We’re baaaaaack!!

It’s hard to believe 6 months have (almost) passed since we hit the road on April 1st. Proof that time does fly when you’re having fun!

The BAMF...posing!

The BAMF…posing!

I have to say, the freedom of not having a schedule is pretty darn awesome. And no alarm in the mornings! I’ve never slept better. If you get a chance, do it!

Lessons learned along the way (my $.02):

  1. I really don’t need a lot of stuff (although I did miss my shoes), but experiences are worth so much more
  2. It’s not where you go, but who you’re with – and Martin is seriously the best partner ever!
  3. Proper gear is critical – Mother Nature can be very temperamental, so be prepared!
  4. There is an amazingly large population of people making travel a lifestyle – it’s so cool to share that bond and experience and make new friends
  5. It’s not cheap to be vagabond – more $ than we thought. I have a lot of advice re: budgeting for this lifestyle for anyone who’s interested!
  6. Privacy is overrated (it wasn’t that bad), but a little more space would be nice…
  7. That being said, I do LOVE the BAMF! Best. Purchase. Ever.

On this side of it, I wouldn’t change a thing. The trip was inspiring, enlightening, and rewarding for me in so many ways. It makes me want to keep going and see more, more, more. I can’t wait for the next adventure! South America…?

101 coastal views along southern Oregon.

101 coastal views along southern Oregon.

But until then, I look forward to catching up with friends and family and re-engaging in the real world. Catch me up on all the gossip, please!

Blog feedback: this was my first attempt at a travel blog and I hope to create more in the future. I’d love to know any/all feedback re: what you liked & didn’t like about the content, format, accessibility, photos, engagement, etc. I welcome your thoughts. It’ll make my next blog so much better!

Thank you for following this crazy journey with us… xoxo

Bend…Love!

So, I know I’ve asked you all to move multiple times during this journey (Jackson, WY; Big Sky, MT; San Juan Island, WA), but I have to add one more to the contenders list: Bend, OR!

Cocktails (at Pine Tavern) by the water...priceless!

Cocktails (at Pine Tavern) by the water…priceless!

The Ale Trail bike (sober person steers, drunks peddle) to 10 breweries. #brilliant

The Ale Trail bike (sober person steers, drunks peddle) to 10 breweries. #brilliant

Tumalo Falls!

Tumalo Falls!

I am seriously in love with this town and surrounding areas – it has everything! Hiking, mountain biking, climbing, skiing, drinking (that should probably be first), great eats, quality of life, affordable housing. Check!

Downtown Bend is so cute!

Downtown Bend is so cute!

We’re looking for 5 acres for our chicken coop, alpaca/goat herd, and dogs. And of course a garage that will fit our new Earth Cruiser Fuso. Yep, I’ve officially lost my mind! P.S. Pot is legal here as of October 1st, so we could be growers too! 🙂

Smith Rock State Park – one of my most favorite places ever. The views here are incredible! It’s like being in Utah with the rock formations and colors. I could stay here forever…

Smith Rock. Need I say more?!

Smith Rock. Need I say more?!

More views. Climbers here are amazing...

More views. Climbers here are amazing…

I like this view too... :-)

I like this view too… 🙂

Newberry Volcano Caves  – another cool spot right outside of Bend. There’s a mile-long volcanic cave that is unbelievable. The volcanic history here is really cool!

Lava River Cave, Newberry National Monument

Lava River Cave, Newberry National Monument

Lave Butte. Cool hike!

Lave Butte. Cool hike!

Breweries, Breweries, Breweries! I can’t even count how many breweries we’ve found here, and most of them are seriously fantastic – cool vibe, great beer, good food. Temptation everywhere! If we did move here, I might never see Martin again… 😉

Our brewery sticker collection. #greatbeer

Our brewery sticker collection. #challengeaccepted

Crux Fermentation Project - one of our faves!

Crux Fermentation Project – one of our faves!

Worthy Brewery. Worth going!

Worthy Brewery. Worth going!

McMenamins...our last hurrah! #oldschool

McMenamins…our last hurrah! #oldschool

Boneyard Brewery. Simple place, but awesome beer!

Boneyard Brewery. Simple place, but awesome beer!

Special thanks to Chuck & Sue for giving us a place to stay for a few days – what a treat!

The big question remains: will my favorite jeans still fit when I get home? And where the hell ARE my favorite jeans, anyway?

Nearing the end…but we’re not done yet!

Image

Our trip through Washington was a little truncated because of the fires burning in the East, but it does remind me how much raw, natural beauty exists along the West Coast. Nearly every drive is scenic. And, we had a chance to catch up with friends JP & Stephanie Nicols in Bellevue, which is always a treat.

Love having to step over this guy. Hood River, OR rocks!

Love having to step over this guy. Hood River, OR rocks!

We’re now meandering through Oregon, taking in the amazing views of Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood (haven’t gotten to Mt. Bachelor yet).

Oh look - another brewery! Photobombed by the BAMF...

Oh look – another brewery! Photobombed by the BAMF…

Mt Hood ski resort. A slide & playground in the summer! #brilliant

Mt Hood ski resort. A slide & playground in the summer! #brilliant

More waterfalls...can we spray some on Calif?

More waterfalls…can we spray some on Calif?

"Waterfall Alley" in OR - all amazing!

“Waterfall Alley” in OR – all amazing!

We’re currently writing this from the historic Timberline Lodge, which will easily give the Ahwahnee a run for its money for coolest lodge ever. The Timberline Lodge was built in 1937, dedicated by Franklin D. Roosevelt, and is packed full of historical artifacts from the pioneering days. It’s also full of hikers as it sits along the historic Pacific Crest Trail. These adventurers are badass!

Timberline Lodge. #bestlodgeever

Timberline Lodge. #bestlodgeever

More Timberline Lodge. #totallyauthentic

More Timberline Lodge. #totallyauthentic

This lodge survived the Great Depression, WWII, and a barage of other monumental accounts. More importantly, it served as the exterior of the Overlook Hotel in “The Shining”! It’s absolutely stunning, sitting in the shadow of beautiful Mt. Hood. If you don’t hear from us again, look for us here…

Fisheye view of the lodge!

Fisheye view of the inside of the lodge!

Anyone remember this photo from the old iconic pee-chee school folder? It's from this lodge! #history

Anyone remember this photo from the old iconic pee-chee school folder? It’s from this lodge! #history

Next stop: Bend. Martin is particularly excited about the fact there are 21 microbreweries, so we may be there for a while. Besides, I’m stalling on the return to the real world. I’m not ready to face it!

 

New Friends, New Memories…

We’ve met so many cool people along this trip – people who share our love of travel and thirst for adventure. But how often do you meet people, bond, exchange information, and never cross paths again?

Fran & Ed - looking forward to our next get together, wherever it may be!

Fran & Ed – looking forward to our next get together, wherever it may be!

We were fortunate on this trip to meet Fran and Ed early in our journey – in Capital Reef, UT. We followed each other’s blogs, kept in touch, and ended up staying a night at their gorgeous home on Whidbey island on our way back through Washington. Their home was designed by their son, Brad, and it’s an incredible inspiration on how to design small spaces to feel unbelievably spacious and inviting and cool. I’ll be calling Brad one day for sure!

Lovely dinner. Lovely home. Lovely people!

Lovely dinner. Lovely home. Lovely people!

The gang in South Whidbey. We'll be back!

The gang in South Whidbey. We’ll be back!

You know when conversation (and wine) flows that easily that it was meant to be!

Beautiful Whidbey Island, WA

Beautiful Whidbey Island, WA

That’s been one of my favorite experiences this trip – the unexpected new friends and stories of travelers (and locals) we’ve met in every state. And, since many a conversation started because of the BAMF, I’m also grateful for the unique beast that has been our transportation, a target for the paparazzi, and our home!

Leavenworth, WA - a replica of Bavaria!

Leavenworth, WA – a replica of Bavaria!

More Leavenworth. They even made McDonald's & Starbucks succumb to Barvarian architecture!

More Leavenworth. They even made McDonald’s & Starbucks succumb to Bavarian architecture!

I mean, seriously - how cute is this town?!

I mean, seriously – how cute is this town?!

We’ve had to re-route our journey through Washington a bit due to fires burning in the East. As always this time of year, it’s a reminder of how fragile our environment is. Pray for rain!

Some of our new friends aren't even human!

Some of our new friends aren’t even human!

We’re now off to the WA wine country because, well, we love wine! Planning to see more friends in Bellevue and in OR on the way home, which is always a treat.

Still homeless and unemployed, so keep me in mind if you hear or see any cool opportunities, anywhere! 🙂

Love to all. Can’t believe it’s almost September!

You can find us at Friday Harbor…

Continuing our “island love”, we have fallen hard & fast for San Juan Island, WA. This place is lovely and chill and oh-so-welcoming. And it needs a brewery, so I think we owe it to this place to open one!

Roche Harbor, San Juan Island

Roche Harbor, San Juan Island

Beautiful beaches...

Beautiful beaches…

Beautiful sunsets...

Beautiful sunsets…

Beautiful views from every side...

Beautiful views from every side…

We already found a boat (a 50′ yacht for sale), made some new friends, discovered a new favorite wine (Northwest Totem Cellars), and have a source for the start of our alpaca herd. You heard me – alpaca!

Cocktails by the marina...

Cocktails by the marina…

Our new yacht...

Our new yacht…

They even have camels!

They even have camels!

Did I mention the views??

Did I mention the views??

We loved time with family - the Burke's at Cynthia's new restaurant: the BEST!

We loved time with family – the Burkes at Cynthia’s new restaurant: the BEST!

You’ll all come visit, right??!

Someone needs to explain this to me...

Someone needs to explain this to me…

Life on an Island…Sign me up!

We’re back! Sorry for the silence. We spent the last 10 days on Vancouver Island, exploring every nook and cranny and back (logging) road we could find. This is a great place to get lost!

Breathtaking Vancouver Island...

Breathtaking Vancouver Island…

This sign says it all...

This sign says it all…

We love the beaches - even in the fog!

We love the beaches – even in the fog!

Life here is good! This Isle has everything – mountains, canyons, hiking, ocean, wineries, farm fresh produce, music and culture. You can be in the heart of a city like Victoria or Nanaimo and then 10 minutes later in wide open farm country with rolling hills and magnificent views. And of course there are tons of wineries! 🙂

Napa ain't got nothing on this wine region!

Napa ain’t got nothing on this wine region!

We went caving...

We went caving…

We went ziplining through canyons...

We went ziplining through canyons…

We walked for MILES along the beach...

We walked for MILES along the beach…

Did I mention the beach?!

Did I mention the beach?!

As always, my favorite places are not the tourist destinations, although Tofino and Victoria are gorgeous, but I definitely prefer the more hidden gems like Cowichan Bay, Ucluelet, Cape Scott, Telegraph Cove, Mill Bay

We were charmed by Victoria's colors & architecture...

We were charmed by Victoria’s colors & architecture…

We jumped off rocks into hidden pools of aqua blue water...

We jumped off rocks into hidden pools of aqua blue water…

We explored...

We explored…

We finally found some sun!

We finally found some sun!

We enjoyed the amazing views...

We enjoyed the amazing views…

We courted every pier...

We courted every pier…

We loved the little towns like Telegraph Cove...

We loved the little towns like Telegraph Cove…

We even camped one night on a man’s 100-acre property, on an invitation when we accidentally turned onto his road to make a u-turn. Does that happen in the U.S.?

Our quietest campsite on personal property. #kindnesslives

Our quietest campsite on personal property. #kindnesslives

I could so easily live here! Will Canada adopt us?!

My first zipline - upside down!

My first zipline – upside down!

We found a few car wash stations at the end of long dirt logging roads!

We found a few car wash stations at the end of long dirt logging roads!

Our Alaska Faves, Captured!

I’ve been trying to think about an Alaska Top 10  list of what we’ve learned and loved in the last 2 months, but it’s really difficult as every town and experience is different and special in its own way. But here’s my attempt, for what it’s worth! But I’ve loved it all…

The BAMF loves Alaska too!

The BAMF loves Alaska too!

This is still one of my favorite pics. It makes me happy looking at it!

This is still one of my favorite pics. It makes me happy looking at it!

#GlacierObsessed

#GlacierObsessed

ALASKA FAVES:

Best Place to LIVE: Seward – because it has the most to offer year round (hiking, restaurants, brewery, services, mountains/sea, proximity to skiing and to Anchorage airport, etc) without the summer tourist hordes

Best Place to VISIT: Denali (simply a must for visitors), and Valdez/McCarthy for a true Alaskan experience. Or just head to Hyder!

Favorite Unique Experience: Ice climbing a glacier in McCarthy! (flightseeing in Denali and landing on a glacier was pretty badass too)

Most Scenic Drive: the road into Valdez. Simply STUNNING. Runner up: the Glacier Hwy to Stewart/Hyder.

Best Beer/Brewery: Broken Tooth (Anchorage), although our favorite of the whole trip is still Lone Peak in Big Sky, MT!

Best Meal(s): Chinooks (Seward), 229 Parks (Denali)

Best Bar with Character: Double Musky Inn (Girdwood); Runner up: the Lynx (Denali) – best bartenders!

Favorite Hot Spring: Chena hot springs (Chena) – great place to spend a whole weekend & hang out

Most Touristy: Skagway and Denali (runner up: the Homer Spit)

Best Place to View Wildlife: Yellowstone (seriously) or Canada – where is the wildlife in Alaska (other than bald eagles)?!

Seeing Mt McKinley was definitely a treat!

Seeing Mt McKinley was definitely a treat!

Rain or shine, the views in Alaska just don't ever get old

Rain or shine, the views in Alaska just don’t ever get old

When we return to Alaska, we’ll hit Kodiak Island, Katmai National Park, and some of the Inside Passage islands (Juneau, Sitka, Ketchikan, etc). And chase those elusive Northern Lights (with Annie in Fairbanks)!

Meantime, we have new friends to visit in Whidbey, Scotland, and Switzerland! (and Rex/Geri – I can’t remember where to stalk you!) 🙂

I truly love Alaska. It’s a very special place! Sad to leave…

 

 

Alaska-in-a-Box: Hyder/Stewart (a very grand finale)

We’ve decided that if you can only do ONE thing to get a taste of Alaska, drive the Cassiar hwy to the Glacier hwy which ends at Stewart, BC & Hyder, AK.

The views in Hyder don't stop!

The views in Hyder don’t stop!

The Salmon Glacier in Hyder. One of the largest in the world!

The Salmon Glacier in Hyder. One of the largest in the world!

These 2 towns – just 2 miles apart but in 2 different countries and timezones – seriously have everything: glaciers galore, salmon spawning, bear watching, fjords, views to die for, the best seafood (served out of a bus), even homemade fudge! … everything but a brewery. But there IS an after hours bar (cleverly called “The Bar”) in Stewart, so party on, Wayne!

"The Bar" (the bartendress: 8 mos pregnant)

“The Bar” (the bartendress: 8 mos pregnant)

Welcome to Hyder AK!

Welcome to Hyder AK!

The Seafood Bus = the best!

The Seafood Bus = the best!

The bear watching platform where thousands of salmon spawn each year

The bear watching platform where thousands of salmon spawn each year

This has been the perfect finale to our time in Alaska. The glaciers & mountains & fjords here are as beautiful as any we’ve seen. They still take my breathe away…every time.

The Glacier Inn in Hyder

The Glacier Inn in Hyder

Just us & the coolest glacier ever!

Just us & the coolest glacier ever!

More awesome views. Love it here...

More awesome views. Love it here…

Next stop: a 15-hour ferry on the 11th from Prince Rupert, BC to Vancouver Island. Never been – I’m looking forward to exploring the island! Will report back when I have WIFI again. The time is going too fast!!

xoxo