The Redwood Forrest was amazing; so much of it looked as though it was from the set of a movie and not a real forest! Where we were exploring was one of the sites where they filmed some of Jurassic Park! Huckle, Croakie, Flik, Yorkie, Oz, Stone and I wondered the forest and beach area for a few hours.
Once we had finished exploring the forest we came back to our campsite for the night, which was definitely the nicest yet – we had our own little sectioned off are with a balcony overlooking the pond, a fire pit and even a picnic table and camp chairs! Surprisingly it also included free wifi internet and cable TV!
We cooked a roast pork and roast beef with mashed potato (this was difficult without a potato masher, so Oz and I went at the potatoes with two forks each!) and even peas! It was amazing. After dinner the couple next door invited us over to their campfire to talk RVing – they were a really nice couple who also gave us some of their left over dinner earlier in the night! I think they were shocked when the five of us bought chairs to the fire – they were imagining only two!
The drive to Portland was not too long and we found a campsite with a view of a mall! Tonight was Flik’s last night in the RV so we decided to go into the city for dinner. While everyone was showering and getting ready, Croakie and Stone decided to pull out the BB guns and chase each other around the RV shooting at each other! Quite fun to watch but I am glad I didn’t get hit like Flik did!
We took a train and bus into the city and walked around Portland trying to find a restaurant, we ended up at a nice Italian pizza and pasta restaurant that served cocktails. After dinner we found an indoor glow in the dark pirate themed mini golf course – it was amazing! We played 9 holes in the dark and skeletons and such were jumping out at us the whole way! Then we walked down to the water – we almost ended up going into a ‘Gentlemen’s Club’ but they didn’t serve alcohol so there was no point in going there! We found a nice Irish pub instead and after a couple of drinks took the train and bus back to our RV site with a view!
Today was a sad day – we had to say goodbye to Flik as she left on a train bound for Vancouver. We found out today that she may be re joining us in Chicago so we are very excited about that.
As we were walking out of the train station we found a statue made of rocks and decided to have a rock climbing competition – we all made it to the top! Then we headed into Portland city centre to do a spot of shopping, I finally got my first pair of Toms which I absolutely LOVE (they are shoes!). Then we headed for Jimi Hendrix’s memorial which was really cool to see and then made in to Seattle.
We stayed in Seattle just outside the city and in the morning we parked at a sporting arena and caught a train into the city. Our first stop was Pikes Market which Seattle is famous for – think of people throwing fish and that’s where we were! We bought some fresh mussels and smoked salmon – delicious! Then we had a look at some hostels for Croakie (as he could not come with us to Vancouver without his passport), the one he had made a reservation at did not have his reservation until the following night so we walked around until we found somewhere with a room, then we headed over to the Space Needle to have a look. We left Croakie at the Space Needle and caught the mono rail and train back to the RV and said a sad goodbye to Yorkie – He was flying back to LA that day and then home to England the next.
Oz, Stone and myself then jumped back into the van and started for Vancouver. The border crossing was very easy – although we had to wait for them to check out visa restrictions (they were confused as our work visas end date was in August but the conditions of the visa state that we are allowed 30 days of travel after this – which was not printed on the visa!), the process was quite quick – they did not even ask if we had any fruit or vegetables! As we were waiting for them to check our passports, we met a guy who had just been on a train riding journey for his 30th birthday! He made his way across America by jumping onto cargo trains and hanging out with other ‘train jumpers’ – it sounded crazy but very cool!
We then found an RV park called Brownsville Pub/RV Park – it seemed as though it was one of those moments where we walked into the pub and everyone stopped talking to stare at the out of towners! It was a very local place as the majority of pub goers actually lived at the RV park and we were the only overnighters there! Lucky for us there was a live band playing that evening so we went in for a pub meal and a beer while listening to them. As we finished dinner an old cowboy looking guy came over and asked if he could sit with us – he took a seat and started telling us about his life (every sentence ended with ‘ey’ of course!). His name was Larry and he was a native Canadian Indian (Cree People) who had lived in the RV park for the last 12 years. He even asked Stone permission to dance, so we had a groove to ‘Black Magic Women’ up the front of the pub (no one else danced all night!). He then invited us back to his trailer for a beer – as we walked in I was very surprised to see a small fluffy dog called Puxies (meaning mouse in his native language) and Charlie the tiny little kitten – it was strange to see such tiny animals in this large cowboys trailer! We had a beer and he gave us the tour of his home and then before we left insisted on giving us a gift – an old oil lamp – he said that he wanted us to carry the light of his people back to Australia and keep it living – we still have the lamp in the RV!
The next morning was another sad day – we drove Oz to the Vancouver airport as he was headed back to Banff, Canada where he works for the winter. We then found the nearest mall where I attempted to get my terrible regrowth fixed – after a quote for $150 to do my hair, I settled on the next quote of $50 and although it is a little orange I think I have finally decided it is a little better than before! We then drove to another RV park in East Vancouver and to our surprise, as we drove into the park there was a wedding taking place in the front gardens! Two thoughts entered my head as we saw this – the television show ‘My Bog Fat Gypsy Wedding’ and ‘ohhhhhh dear, perhaps that will be us in a few years’....... We decided to ride our bikes around the park to check it out – it took us about 11 minutes – 1 was spent looking over onto the freeway as it was right beside us, 2 minutes to ride to the wedding venue, 6 minutes gawking and trying not to laugh at the buffet set up in between the lovely outdoor gazebo and the orange construction fence of the freeway and another 2 to return to the RV! Needless to say, although the venue was lovely, I don’t think we will be returning there to get married one day!
It was time now to return back to the US, however this border crossing was slightly more stressful! First of all, as we were waiting in a car line to get through the gates – we may have run over ad completely flattened a witches hat, then the guy at the booth told us we needed to go inside the building so we were directed into a parking area where our keys were taken from us and we were sent inside. While we were waiting in line I got cold so went back to the van to get a jumper – there happened to be four customs officers in our RV and they would not let me in to get a jumper... We were then entertained by a guy trying to avoid customs – he was arrested and dragged into a back room by another four officers. Then it was our turn – the process was easy until he asked if we had any fruit or vegetables (we had just stopped at a flea market and bought 5 capsicums and 6 sweet potatoes for $5!) – he called over the horticulture officer who then went and searched our van – she took all our capsicums, lemons, limes, garlic and sweet potatoes – it was a sad day! We were then able to leave and headed back to Seattle.
We found a parking space in Seattle city that was close to Croakie’s hostel – we were parked in a regular car park that had an overnight fee of only $10. We then caught up with Croakie and got some delicious teriyaki chicken for dinner from a dodgy looking take away place! That night the hostel was running a pub crawl so we joined in for the night and walked around Seattle’s pubs – the first place we stopped was the last place Kurt Cobain was seen alive in public.
After a nap in the carpark, we woke up early and drove a few hours to a truck stop and had another nap. We woke up to a delicious Subway sandwich each and then headed for Glacier. Glacier was about an 8 hour drive from where we were so we stayed a few hours out in a town called Core D’Arlene in Idaho. We cooked a delicious roast chicken for dinner and played a game of yatzee before heading to bed. The next morning we hit the local thrift stores and picked up some essentials – a garlic crusher and a potato masher, as well as three new board games! We made it to Glacier by late afternoon and found ourselves a campsite – its much nicer to camp in the national parks as the camp grounds are in the bush with no electricity and a campfire and picnic table for every site – much nicer surroundings and much cheaper! We then took the bikes to the general store for firewood (very uncomfortable sitting on the middle bar of a bicycle – but definitely worth it as we were all able to go), cooked some risotto for dinner and played one of our new board games!
At every point possible in the national park there where signs to warn us of grizzly bears – I was petrified that one was going to smell our risotto and try to get the leftovers. I woke up to a low rumbling noise followed by a grunt – I quickly woke Stone to see if he had also heard it and then soon enough I heard it again, and again, and again, coming from the bed at the other end of the van – it was Croakie snoring!
The next morning we rode our bikes down to the visitor centre and were told that the nearest glacier was a really really long hike so we were directed to a shorted hike to the top of a lookout. The hike was 3.9 miles one way (6.2kms) and was uphill – I am pretty sure I died on the way up! But the view from the top was amazing.
When we got to the bottom of the hike, the boys decided they wanted to go for a swim. As they were playing in the water, I spotted a furry black head sticking out of the bushes on the other side of the river. We all ran to the closest point and there was a black bear eating berries – we had wanted to see a bear all day!
The next day we headed towards Yellowstone National Park – we got there very late so found a campsite just out of the park and headed in early in the morning. We slowly made our way through the park, stopping at many geysers – they were such bright colours and the water was so hot. We saw so many bison (buffalo) and a few elk before stopping at the most famous geyser, Old Faithful for a tour. Old Faithful erupts every 1.5 hours every day and it was amazing to see it go off. After the tour we made it to our campsite at Grants Village where we cooked stuffed capsicums for dinner – they were delicious.
The next stop on the trip is Chicago which is about 19 hours away – we are going to make it a few day trip and we are meeting Eddie and Flik there! It will be so much fun!
Love love love to you all