USA – Pacific (California, Oregon, Washington)

Back in late April, we flew from New Orleans to Los Angeles for a quick reunion with Becky’s West Point roommates (Grace & Barb) over a fun 3 day weekend. After a whirlwind couple of days, we flew back to continue our road trip. Our next venture into California was nearly a month later. From Nevada, we made our way west towards Death Valley, our first stop in California on the road trip. By late May, the temperature in Death Valley was already unbearable by 10 am but we did manage to suck it up and see the region’s highlights before hightailing it out of there towards Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. From flip flops to winter boots, the temperature cooled down dramatically as we made our way into the southern Sierra Nevada mountains. Here, we were dwarfed by giant Sequoia trees that took our breath away! Then onward to Yosemite where we did the mist trail hike up to Vernal and Nevada Falls and caught sunset at Glacier Point. Unfortunately, a large section of the park was still closed off due to heavy snowfall, so we decided to adjust our plans accordingly and managed to squeeze in a visit to Pinnacles National Park instead. From Pinnacles, we drove to the coast and marveled at the beauty of Big Sur and Monterey. We also caught a whale watching tour from Monterey and got to see a humpback whale and several Risso’s dolphins. A short drive away brought us to San Jose, which has a thriving Vietnamese American community. We got to link up with Becky’s cousins (David & Danny) who were gracious hosts – stuffing us silly with delicious Vietnamese cuisine and showing us some highlights of San Francisco. After leaving San Jose/San Francisco, we drove up to Mendocino, a charming laid back seaside community. Making our way north, we stopped by a few Redwood park highlights before crossing into Oregon. Our original plan was to visit Crater Lake but after discovering that most of the roads were still impassible, we opted to hug the Oregon coastline instead. All too quickly, we bid adieu to Oregon as we entered into Washington. Our first stop was to Olympic National Park where we spent a few days. Then we had a lovely visit with Mike and Mona (long time family friends) in Anacortes followed by a quick reunion in Seattle with Chris (our buddy from Afghanistan), and Hailey & Thien (Becky’s cousins). Luke and Alli flew into Seattle to join us on our road trip and we had a fun afternoon on Whidbey Island with Alli’s family. From Whidbey Island, we drove north towards Canada where we had a surprise reunion planned. Despite our hectic pace, we were surprised by how much we liked this section of the US! We hope to spend more time to explore this region on our next road trip.

Iconic backlot used in countless movies/tv shows; Warner Bros. studio tours On the Friends' couch with Kirn, Grace and Barb At the Central Perk Cafe The Big Bang Theory stage; Burbank Group photo at the Hollywood Sign Arnold Schwarzenegger's hand and shoe prints at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre Brass stars embedded in sidewalks along 15 blocks of Hollywood Boulevard known as the "Hollywood Walk of Fame" The "Road to Hollywood" mosaic path where the infamous casting couch used to be (removed in 2017 as a response to the Weinstein scandal) Pink's - a Hollywood hot dog legend since 1939! Posing at the Pink's hotdog sign Trying soju at Chosun Galbee, a popular Korean BBQ restaurant Our Korean BBQ feast at Chosun Galbee Beach houses in the affluent seaside neighborhood of Newport Beach Gracie, Becky and Barb at Corona Del Mar beach Checking out the pier at Redondo Beach with Grace and Kirn Fishermans Wharf; Redondo Beach Steamed crab for dinner; Redondo Beach Hot air balloon over Death Valley Overlooking Death Valley from Dante's View; Coffin Peak Scenic overlook from Zabriskie Point; Death Valley Shallow pools and salt deposits at Badwater Basin; Death Valley Extreme heat danger sign advising that activity after 10 am is not recommended! Becky at the lowest point in North America at Badwater Basin, 282 feet below sea level Dirt road from the Devil's Golf Course; Mojave Desert Winding roads in Death Valley Artist's Palette; Death Valley Golden Canyon hike in Death Valley Mesquite Flat sand dunes; Death Valley Australian Shepherd wanting to play at our free campsite in Death Valley - Wildrose Campsite Entrance to Sequoia National Park Kaweah River; Sequoia National Park Slow down for wildlife sign; Sequoia National Park Becky on top of Auto Log; Sequoia National Park Sequoia trees over 200 feet tall line Crescent Meadow Road - a must see section of Sequoia National Park A car drives through Tunnel Log; Sequoia National Park Becky at the base of a sequoia tree! Gorgeous scenery in Sequoia National Park A snowy mountain pass in Sequoia National Park Becky hanging from Fallen Monarch; Kings Canyon National Park Robby at the base of General Grant tree, the second largest in the world! Spectacular scenery as we drive along the Kings Canyon Scenic Byway South Fork Kings River; Kings Canyon Grizzly Falls; Kings Canyon Becky admires the lupine; Kings Canyon Big Bertha handles like a charm on the winding roads of Kings Canyon Scenic Byway Robby at Kings Canyon Becky by the base of a massive Sequoia tree Giant trees on the Big Stump Trail; Sequoia National Park Robby at "The Big Stump" of the Mark Twain Tree, a 1350 year old tree that was cut down in 1891 Ladybird beetle; Sequoia National Park Becky inside a sequoia tree stump California quail seen at our free camp site near Yosemite; Kamook Staging in Sierra National Forest Deer at Mariposa Grove; Yosemite Becky at the base of the California tunnel tree; Mariposa Grove in Yosemite Tunnel View; Yosemite In awe of Yosemite's numerous waterfalls as we drive into Yosemite Valley A rainbow at the base of Vernal Fall; Yosemite Hungry squirrel; Yosemite Our reward for climbing above Vernal Fall - a view of the Silver Apron; Yosemite Becky admiring the views of Half Dome, Mt Broderick, and Liberty Cap; Mist Trail in Yosemite The sun reemerged as we hiked down from the mist trail for a photo at the Vernal Fall Footbridge; Yosemite Yosemite Falls Bridalveil Fall; Yosemite Glacier Point lookout over Yosemite falls and valley Gorgeous sunset on our drive down from Glacier Point; Yosemite Unique landscape of Pinnacles National Park Becky on the High Peaks Trail hike; Pinnacles National Park Volcanic rock formations of Pinnacles National Park Wildflowers; Pinnacles National Park Lava archway; Pinnacles National Park Coastal bluffs; Garrapata State Park Beach view; Garrapata State Park Rockey Creek Bridge; Big Sur coast Robby demonstrates the massive wingspan of a California Condor; Big Sur coast Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park Nice houses abound in pretty Monterey Colorful boats; Monterey Pier Fisherman's Wharf; Monterey Fisherman statue; Monterey Fisherman's Wharf; Monterey Old diving helmet; Monterey Monterey Canning Company Fisherman's wharf restaurant Humpback whale; Monterey A whale watching boat checks out a humpback whale; Monterey Risso's dolphins; Monterey Cormorant in flight; Monterey Sea lion balancing on a mooring buoy; Monterey Fresh seafood; Fisherman's Wharf, Monterey Summer flowers in bloom; Monterey Becky and her cousin Danny; San Jose David and Robby at Lau Hai San restaurant; San Jose San Francisco courthouse Fisherman's Wharf; San Francisco San Francisco Carousel at Pier 39 Seal colony at Pier 39; San Francisco Robby, David and Oreo on our tour of San Francisco View of San Francisco at night from Twin Peaks Selfie at the Golden Gate bridge The one mile suspension Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most internationally recognized symbols of San Francisco Baker Beach, a nude beach with a fabulous view of Golden Gate Bridge Sausalito, located on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge Rolling green hills of Highway 1 Sea lion colony on the Pacific coast highway Colorful wall mural; Point Arena The cutest cottages in California can be found in lovely Mendocino Houseleeks; Mendocino We fell in love with the charm and vibe of Mendocino - our favorite California coastal community Funky beach cottage; Mendocino Pink poppy; Mendocino Blair house; Mendocino Miles of coastline on Highway 1 Robby next to a tree that lived over 3200 years; Shrine Drive Thru Tree Park Happy tourists barely drive their rental jeep through Shrine Drive Thru tree Carved wooden bear; Shrine Drive Thru Tree Park Redwood tree houses Carved wooden bears - a common sight in the Redwood forest area Yield to Elk sign; Redwood National Park A warning sign depicting a mother elk will attack to protect her baby; Elk Meadow in Redwood National Park Banana slug; Fern Canyon Posing in Fern Canyon, used in the movie "Jurassic Park 2: The Lost World"; Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park Hiking through gorgeous Fern Canyon Hiking on the popular Foothill Trail; Redwood National Park Becky walking through a tunnel carved in a giant fallen log; Redwood National Park Redwood trees can grow over 350 feet tall! Kissing an elk; Redwood Forest Pretty pink flowers; Redwood Forest Klamath River overlook Massive wooden salmon; Redwood Highway Try to spot Robby holding the ax at the Paul Bunyan & Babe the blue ox statues; Trees of Mystery Welcome to California - well, a couple of days late but there wasn't a welcome sign when we crossed over from Nevada towards Death Valley! Welcome to Oregon sign as we make our way north Meyers Creek Beach Striped iris flower Our wonderful campsite at Boice Cope Park Seahorse carving at Bandon's Pier Robby by a massive recycled plastic fish; Bandon Orcas painted on a wall; Bandon Old Town Oregon's gorgeous coastline Hug Point State Recreation Site Cannon beach cottage - notice the whale bone! Beautiful blue purple caeanothus flowers; Cannon Beach Cannon Beach View of Haystack Rock, an iconic coastal rock formation at Cannon Beach A fearless rabbit chilling on someone's lawn; Cannon Beach Cannon beach shack An 18 foot tall Indian Head carved by Peter "Wolf" Toth. This is one of 75 Indian heads carved from big logs throughout the USA; Astoria Clatsop County circuit court; Astoria Flavel house museum; Astoria Columbia River Salmon poster in Astoria Astoria city hall Garden of Surging Waves - a monument to the historical contributions of early Chinese immigrants to Astoria Crossing the Astoria Megler bridge linking Oregon to Washington Welcome to Washington! Memorial park for WWII Medal of Honor Recipient, Robert Bush; South Bend Fallen log; Quinault Rain Forest Mushrooms thriving on a log; Quinault Rain Forest Robby strikes a pose in Quinault Rain Forest; Olympic National Park Kalaloch Lodge; Olympic National Park Ruby Beach; Olympic National Park Sea anemones in tide pools; Ruby Beach Wild gooseneck barnacles; Ruby Beach Robby in a natural archway; Ruby Beach Massive rock formation; Ruby Beach Becky on a collection of driftwood; Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park Forks Timber Museum Rialto Beach; Olympic National Park Hole-in-the-Wall; Rialto Beach Rialto Beach's "Hole-in-the-Wall" - a 2 mile hike that can only be visited during low tide Sea stacks; Rialto Beach Log cabin near Sol Duc waterfall Sol Duc waterfall; Olympic National Park Hurricane Ridge is the reward at the end of an 18 mile scenic drive from Port Angeles Wildflowers; Hurricane Ridge View of Hurricane Ridge; Olympic National Park Blacktail deer; Hurricane Ridge Robby checking out grazing deer at Hurricane Ridge A blacktail deer and her fawn; Hurricane Ridge Seagull nest; Port Townsend ferry terminal Port Townsend Deception Pass view from the bridge; Whidbey Island Welcome to Anacortes Boxer dog driftwood sculpture; Anacortes Sweet pea flowers for sale; Anacortes Farmers Market Posing with Mona and Mike; Cap Sante Marina At beautiful Cap Sante Park with our lovely hosts Mona & Mike! Amazing panorama views from the top of Mount Erie Plenty of room to relax and enjoy ourselves at Mike & Mona's house; Anacortes Family reunion in Seattle with Becky's cousins - Thien & Hailey Satisfying our pho cravings at this awesome restaurant in Seattle Boarding the ferry from Mukilteo to Clinton And then there were 4! Alli and Luke join us for a portion of our epic road trip Kurt and Sue's beautiful house on Deer Lake; Clinton Langley's fire department (now a glass gallery); Whidbey Island Jellyfish glass art for sale; Langley Cute beach cottage; Langley "A boy with his dog" statue; Langley Flower display; Langley downtown Becky's colorful wings near The Dog House; Langley "Spy a whale, Ring the bell"; Langley A view of the sound behind the totem poles in Langley Whale skull on display at the Langley Whale Center; Whidbey Island Luke makes wakeboarding look easy; Deer Lake on Whidbey Island Robby decides to give it a whirl - not so easy to get up! Luke and Robby relaxing on Deer Lake Bailey keeps a close eye on us; Whidbey Island js photo galleryby v6.1


25 Apr: Fly to LA, dinner at Shabuya in Koreatown, o/n at El Monte
26 Apr: Warner Bros. Studio Tour in Burbank, Hollywood Sign, Hollywood Boulevard, dinner at Chosun Galbee, o/n at El Monte
27 Apr: Corona Del Mar Beach, Fisherman’s Wharf at Redondo Beach, crab dinner at Fisherman’s Wharf, o/n at El Monte
28 Apr: Breakfast at Annia’s Kitchen, fly back to New Orleans

30 Apr – 29 May: Road trip USA

30 May: Drive from Nevada to Death Valley, o/n dispersed camping at Wildrose Campsite in Death Valley
31 May: Drive to Sequoia National Park, visit General Sherman Tree, o/n dispersed camping at Stoney Creek
1 June: Drive to General Grant Tree, Kings Canyon Scenic Byway drive to Grizzly Falls. Backtrack to see “The Big Stump”, drive to Yosemite. O/n dispersed camping at Kamook Staging Campground in Sierra National Forest
2 June: Drive to Yosemite. Visit Mariposa Grove, Tunnel View, hike “the mist trail” to Vernal and Nevada Falls, visit Yosemite Falls, drive to Glacier Point for sunset. O/n dispersed camping at Goat Meadow Snow Play Mountain
3 June: Drive to Gilroy to get vehicle serviced, o/n at Hollister Hills campground ($10 for hot showers & free WiFi, honor system here)
4 June: Drive to Hollister. Spent day at the library. O/n at Hollister Hills campground.
5 June: Drive to Pinnacles National Park. O/n at Hollister Hills campground.
6 June: Drive to Big Sur and Monterey. O/n at Veteran Park campsite ($30 for hot showers, within walking distance to Monterey downtown)
7 June: Whale watching cruise in the morning. Drive to San Jose to link up with Becky’s cousins. Late afternoon tour of San Francisco. O/n in San Jose
8 June: Bun bo for breakfast in San Jose, drive to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge. Head north along Highway 1 coastal highway. O/n dispersed camping at Garcia River Casino in Point Arena
9 June: Drive to Mendocino. Head north to Redwood Forest. Stop by Shrine Drive Thru Tree. O/n dispersed camping in McKinleyville K-mart parking lot. World’s tallest totem pole located here
10 June: Drive to Redwood National Park. Visit Elk Meadow, Fern Canyon, hike the “Foothill Trail”, drove the Newton B. Drury scenic parkway, went to the Klamath River overlook, Mystery Trees (Paul Bunyan statue). O/n dispersed camping at Lucky 7 Casino in Brookings
11 June: Drive to Oregon, hug the coastline. O/n at Boice Cope campground ($20 for full hookup with 10% military discount, hot showers $1.50 extra)
12 June: Drive to Bandon, Hug Point State Recreation Site, Cannon Beach, and Astoria. O/n dispersed camping at Lewis and Clark Dismal Nitch
13 June: Drive to Olympic National Park. Hike Quinault Rain Forest. Visit Kalaloch Lodge, Ruby Beach and Rialto Beach (hole in the wall), Sol Duc Waterfall. O/n dispersed camping at Port Angeles Walmart
14 June: Drive to Olympic National Park’s Hurricane Ridge. Catch the Port Townsend ferry to Coupeville, Whidbey Island. Drive to Anacortes. O/n with Mike and Mona in Anacortes
15 June: Anacortes Farmers market in the morning, Cap Sante Marina for lunch, Cap Sante Park and Mount Erie for viewpoints. O/n in Anacortes
16 June: Drive to Auburn to see Chris, drive to Seattle to see Hailey and Thien. O/n in Seattle
17 June: Drive to Seattle airport to pick up Luke & Alli. Take the ferry from Mukilteo to Clinton, Whidbey Island. Visit Langley. Afternoon lake fun and BBQ on Deer Lake. O/n in Clinton
18 June: Drive north to the Canadian border

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