What better way to see the west coast than a road trip? Better yet, a scenic drive over Valentine’s Day long weekend drive from San Francisco to Seattle. The winter can cause delays in roads due to mountain passes and snow levels, so plan accordingly.
Here’s a few places we stopped along our route.
I flew to San Jose after work on Friday night. Andy picked me up at the airport and drove north of the city, so we did not have to battle the morning traffic. We were in the hotel room enough to sleep and eat the Continental breakfast before hitting the road.
Rest areas are required if you stay hydrated, and the highway has many rest areas and also towns to stop in to relieve the bladder. Moss Grove rest area was a nice little break to stretch our legs and use the toilets. The green, mossy trees reminded me of the PNW.
Avenue of the Giants
The Avenue of the Giants is a road that winds beside Highway 101 and has many large Redwood trees to admire. I spent the car ride with my neck craned skyward giving these giants the admiration they deserve.
Humboldt Bay National Wildlife Refuge
The Wildlife Refuge was an unplanned stop. I always find it fun to follow the brown signs to natural attractions while driving. It provides great breaks to get out of the car to explore. Just south of Eureka the bay hosts refuge to many marine mammals and birds. The visitor center has a dry-erase board with the wildlife seen the past few days, which is helpful to know what to look for before walking around the area.
Unfortunately for us, the weather was wet. The amount of rain was making the ground damp enough that the Redwood trees were falling across roadways or flooding over the roads. After stopping at the visitor center, the ranger suggested Stout Grove in Jedidiah Smith State Park. Still on our way, we decided to drive the narrow, muddy road to see the 340 foot giant. It did not disappoint even with pools of water along the trails and rain drops. Pulling out my camera every so often, I was able to capture photos of an area that made me feel like an ant.
Andy walking among the giants.
Making sure to hug Stout tree goodbye, we headed to Medford, Oregon for the night. After some debate and forecast analysis, we decided to switch our plans from driving to Crater Lake and Bend to make it back to Seattle for one day of skiing. Driving a rental car over mountain passes forecasted to get two to three feet of snow was not in our Tarot cards.
Meeting Friends in Salem, Oregon
I was able to meet up with my friend that recently moved to Salem, Oregon, which would not have happened if we did not change our plans. It was great to break up a long day of driving to my college friend, Steph to welcome her to the PNW. After a few drinks, we said our goodbyes once again and continued to drive.
West Coast Breweries along the Way
California, Oregon, and Washington have excellent microbreweries to visit. Even though we had planned a great night of beer tastings in Bend, we still were able to try two breweries.
Lost Coast Brewery is located in Eureka, California and has an excellent feel and selection. Since we were driving, we opted of sampling all of their beers and stuck to a pint each.
Portal Brewing is located in Medford, Oregon and has limited amount of seating. Portal Brewing has a small food menu. We decided not to eat here since we were hungry for a larger variety and portions.
A Day of Skiing – Stevens Pass
Did I mentioned how the precipitation did not stop? As many travel plans are a great idea, sometimes changing them is necessary. Since we were in a rental car and the states of Oregon and Washington require chains for mountain passes, we had to change out Bend plans and decided to cut our trip short by a day. However, since the weather was not great for driving, it meant that it was great for skiing. We decided to head home and head to our local skiing mountain for skiing on Monday instead.
With the revision of the road trip, I have to wait to see Crater Lake. However, I would rather experience the lake by hiking around the rim to enjoy its beauty. Since we were able to make it home early, we headed to Stevens Pass for one of the best pow days I have experienced.
This post is linked to Friday Postcards via Walking On Travels. Head on over to see a great collection of #FridayPostcards.
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