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North, South, East and West - A trip report…..

Bendigo, Australia
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North, South, East and West – A trip report…..

Oops, we did it again… another US road trip! We've come back for our 10th wedding anniversary. Our first trip to the USA was a 2 month honeymoon in 2007 and we visited again for 2 months in 2011. This one was a bit shorter, 4 weeks.

When we were planning this trip we wanted to include a few favourites from our previous visits plus add in a couple of new ones. The bucket list is to get all 50 states, so we added 2 more to the list this time.

I guarantee this will be a long TR but I've gained so much amazing info from fellow travellers reports that I felt I should give some back. Hopefully someone can garner so good info from this report.

A little bit about us… married, late 30’s/early 40’s, love food and beer, reasonably fit, music lovers.

Here we go…..

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Bendigo, Australia
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1. Re: North, South, East and West – A trip report…..

May 6th 2017

The alarm buzzed in our ears at 5.45am. As we live around 2 hours from the airport, we'd travelled down to Melbourne the previous night after saying our goodbyes to the kids, pets & our parents and stayed at an airport hotel. I was a bit teary this morning about leaving the kids but I know they'll be well looked after by the grandparents and we can face time them whenever we want. They're main concern was what presents we were bringing them back!! We walked our bags over and checked in before having a relaxing breakfast. We got through security nice and quick and our flight with Qantas was on time. We were on the A380 which is a great plane, quite spacious and really quiet. We were well fed and we watched a few movies and tried to get a few hours sleep. No matter how you look at it though, 14 hours on a plane sucks!

Once we landed, we made our way through immigration which is now all electronic. I got through quickly but Olly got selected for manual processing so we had to join a separate queue where he got his photo and fingerprints taken again. He must have looked dodgy! The guy at the counter was nice and we got through pretty quickly. We did wait at the baggage carousel for ages though. The was a woman there from our flight who had a connection to Vancouver. By the time her bag came she only had 45 minutes to get to a different terminal, re-check her bags and get to her gate. Not sure if she made it but what a stress.

Once our bags arrived we made our way to terminal 6 for our flight to Seattle. It was a fair hike but we had left ourselves plenty of time just in case our flight from Australia had been delayed. As it turned out our flight to Seattle was delayed by an hour so we stopped at a bar to kill some time! It was a little early for me so I had a coffee while Olly had a beer. We got chatting to a couple of guys heading to Orlando for work. Turns out they had both been to Australia, one used to travel there regularly for work. The Aussie accent always brings out the ‘I've been there’ or ‘I'd love to go there’ conversations!

We boarded our Alaskan Airlines flight and sat on the Tarmac for at least half an hour before take off. It seemed very busy at the airport, there were planes everywhere and we queued up for quite some time. We finally arrived in Seattle at around 3.30pm and got a taxi to our hotel, Inn at the Market. We couldn't have been happier with the location, it was right at Pike Place Market and had great views over the water. We dumped our bags and headed straight out into the sunshine. Seattle is amazing and we felt comfortable there straight away. It kind of reminded us of Melbourne. We walked up the street around 10 blocks to get our bearings and we stopped at a public square where they were holding a pro marijuana rally. We grabbed a hot dog from Dog in the Park and took in our surroundings. The dog was great and the people at the rally were interesting!! There was a lot of tie-dye.

We found ourselves a brew pub around the corner from the hotel called Old Stove Brewing Co where we enjoyed a couple of well earned beers. We sat outside overlooking the sidewalk and it was a great place to do a bit of people watching. The was a Mexican place called El Borracho a couple of doors down so we popped in for some amazing guacamole and tacos for dinner. Olly had to go back to our hotel and get our passports though as they wouldn't serve us beer with just our Australian drivers licence. Our server said it was a Washington law but this was the only place we had this issue.

Back to the hotel for showers and bed at 8.30pm. We were both wrecked. We'd been up for 32 hours with minimal sleep – we needed an early night!!

Bendigo, Australia
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2. Re: North, South, East and West – A trip report…..

7th May 2017

We had such an amazing nights sleep. The bed was really comfortable and the room was so quiet that we'd slept for almost 11 hours! We got ourselves organised and headed out to find some breakfast. Our hotel is in such a great spot, it's really close to everything we wanted. We found a place around the corner called The Crumpet Shop which looked really cute so we went in. Olly had a Crumpet with egg, smoked salmon and cream cheese and I had one with ricotta and raspberry jam. They were so incredibly good that we wished we'd had more but we had a tour to get to. Some coffees to go topped us off.

We walked about 20 minutes to the tour we had booked for the morning – Seattle by Segway!! Olly is obsessed with Segways since we did tours in Washington DC and Boston so we knew we had to squeeze in at least one this time. Our guide arrived around 5 minutes after us, it was Sunday morning after all!! His name was Tom and he'd only been working at the company for 3 weeks so I think he was glad that we'd both ridden Segways before. It was only the two of us on the tour and we did the mandatory training at the office before we took to the streets of Seattle. We'd booked the 2 hour tour and we saw loads. I think Sunday morning was a good time to be out and about as it was reasonably quiet. We went through Pike Place Market along to the Seattle Centre which includes the Space Needle then back along the waterfront. The Seattle Centre area is awesome. Its very arty and there are lots of sculptures and interactive displays. The waterfront area is gorgeous too. There are mountains in the distance that had heaps of snow still on them and it was a beautiful place to spend a sunny morning.

The Segways were fun and Olly loved every minute of it. I was a little more nervous though. A lot of the streets are steep and I didn't love going downhill. We got back to the Segway office without any major incidents and said our goodbyes to Tom. We tipped him a bit extra seeing as he had to get up early on a Sunday!

We made our way to the monorail station via the original Starbucks store at Pike Place Market. Olly lined up for ages for the coffee while I went back to the room to grab our phone charger. Apparently the original Starbucks store is VERY popular. Tasted like every other Starbucks to me! We got our return monorail ticket then headed for the Seattle Centre. We got our tickets for the Space Needle and took the elevator up to the observation deck which is at 520 feet. The whole Needle is 605 feet to the top of the beacon. The elevator takes 42 seconds to get you up to the deck and it's all glass so you get to see the amazing views on the way up. It was really windy up on the deck and much colder, we were glad we'd taken our sweaters. We grabbed a few things at the gift shop on the way out then went to the Seattle Centre Armory for lunch. We shared a plate of chilli fries and they were delicious.

We spent a few hours at the Museum of Pop Culture which was really cool then we got the monorail back downtown. We quickly got changed and walked to our tour of underground Seattle. Our guide was really animated and friendly and we enjoyed the tour. It's amazing that there are whole shops and sidewalk remains underneath the city streets. Our guide went over the history of Seattle and how it all came to be. It would have been an awful time to be in Seattle. The sewerage was terrible and everything used to flood. It was originally a logging town with a men/women ratio of 10/1. Eventually a madam from San Francisco realised she could be making a fortune so she took a group of ladies out to Seattle to offer their services. They did a survey on all the residents to see where they could obtain more revenue and soon realised these ladies were making quite a good living. According to our guide, the following year 87% of the cities taxes were brought in by these industrious ladies!

We stopped at the gum wall on the way back from the tour and of course we had to add our own little pieces! We also called into the Pike Place Brewery where we tried some amazing beers. It was a cool place and it was quite busy with people sampling the beers and having dinner.

We had dinner reservations at the Pink Door. It was really great. It's a beautiful space and there was a lady there doing trapeze in the middle of the restaurant. We shared an asparagus starter then Olly had a slow roasted beef long rib and I had the lasagne. We shared a couple of amazing salads and had some outstanding cream puffs with chocolate sauce for dessert. The food was so delicious and we left feeling very stuffed and happy.

Another reasonably early night, we're still catching up on our sleep.

Fremont, California
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3. Re: North, South, East and West – A trip report…..

What a great trip and trip report

I will be back to read more

Thanks for writing.

Harvey, Australia
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4. Re: North, South, East and West – A trip report…..

Yah. It's here! Can't wait for more.

Bendigo, Australia
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5. Re: North, South, East and West – A trip report…..

Thanks Mini, I'm loving writing the report, it's bringing back some great memories!

You're my inspiration Linda ;-)

I'll try to get a few more days up tonight.

Bendigo, Australia
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6. Re: North, South, East and West – A trip report…..

8th May 2017

We got up early this morning and I took Olly to a restaurant called Lola for breakfast as it's our daughter’s name. The restaurant was gorgeous and the food, coffee and juices were all great. On the way back to the hotel we stopped at Target to buy a cooler for our travels. We also called into a shoe shop where Olly got himself a new pair of Nikes. The shoes he'd brought with him weren't all that comfortable – rookie mistake!

We had a look around Pike Place Market and checked out the fish throwers. It's such a great spot and all the fresh seafood, meats, fruits and vegetables certainly made our mouths water. We stocked up on some fruit and called into Beechers cheese to grab some yummy cheese for our trip. We loaded up the cooler, packed our bags then checked out and got a cab to the Hertz office to pick up our car. The guy who served us was an Aussie who'd been living in Seattle for 2 years. We had booked a Chevy Imapala but ended up with an Infiniti which was lovely. All leather and pretty fancy with a sunroof. I was quite nervous when we first got out on the streets but Olly handled it like a pro. He's done a heap of driving in the States but not for 6 years.

We hit the road and we stopped at a random little antique shop just outside Olympia. They mostly just had large furniture so it wasn't really practical to do too much shopping there. We called into Astoria so I could check out the Goonie’s house and the school from Kindergarten Cop – two of my favourites. We had to go over a really cool bridge to get into Astoria. It went from water level in the middle to almost 200 feet at the end. I was pretty excited to see the Goonie’s house, although there is a big sign up warning people not to get too close for photos, etc. I guess they're a bit sick of all the visitors and I imagine all their neighbours would be too. I took a snap from the end of the road and that satisfied my needs! We wandered along past the gorgeous houses before finding a place for lunch along the Main Street, the Silver Salmon Grille. It was a funny little place but the food was delicious. Olly had a French dip sandwich and I had the ½ turkey sandwich with a cup of chowder.

After lunch we popped into a few antique shops. I got a Washington and Oregon licence plate to add to our collection and Olly got a little tin truck that he thought was a bit of a bargain. Always a picker! The houses in Astoria are gorgeous. A lot of them are shingled and painted different colours with great gardens. From Astoria we made our way to Cannon Beach where the final scene of the Goonies is set (sensing a theme yet!?) Such a cute little town and we would love to come back one day and spend a bit of time there. We walked along the beach and took some happy snaps before continuing on to Portland. The drive today was beautiful, so lush and green with some awesome mountains in the background.

We made it to Portland safely and checked into the Hotel Vintage. The room was huge with a separate sitting area and the deepest bath we've ever seen. When we were at lunch today Mum and the kids had face-timed us but as we were in a restaurant we said we'd call them back. We did so when we arrived at the hotel and it was so nice to see them. They said they were missing us but Lola is already asking if we'd bought her anything yet! We'd bought some beers at Cannon Beach so we sat in the room and had a couple while we relaxed for a bit. Once we'd freshened up we went over the road to the Independent Sportbar and Grill for an easy dinner. Very yummy beers, lots of different ones on draught and it was really busy. Chicago dog for me and chicken strips for Olly. Both were great. Our server was lovely and we left him a good tip. He must have been happy with it, he ran out after we'd left to thank us, say goodbye and give us a hug!!

Edited: 18 October 2017, 11:51
Atlanta, Georgia
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7. Re: North, South, East and West – A trip report…..

Nice beginning and looking forward to the rest of your trip report!

Bendigo, Australia
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8. Re: North, South, East and West – A trip report…..

9th May 2017

Our room was really dark last night so we had a bit of a sleep in. We got ourselves organised then walked to a place called Mothers for breakfast. When we arrived we were worried we might not be able to get a table but we were taken through to another room – the place was huge. Olly had a bacon and Gorgonzola omelette and I had an amazing waffle with syrup, banana, pecans and ice cream. It was so delicious and once again, our server was lovely. After breakfast we went for a walk along the waterfront area. They were unpacking big tents as there had been a large festival there over the weekend. From there we stopped at another Target and went a little bit crazy. Even with our dollar being down, things are still much cheaper than back home.

After dumping our purchases back at the hotel we made our way to our bike brewery tour! We met our group and our tour guide Evan was lovely. We also had a trainee guide Jason. There were five of us on the tour and Olly was the only guy. The was a girl from California and a mother and daughter from Houston. We set off on our bikes and Evan included a lot of Portland history into his narrative rather than just focusing on beer which was great. We stopped at Bridgeport, Lucky Labrador and Ringlers. We took a tour out the back of Lucky Labrador and it was really cool to see the whole process. It was such a beautiful day and riding around the city was awesome. We did around 6 miles all up and it was a nice easy ride. We played shuffle board at Ringlers which Olly and I had never played before. Turns out I'm not too bad at it! The tour was such a nice way to spend an afternoon in Portland and I would certainly recommend it for beer lovers.

After the tour we went to Rogue Brewery with the girls from the tour where we made the mistake of sitting in the sun and drinking for hours. We had a lovely time but things certainly got foggy from here and we drunkenly made our way back to the hotel. I'm not normally one for drinking too much when we travel but they hit me hard this day! I'm going to regret this in the morning…….

Bendigo, Australia
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9. Re: North, South, East and West – A trip report…..

10th May 2017

Yep, I regret it. Somebody kill us now….we are both beyond hungover.

Check out was at 12pm and it took all our energy to drag ourselves out of bed to pack up and leave. Geez we struggled! The drive was absolutely beautiful and we saw some cool shops along the way but we just couldn't bring ourselves to stop. I'd asked Olly a few times if we needed gas and he said we were fine. Suddenly the gas light was flashing and we were in the middle of nowhere! We were getting a little stressed but finally found a little town to gas up in. We pulled into a rest stop and had a nap for half an hour. Partially refreshed, we continued on to the Overleaf Lodge and Spa in Yachats which was our stop for the night. Our room was amazing with a huge spa at the window overlooking the ocean.

We got there at around 4pm and had some snacks in the common area before heading out along the rocks for a walk. It was a beautiful spot, very rugged. I had a relaxing spa while Olly had a nap then we drove into Yachats to a place called Drift Inn for dinner. There was a little band playing and we had a lovely (alcohol free) dinner before I drove back to the lodge – my first drive for the trip. We watched Wild Hogs on tv before crashing pretty early. What a waste of a day. Certainly a lesson learned.

Bendigo, Australia
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10. Re: North, South, East and West – A trip report…..

Thanks PeachBelle, I'm looking forward to reliving it all!

11th May 2017

We woke up feeling AMAZING this morning!! It was so nice to not be hungover and I can guarantee that won't happen again this trip. We slept until 8.30am and it was lovely to hear the waves crashing on the beach as we woke up. It had rained all night and was quite heavy at times, splashing on the windows of our room. Breakfast was included in the room rate so we went down to the lobby for some delicious sausage and egg burritos and some truly terrible coffee. We made a coffee in our room and sat on the balcony watching the ocean. What a great spot, we couldn't have asked for a better view.

We checked out and took off down the 101. We drove through some really cool little towns today. We stopped in Florence and grabbed a coffee at a drive through then stopped in Bandon at a woodcarving shop by the side of the road. They had some really cool carvings. Some of them were massive. There was a huge alien and a really cool dragon. It's these little stops that make me love travelling in the USA more, especially when you get off the interstates. It rained steadily until mid morning which just made everything look even more magical.

We stopped at the Chowder House in Gold Beach for lunch. Olly had the crab cake slider, Caesar salad and clam chowder and I had the fish and chips. Both meals were really good. Not far out of Gold Beach we saw something crossing the road in front of us. It was a bobcat! I was so excited, he was really cute. We also saw a big herd of elk off the side of the road so that was our hit of nature for the day.

We arrived in Trinidad mid afternoon. Our accommodation is a cracker. It's a little cabin at View Crest Lodge and it's cute and cozy. We went down to the pier where we saw a guy catch a crab. It wasn't a huge one but he was still excited enough to snap a few photos with it! We hope he threw it back. We stopped at a great little grocery store and got some supplies. I love walking around grocery stores and seeing all the different things. We spent nearly an hour in there!

We had an amazing dinner at the Larrapin Café. We started with a little antipasto platter then had some grilled oysters. We both had fillet steak, mine with mushrooms and Gorgonzola and Olly's with prawns. The best crème brûlée I've ever had finished us off. I drove us back to our cabin where we grabbed a DVD from the office, the new Ghostbusters and we settled in to watch it with a cuppa. A great day all round.

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