We had not ever explored the southern Oregon coast much so that was our first stop on day 1 of our road trip that began about three weeks ago. Trekking down I 5 to Hwy 38 and heading for the coast, we traveled through an old favorite route of ours where Elk roam the fields on the sides of the road the mighty Umpqua River rushes in emeralds and blues alongside you. This road took us to the Oregon Coast!
We spent our first night in North Bend at the Itty Bitty Hotel right off the hwy. We used AirBnB for our trip and I have to say, this was our best experience on the road with them. The place was teeny or "itty bitty" as the name says however, it was perfect for the two of us. Rik was an awesome host and the little place was super clean and comfy. Be sure to check out this motel if you are headed that way.
We left early the next morning with lots to do and spent some time at Shore Acres roaming the gardens and trying to keep dry. This time of year, the coast is unpredictable but we didn't complain, we are Oregonians after all. I suggest Shore Acres at Christmastime by the way. The grounds are covered in lights and it's just perfect for everyone that loves the season.
We headed to the Bandon Dunes Golf Resort next. I had explored this once but with Ray, we trekked out on to the greens and again, ducking the rain and watching the hard core golfers ignore the wet! Soon we were headed south once again. We had more to see and drive through as we headed for our second night on the road.
Using AirBnB once again, we stayed at a cute little cottage in Arcata, CA. Met some friends at a pub, where we ate burgers and drank local beer and then found this little ice cream shop just around the corner. It was called, Arcata Scoop. They make all their own ice cream and we soon found out just how sweet this place is. Next morning we stopped for coffee and grabbed a red velvet cupcake at a local bakery and set out for the Redwoods! And yes, all good cupcakes need their photograph taken and yes, that's a blue vintage suit case in the photo that we took along with us to use for our picnic basket.
Driving the Redwoods took most of the day cause we just couldn't keep our eyes off the trees. They were gorgeous and so every side road we could take led us to even more trees as we kept slowly trekking south.
|Redwoods with that cupcake!|
We eventually made it to Petaluma, our third night on the road. A nice town with lots to see and do, our lodging was a new Air Stream Trailer at this little French Hotel. Let me just say this… it sounds so cute and fun but really, it's not! Ha… we really enjoyed the idea of it all and the bed was super comfy but that's as far it goes. I am sure we are more hotel folk and not travel trailer folk. Lesson learned and then we were on our way bright and early the next morning.
We back tracked a little as we had an appointment for a special tour of Spirit Works Distillery in Sebastapol. I love their Sloe Gin so I was dying to see how they make it. A quick tour and learning about the Sloe Berries and the fact that Spirit Works is the only distillery in the US to make Sloe Gin right now, we were smitten and hooked for good! Our favorite part of the tour… seeing the barrels loaded with whiskey, we noticed that they were hooked up to iPods and had head phones laying over the top of them. Classical, hard rock, etc. were playing on each barrel. I can't wait to see how this pans out next year when the whiskey will be ready for tasting. Nothing better than whiskey that's been aging while rocking out to ALL of Led Zeplins records!
We walked around this area of Sebastapol for a while and discovered that it's grounds and warehouses were used to store Gravenstein apples at one time. Now these warehouses hold bakeries, wine tasting rooms, restaurants and soon, a hotel! I need to go back asap… I just want to explore more of this region and especially see how they turn an old warehouse in to a hotel.
It was back to I 5 eventually and we had a reservation at a swanky West LA hotel and we didn't want to be late. We got checked in, Über was scheduled and we were off to find the Burger Lounge which just so happened to be across the street from LA's Salt & Straw. No accident it was there really, I had this all planned out weeks ago. Delicious burgers and then a stroll over for some ice cream and a listen to all the folks in line. Kind of funny but there's a line in LA too by the way and I had a great time sitting and watching the LA crowd ooh and awe over Salt & Straw's flavors. Another Über trek back and that was that for the night.
Next morning we were up and ready for Huckleberry! A Santa Monica staple and with my Huckleberry Cookbook in hand, we strolled in, ordered breakfasts and asked that every baker sign the book for us. It was going to be a wedding gift after all and so signatures, well wishes and a gift card tucked nicely inside would be perfect! Our breakfast was perfect too… breakfast porridge for me and huevos rancheros for him and then we were once again on our way!
|That's Sher! xoxo|
Time spent in Southern California with family and friends and this wedding in the mountains of Idyllwild, we played, we ate, we laughed and shared with friends our stories as we listened to theirs. Cuban cigars paid courtesy of another AirBnB hit, were spread around at this gathering below. Fellow firefighters sitting by the fire after devouring smoked meats and other delicious goodies, smoking and sipping fine whiskey's till it was time to say good bye and good night once again.
|St. George view from The Inn at the Cliff!|
We spent a few nights after that in Arizona visiting more family and then trekked a whole day via the Hoover Dam and Vegas in to St. George, Utah. One night there and on to Zion National Park where friends had already booked a cabin for us to share. We only had one night so this had to be good… and it was! We put our sneakers on and pulled our pant legs up and trekked through part of The Narrows and wow… we had a blast! I had trekked through water before but this was simply amazing! The high cliffs above us with walls of red and blue river water, we walked over stones and sand bars for a while till we could go no more all the while cursing ourselves for not planning this better and renting the proper gear to go all the way. Next time!
I hadn't been to Zion since I was young so this was surely a treat. It was crowded this time of year but not so much so that we couldn't enjoy just being there. The cabins at the Zion Lodge are perfect and warm and cozy and it's a great place to be. One night and darn it, we had to get home. Saying good bye to friends the next morning and hit the road once more.
|The Narrows at Zion NP!|
One night in Boise at the The Boise Guest House and we were so pooped out from driving once we got there. It was almost 9:30 and we had to get out and walk! After we got checked in, we strolled over to the Bittercreek Alehouse and had thee most perfect beer, tacos, wings and fries! We hit the 10pm mark and it was happy hour all over again. Filled bellies and a short stroll back, we decided that Boise needs another visit as well. We'll be back and we enjoyed our short stay at the guesthouse and I have a free bike rental waiting for me on Yelp I'll need to use;)!
|The Boise Guest House!|
Back home in Portland now for a few days and it has been a long journey and an awesome road trip. Filled with excursions, hiking, eating, photography, wet feet and wedding "I do's," but most of all, a journey filled with kissing loved ones, hanging with friends and just being with those we care about. It was the best road trip ever and I'm looking forward already to the next one!