The End.

We have now been back in Denver for one week. This is my third attempt at writing this final post, I’m not quite sure why the words won’t come. Maybe its because I don’t want it to be over. Maybe its because once its over it means reality is setting in again. Maybe its because there aren’t words to express the experiences Topher, Kenzie and I had.

Our trip came to a close much as it started; an energy drink filled all nighter. We had two more weeks before it was time to move into our new place, but none of us wanted to string the trip out just for the sake of taking up time. We were tired and dirty and a little homesick. We found ourselves in northern California where it was hot day and night and decided last Wednesday at 4pm that it was time to go back to Denver. Stat.

We took turns driving through the night and pulled into Denver at 2 last Thursday…22 hours straight! It was a crazy, magical last push of our journey. We watched the sun set over Eastern California, gazed at the stars over the Nevada desert and watched the sunrise over the mountains in Salt Lake.

As I let the reality of being back soak in, I’m remembering pieces of our adventure and it feels like a lifetime ago. We saw so many amazing things and places, had so many experiences. We were really and truly spontaneous. 90% of the time we had no idea where we were going to sleep, what adventures the next day would hold, if the car was going to overheat, where our next shower would be. When we started out, we were headed to Canada. Though I’m a little dissapointed that particular adventure didn’t work out, we changed directions spontaneously and had an amazing trip. We explored the streets of Seattle, canoed on the Olympic penninsula, watched the sunset parked on the beach, stood under a waterfall, rode a ferry, saw wild horses, ate blackberries from our campsite and saw every small town in Montana and Washington. We saw bison and mountain goats, golden eagles and osprey. We got to be in the company of family and revisist places from our childhoods. We saw geysers and lava rock, snow capped peaks and temperate rainforests. We wore down jackets in frigid campsites and swam in mountain lakes. We watched sunsets and sunrises. This trip made me realize what I’m capable of, what we’re capable of together. It made me realize that adventure is continuing on even when the plans fall through. It made me love Denver even more. It made me want to travel even more. It made me realize how far we can get when we put our minds to it. It made me never want to eat hummus again. It made me realize how much I love the guy I get to spend the rest of my life with and our sweet dog. It made me love life just a little more.

I’m struggling being back. Its nice to sleep in a bed and shower regularly and wear clean clothes, but I miss getting up every morning and having to boil water for coffee. Having to pitch camp every night. Having a new adventure to look forward to every day and a new view to wake up to every morning. I miss listening to Watsky on repeat and staring at the views out the car window. I don’t really want to job hunt or move into a new place. But everything’s an adventure, right? Or at least, we return to reality, so we can continue to plan new adventures.

Thanks for following along and for your supportive words along the way.

Much love,
Xoxo,
Mikaela

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Central Oregon

It seems like the closer we get to our trip coming to a close, the faster the days seem to go! I’m realizing we’re a week behind on blogging already.

Last week, after leaving the coast, we spent a day in Eugene visiting with my extended family which was super great. I haven’t seen any of them since I was 16! (Loved seeing you guys! Xoxo)

We took the scenic route up and over the Cascades and saw some amazing lava flows! Its pretty incredible to come out of the trees and see a huge expanse of barren earth, covered in black pumice stone. There’s an observatory at the top of McKenzie pass that looks like a castle! McKenzie got to play in her namesake river and was not dissapointed.

We spent a few days with my mom who lives on a farm a little north of Bend. It was so good to see her and her husband and to relax in the AC for a 100° heat wave! We spent a day in Bend and visited Deschutes Brewery where I actually tried a flight (with help of course!) Before we left on Saturday, we went to the farmer’s market and convinced my mom to come home with two free kittens (not gonna lie, Cayenne and Chipotle may be the highlight of my trip!)

We spent a night camped near Mt Bachelor and it was insanely buggy. Our original plan had been to explore the Sparks Lake area, but the mixture of bugs and car problems induced by driving nearly 6k in a month chased us back to Bend. It was fortuitous though, because we ended up at Tumalo Falls which is insanely cool!  Its a 97′ waterfall with three vantage points. You can watch it head on, climb up and look at it from above, or climb down a sketchy, unmarked trail and stand behind it in the mist. It was so cool to look up at a waterfall from behind and see all the rainbows from the light filtering through and get misted on. We found a great camping spot near the creek and spent the afternoon reading with our chairs in the water, drinking hard cider.

The constant cloud cover and showers that plagued the first few weeks of our trip have been replaced by relentless sun and clear skies. We’ve finally gotten several chances to go stargazing, which is one of my favorite activities. I love looking up and seeing the vastness of it all. It makes me feel so small and insignificant. I know that’s a strange feeling to love, but I like knowing that the decisions I struggle with, my problems and feelings are truly inconsiquental. We are itty bitty pieces on the story of space and time and I feel fortunate knowing that my life was given to me to be used to the fullest. Its all gonna work out, no matter the path I may take. OK…rambling over!

We are headed a bit south now before we mosey on home. It is hot and dry and we are taxing the car’s AC and swiftly filling up a Dutch Bros punch card before we leave the West Coast. We’re a little homesick and a lot dirty and can’t wait to see all you beautiful people in Colorado. We won’t even complain about the drivers. Oregon’s are worse!

Xoxo,
Mikaela

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Sunset over Jefferson at my mom's place
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A beautiful, but buggy camp
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Kitties!

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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