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.


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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