It was actually quite comfy, except for the last few nights in Jackson, WY and Yellowstone. Both nights were in the 20's and there was literally frost inside the tent. It made it much easier to get up in time for sunrise in order to get in the truck and turn the heat on!
We saw many amazing places, but for the most part, it was a tease; I could easily spend a week in each location we visited and still not do everything I would like. We have a list of future vacations made; now we just need time and money. Ha!
The most notable places for me were: Jackson, Wy and the Tetons, Hood River, OR, the Oregon Coast, and the entire Olympic Peninsula. The Washington Coast has completely stolen my heart. The greenery, the trees, the ocean and mountains together. I don't see how it gets any better than that. I could gush forever, but instead, I'll show you some of my favorite pictures.
We went to Yellowstone twice. It was really amazing. Artist Point and Mammoth Falls were the big highlights there, but again, we spent two short days in the park and would have liked to have two weeks there.
We saw some great cities along the way- Leavenworth, WA is a really neat place to visit, as is Bend, OR, but nothing could capture my heart like the ocean did. I've been to the ocean many times, but never this ocean. This was my first introduction to the Pacific and I fell hardcore.
I didn't think it could get any better than Port Townsend and Port Angeles, but then we drove up Hurricane Ridge Highway into the Olympic National Park. Seriously, we splashed in the ocean in the morning and a few hours later we were on top of majestic mountains, standing on snow, overlooking glaciers and the ocean. I'm at a loss for words. This is how I picture heaven. That is about all I can say.
That night we camped in the Heart of the Hills campground in the park; by far the coolest campground I've ever stayed in. There were huge boulders and gigantic trees all over the place. And even though it was high up in the mountains, everything was still so green and lush. It seemed so magical to me.
The next day we drove to Rialto Beach and then camped in a rainforest! Doesn't that just sound so cool? It was really cool; and it barely rained, which is a major bonus when tent camping.
Oh that beach. This was probably my favorite place of the whole trip. I love walking on the beach and hearing the waves roll in and the crackle and clicking of the pebbles as the waters rushes back out. The trees were gorgeous, standing and fallen. There is something beautiful about the massive, bleached driftwood along the shoreline. The trees of Washington just slay me anyway. Cedars and Sitka Spruces...be still my heart.
I teared up a little when we left the Washington coast. But I didn't have much time to remember to be sad because our next major stop was Portland. Hello Foodie Heaven and Beervana! I joked with some friends that I ate for two and Hubs drank for two. I was slightly jealous, but he let me have a teeny sip of the best here and there.
My brother begged me to go to Voodoo Donuts and have a Maple Bacon Bar. That was easy and well worth the wait and calories. Drooling just thinking about it. And can I please get an AMEN for food carts? Seriously- wood-fired artisan pizza and fig, goat cheese and proscuitto crepes from campers? Totally in!
Portland was really fun. I can't speak highly enough for their public transportation. We took the MAX, their light rail, everywhere. It was awesome. Little Man loved it. But I was ready to get out of the city when we left. And it was back to the beach for us. We hit up the Oregon coast and the dunes. Again, awesome.
Again, I almost cried when we left the coast. But Hood River and Bend we both great towns and then we got to Jackson, WY. And that is probably my favorite mountain town. I love the kitschy tourism, the restaurants, the arts, the Snake River. And the Tetons are phenomenal.
Who doesn't wish they were a cowgirl living in Jackson right now? I totally want to go back there someday and see the park on horseback. Someday.
After Jackson, we cruised through Yellowstone again, drove the Beartooth Scenic Highway- which is the second most beautiful drive I've ever taken- and saw Red Lodge and Billings, MT before heading home. Sigh. Now I just need to find a way to get our families to all move out west with us. But for now, I've got some great memories and dreams...and life at the lake isn't so bad!