We are done our road trip! When we dropped off our car in Seattle we got the grand total for miles driven on the west coast which was 3624km. Add that to the 804km we drove in Florida and you get 4428km, that's a lot of driving.
To pick up where we left off last time, we were headed north along highway 101. The drive was great but a little tiring at times with all the winding up and down hills and mountains. The coast along Northern California was rough and rugged but very beautiful. We stopped in the town of Fort Bragg, just north of Mendocino.
Since Mendocino consists of pricy B&Bs for $300/night+ we opted for a much cheaper motel in Fort Bragg. Upon reaching the motel we were surprised to find that the office was really just a small desk inside a supermarket up the street. After picking up our room key I headed back to the car to find that Yasi had fixed the problem I caused when I parked the car. When we had gotten to the motel I was soo tired that I just stopped the car and turned off the engine, oops. Not realizing what I had done the car wouldn't start again, oh oh. Luckily Yasi sorted it out while I was gone and we didn't have to get the car towed!
We didn't spend much time in Fort Bragg and the next day we were continuing the drive north to Klamath which was our base for the redwood forest (the tallest trees in the world). Klamath is a really small town, population 779 with lots of pickup trucks and country folk. I filled our car up at the only gas station in town and when I went to pay I found that the gas station had a mini casino inside it. The patrons of the place were real characters, a drunken native american, a woman who seemed like she was on crack and a young woman who must have been a baby mama. They were all pulling away at the one arm bandits which was pretty sad but such is life I guess.
The next day we went to Redwood National Park and hiked a 5 mile or so trail all around the forest floor. The trees were so enormous you could barely see the top of them without hurting your neck. It was actually quite cold inside the forest due to all the photosynthesis taking place but this added to the mystery of the place. On the whole 4-5hour hike we only encountered 2 people which really added to the tranquility of the experience.
After wrapping up Klamath we left California and entered Oregon. Everything in Oregon just seemed cleaner, more organized and their coast line was amazing. As it turns out Oregon is a huge retirement destination for Americans seeking good value of property and nice outdoor spaces. The state also does not have a sales tax. We spent a night in Florence (not to be confused with Florence, Italy!) and visited the sand dunes just outside of town. These sand dunes are right on the Pacific Ocean which makes for great scenery but it was pretty cold. We went prepared and hand a great time running up and down and throwing stones off the dunes while watching the waves crash ashore.
After Florence we moved onto Portland which is just on the border of Washington State. We were both really surprised by Portland, it's a beautiful, clean and modern city. Since it's a smaller city it was very easy to get around and see the different areas. Yasi espesially loved Powell's book store, the largest independant bookstore in the US. Since we had a few days here we had a chance to watch our first movie in a theater since we left, The Avengers! It was amazing, enough said. Besides the cleanliness and great layout of the city we also noticed something else, the ratio of hipsters/hippies to everyone else. I think Portland has the highest concentration of hipsters/hippies in the US. No matter where you are there is someone with a sleeve tatoo, ear spacers, dirty little mustache or khaki's.
Our last stop in the US was Seattle which was another 200 miles or so north of Portland. We stayed with Yasi's aunt and her family who were excellent hosts. We saw Pike Place Market, the waterfront and the Space Needle along with the first Starbucks on our day downtown. The seafood was excellent and really fresh. One night we all went for sushi at a restaurant where the food comes to your table on a little conveyer belt! Sunday was Mother's Day so we all went out for brunch to celebrate. Yasi and I also remembered to call our own mothers :)
And today, we are in beautiful British Columbia! We crossed the border to Vancouver and had enough time to go for a couple of hours exploring the city. It seems really nice, there seem to be many homeless who approach you for money. Also, Yasi wanted some Dim Sum, so we ventured towards Chinatown, but somehow ended up in cracktown! You know something is up when you see 6 cop cars within 2 blocks. So we walked right back and had great sushi instead. The plan for tomorrow is to visit Stanley Park and anything else that we come upon. We leave for Toronto on Wednesday, and are hope to continue our explorations in our own city for a couple of weeks :)
We will update you again soon!!
-Andrew & Yasmin