From February 25th to March 13th, I headed back to Hanna and my second home, the PNW. It seems like every time I land in PDX, I feel more at home. These were the adventures that occurred over those two amazing weeks... and a road trip where I didn't know the final destination.
The trip starts out at Snoqualmie Falls. I've seen so many photos of this waterfall on Instagram and it's almost surreal coming to a place you've only seen in photos. It was a little hike but the end point was so worth it. You almost have to stand there in awe that things like this even exist.
Continuing with places I've seen so many photos of, Hanna and I headed to Rattlesnake Lake. I came to find out there's no rattlesnakes at this body of water. Sort of misleading?
Hopping back in the car, we headed to Seattle. Having a week before the road trip started, Hanna was trying to fill the places I hadn't seen in the past trips. We stopped at the infamous Gum Wall because you can't go to Seattle and not see that. Starting to get hungry, we headed to Pike Place to get some lunch.
After having some amazing brisket at Pike's Pit Bar-B-Q, we hopped in the car and headed to Gasworks Park. Hearing a racket coming from the park, we started walking fast to find out what it was. We came to this. I watched for a little bit not knowing what I stumbled on. I asked around and found out I was watching American Steelfighting... where participants fight accurately like medieval times with blunt weapons. One of the coolest things I've ever been able to witness.
Hanna and I don't normally shoot together but we were able to get two photoshoots in this time. It rained the whole time but being Portland, you have to expect that. Hanna's friend Jocelyn was free so we both headed down to Hawthorne Boulevard and met up. I was also trying to get more comfortable shooting with a longer lens. You can take a look at the full set right here .
I feel like everywhere, there's mountains in the distance. Like everywhere. And the weather differences because of the elevation are incredible. Livingston mountain which you can see in the distance from Hanna's house was packed with snow. Good thing she has a Jeep because my car would have never made it. We got stuck once and I got a little nervous but we made it out and I could breathe again.
Okay so the next few images, you had to be there to experience it. Photos do it no justice whatsoever. On the ride home, sunset was starting so obviously that meant not going home yet. We pulled over to a park on the Columbia River to stay and watch the colors over the water. I've never seen a sunset so insane before.
Date night. My favorite day all the time. Hanna and I have a tradition of heading to Grassa because that's where our first date was and we try and sit in the same place as we did on that day in June. We were able to get that seat for the third time and it just adds so much nostalgia to the dinner. We also get the same dish because Pork Belly Mac & Cheese is the most amazing noodle dish that's ever gone into my mouth.
The day after, Hanna and I hung out with her mom and little brother, Noah. The end destination was Cape Kiwanda but her mom had a stop in the middle for us... Tillamook Cheese Factory. The significance of me seeing the factory is they're tearing the old one down and replacing it with a new building. The old one has been up for more than sixty years.
Ah... we made it. Cape Kiwanda. In all its moody and rainy style. Wind whipping and rain slapping us in the face but I couldn't help but stare in awe of how beautiful this place was.
Hanna and I hiked up the hill to where the "Cape Kiwanda Rock" used to be before vandals kicked it over. I don't even have words for this landscape.
We had a free day so I posted a photo on my Instagram story asking if any models in the area wanted to take some photos and Emilee was the first one to respond. What is cool is she's also a photographer so I knew how much she valued photography. You can view her work right here and you can also view our full photoshoot right here.
The Road Trip Begins
Having absolutely no idea where we were headed, we packed the car and headed out. Every town sign, Hanna would cover my eyes so it kept the suspense brewing. I made a promise to myself to put no effort into trying and guessing where we were going so when we made it, I'd be more surprised. I saw Hanna take the exit for Highway 101 and as I say, "Isn't the 101 a coastal highway?", she cut me off. Our first stop was the Florence Sand Dunes in Florence, Oregon.
We were in the clear pocket of weather between two rain systems and when it started to drizzle, we got back in the car and back on the 101. Our next stop was a lookout just a few minutes up the road.
I can't even express how many times I'm in awe when I come to locations on the west coast. Hopping back in the car, we headed more south and to a beach Hanna knew about.
We didn't actually go on the beach but we drove the road before it. There were hills everywhere and it was one of the most barren landscapes I've ever seen.
Our first hotel: Bandon, Oregon
Getting to our hotel right before sunset, we tried to check in as fast as possible to get back outside. Right before we got to the hotel, we came up on the road and I saw a bunch of rocks and it was just another time my jaw was at the floor because of a west coast landscape.
We sat in the hotel room for a little and debated whether we should go out on the beach or not. We decided it was a good idea and made the little walk down to the sand. We had a little pocket of no rain where we were able to be comfortable but toward the end, a downpour started and we had to run back to our room. I remember the first thing that popped into my head when I saw Bandon was Game of Thrones. I'm not sure why but it made me think there would be a castle here or something.
Hanna's Food Poisoning
The night before, Hanna and I thought it would be a good idea to pick up pre-made sandwiches from a local supermarket. I got a roast beef one and Hanna got tuna. The morning after, I woke up to a very nauseous Hanna where it ended with her throwing up multiple times. It was hard but we walked back down the the beach to see it during the day. About ten minutes in, we had to head back because Hanna almost threw up again. We had to get back on the road so I picked Hanna up some medicine to help. I drove this day and I lost count of how many times I had to pull over and let Hanna throw up.
I didn't take too many photos while I was driving but these were some pull offs that caught my attention.
When Hanna was feeling better, she wanted to drive again. She spilled and told me we were headed to the Redwoods. I sort of freaked out because I've always wanted to see them.
Initially only driving through it, I wanted to stop and walk through the forrest to get an idea of how massive these trees are. As soon as I stepped out of the car, it was eerily quiet but it gave you a sense of peace.
When we got back in the car, our next destination was Crescent City, California. I freaked out when Hanna told me this because I had never been to California, and my first thought was In N Out. We got a hotel in Petaluma that night and explored their downtown for a little bit.
In N Out
Guys. I don't know what to say. Being on the east coast, I've never had the chance to have In N Out. We ended up having it three more times, including one time for breakfast.
Countryside and Point Reyes
So our initial plan was to only go as south as Eureka, California. We through up the idea of driving down to Point Reyes and San Francisco. 5.5 hours later, we were in Point Reyes.
The infamous Point Reyes shipwreck. It was actually pretty weird to see this in person. Another location I've seen so so many photos of. We tried to research the history on this vessel but came up pretty short. Inverness has left this boat grounded as a tourist attraction.
Another Instagram famous location is the Cypress Tree Tunnel.
We both remember seeing a sign saying that the lighthouse was closed the day we were there. We totally forgot and drove the 20 miles of super rough road to get there to end up at a gate that said closed. We saw a little path that went to the left of it which came pretty close to a cliff... so we took that path.
We Made It!
With a view of the Golden Gate, a huge smile came on my face. We made it. 11 hours from Hanna's home, we were in San Francisco.
Our first location being Lombard street... a downhill road with eight sharp turns in it. Driving the hills of SF is something else.
We were trying to find location that tailored to both of our interests... and we found a pretty popular pier. It was about sunset when we parked in a parking garage so we knew there wasn't much light left.
When you see a massive group of people, you know there's a reason why they're there. We tried to get in front of the massive amount of people and found out it was all these seals!
With the road trip winding down, we started to head a little back north. Initially the plan was to stay in Sacramento because it was the nearest city, but we decided to stay in Williams because it was a little cheaper.
Our next stop was a quick one in Redding, CA to see the Sundial bridge and the hotel Hanna and her friends stayed at the last time they were there. This thing is truly a work of art and the path even lights up at night.
The Ride Back Home
Since it was faster, we took i-5 back home instead of the 101. Not complaining at all. We saw an exit for Mount Shasta and since we had been driving for awhile, we checked it out.
We saw a bunch of snow on the mountain from afar but wanted to see how far up they had plowed. It was actually almost to the top. I've never seen this much snow in one place, I thought it wasn't real. The snow wall was almost twice the height of me, so almost 11-12 feet of snow.
So I guess my idea of a desert is sand and it being dead. Apparently this is an Oregon desert.
Our Last Stop: Ashland, Oregon
The reason why Ashland was our last stop was because Hanna said I should try the mineral water found in which the people of Medford are super proud of. Proceed with caution, you're not ready for the taste.
My last day there was spent spending quality time with the Walters. We played outside a little bit, roasted hot dogs over an open fire and watched Moana in their basement.
I can't help thinking this was the most amazing trip to see Hanna but then I think of all the amazing times we've had together. Long distance relationships are hard but you can cherish the time together more than anyone else ever could. See you soon, Hanna.