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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Honeymoon Road Trip Part 2 (Days 5-9)

Day 5 (Friday, November 2):

We headed out bright and early from Baker City towards Bellingham, WA to visit Zeke's extended family. We ran into some road construction along the way... and some traffic... and some more construction...

We also got a chance to visit Zeke's cousin. I hadn't met this cousin formally yet- he wasn't able to make it out to our wedding, and he only popped in briefly the first time I was in Washington. We stopped by a field where he was working. His company does custom grape harvesting, something my Midwestern self had never even thought about.  At this particular field, the grapes being harvested were for wine. We got to taste a couple of grapes; they were so small but so sweet! It was really interesting to see the machines and the vineyard (who knew grapes had to be harvested? And who knew there are tractors that tiny?), and he works in some beautiful places.

We ran into some traffic around the Seattle area, so we got to Zeke's aunt's house a little later than we planned. We got to visit with his aunt for a while, planned out the activities of the next day, and then had a good night’s sleep.
Day 6 (Saturday, November 3):
We spent most of the day visiting with relatives- first with Zeke's Beppe (Grandma in Dutch) at her new condo, and then at another of Zeke's cousin's homes. Several other relatives also came by for lunch, so we got to see most of the family.
We left around 2:30 in the afternoon, and fought some more Seattle traffic on the way south. We got to see the Space Needle, though!  We stopped for the evening outside Seattle in a town called Tumwater.

Blurry Space Needle

Day 7 (Sunday, November 4):
Zeke and I were very happy that our new rental car has Sirius radio- we were able to listen to our Sunday sermon in the car, and found it no problem. We got a pretty early start out of Tumwater. Zeke's aunt suggested that we stop in Florence, OR to take a dune buggy ride, but the tours were all closed for the season. That didn’t stop us from looking around a little at the dunes!

I'd never seen dunes like this- I'd been to dunes in Wisconsin, but most of the greenery around those dunes were grasses. It was cool to see pine trees surrounded by sand.

As we got closer to the ocean, it got a little foggy, but we still saw some great scenery. 

We stopped at a marina with a great view in Port Orland, Oregon, and stumbled upon a community celebration with fresh fried fish.The people were so friendly. We got to hear a little about the fish refuge in the port, and got free hot dogs and beer!

The friendly (and very laid-back) fishermen at the celebration suggested a campground nearby, called Humbug Mountain State Park. It was such a cool campground. The bathrooms were beautiful (and so clean), and it was like camping in a rainforest. The humidity was incredible, and we could hear the ocean from our site. The trees were covered with thick moss, and there were a ton of hiking paths and biking paths around the campground.

Humbug Mountain Campsite

View from inside the tent- Humbug Mountain, OR

Mossy trees!
We had a great night- ate some food cooked over the fire, and enjoyed the beautiful weather before hitting the hay.
Day 8 (Monday, November 5):

 We got a later start in the morning, and the day was already underway by the time we made breakfast, cleaned up, and tore down camp. We drove along the coast, seeing some beautiful ocean views. It was about 75 degrees or so, and we got out to stretch our legs and play in the sand.

In the Pacific Ocean- Oregon Coast

When we started back out again, we drove into the redwood forests. The trees were amazing- like walls around the road. 

The road we were on took us from redwoods to ocean and back. It was really neat to see two completely different types of scenery so close to one another. 

We stopped at the "Trees of Mystery," a little tourist spot boasting some cool redwood trees and a SkyTrail up through them. Zeke also got to meet Paul Bunyan...

... and there were some slight similarities...
The Trees of Mystery were pretty cool- here are some of the highlights-
Cathedral Tree- Nine trees growing out of one base in kind of a semi-circle. Lots of weddings take place here every year. 

 Nature's Underpass- Just a hole in the roots that I had to crawl through!

 The whole atmosphere felt a little like something out of a movie.

After hiking around for a while, we took the SkyTrail. I was much less comfortable with being up so high than Zeke was (which isn't very surprising,) but it was a really cool experience. 
 The viewpoints were really beautiful, too.

After we left the "Trees of Mystery," we had another cool experience- driving through a redwood!

We found a cute little resort to stay at for the evening just on the border of California to rest after such a busy day!

Day 9 (Tuesday, November 6):

 We were able to get an early start, what with not needing to pack up the tent and everything. We started back through the redwood forests and along the coast.

 We came across a bunch of elk (who would have thought there were elk in California?)

We drove along Highway 1, which was super curvy and took us from forest to ocean. It was a beautiful trip, but slow going because of all the sharp turns and steep curves.

We finally got to Monterrey around 8, quite a bit later than we had anticipated. I think it was worth it for the beautiful drive, though! We met up with Zeke's friend B and had some great food, and then stayed with him at his home in Marina. 

Click here for Days 10-13!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Honeymoon Road Trip Part 1 (Days 1-4)

Okay. With an almost three-week long trip, I thought I'd break this puppy down in chunks rather than by days... cuz that would be a lot of posts, let's be honest.

Let's get started!

Day One (Monday, October 29):

The first day of our honeymoon trip went by very fast. Like, very very fast. We spent most of the morning renting our car (which took a little longer than we expected).

Our rental car!

Then we went and ran some errands back in our home town (like cashing my paychecks), and then headed towards the Black Hills, our favorite vacation spot! Most of you who've been following me for a while are rolling your eyes. We fell in love in the Black Hills, got engaged in the Black Hills... it's a good place.

Ah, South Dakota. On the way to the Black Hills
We didn't get in to the Hills until around 7:30, and we went out to eat in Rapid City with a Zeke's buddy and his wife, and then went back to their home just outside the city. We slept great, thanks to the wonderful company and the long day!

Day Two (Tuesday, October 30):
We started off our day by driving on Highway 16 in the Black Hills. We've been here in the summer (almost every year since we began dating) and also in the winter (when we got engaged), but never in the fall. The willow trees were all changing colors. So beautiful!

And, with fewer people traveling the roads, there was lots of wildlife to see, including these big ole buffalo, licking the road.

And with that, we headed towards Salt Lake. Zeke and I had planned on staying at a KOA campground along the way somewhere in Wyoming, but when we called, they said they were closed. Instead, they suggested that we stop at Teton Reservoir Campground outside of Rawlins, Wyoming, a free (!) campsite. We followed the directions to the campsite, down about 20 miles of gravel road... this place was seriously in the middle of nowhere. There weren't any other people around when we set up our tent, but someone had left some firewood, so we were able to have a little campfire before bed. We couldn't see a whole lot of the scenery because it was pretty dark when we set up, but it was so quiet and calm. The night got pretty cold, but all bundled up with Zeke, it was fine.
Day Three (Wednesday, October 31):

In the morning, we got to see a lot more of the beautiful location of the Teton Reservoir Campground.

Our campsite
View from our campsite
It really was a lovely, if remote, place. I felt a little like something out of an old Western... I could definitely picture some cowboys out there!

We continued on toward Salt Lake, seeing lots of beautiful Wyoming and Utah scenery along the way.

We had done a little research about campgrounds around Salt Lake, and decided on Antelope Island. It's a pretty cool place- located on the southeast part of the lake, it's a pretty big island that boasts a lot of... you guessed it, antelope. Oh, and buffalo, too. We camped at the Bridger Bay campground.

Our campsite on Great Salt Lake at Antelope Island

View from inside the tent


This buffalo is one of the Antelope Island "residents"-  he was walking through campsites when I got this picture.
It was about 65 degrees, and after setting up our tent, we couldn't help but take a little walk in the lake.

 The weather cooled down considerably at night, but didn't get nearly as cold as it did at Teton Reservior. We slept pretty well, only interrupted by a bunch of coyotes howling nearby.

 Day Four (Thursday, November 1):

We started out our day by driving around Antelope Island a little more and seeing Great Salt Lake as the sun was rising. 
Great Salt Lake from Antelope Island
Great Salt Lake, UT
Pretty soon after we left Antelope Island, toward Washington State, our "maintenance required" light came on in the rental car. We called the rental company, and they told us that as long as it wasn't doing anything too funny and we still felt comfortable driving it, we could keep going in the rental car, or we could switch out cars. We were pondering what to do and eating a quick snack... Zeke said, "I wish the car would just give out now or be fine- one or the other- so we know what to do and don't get stuck somewhere." As soon as he started up the car again, all the warning lights came on and the car stopped telling us what gear we were in. Well, if that isn't "giving out," what is?

The biggest and nearest dealership was at the Salt Lake Airport, and with little delay, we picked up our second rental car!

Our rental car #2!
We took off towards Washington State. Along the way (somewhere in Idaho), it started to rain a little, and we saw this little rainbow!

After a long day of driving (we didn't get really going until about noon, with tearing down camp and the car switch), and the fact that it started getting pretty chilly, we decided to stop at a hotel in Bakers City, Oregon. We got a chance to relax in the hot tub, and sleep on a real mattress instead of just an air mattress, and the free breakfast wasn't bad either!

Click here for Days 5-9!

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