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  • Writer's pictureShay

my summer adventure

This past summer after Joe and I graduated from NMSU we embarked on the road trip of a time time. Although it has almost been a year since then, it feels like just yesterday that we were driving next to the ocean, exploring hidden beaches, camping next to waterfalls... We haven't made any plans for this upcoming summer yet but I'm excited for an adventure or two. I never really posted anything about our whole trip on any social media so this will be the first digital re-telling. I tried my best to write everything down in a journal as we were traveling but that didn't turn out so well, luckily this trip is one giant memory I don't think I will ever forget.

It all started in Joshua Tree... we stayed at a fantastic Airbnb called The Now Homestead. Most of our day was filled with driving so we were pretty tired when getting into Joshua Tree, our hosts greeted us with cold beers and good conversation. We eventually made our way into the tiny town and ate at the local saloon... I don't remember what I ate but I remember that it was karaoke night and everyone was having a great time. When we got back to The Now everyone was already asleep, Joe and I grabbed some blankets and made our way to the roof of their trailer and stargazed for a while.

The next morning our hosts made us coffee and asked us model for their vintage boutique they had inside their house and then Joe and I went off to explore the park. I had no idea what a joshua tree looked like before we drove through the national park! It was pretty amazing and the landscape was really wild, you can see how a lot of artists draw inspiration from it.

After driving through the national park we made our way to our second destination...

Big Sur

I will never forget the drive to Big Sur, it was one of the most terrifying roads I have ever driven on. You are basically having to drive up a mountain on a super twisty road with no lines or guard rails. We were also driving at dusk so the whole windshield was glaring and it was nearly impossible to see. We took the photo above towards the top of the mountain and we were about to cross over to the ocean side. I had to get out and take a break from driving because I was getting really stressed out lol but look how beautiful!! Once we conquered the insane road we made it to our campground only to find out I had no service and could not load our reservation email to see what our spot number was! We spent some time wandering around the campground searching for the camp hosts but eventually some people told us they were leaving and offered us the spot they were in (later on when I had service I checked our spot number and we ended up camping in the right spot! score!).

Big Sur was absolutely breathtaking. Joe took this picture of me on our trek down from the campground to the ocean. It was so lush and smelled amazing. We spent some time wandering along the rocky shore and did some ocean yoga for the first time and it felt really good practicing next to something so powerful. We hiked back up to our camp ground, packed up and headed up highway 1 only to find out the road was closed... so we headed down highway 1...only to find that end closed as well. The only way out was that awful road that gave me an anxiety attack the day before. Joe was driving this time. So we slowly made our way back over and down the mountain and on towards Napa Valley. We stayed in a lovely Airbnb in Benicia, CA hosted by a family but we didn't see too much of them. Once we got to our room we quickly got ready and headed to the ferry station to catch a ferry to San Francisco. I hardly have any pictures of our night there but we got a giant dinner in China Town then we bought very touristy sweatshirts because of course we didn't think we were going to need our jackets! We mostly just wandered the streets and walked through Fisherman's Wharf and stopped to get a couple beers at a brewery/sourdough bakery. Eventually everything was closing down so we ubered back to Benicia.

The next morning we showered, ate a quick breakfast left on the counter by our host, and headed to Napa. We drove through miles and miles and miles of vineyards that went as far as the eye can see, it was unreal. We ate brunch at a cute little cafe that had a jazz band playing and it was quite charming. Next door was a wine store so we stopped in and bought a few bottles. Then we got back in the car and headed to the Redwood National Forest.

This campground was so lush it was like stepping into a fairytale. I took this picture right after I woke up from inside the tent.

This was the river we camped next to, it had clear blue water that was magical and freeeeeezing. We left this campsite fairly early to give us time to stop along the highway and I'm so glad we did, because these pit stops are some of my favorite memories.

Pit stop #1 was this random beach we stopped at in Oregon, I don't remember the name but it was beautifully gloomy. We did some yoga here.

Pit stop #2 was Port Orford, Oregon. We stopped here because we were hungry and had to pee. We looked around and noticed this giant rock on the beach that had a path leading up.... so of course we trekked up and I got this epic shot of Joe! After our hike up the rock we ate burgers at a tiny bar and talked to the owner and the one other customer there about our travels and they told us about their tiny town. It was awesome.

But finally we made it to Sunset Bay State Park and we were able to see the sunset from Sunset Bay so that was pretty special (although nothing can beat a New Mexico sunset). We spent most of the morning hiking on the shore and exploring hidden beaches. Climbing along the cliffs next to the ocean was exhilarating. Once we wore our selves out hiking we headed back to camp for lunch then took off towards Tillamook.

We ate dinner in Tillamook, at a little restaurant with about four guests and our waitress was surprised how many people were there (THAT's how small Tillamook is). We headed to our campground which ended up being one of my favorite places we camped the whole trip.

We couldn't park next to our spot so we had to park at the top and carry all of our stuff down but it was so worth it to basically camp right on the river. Our spot was also HUGE. Joe crossed those logs in the picture several times to get us firewood. We had beer and s'mores for dinner here.

The next day we were going back into civilization... PORTLAND.

First things first though, we had to get some coffee! Our first stop, after our hotel, was this cute little coffee shop!

We had some time to kill before our room was ready so we roamed the streets for a while. Joe and I had been to Portland before but only for a handful of hours, we stayed two nights and three days this time and I fell in love with the city even more. We ate so much delicious food and walked through so many lovely neighborhoods and parks.

So here's a compilation of some (but definitely not all) of the things I ate in Portland:


I got the classic Portland flavor Sea Salt with Caramel Ribbons and Roasted Strawberry Coconut.

I wish I remembered the name of this french bistro we went to for breakfast the next morning because it was divine. Joe got a Croque Monsieur and I got an almond croissant with a cafe au lait.

And of course this GIANT falafel from the Food Truck Court! This was such an awesome thing, it was cool to have so many options in one place! I also got a delicious thai tea with boba here!

Sure the food in Portland is amazing and you could eat at a different restaurant every day there, but a huge part of the reason I love Portland is the place pictured below... Washington Park.

It's a beautiful green space that houses the International Rose Test Garden and the Japanese Garden both of which are absolutely stunning. This past year the roses were not quite in full bloom yet but we were able to see a few blooms.

After our restful stay in Portland we were ready for Sasquatch! Music Festival at the Gorge Amphitheater. This was our third time going to the festival (the first time was when we were only 19!) so we were pretty prepared. The reason I love Sasquatch! is because you get to camp in this enormous field with thousands of other people and then wake up and listen to music all day.

I love the Gorge at sunset, it's definitely a sight to be seen. But after three days of the music festival life I was ready to take a shower and eat a proper meal at an actual table.

So we ventured up to Seattle where we stayed with a friend who was so generous to let us stay in her amazing beach front apartment on Alki Beach.

This was our first time to Seattle so we did all the touristy things! (Except the Space Needle). We started our morning with some coffee from the original Starbucks and then wandered around Pike's Place Market for a few hours... I wanted to buy allllll the flowers. After the market we went to the Seattle Aquarium and hung out there while it was raining outside. We walked further down to where the Great Wheel is, which is where I took this picture! The giant ferris wheel takes you out over the water and you get an amazing view of Seattle. After the ferris wheel we went and ate all the sea food: oysters, fish and chips, and clam chowder! I'm typically not a fish eater so this was a pretty big deal for me but it was so goood.

We then made our way to Smith Tower, which was the first skyscraper built in Seattle! If you are ever in Seattle, go to Smith Tower and buy a ticket for the self-guided tour...

...there's a surprise at the end and it may or may not include a prohibition style bar at the very top of the building and an observation deck.

That night we wandered Alki Beach and found a place with really good fish tacos. The next morning we had breakfast at Easy Street Records and browsed the records then we were off to Palouse Falls. This was my first time ever seeing a waterfall. I really have no words to describe how it felt seeing something like that but it was unbelievable.

Oh ya know, just a casual double rainbow during a beautiful sunset over a gigantic waterfall... no big deal. Our camp ground was so close to the waterfall! Originally I made reservations at a different campground a couple miles away but we decided to ditch that reservation (sorry KOA!) and camp next to the falls since there were spots available! We walked around the surrounding areas of our campgrounds and saw those amazing rainbows pictured above and below.

Hehe this photo is so cheesy and my favorite part is definitely the fanny pack Joe thrifted in Portland. When we got up the next morning we started hiking down to the higher falls and then walked along the river that took us to the top of Palouse Falls. It was breathtaking and we walked a little further down a super narrow path but then decided to turn around since we had to hit the road soon.

Our next stop turned was unplanned but I was not in the mood to be on the road any longer so by the time we got to Idaho we had to stop because I was losing it. We ended up camping at Cascade Lake in Cascade, Idaho and it was such a stunning lake.

When we first got there it was cold and rainy and then the sun came out and the reflection off of the lake was blinding and all of the sudden it was hot! Of course once the sun went down it went back to being cold and rainy.

Unfortunately, I don't have any pictures for the rest of our trip so you'll need to use your imagination (sorry!)

Our next stop was Fifth Water Hot Springs in Springville, Utah. We got to the trail head a couple hours before sunset so we quickly changed into our bathing suits, got our towels, and headed to the hot springs. The hike to the springs was beautiful and followed a river that had several small waterfalls and different places to camp along the trail. The hot springs themselves were located next to a bigger waterfall along the river and ranged from lukewarm to scalding hot. We ended up spending a decent amount of time in the hotter springs talking to a local family so we had to hike back in the dark, which was a little scary I'm not going to lie. But we didn't die and we made it back to the car and set up camp right next to the trail head.

The next day was Joe's birthday! We took off pretty early for Denver, where we were staying with Joe's brother and sister-in-law. We got to their apartment and hung out for a while and then went out to a couple bars for Joe's birthday. The next day I was able to see my brother who was recovering from an awful ski accident in the Alps. We had a great lunch with him and it was so awesome to see him, since then he made it back home to New Mexico and is making a lot of progress (this is the link to his GoFundMe).

We had dinner with Joe's family and then we all watched a movie. The next day we were headed back to good ol' NM.

We stopped in Santa Fe at Meow Wolf and then headed to Albuquerque to crash with some friends for the night, we went out to Marble Brewery but that was the extent of our ABQ adventure.

And that's my summer adventure. If you made it this far, wow! I'm sorry for the novel, but this was a giant trip. We were gone a whole month almost and we went to so many different places! I love car camping, it is probably my favorite way to travel. Where do you want to go this summer? Or rather, where do you want to travel in general?

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