Lesson: The rain will come. You have the choice to remain hidden inside, or to throw on a raincoat and hit the trail. Your hair may be messy and your feet soaked, but your spirit will be full and that is pure gold.
Since we started on this journey our plan has been to do "loops" around the United States visiting different places along the way until we decide we're "done". In planning our first loop, the PNW (Pacific Northwest) was on the list because we knew in early June we were going to be in Canada and would be coming from Southern California. This meant the PNW was right on the way!
We didn't do a ton of research about the area before arriving and didn't plan on staying as long as we did, but, I am 1000% grateful everything happened the way it did. What we discovered about ourselves, and about 'how we RV' is that for us, parking our rig in one place for a longer period of time while using our nights and weekends to explore is what works best. Our time in the PNW was filled with adventure, travel, exploration, and lots of boring normal days in the middle.
We first understood how truly rainy it is in early spring when my aunt & uncle came to visit us over spring break. Man, did I feel terrible that their "fun in the sun spring break" was completely filled with rain every day but two! They were total troopers though and we went from Seattle, down the coast to Ocean Shores (it was raining so much one day that we literally laid around the RV all day watching episode after episode of House of Cards), down the Oregon coast to Nehalem State Park, and finally to Portland. During their stay we got to take in the chaos of the Pike Place Market, drive on the beach to watch the thousands of people digging for razor clams, drive up and down the Oregon Coast from Ecola State Park to Pelican Brewing Co in Pacific City taking in Cannon Beach, Seaside and almost every other stop we could along the way. The rain didn't stop us and it was amazing having that time with family during our journey!
As I said, parking for so long in Portland wasn't our original plan, but because we had so much time there we were able to really feel settled in and like we got to experience so much during our stay. Besides a 2 week stint at Ainsworth State Park we were parked at the Columbia River RV Park from the beginning of April until May 26 and during that time we were able to do all of this...
- We took multiple drives down the Historic Columbia River Hwy which is a beautiful and winding road that takes you past The Vista House, Latourell Falls, Sheppard's Dell Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, Wahkeena Falls, Multnomah Falls, Oneonta Falls, and Horsetail Falls. Back out on the main road, you continue on into the Columbia River Gorge which is completely breathtaking and we made stops in towns like Cascade Locks, Hood River, and went over The Bridge of The Gods a few times.
- We took over the hill at the Suits & Boots Ski Event at Mount Hood. Yep, that's right, we skied the mountain in our swimsuits and it was epic.
- We took a weekend roadtrip (in the Jeep) around Oregon. We soaked in the hot springs at Umpqua Hot Springs, took in the wonder of Crater Lake which is truly more beautiful in person than it is in pictures. Finally, we made a stop in Bend for an overnight and to see an old friend. There was so much that filled our eyes and our hearts on that trip and just reinforced how truly breathtaking Oregon is.
- We took a 2-hour hike through the lava tubes near Mt. St. Helen. The Ape Caves, as they're called, consisted of an almost 2-mile hike that brings you into pitch black tunnels filled with rock piles, water, and all sorts of awesomeness. Bring the best headlamps you can find and even an additional strong flashlight or two so you can really look around while you're down there.
- In additional to all this big stuff we biked around Portland, had some of the city's best food and doughnuts, and took numerous hikes with Leila and motorcycle rides in the sunshine.
The PNW is a place like no other. We feel so lucky it worked out for us to be there for such a long time because it was able to settle into our soul and we feel like we got to be a part of it for awhile. We can't wait to go back and explore all the stuff we missed this time around!