LA via Omaha? Remember that verse in the song?… Like going to LA via Omaha? Well that was our trip home from Florida this year. With COVID-19 already changing our plans to travel further south… More
It all started with a How-To video we did about planning a trip. To show an example of how we use the app RV Parky we created a trip up the Forgotten Coast of Florida. We had all intentions of continuing down the Atlantic side of Florida until we reached sunny beach weather. We planned to spend a few weeks fishing and soaking up the sun and head over to the Gulf coast of Florida, visit with friends and then head back to our NC home.
What changed? Well, the trip looked so interesting to us we decided to think about changing our plans. Then so many folks commented about what fun things there were to do if we were to do that trip that well… they talked us into doing it. So off we went.
The first leg of the journey from the east coast of Florida to the Panhandle took us to Central Florida (sort of). O’Leno State Park, where we took a 12-mile hike and experienced for ourselves the wonder of a river that disappears underground and the reappears 3 1/2 miles later.
We then continued west, with a planned stop to swim with the manatees at Crystal River. Warm weather came early to the Gulf coast and the manatees took to open water to find an abundance of grass and practice their version of social distancing. So we saw one manatee (which was still pretty cool) and lots of snakes.
From there we continued north and west to the SopChoppy area of Florida. Haven’t heard of SopChoppy? Well, it’s a small community on the Ochlockonee River that has a great city park and an awesome small Florida State Park. The fun here was getting to experience the famous White Squirrels at our campsite as well as the peaceful rivers and hikes.
And with that we arrived at the official Forgotten Coast of Florida. Even though we’d driven by here many times it was the first time we’d stopped to get to know the area. The highlight of this portion of the journey was the time we spent in Apalachicola. While there Maggie, our sweet little rescue pup, got dressed up and took part in their annual Mardis Gras Dog Parade. We took a few detours while we were here too. The first was to cross the beautiful bridges over to Saint George Island and take a hike on the beach and trails at Saint George Island State Park. We also drove out to Cape San Blas and visited one of the most pristine sugar-sand beaches we’ve ever seen.
“From Sea To Shining Sea”! There’s a reason this line of the song is so true. We just loved so many things about the Oregon coast. So many breathtaking vistas and hikes. And so many unique places like the infamous tunnel to Short Beach in Oceanside! In this mid-week video we show you that tunnel, the beautiful remote beach and a really cool Harvest Host you can take advantage of if you’re traveling through.
It was just another day in the life of visiting the PNW in a Travato. We continued down the Pacific Northwest seeing the shortest lighthouse, the oldest tree, the most unique tree and the shortest beach. Smiling all the time at the beauty of it!
In this episode we take off further south down Highway 101 in Oregon. Our first stop is at Cape Meares Light, where we not only got to see up close the smallest lighthouse but we also got to see the biggest and oldest Sitka Spruce and the famous Octopus Tree. If you know us and know Lynn then you know she loves trees… so this was a major big event for her. We left there and traveled just a few miles down the coast and stopped at Short Beach, where waterfalls drop fresh water into the Pacific Ocean at high tide. And… Lynn spent some time searching for agates on a beach that is world famous for them.
We are so glad you found us and watched the video. Keep in mind, we’re not pros at this. We are just two people traveling the country in a little Travato van and sharing what we find, experience and learn with you. Our friendships we’ve made through these videos and channel are the real treasure and we truly appreciate each of you who leaves comments and reaches out to us. Keep connecting with us! See you down the road soon we hope. Until then… Happy Tails!
ALL IN ONE GREAT PNW DAY… HUG A TREE! TOUCH A CLOUD! HAYSTACKS GALORE! BEAUTIFUL OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK… WOW!
Some things you have to experience in person. Like the Pacific Northwest. If you’re like us you dream about… you put it on your bucket list. But, if like us, you live on the east coast it is just so… well… far away. As we were coming home from our Alaska adventure we decided now was the time so we turned right and headed as far north and west as we could go in the lower 48. We took the ferry and started our trek down the coast of Washington. We camped right beside the water. We climbed into the clouds for a hike at Hurricane Ridge. We gawked at 100s of haystacks on the beaches. We walked through an actual rain forest in the rain. And we parked our Travato camper van right beside the ocean for the most spectacular sunset we even experienced.
WATCH THE VIDEO HERE:
We hadn’t even made it to the infamous west coast of Washington but found the scenery and towns in Washington to be everything everyone had built them up to be and more. After leaving Idaho we were making a fast ride over the mountains of Washington to get to the coast as fast as we could.
But we slowed down in the little town of Winthrop. Winthrop is this little town that would have never been somewhere we or anyone else would choose to visit, especially after most of it’s industry died off. But through the vision of one man they transformed the town into a “build it and they will come” destination… a modern day cowboy town… sort of anyway.
Our stay included spending two nights at the Pine Near RV park… no not Pioneer RV park… Pine Near. The owner told his 3-year old that the was going to be Pioneer to go with the cowboy old west theme. But to a 3-year-old Pioneer sounded like Pine Near. With a smile and a visible confession of love the park became Pine Near. Pretty cool huh? You’d think an owner like that would be nice wouldn’t you. You’d be right. We got the last full hookup site, which was nice since the temps were pretty hot. We used their laundry facility to wash our sheets and bedding and we explored the little town a few times.
We guess the town kind of lives up to it’s design. We found several really great outdoor shops, a really cool glass-blowing shop, ice cream and an old general store that was cool. All in all a great place to stop and rest and prepare for the final drive over the mountains to the coast.
But the drive over the mountains of Sherman’s Pass and the Northern Cascades… well, let’s just say it was hard to keep your eyes on the road. BEAUTIFUL!!!! As Lynn always says, there’s beauty everywhere and we feel so lucky that we get to experience it and share it with you.
You can watch this stop and the drive to and from there in our video:
We finally made it through Canada and crossed over into the lower 48 with good intentions on turning left towards our NC home. But instead, we turned right…
That’s right… we turned RIGHT! Instead of heading back to NC we decided we were just too close to the west coast to miss out on seeing for ourselves just how beautiful the coast of Washington and Oregon really are. But first, we had to drive though and check out the beautiful state of Idaho. Who knew Idaho was so beautiful? We did not know Idaho was such a beautiful outdoor paradise but man this was one pristine and beautiful part of our country. So for those of you not wanting our Alaska journey to end, guess what??? It will not. There will be another month of traveling to the most beautiful places and we’ll do our best to show you just how each of these epic places made us feel.
To see how beautiful this Idaho paradise was just watch the video:
Have you noticed the huge crowds at national parks in the US and Canada? Have you noticed the absurd number of tour buses? We have. We purposely planned our trip back through Canada from Alaska to arrive at Jasper and Banff after Labor Day, thinking the crowds would be smaller and we could better enjoy the parks.
Was that the case? NOPE! As we arrived at Jasper we had no problem finding a parking place in town and had some hope that the crowds would be smaller. But when we went to Maligne Canyon we realized that were completely wrong. Crowds! Crowds! Crowds! Owen felt much like the Grinch and his yelling of “Noise, noise, noise…”.
But that was not the worst of it. We then headed out to Athabasca Falls, hoping to beat the crowds by arriving at 8:00am. When we parked there were very few cars in the parking lot an only 3 buses and 1 tour van. But by the time we made it to the first vista the tour buses started arriving… and kept arriving. To the point that it was impossible to really enjoy this beautiful spot. The crowds became unmanageable in a hurry and to make it worse those 100 folks dropped off by each tour bus were literally running to each vista, snapping a selfie and then running to the next spot, many times making us worry about being knocked down steps or over benches. By the time we called Uncle and returned to our van there were more than a dozen big tour buses parked in the parking area with another 8-10 lined up on the road to get in and dump their tourists into the crowds.
Our experience has been similar at many US National Parks as well, but Banff and Jasper in Canada have to be the worst for this fly in, take a tour bus to a national park kind of issue. Will it ever get better? We doubt it. Money talks and each of those 100s of tour buses pays money and taxes for the privilege to shuttle these millions of tourists to these pristine spots. But, we sure wish it was different some how. Maybe limits on the number of buses? Maybe limits on the number of bus tourists? Our experiences have taught us that money talks and nothing will be done other than maybe expanding the width of roads and creating additional parking for buses. That’s a shame really because we are not sure these natural wonders can live on with so many visitors coming. Granted we were one of those visitors and are just as guilty of wearing away at the trails as any of the tour bus tourists. And many will say the buses are better for the environment with less vehicles on the road. That may be true if every one of those that flew in to see these wonders still came… but they would not because that convenience of being shuttled to and from these places is the big draw.
So are we whining? A little. Sorry. We just couldn’t help visualizing the Grinch shaking his head at all these buses and yelling “CROWDS, CROWDS, CROWDS!”. We have always preferred the off the beaten path, less popular spots to enjoy nature and after our experience in Jasper and Banff we’ve decided that state parks and remote areas fit our lifestyle better than the stress of these over-crowded places. We’ll still go to those… but you can bet at least one of us will complain about it.
If you want to see for yourself watch the video: