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  • Bella Brown

Feel it All Around

So where did I leave off? Oh yes, Old Priest Grade Road. Well it is my great pleasure to inform all of my avid readers (Auntie Ann I got your message for more) that not only have we survived the last 1,000 miles without a single bus issue, we have THRIVED. For this particular leg of our trip we start in the Redwoods National and State Parks, but not before I mention how boss it is to take a skoolie with a fully functioning deck to a drive-in movie theatre, a quick Reno stop before hoofing it back to the west side of California.



Do you remember being a kid, so deep down an imaginative path that your plastic kitchenette was a 5 star restaurant in the swankiest block of Paris, France or the cardboard box your family refrigerator came in was a tried and true pirate ship that scoured the thrashing sea with reckless abandon? Well for one afternoon, without the aid of a childhood mind we were in a fairytale that would rival almost any powerful childhood fantasy. The Redwood National and State Parks are a maze of trees that belong in a Grimm Brothers book, the kind that you take a glance, rub your eyes, and have to see again. A testimony to the power of time, these trees whispered stories of a colorful past and in some strange way sparked in its viewer the strength and power of adaptability through adversity. One of the biggest trees in the park had been standing for about 1,500 years. I am going to type that again for those of you who are not really paying attention, one thousand and five-hundred years. I would love to communicate to you how this made me feel, but words really cannot describe the majesty, at least not yet, until I have digested everything, so I will just tell you right now this might be something you have to see for yourself.



From Redwoods, we took our blue bus back a little west to Crater Lake National Park. Wow, wow, wow. For those of you who were led astray by the name (like myself), Crater Lake is the result of a volcanic eruption. I, like many other people it seems, thought it was going to be a mystical site of astronomical wonders. But, what she lacked in cosmological charms, she made up for in awe-inspiring views. Pure, crystal blue waters; the result of rainfall and snow, were untainted by the sediment of nearby rivers and creeks. America’s deepest and cleanest lake also happened to be the coldest. As my boyfriend took a plunge, I stayed on the rocky edge and cleaned up my wounds from tripping down the steep edge of the ONLY trail to get down to the lake. It was a stop we almost skipped but a decision we are so glad we said yes to. Here… see for yourself.




Our next stop was whirlwind visit to Portland to see my brother and his boyfriend. All I can say is we arrived on Wednesday, average weight and naïve to the “chill” weekend planned and left on Monday stuffed to the gills, full of wild stories to tell. To keep things succinct here is a list of every restaurant we dined in in chronological order:


- Deadshot – ritzy little place with a kickin Old Fashioned

- Kati (Vegetarian Thai) – Thai fries… oh yea.

- Ex Novo Brewery – Detroit style pizza? Eh. Beergarita? Yes.

- Spielmans Bagels – Don’t turn your nose to the vegan sausage it’s unreal!

- Afuri Ramen – Best ramen you’ll ever have. Hands down.

- Salt and Straw Ice Cream – CARROT CAKE BATTER AND CARAMEL CORN ICE CREAM… that’s all I have to say

- Blue Star Donuts – Donuts for Grown Ups heyyyy

- Brewery I forgot the name of because okay there is like one million breweries here

- Pastrami Zombie – because who says meat from a truck isn’t going to be delicious?

- Taqueria Villanueva – Again, food trucks are the future guys. 3 dollar burrito the size of your head, perfect for the midnight munchies :)

- Tabor Bread – fresh baked goods next to a mountain? I will take it.

- Away Days Brewery – free refills on chicharrones… nuff said.



Well… we are blown away. Not only did we eat well, we hiked to Mirror Lake, got tattoos from one of the best artists in Portland, walked the rose gardens, and played countless hours of Super Smash Bros and Mario Party because, well, it’s my brother and what else would you expect? Portland, we love you and we cannot wait to come back and eat MORE!



But, wait, there is more. Because from Portland we ventured back onto our favorite road, the PCH. This puppy took us to Olympic National Park. Home to mountains, lakes, coastal views, AND a whole temperate rain forest, this park stretches 1, 442 square miles and is good to the last foot. After hiking through Hall of Mosses, we made our way to the coast to Rialto Beach, Split Rock, and Hole in the Wall. The coast here takes on a whole new persona, as she moves from the sandy shores of Santa Cruz into the eerie, rocky seaside we saw at Rialto Beach.



We stood in awe peering into the tiny but illustrious eco-system of the tide pools against the sand blasted smooth stones of the beach. Magnificence is the only way I could describe it.

And now? You ask… now we are boarding a ferry to Whidbey Island. What the open water holds for the little blue bus? I guess we will have to find out.

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