Our trip down the coast – a human perspective :p

Kenzie and Topher decided that she (Kenzie) should write a blog post about our time on the coast and while Kenzie is entertaining, she is not very elaborate, so I thought I might expand on our last week. Please forgive our ridiculousness. We have had very little human contact in the last few weeks!

After leaving Sequim, we spent a big day journeying down the Washington coast. We had planned on staying at a campground on the beach along the way, but a Friday night mid-summer and everything was booked up. We crossed the border into Astoria, OR around 10pm and decided to call it a night in the Fred Meyer parking lot (King Sooper’s bigger, better cousin for you Coloradans!) We’ve been sleeping in the car alot through our trip but to use the full back area, we have to get our bins, table and cooler out of the car. That seemed a little sketchy in a parking lot, so I curled up horizontally in Kenzie’s space behind the front seats, Topher reclined the passenger seat and Kenzie was a trooper and squished in the driver’s seat with the steering wheel as a pillow. It was a pretty sleepless night, but we perservered. It was an early morning, fueled by Dutch Bros, but we found a picnic area overlooking Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock and made a big breakfast. It was absolutely beautiful! We played on the beach and had a marvelously good time.

We continued down the beach to Rockaway, where Topher’s family vacationed when he was a kid. It was fun to revisit the shops and beaches and places he remembered from his childhood.

After a brief detour to Seaside, we found a nice campsite in the National Forest near Pacific City and spent two nights there. We toured the Tillamook cheese factory and went to the Tillamook air museum and went to Munson Falls. We watched the sunset from a beach in Pacific City that cars could drive up on the sand, which was really neat!

Our final day on the coast, we visited Yaquina Head Lighthouse outside of Newport. The tide was out and the tide pools were full of orange and red starfish and purple urchins. I love the way the round, black, perfectly smooth rocks that make up the beach sound when the waves wash over them.

We had lunch at Mo’s in Florence, which I remember from family vacations when I was a kid, and browsed the shops and ate our fill of fresh salt water taffy. We spent the evening on the beach. Topher dug holes and Kenzie helped, until she saw a seagull and caved the hole back in. We picked up THE MOST LIFESAVING TIP from a young family on the beach, baby powder makes sand magically disappear! Sandy fur, sandy toes, sandy hair, baby powder rids the sand and makes everyone feel soft and smell nice. Kenzie got doused in it.

We’re a little behind on blogging, so will post more soon, but enjoy the pictures of our few days on the coast in the meantime!

Xoxo,
Mikaela

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Breakfast with a view!
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Mikaela and McKenzie at Yaquina Head
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Besties ♡
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My family♡
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Yaquina Head, looking dreamy!

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Mua Petit Kenard

My name is Ken-z I’m ten  and a half years old and this is the story of the week I got to spend on the beach. 

My story startus when we left a house in the forest. I liked the house. After the forest I had to sleep in the front seat of the car. Mom got the back. Dad slept next to me and tried to share his pillow. I didn’t like that. I didn’t sleep well. 

After that we went to the beach.(Indian beach) I had breakfast. It was kibble. Then we went to the beach. I made a wave. And drank salty water. Then my people went to rockaway canon beach and seaside. Then we went to the woods. I like the woods. 

The next day we went to a factory with lots of cows. (Tillamook cheese factory) i didnt get to go in but they brought back ice cream. And shared. Then we went to a waterfall and i get wet. I liked that. Then we went to a big building i wasn’t allowed in. (Tillamook air museum) i took a nap. Then back to the forst. I like the forest. Then we spent a day on the beach and i helped dad dig holes. Then we went to a farm (miks mom tamis farm) and i like tha farm. And thats my story. 

Smudge 

Washington and Victoria

Hello!

Mikaela, here again! We can’t believe we’ve been on the road for almost three weeks!

On Sunday we did Rainier National Park. The last time I was there was scattering my Papa’s ashes ten years ago, so it was humbling to be back. It feels pretty awesome to stand at the foot of a mountain where tourists are ooh-ing and ahh-ing and to know your father and grandfather have conquered and summited.

After 17 nights of camping, we pulled into Topher’s grandpa’s on the Olympic Penninsula in Washington and it has been SO NICE to shower (I was going on 11 days! Ew!) and sleep somewhere warm and soft. Our stay coincided with Topher’s parents so its been nice to see familiar faces and be around family for a few days!

My 22nd birthday was on Tuesday. Yes, I am feeling 22 😜. We spent the day exploring the towns of Sequim and Port Angeles and chasing Topher’s childhood memories of bookstores and burger joints. When we were originally headed to Canada, my birthday wish was to go canoeing on Lake Louise in Banff. Since we’re not in Canada, we went canoeing on Lake Crescent in Olympic National Park. Since we were still with Topher’s grandpa, we were able to leave Kenzie behind so we didn’t have to find out if she likes to canoe or not! Lake Crescent is beautiful! The water is the most amazing navy blue, turquoise in some places and amazingly clear. Its over 600 ft deep. A huge tree had fallen in the water and the top of it was so deep, we couldn’t reach it with our paddles! It was super calm and so peaceful. I’m not very good at paddling, but I love canoeing. Being on the water and getting around using your own power is really neat and Topher makes up for my lack of skill! The Lake Crescent Lodge is a beautiful victorian style building with a great sunroom restaurant overlooking the water. We tried some local cider and had an amazing afternoon!

Yesterday we took the ferry to Victoria, BC (so we did get a bit of a Canadian adventure!) I’d never been on a big boat before and so it was ridiculously exciting for me! I felt like a little kid. We didn’t bring the car, so it was a huge day of walking. We explored the shops and Chinatown (which is accesible by a super narrow ally that then suddenly opens up in a whole different world, or so it feels!). We lounged for a bit at the Empress Hotel  and on the lawn of the legislature building and walked down to Fisherman’s Wharf.
Fisherman’s Wharf is a floating houseboat community, which was really, really cool! There are shops, restaurants and houses, all floating!

We are back on the road today headed into Oregon. This weekend marks three weeks on the road!

‘Til next time!
Mikaela
(PS, if anyone has any questions about our trip so far, feel free to ask! Would love to answer!!!)

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Someone doing all the work!
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Ferry selfie...selfies for days!
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Fisherman's Wharf
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BC's impressive legislature building

Topher post 2

So i believe we left of on koocanusa lake in MT. We have gotten around a bit since then. After we drove through Idaho straight into washington. Camping along the western edge in logging territory. We then pushed towards and through north cascade national park and then spent a day in Seattle.

Seattle was a blast. Traffic was rough but once we got into the city we headed to the pike st public market. It was a zoo but so much fun. We got coffee from a starbucks that wasnt the first one but was all together nicer than the first one. Spent not nearley enough time going through the underground shops. Then went through the amazing flower and farmers market. After some tasty greek street food for lunch we decided to head to japantown. If you’re ever thinking of walking from the public market to japantown dont. Its a long ways and you pass through some iffy parts of town. Japantown was awesome and we spent again not nearly enough time in a japanese book store. There was also a japanese maket we didn’t get to but hopefully we can find another one of those. All of this was good and well but the coolest part of japantown was the gunpla store.

So for those of you who dont know (so all of you) gunpla is, and i like building, plastic models from japanese “gundam” anime. Anyway the kits are generaly difficult to imposible to find in brick and mortar stores in america so this place was awesome. I got a new kit i had wanted and much merryment was had.

After seattle we went to camp outside of Mt. Rainier. But thats the next one.

Later Days
Topher.

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Pikes Place Market
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Campfire selfies!
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Cascades National Park
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Kenzie the adventure dog!

A Change in Direction

Hey Folks,

Many thanks to all of you who misinterpreted my last post and thought Topher proposed. NOPE!!! I will now think twice before making “big announcements”! 😜

No, our real announcement is a change in directions! On Sunday we drove into Alberta and had a bit of a rude awakening. We really hadn’t done much research on camping in Canada (its Canada, I had assumed it was alot like the US with national forests…) but it seems most of the public lands in Canada are provincial and national parks with no free camping. We stopped three places for gas and realized that our Discover cards (only cards void of 3% international transaction fees) only were accepted at Wal-Mart. After some tears and consideration, we decided to change course. We got some donuts and coffee from Tim Hortons and some poutine (Topher’s major goals for Canada!) and headed back over the border. On our way we drove through BC which was super beautiful! We saw a bald and a golden eagle!

We are now headed through Washington and down to Oregon and maybe Nor Cal. I’m really sad we’re missing out on Banff and Jasper, but the whole point of an adventure is to be adventurous! I know we’ll have an amazing time and am very excited to explore the Pacific Northwest and see some family (my mom included!!!)

We camped for a few nights on Lake Koocanusa in Montana. It was beautiful. We camped on a finger of land above the lake and got to hear little waves lapping at night. Kenzie and I went swimming in the freezing, totally turquoise water. It was relaxing just to stop and reorient!

We’re currently making our way across Northern Washington. In Topher’s words “this is a godforsaken land filled with cabins and loggers where a big town is 1000 people.” Its very beautiful but there is NOTHING up here!

Much love!
Mikaela

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Before we decided Canada was scary

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Our cozy accommodations
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Our Canadanian feast
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Part of our 4 hours in Canada

Exploring Glacier and Replacing a Radiator

Hey Friends!

**Big announcement coming tomorrow**

On Friday we headed to Glacier National Park. Its absolutely stunning! If you get the chance, its a once in a lifetime experience. The forests on the west side are these thick temperal rainforests. Absolutely beautiful! Topher read that there are over 800 species of wildflowers in the park! It was raining on and off and the staggering peaks (though less than 10,000 ft in elevation, the peaks are so rocky and steep, no trees grow up there so they look a bit more impressive!) were shrouded in clouds. We drove the Going to the Sun Road, which is a 40 some mile mountain pass. It was amazing! Crazy steep, with waterfalls flowing from the tops of the peaks all the way to the forest floor. There were many waterfalls that the road crossed, so drains had to be installed in the road. We went through tunnels and over arches. Its insane to think how long ago some of that stuff was built! At the top we saw a mountain goat grazing away which was pretty cool!

The car had been overheating on and off for awhile. We had taken it to our mechanic before we left and he had brushed it off, charging us $800 for a steering boot instead. The heavy driving and mountain passes were making the overheating problem worse and it go to the point that unless we were going 60+ on a flat road, it was getting hot and we were having to pull over. Topher is my hero. We stopped at an O’Reilly in Kalispell, MT (which is actually still a nice modern town, albeit in the middle of nowhere) and Topher replaced the radiator in the parking lot with a screwdriver and a $10 socket set (meanwhile Kenzie and I discovered the joys of laundromats and huffed it a mile down the highway to a Wendy’s). So far its holding up! Very glad to have spent under $200 on it as opposed to $400 a shop would charge! My amazing guy is a “renaissance man” as he puts it!

We’re all a little tired, a little bug bit and a little dirty. But we’re in positive spirits and can’t wait to explore what’s down the road.

Xoxo,
Mikaela

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A waterfall on Going to the Sun Road
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A few of those 800 species of wildflowers!

Working our way North

Hello world, Mikaela again!

I’m writing from a really pretty campsite in Northern Montana. Its pretty incredible up here. The forests are tall and dense and the undergrowth is crazy! Big snowcapped peaks and beautiful mountain lakes and streams. Its reminds me more of the forests of the Pacific Northwest than of the Rockies. We are really close to Washington up here, so I guess its not that far off!

Yesterday we spent the day in Yellowstone. I loved showing Topher all the places I discovered with my dad last summer and exploring some new ones together! Mercifully, it was overcast and cool so we were able to leave Kenzie in the car and do some of the geyser walks. We drove through Hayden Park towards the end of the day, a beautiful valley covered in sage and rivers, and saw bison after bison which was really sweet! On our way out of the park, we saw a group of bison with two calves! One was very playful and kept headbutting his mom – heartmelting!

The terror I kept expecting to feel about this trip hit me today. Overwhelmed and scared and emotional. We’re on the trip of a lifetime, but its also really scary. We’re about to leave the US and have no idea what to expect. I’m hoping it’ll be all smooth sailing, but I know we’ll hit rough spots. I’m really glad I have Topher and Kenzie by my side.

Kenzie is loving life. She’s like a toddler even though she’s ten and a half. She wakes up full of energy and ready to go and then is asleep and snoring by 6 each night. I think she likes the trip so far. “So we live here now?” has been the confused and happy look on her face every time we stop.

Random learnings so far:
▪Dry ice is expensive, melts fast and makes your fruit fizzy.
▪Finding gyms with a free trial day pass is the key to a free shower.
▪Sleeping in the car is much cozier than the tent and prevents the irrational fear of bears invading camp from occuring.

Much love!
MIK

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Wild daisies and a candle making our camp homey
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Somewhere beautiful in Montana

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