<< markandrupa

Pacific Northwest, USA

september 2008

Rupa planned a really fun and relaxing road trip around our own little corner of the world. We started with day hiking on the Olympic Peninsula before moving south to the Long Beach Peninsula for some cape-cod style vacationing. After that we left our home state and spent a couple of stormy days along the Oregon coast, eventually working our way into northern California where the weather improved and we had a great time hiking in Redwood National Park. In Mendocino we relaxed a bit at a lovely bed and breakfast before heading further south to visit with Rasa, Craig and Michelle in the Sonoma Valley.



Trip log

  1. Seattle to Port Angeles - august 13

    We left a beautiful Seattle afternoon aboard the Bainbridge Island ferry, grabbed a relaxing lunch in Bainbridge and continued on to Port Angeles, our first overnight stop. Upon arrival we immediately drove up to Hurricane Ridge and enjoyed a short walk with some fantastic views before returning to our hotel for the evening.

    Best Western Olympic Lodge, Port Angeles

  2. Hurricane Ridge, Olympic National Park - august 14

    We spent the day up on Hurricane Ridge, hiking six miles along Grand Ridge and Badger Valley in 80F weather. Fortunately there was a cool breeze at the top and fabulous views of the Olympics and Cascades eased the pain. Wildflower meadows and a friendly marmot added to our enjoyment, and we rewarded ouselves with cheeseburgers and milkshakes at Frugals in Port Angeles before crashing at the hotel.

    Best Western Olympic Lodge, Port Angeles

  3. Marymere Falls, Sol-Duc Falls & Rialto Beach - august 15

    We stopped at a pair of very nice waterfalls en route to Forks today, beginning with Marymere Falls near Lake Crescent and moving on to Sol-Duc Falls a little further along. Our last stop was Rialto Beach on the Olympic Coast, our first view of the Pacific Ocean from our home state. A thick fog had settled in as we began a four mile beach walk, but by the time we arrived at Hole-in-Wall the sky had cleared and we had some fantastic views of the log strewn beach and offshore rock stacks.

    Pacific Inn Motel, Forks

  4. Hoh Rain Forest & Ruby Beach - august 16

    It was hot and humid today - in the high 80s - when we started our hike in the Hoh Rain Forest. We began with a walk along the short but scenic Hall of Mosses to view the lichen-draped conifers and maples, then enjoyed a picnic lunch before setting out on a six mile return hike to lovely Tom Creek along the Hoh River. From there we drove out to fog-shrouded Ruby Beach where the temperature dropped a full thirty degrees to the mid 50s - a refreshing end to an oppresively hot afternoon. We then continued on to Lake Quinault and checked into the historic National Park lodge for the night.

    Lake Quinault Lodge, Quinault

  5. Lake Quinault - august 17

    We spent the morning relaxing at the lodge before embarking on a four mile loop hike through the rainforest just down the street. It was cooler today and overcast - perfect hiking conditions - and we completed the very nice loop in under two hours. After having a snack on the lodge's lake-facing lawn we cleaned up and finished the day with a fabulous dinner at the lodge restaurant.

    Lake Quinault Lodge, Quinault

  6. Lake Quinault to Long Beach Peninsula - august 18

    We spent most of the day driving to the Long Beach Peninsula, stopping along the way to see a pair of enormous trees (including a 1000-year old Sitka Spruce), a 120-year old inn at Tokeland and Pacifc County's 1910 courthouse, dubbed "The Gilded Palace of Extravagance". We also motored to the tip of the Peninsula for a short hike at Leadbetter State Park before grabbing some late-night pizza.

    Shelburne Inn, Seaview, Long Beach Peninsula

  7. Cape Disappointment & Cannon Beach - august 19

    We had hopped to enjoy the Long Beach Kite Festival today, but windy weather kept most of the kites grounded and instead we spent some time at the Lewis & Clark Interpretation Center at Cape Disappointment. The weather continued to worsen as we entered Oregon, and by the time we were browsing art galleries in Cannon Beach a persistent rain and wind storm swept in.

    Cannon Beach Hotel, Cannon Beach

  8. Haystack Rock & the Tillamook Cheese Factory - august 20

    We left for the beach at 9am this morning to visit Haystack Rock, an enormous 235ft sea stack just off the beach. We timed our visit for low tide so we could check out the starfish and anemones hanging around in the tidal pools, but it was horribly windy and a cold 60F so we didn't stay long. Back in the room we watched some olympic volleyball before driving an hour south to visit the Tillamook Cheese Factory. Apparently everyone else had the same idea, as the factory was a zoo. We had lunch in the cafe, watched the packaging assembly line for an hour and then finished off with some ice cream.

    Cannon Beach Hotel, Cannon Beach

  9. Cannon Beach to Yachats - august 21

    The weather improved today, and by early afternoon we were looking into the sun more often than not. We spent the morning in Cannon Beach, exploring a few of the nicer art galleries that were previously closed. From there we drove south along the coast, diverting off HW101 to take the Three Capes Scenic Drive. Our stops included the lighthouse at Cape Meares, Anderson's Viewpoint for a panorama of Cape Lookout and Three Arch Rocks, the sandstone bluff at Cape Kiwanda and the Devil's Punchbowl at Cape Foulweather.

    Overleaf Lodge & Spa, Yachats

  10. Cape Perpetua, Yaquina Bay & Yaquina Head - august 22

    After a nice breakfast buffet at the hotel we spent some time along the coast at nearby Cape Perpetua checking out the tide pools and watching the crashing surf. From there we drove north to check out a pair of lighthouses at Yaquina Bay and Yaquina Head. The former was really just a large house with a light plopped on the roof, whereas the later was a more traditional tower and featured an elegant iron staircase spiraling to the top and a still operating first order Fresnel lens. We ended the day back at Cape Perpetua and the Spouting Horn blowhole, which at high tide put on a great show.

    Overleaf Lodge & Spa, Yachats

  11. Yachats to Bandon - august 23

    We had a busy day with lots to see on our two hour drive south to Bandon. First up was a volcanic rock seal haul-out that also featured coloful tide pools filled with red star fish and green anemones. Our second stop was Sea Lion Caves where we descended 200 feet into a large sea cave where we found plenty of boisterous sea lions. We continued sight-seeing all day, including three lighthouses, a bog full of carniverous pitcher plants, a herd of elk, more seals and sea lions and miles of sand dunes.

    La Kris Inn, Bandon

  12. Bandon to Crescent City, California - august 24

    We only had a two hour drive today, but we broke it up with a number of stops. The most interesting were the sea stacks off Bandon Beach, a four mile hike to Blacklock Point and the fogged in Cape Blanco Light. We spent the rest of the day driving along the often dramatic southern Oregon coast, pulling in at numerous waysides to check out the views.

    Lighthouse Inn, Crescent City, California

  13. Redwood National and State Parks - august 25

    We spent today driving and walking through the forests of Redwood National Park. These were some of our favorite all-time forests, with the tall, stiff redwoods looking as if they'd been pile-driven straight into the ground. We also entertained ourselves with one of the larger tourist traps in the area - Trees of Mystery. We then raced down the coast to our B&B, arriving just in time to check-in and grab some dinner at the area's only open restaurant.

    The Lost Whale Inn, Patrick's Point State Park

  14. Redwood National and State Parks - august 26

    After a fabulous breakfast at the inn we drove back to the National Park for three different short hikes. The first was the Tall Trees Trail, set along Redwood Creek (after a 650ft mile long descent) and home to the world's tallest trees - up to 370ft! Next up was the photogenic Lady Bird Johnson Grove, dedicated by the First Lady in 1968 when the park was founded. Our final hike of the day was Fern Canyon, where 50ft tall canyon walls were fully blanketed with bright green ferns - a fantastic sight for those of us who adore ferns. We then ended the day with a herd of Roosevelt Elk who where grazing alonside the road, not more than 20ft from our car.

    The Lost Whale Inn, Patrick's Point State Park

  15. Avenue of the Giants, Humboldt Redwoods State Park - august 27

    We began the day with a quick stop in Trinidad to see the lighthouse and then moved south to Humboldt Redwoods State Park where we spent the afternoon sightseeing along the Avenue of the Giants. We walked the short loop trail at Founders Grove, which included a giant 360ft foot behemoth that fell during a 1991 storm after standing strong for nearly 2000 years. We also took a scenic drive through Rockefeller Forest, the largest old-growth redwood forest in the world. Other stops we made today included the informative visitors center, Richardson Grove State Park and the Grandfather Tree, an immense redwood that sports a large branching canopy - very uncharacteristic for a redwood.

    Glendeven Inn, Mendocino

  16. Mendocino & Van Damme State Park - august 28

    We had planned to take a long hike today at Van Damme State Park to see the fern canyon and pygmy forest. However, it was 88F in the forest and we lost an hour on the wrong trail, so instead we skipped the fern canyon and drove straight to the pygmy forest. Without the interpretive signs we wouldn't have known we were in a pygmy forest - yeah the plants were only about five feet tall, but what we didn't know was that these were 100 year-old fully grown cyprus trees that under normal conditions can tower up to 150 feet. Now, if Raka could just figure out how to make me a pygmy elephant I'd have a forest to put him in! After the forest we walked around town, where it was a moderate 68F, and browsed a number of impressive art galleries before catching sunset over the Pacific and a tasty dinner at the MacCallum House Inn.

    Glendeven Inn, Mendocino

  17. Point Cabrillo, Boonville & Santa Rosa - august 29

    We finished up with the Pacific Coast this morning with stops at two nearby lighthouses - Point Cabrillo and Point Arena. The former had been recently restored and was in beautiful condition, while the second was under current renovation with the tall tower completely sheathed in white plastic. From there we drove inland to Boonville, where the temperature soared to 104F. We toured Anderson Valley Brewing, home to Boont Amber Ale, one of my favorite all-time beers, and continued on south to Rohnert Park where we met up with Rasa and Craig at their (one week) new house.

    Rasa and Craig's House, Rohnert Park

  18. Sonoma wine tasting- august 30

    It was Michelle's birthday today and she drove up from San Francisco with her friend Louis to spend the day wine tasting with us. We hit up three different wineries and tried more than a dozen wines, the winner being a Zinfandel from the Mazzocco winery. After having our fill of wine we then enjoyed a nice dinner at a cute restuarant in Healdsburg before Michelle and Louis said goodbye and returned to the city.

    Rasa and Craig's House, Rohnert Park

  19. Rohnert Park to Seattle - august 31

    We began the day thinking we would drive half way home, stopping somewhere in Oregon for the night. Instead we both felt great behind the wheel and made it all the way home in one shot - a 12.5 hour journey that included three brief food and gas stops. The mountain scenery in northern California was lovely - particularly Mount Shasta and Castle Crags Wilderness - but as soon as we hit Oregon the rain showers began. We finally arrived home around 11pm, bringing to an end our first USA road trip.

    At home in Seattle