bragg which is home to one of the most unique beaches in the world, Glass Beach.

The next campground we stayed at was Westport Campground which is directly on the beach. If you are looking for beachfront camping this is a perfect spot. The black sand beach here is very long and just out your back door.

Maple has a new love for running on beaches and chewing on driftwood.

It rained this evening so we spent it tucked inside the Chinook playing cards and talking about how amazing yesterday's engagement was and trying out the word "fiance."

Back on the road again and heading toward the Redwoods! Highway 1 was closed right above Westport due to a mudslide so we decided to take an off road called Branscomb Road to reach Highway 101. This ended up being a great idea. This road winded through the forest and the thick mist made it hard to see around each turn. Eventually we popped out exactly where we wanted.

On the way to our next campground we checked out the Chandelier drive-thru tree which was amazing.

We stayed the night at Standish Hickey State Park. This campground was overgrown with gorgeous trees, moss, and ferns.  We cooked a delicious dinner over the fire and enjoyed being out in nature.

The next day we drove the Chinook down the Avenue of the Giants in Redwood National Park. We were amazed by these towering trees. These ancient groves have been around for millions of years and we liked to imagine the dinosaurs roaming around these same types of trees in the Jurassic Age. These beautiful red bark giants can grow to be up to 35 stories tall!

You can definitely feel something magical as you wander through a Redwood Grove.

We camped at Burlington Campground which was phenomenal and one of our favorite campground yet! During our stay here the Chinook was literally sandwiched between two giant redwood trees. If you've ever dreamed of sleeping underneath the Redwoods this campground is the perfect choice.

Tip: Across the street and through the forest you will find the Eel River which has sandy beaches and turquoise water. In the summer you can swim here.

After our time in the Redwoods it was time to head back to the coast. On our way we stopped at the Victorian Village of Ferndale. This picturesque little town is a hidden gem and definitely worth a stop.

We stopped in Eureka and ate at Diver Bar and Grill which has some incredible artisanal wood fire pizzas. Afterwards we stopped at the Lost Coast Brewery for a pint. Sometimes you need a break from camp food.

The last stop on our road trip was Patrick's Point State Park. This park is situated on the cliffs above the coast. There are multiple beaches, trails, and nature walks you can explore in this 1 square mile park. Unfortunately it was raining almost the entire time we were here, but that is to be expected this time of year.

We've decided on our next road trip we are going to start here and continue up the coast. This area of the world is unmatched with it's towering Redwoods and wild coastline. If you haven't already put the Northern California Coast on the top of your travel list.

Yellowstone National Park

One of our last stops on our epic roadtrip was Yellowstone National Park. Established in 1872, Yellowstone National Park is America's first national park. We spent our 5 days here hiking, fishing and exploring one of the most famous National Parks in the world.

Jeff fishing on the Firehole River and the Chinook enjoying the view.

Jeff fishing on the Firehole River and the Chinook enjoying the view.

Yellowstone can be very busy during the summer months so we recommend making campground reservations, even the first come first serve campgrounds fill up everyday around 8am. (We really recommend coming here in the off season!)

Yellowstone National Park has 50 mammal species, 311 bird species, 18 fish species, 6 reptile species, 4 amphibian species, and 5 endangered species. It also has the largest concentration of free roaming wildlife in all of the lower 48 states.

Yellowstone Falls in the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.

Yellowstone Falls in the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone.

The Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, you could feel the rumble of the waterfall from all around. We snuck over a barrier and got a birds eye view looking at the water flowing over the ledge, mother nature at work!

Jeff fishing on the Madison River.

Jeff fishing on the Madison River.

We camped at a few different campgrounds during our stay here but the Madison campground was our favorite because the Madison river was only a few steps away, perfect for some sunset fishing.

The Grand Prismatic Spring.

The Grand Prismatic Spring.

Grand Prismatic Spring pumps out over 4,000 gallons of boiling water every single minute, making it the largest hot springs in North America.

On our hike to Fairy Falls we climbed up the side of the mountain and were rewarded with this stunning view of the Grand Prismatic Spring from above. If we have any advice, its hike up this view, its ridiculously cool. You will not see signs for this, just go up!

People walking through the steam coming out of the Grand Prismatic Spring.

People walking through the steam coming out of the Grand Prismatic Spring.

A fun and easy hike we recommend is the hike to Fairy Falls. Once you reach the falls continue on the trail towards the Imperial Geyser.  As we approached this geyser we saw it erupt from the distance, we ran as fast as we could to see it; but we were too late. Little did we know this geyser erupts every few minutes! We had this geyser all to ourselves. After squeezing in with thousands of people to see Old Faithful, we felt lucky to be the only ones around, we stayed here for a half hour and saw it erupt over and over. 

When visiting Old Faithful, (which erupts every 90 minutes) pop into the Old Faithful Inn and check out the amazing wooden architechture in the lobby.

Inside the Old Faithful Inn.

Inside the Old Faithful Inn.

The best fishing we did in Yellowstone was on the Lamar River.  Good friends and good times.

Jess, Dan and Jeff checking out the river below for fish.

Jess, Dan and Jeff checking out the river below for fish.

Mammoth Hot Springs

Mammoth Hot Springs

Yellowstone has about 300 active geysers and about 10,000 thermal features.  The Mammoth Hot Springs are some of the largest in the park.

Bye Yellowstone, see you again, but next time in winter.

Glacier National Park

Moose on the loose

Moose on the loose

We crossed the boarder back into the states and our first stop was Glacier National Park. We entered into the park in the northeastern corner, and because it was early in the summer season the "Going to the Sun Road" wasn't fully open which left this area of the park isolated. We stayed at the Many Glaciers campground which is first come first serve and down a long, bumpy gravel road.

Many Glacier Hotel

Many Glacier Hotel

Just down the road from our campground was the legendary Many Glacier Hotel. This Swiss-style hotel celebrated it's 100th year anniversary in July. This rustic hotel is dwarfed by mountains and sits on Swiftcurrent Lake.

You do not have to be staying at Many Glacier Hotel to enjoy its splendor.  We spent time reading on their porch and sitting by the giant fireplace in the lobby. We highly recommend this cozy little spot.

View from the porch of the Many Glacier Hotel.

View from the porch of the Many Glacier Hotel.

Lake Josephine

Lake Josephine

We hiked to Grinnell Lake which starts from the Many Glacier Hotel.  You pass by beautiful Lake Josephine on the way and end at Grinnell Lake where we stopped for a swim.

During our hike to Grinnell Lake we came across a mother Grizzly and her cub. They were walking on the same hiking path that we were, as we turned a corner and looked up and about 40 feet away there they were. Our hearts were racing because we know that you do not want to get between a momma grizzly and her cub.  The cub was rather curious of us, and stood on its hind legs. With bear mace in hand we slowly walked backwards. In a few moments the mamma bear moseyed down to the lake with her cub. A little too close for comfort but an unforgettable experience.

We saw more wildlife in Glacier National Park than in any other park, we saw moose, big horn sheep, mountain goats, black bears and GRIZZLYS!

Grizzly bears in the valley

Grizzly bears in the valley

Blackfoot territory

Blackfoot territory

Whitefish Lake campground

Whitefish Lake campground

Close to Glacier National Park is Whitefish, Montana.  This was one of our favorite little towns we visited.  The old downtown streets are lined with saloons, shops, and restaurants.  We met up with our friends Dan and Jess at a campground right on Whitefish Lake where we stayed for two nights.  There was a hexagenia mayfly hatch and the boys spent the evenings out on the lake fishing. After some fishing one night we went into town for some hoe-dancing in an old saloon .

Jeff ties all of his own flies. Tying flies yourself lets you get your representation as close to the actual insect as your tying skills will allow. This is a big split-tail hexagenia mayfly.

Stars over Whitefish Lake.

San Juan Islands

After Sasquatch music festival we drove to Anacortes, WA where the Chinook took its first ferry ride to Lopez Island. We picked Lopez Island because it is the flattest of all the San Juan Islands which makes it great for exploring on our bikes. We stayed at Spencer Spit State Park and we had the entire place to ourselves. Our campsite was right near the beach where a ton of drift wood washes ashore, and people use the wood to build cool huts and teepees. There are also a few fire pits right on the beach where you are allowed to burn driftwood. We made this a nightly ritual.

There seemed to be far more wildlife then human life on this island. We saw bald eagles, blue herons, otters, seals, deer, whales, wild peacocks, and the fat rabbits that inhabit Lopez.

Mooring balls are also available on both sides of this beach point for sail boats.

Mooring balls are also available on both sides of this beach point for sail boats.

We explored all of Lopez island and hiked along the coast and found a special little beach.

Lopez Island has a few working farms that are beautiful and fun to visit. One of our favorites was Horse Drawn Farm. This 80 acre family owned farm hosts a daily farmstand where locals can come and buy fresh produce and meat. And yes they use a horse drawn plow.

After 4 wonderful days exploring the San Juan Islands we are on the road again heading up into British Columbia. Canada here we come!

Oregon

We did it! We packed up the Chinook and hit the road! We have laughed many times already about how scary it was to leave! The poor little Chinook was loaded to the max, I dont think we could have stuffed even another peanut into the back. The bike rack Jeff and his brother Chris installed is a fabulous addition.  We drove about 7 hours in the rain up to Crater Lake and the Chinook ran like a champ.  We decided to give the Chinook the nickname of "Summit Crusher" because despite the weight we added with our bikes, food and arsenal of wine it still cruised up and down the mountains with ease.

Crater Lake, Oregon

Crater Lake, Oregon

Crater Lake was truly spectacular, the rain and mist made it even more stunning.

Crater Lake, Oregon

Crater Lake, Oregon

After Crater Lake we drove past Diamond Lake and into the Umpqua National Forest. Hidden in this forest are the most incredible hot springs we have ever been to.  We arrived just in time for a sunset dip. We drank champagne with some very naked hippies and then found a little spot off the side of the road to sleep for the night. Easy to say that Day #1 was a success.

Umpqua River, Oregon

Umpqua River, Oregon

We set our alarm and woke up for a sunrise soak in the hot springs before hitting the road again.  We drove about 2 hours to Bend.  We parked the Chinook at a park by the river, hopped on our bikes and explored downtown Bend.

Downtown Bend, Oregon

Downtown Bend, Oregon

  We went to a couple breweries on the "Ale Trail" and enjoyed some amazing local beers.  At one point we stopped to look at our map and all of a sudden Ang's cousin Terah's husband Casey popped out of the building next to us and says, "Hey, are you guys lost?" What are the chances! Casey is an amazing fly fisher and offered to take Jeff out for an evening fishing on the Deschutes River, salmon flies were out and about so we went on a little mission. We went to dinner with Casey and Terah in downtown Bend. Thanks for showing us around, you two are the best. Congrats on the baby on the way! We spent the night off the Cascade Lakes Highway and woke up surrounded by fun mountain bike trails. This maze of trails were well maintained and we spent the next day exploring the Deschutes Forest on our bikes.

After Bend we drove through Oregon into Washington to Sasquatch Music Festival at the Gorge Amphitheater.  The amphitheater was breathtaking, one of the most amazing places to watch live music.  We danced to Chromeo, saw Lana Del Rey, and had a blast to our favorite band; Monsters and Men.  We felt like VIPs camping in the Chinook instead of in a tent. We had a lot of fun and made some new friends.

We love you Oregon, we will be back soon.

Off to the San Juan Islands, Cheers!  - Ang and Jeff


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