Wednesday, July 10, 2013

My Pacific Northwest Road Trip

As I mentioned earlier, I wanted to write a post on my road trip through the pacific northwest that I went on a few weeks ago. Hope you enjoy!

Above is the map tracking the places/states we visited. That`s 11 states! And we did it in 1 week. I helped my dad with some of the driving so it wasn`t just my dad driving throughout the whole trip. We drove over 4,000 MILES! 

I live in Southern California, so we traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada first to eat lunch. We left quite early on Monday morning so we were starving when we arrived in Vegas. Since, we live relatively close to Vegas, everyone and anyone around here, travel there often, so, we have our favorite places to eat.

If you follow me on Instagram, you would have seen some of my foodie adventures during this trip. My family and I love this place called Asian BBQ & Noodles. It has really good reviews on Yelp, too. When you walk into the restaurant, you will see newspaper articles and magazine reviews of the restaurant on their walls. I ordered their ramen noodles with curry fish balls and it was delicious. On the corner of the photo is the chow fun noodles with beef, which was also wonderful.

After Nevada, we drove the rest of the day, crossing Arizona's and Utah`s state borders until we reached Colorado. On the first night, we stayed at a hotel at the Grand Junction. After like 3 hours of sleep, we woke up, ate breakfast and continued our journey to Denver, Colorado. We made our first stop at Dinosaur Ridge so my little cousins (ages 9, 12, & 14) can look at some fossils. Millions of years ago, dinosaurs roamed the Earth and many of their tracks were fossilized around Colorado. We didn`t have enough time to go on the bus tour, as I hoped, because a bus just left as we arrived and we couldn`t wait for the next one.

My dad was pretty cool back in his day and went on many road trips before he married my mom and had me. NOT to say he isn`t cool now...haha. I love both my parents like no other. Anyways, he visited Denver before and went to this one restaurant called Casa Bonita. He remembered how they had diving performances and wanted us to all see them. Honestly, it`s expensive for what you get. Everyone needs to order food, but the food isn`t what they are known`s more of the diving performances that they have every 15 minutes.

After we ate lunch there, we drove about 6 hours to reach Mount Rushmore. :) It was a wonderful sight. We went on the Presidential trial before the lighting ceremony.  At the lighting ceremony, they honored all the veterans who served for their country and it was really cool to see all the men and women who has served for our country. :) I thought the lighting ceremony was like a show or something, but it`s actually just when they turn on the lights...Haha.

We spent the night in Custer, South Dakota since our next destination was Yellowstone National Park. Custer was on the way and only a 30 minute drive from Mt. Rushmore. By the time we reached Rushmore, it was dark and we didn`t want to drive late into the night since we didn`t know the terrain.

Once again, we left early in the morning and continued our drive to Yellowstone. We reached the national park around 3-4pm.

My parents and I aren`t really fans of while most families come to Yellowstone to camp for days, we came just to visit the famous touristy spots. :P Although, one of my sisters was completely down for camping, I was not. Let`s just say, I`m not really a nature-y person, up close.

We visited the hot springs (the picture on the right). It was pretty darn cool. I took so many pictures of them since they were beautiful. I would also like to mention...IT WAS SO COLD. I kept running around, sprinting from one hot spring to another to get the warm air they emitted. Next, we drove a bit more to reach Old Faithful (bottom left). We walked around and gift shopped a bit while waiting for the next estimated time old faithful would blow. Also, WE SAW BISONS (upper left)! TWICE. I guess it`s normal to see a bunch of bisons while driving on the road in Yellowstone. Both times, there were so many crossing the street, all the cars had to stop. While we were stopping, my sisters snapped some pictures of them up close. It was pretty exciting.

The 3rd night, we drove to Livingston, Montana and spent the night there. We arrived in Seattle, Washington the next evening. We grabbed dinner in Chinatown, had a quick boba stop, and went to see the Space Needle! You most likely know this already, but Seattle is known for its rain. ALL THE TIME. Driving there was scary for me since it was raining so hard and there were a lot of hills. Trees were everywhere, so even though I was driving during the day, the heavy rain and thick layers of trees made it dark. Not to mention there was dense fog. We wanted to see the Space Needle up close, but it was raining and we were all pooped. We made a quick stop somewhere close by and took pictures from there.

The next morning we visited Pike Public Market Place. I knew the BlogHer Foodblog conference was held in Seattle last year, so I looked up places to visit based on a few blogs` recaps. And this market place was where everyone went! We went by Piroshky Prioshky and it seems to I did a quick Yelp search, deemed it worthy to try, and in, we went! We ordered 5 things, but I can`t remember the names of all of them. But, they were great!

Aside from Piroshky Piroshky, I got a plain jane cinnamon roll from Cinnamon Works. I didn`t think we would visit Sotto Voce, since my family doesn`t strike me as fancy oil and vinegar people...but I guess we are. I, actually, quite love this place! They lay out their flavored oils and vinegar for you to try with some bread...and wow...they were delicious! My parents ended up buying two large bottles: Olio Basilico and Olio Buon Gustaio. (A few days ago I used the Olio Basilico to make some lemon poppy seed dressing and it was delicious!) One of my sisters and I went to grab bagels at Market Bagels, since she was craving bagels like crazy. Next, we visited Seattle Coffee Works and ordered a small latte to go because our parking meter was ending. Right before we left, my mom wanted to try Biscuit B*tch because she said it smelled so good when we walked by. She ordered a Smokin Hot B*tch for the road to Portland. (Excuse the`s the name of the store and biscuits!)

When we arrived in Portland, our first stop was Powells Bookstore. This bookstore is HUGE. Like, one whole block, huge. I visited the YA section, then the business section, and finally, the baking/cooking section. I couldn`t help myself and bought Joy the Baker cookbook and Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy Cookies. Next, we had to visit Voodoo Doughnuts. I think we order 16 donuts, in total? Did I mention those 16 donuts were for 5 people? Obviously, we went a little crazy when ordering. I tried every single flavor of the donuts we ordered. I made myself do some pilates videos later that night in the hotel room. Haha. Our dinner was a HUGE pizza from Sizzle Pie. There were so many pizza shops in Portland, we knew we had to have some while we were here.

We spent the night in Salem, Oregan in a cute studio. The next day, we drove back to our beautiful home state, California! We visited Redwoods National Park and drove through the Avenue of the Giants. These trees are GIGANTIC. It was pretty incredible. Some trees were so big, it would take more than just a few people to hug them. One thing we absolutely had to do while in Redwoods, was to drive through a tree.

I am not joking. IT`S A THING. The trees here are so big, the people there made it a thing for tourists to come and drive through a tree. My family and I went to Shrine Drive Thru Tree, but there is another one in Legget close by as well. It was pretty awesome. My dad drive through it twice with our rented Toyota Sienna. The only downside to these drive though trees is the fact that you have to pay, since I guess these are privately owned trees? Still a cool experience, though! I Instagram-ed an embarrassing video of me running through this tree.

After Redwoods, we drove to Berkeley, CA, to stay at one of my sister`s apartment for the night, since she goes to UC Berkeley. For dinner, we tried this Thai restaurant called Bangkok Noodles & Thai BBQ. It was delicious and cheap. My parents said we must come here every time we visit my sister now. I love that this place opens until 1:30am. I don`t know if you know, but college kids like to stay up late. :)

The next morning, we visited the Golden Gate Bridge, since my little cousins have never seen it before. Since we were in San Francisco, I convinced my dad to drive us to Bi-Rite Creamery to get some ice cream. I knew they were famous since they even have a cookbook and all. :) They definitely didn`t disappoint! I ordered the Salted Caramel and Blueberry Cheesecake on a cone. SO SO GOOD! I`m jealous of all my Bay area friends who can enjoy Bi-Rite daily.

Finally, our roadtrip ended when we arrived back home. I was definitely sad, but it was really fun! I didn`t expect us to have so much fun being stuck in a car for hours with each other. But, we did. I guess since we are older, my sisters and I didn`t get into any arguments or fights throughout the whole trip! And, neither did the 3 little kiddies who sat in the back row.

We just ate, slept, talked, and laughed a lot. And, it was wonderful. ♥

Hope you enjoyed the recap and pictures!

All of the links are NOT affiliated or anything. I just wanted to link you in case you wanted to learn more about each destination. The links will lead you to either a Yelp page, Instagram photo, Amazon, or an official site.