08 Dec

Best Road Trip Ever!

The Pacific Coast

In November we decided to combine a trip to visit family in Oregon with a Pacific Coast Road Trip. This drive should be on every person’s bucket list – it blew us away! It really was the best road trip ever!

Our adventure started with a flight to Portland, Oregon. We were so happy our itinerary included three days to explore the city. Check out Ten Reasons to Visit Portland here.

From there it was an easy and enjoyable bus trip to visit family in Eugene before renting a car and embarking on an incredible 15 day journey down the coast.

We were blown away by the beauty of Oregon and look forward to going back and visiting more. We could have easily spent days hiking and enjoying the scenery just in the area between Eugene and the coast of Florence. This is a view from the bridge in the little town of Mapleton, Oregon

We were blown away by the beauty of Oregon and look forward to going back and visiting more. We could have easily spent days hiking and enjoying the scenery just in the area between Eugene and the coast of Florence. This is a view from the bridge in the little town of Mapleton, Oregon

Plan ahead then let it go

We mapped out an itinerary in advance using internet research, books from the library and an amazing little ap called Roadtripper.  Each day began with a list of more ideas than we could accomplish. Picking and choosing from the list along the way worked out perfectly. The total trip for 15 days was 1008 miles, averaging 60-200 miles per day. When planning keep in mind this is not a freeway route so going 22 miles can sometimes take well over an hour, not counting extra time needed to explore and breathe in the beauty! So with that in mind, plan ahead, then let it go. West Coast Road TripPrepare to Unplug

You will not have phone service for much of the trip – so we didn’t really use the Roadtripper ap as we went along. However it was invaluable in planning an outline of our trip and getting ideas for stops along the way. You won’t always be able to grab your phone and search for food, hikes or places to stay near you. We used the gps in our rental car which was really helpful to keep track of time and eta for our final destination each day.

Jenner, CA to Bodega Bay

Jenner, CA to Bodega Bay

Expect the Unexpected

It’s natural to image and plan for the “must sees” we’ve heard about, but remember to stay open to letting go of a schedule, expectations, and an itinerary so you can let the day happen.  The best part of any trip really is the journey, so be sure to take time to enjoy it. Quite often, we choose to skip over the “must sees” in favor of checking out a little side road or something interesting we spot along the way. Often the simple, least expected moments are the most memorable – like this beautiful rainbow that appeared after our delicious lunch stop at 1285 Restorer in the cute little town of Florence, OR.Florence Oregon

Land of the Giants

You always hear things are bigger in Texas, but they’ve got nothing on this coastal drive. From Oregon to California it feels you are entering the land of giants. We saw a Prehistoric Dinosaur Park in Port Orford, A 5 foot corn cob tribute in Pepperwood, tips for finding Sasquatch, Paul Bunyon, giant seaweed and driftwood washed ashore, and incredible tall trees.
Paul Bunyon Klamath, CA-1

Humboldt Redwoods State Park

The Famous One-Log House – Humboldt Redwoods State Park

tree hugger

Avenue of the Giants, Redwood State Park

tall trees-7

Redwood National Forest

Redwood state and national forest, CA-3

Most Unique Town – Bodega, CA

There really isn’t anything there, but it is close to Bodega Bay and the amazing wildlife in Point Reyes so it was worth a quick stop. If you’re a Hitchcock fan you know this is the place where “The Birds” was filmed. It’s pretty tired looking these days, and a little creepy to see some of the buildings and the birds flying over, but fun all the same.Bodega, the birds-5

Hitchcock "museum" inside the Bodega Country Store

Hitchcock “museum” inside the Bodega Country Store

Favorite Town – Mendocino

There is no easy way to get to this small scenic town surrounded by the Pacific Ocean, but the windy roads are so worth the drive! You might have seen glimpses of it in the movie “Summer of 42” or the series “Murder She Wrote”. This artsy community a perfect place to settle in, relax, renew and restore while enjoying great food and beautiful walks. Loved it so much we are planning a return visit!Mendocino

Whales, and seals, and elk – Oh My!

Days spent hiking and exploring led to some really cool wildlife encounters.  Click here to see more wildlife photos.

Whale Monterey

Whale near Monterey, CA. Blue & Greay whales were migrating all along the coast.

Harbor Seals, Point Reyes-5

Harbor Seals, Point Reyes

Sunsets

Indescribable sunsets every day, yep every single day, wow!
Sunset on CA-1-3 22x16

Beautiful People 

There is no question, one of the best part of traveling is the people you meet. The fun, quirky, crazy, kind, loving people we met along the way could fill an entire blog. Here’s one of our favorites – Kelly – the InnKeeper at Headlands Inn B & B in Mendocino. She was sweet as could be and kept us in stitches with what we like to refer to as “Kellyisms”. She should be a stand up comedian!Headlands Inn Mendocino, CA-11

The Scenery

Be prepared to stop – often! It sometimes felt we drove only a short distance from one scenic overlook to the next and were rewarded with one sensational view after another.

Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor

Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor

17 mile drive

17-Mile Drive through Pebble Beach and Pacific Grove

From Jenner to Bodega Bay

Bixby Creek Bridge Big Sur Coast

Bixby Creek Bridge, Big Sur Coast

Don’t be afraid to get off the beaten path

Had we not taken an obscure side road toward the beach along Big Sur, we never would have witnessed this breathtaking moment.

Had we not taken an obscure side road toward the beach along Big Sur, we never would have witnessed this breathtaking moment.

A few more favorite moments too good not to share
A magical morning walk along the beach in Bandon, Oregon with the morning mist, birds, sound of the surf, and rock formations.

A magical morning walk along the beach in Bandon, Oregon with the morning mist, birds, sound of the surf, and rock formations.

Watching the sun set with the wild elk at Point Reyes

Watching the sun set with the wild elk at Point Reyes

A jacuzzi tub by a warm fire at Robins Retreat, Olema Cottages after a long day of hiking in Point Reyes National Seashore.

A jacuzzi tub by a warm fire at Robins Retreat, Olema Cottages after a long day of hiking in Point Reyes National Seashore.

Spotting a starfish as the waves run off the rocks and realizing it's a living thing.

Spotting a starfish as the waves run off the rocks and realizing it’s a living thing

Relax and enjoy the moments

Be sure to take time while traveling to stop, relax, take it all in. The more I travel, the more I realize how much my environment and the vibe of a place affects the way I feel. When staying in quiet, peaceful communities or spending time in nature, I’m more able to feel grounded and at peace. Places like Mendocino were perfect for hanging out and giving ourselves time to process what a wonderful trip this was.

Mendocino beach-1

On the other end of the spectrum, driving into San Francisco was like hitting a storm. After 10 days with no traffic, few people, the peace, calm and serenity of the Redwoods, beaches and hiking trails, there was immediate agitation from the sensory overload of busy people, sirens, cars and noise. Everything was moving too fast for me to catch up.  For the first time in 10 days, I had to drive over 40 miles per hour! While it was cool to see the Golden Gate Bridge, we scooted right through and out of there. We do want to explore San Francisco at another time, but when we are mentally prepared for a different type of trip. No car to worry about, walking and enjoying the urban setting. When planning your trip, think about what you enjoy and gear your trip in that direction.

San Francisco-3I could give you the day by day facts and route, but part of the fun is making it your own journey. Letting the unexpected come your way. To get started you can follow the link here for details of our actual route. Roadtrippers is a great starting point. You can also download the Roadtrippers iOS ap here to take our trip and make it your own – it’s an amazing tool!

There are so many unique cottages, B & B’s, and delicious food stops along the way they deserve a blog all their own. Check back next week for a new blog on great places to eat and sleep along the way.

Did you enjoy this article? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below or on my Facebook or Twitter pages and please feel free to share it with any or all of the social media buttons. If you want to get more travel tips, advice and inspiration, please subscribe to updates via email.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

6 comment on “Best Road Trip Ever!

Leave a Reply
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

[+] kaskus emoticons nartzco