With the 21 flights in the past 9 months, I can certainly say I didn’t plan to be up and about so often. Especially with the fact that this trip was my 3rd in the first 3 months of 2017 (HKG in feb, NYC in early Mar, and PNW in late Mar). But you take advantage of opportunities as they come, so here we go.
This trip came about as it was during the week of the sister’s Spring Break, and it’s been a while since we had a full family vacation (seeing as how I was in school the last 2 years and couldn’t get away as the fambam went off to Hawaii and Disney World lol 😢). We really haven’t road tripped anywhere before, so, why not right?
Unfortunately, California is a terribly lengthy state to drive through, so that ate up a lot of time. We flew up from LGB-SMF, and made the drive up the CA and OR coast along hwy 101 to catch some of that scenic route view (with a quick wine tasting/drinking stop in Santa Rosa along the way). Except, it was raining pretty much the whole day we made that 9.5 hr trek (Eureka, CA to Tillamook, OR, then cutting inland to Portland).
In hindsight, and if we didn’t have the sister based in Norcal, I’d say we could skip the Norcal<>Portland leg of driving, as that takes up so much time, and there’s really a limited number of things to see between the 8.5 hours from Portland, OR to Davis, CA (compared to the number of things you could do with that amount of time in the city). (see Imgur album below of daily miles covered)
So then, after our first night’s stop in Eureka, the remaining three cities were Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver. The parents flew out from SEA back home halfway through to return to work, and the sister and I continued meandering our way up the coast. We agreed that in terms of ranking, it’d probably go Seattle >Vancouver > Portland.
Yes, Portland last, even though there’s no sales tax. I didn’t buy anything, but the sister didn’t have a rain coat, so we got that for her lol. Also, you can’t pump your own gas in Oregon. Yup. It’s a thing. And the hipster feel is real. Our first meal, served by waiters with beanie, beard, and red flannel. Lol.
But with pretty just a day or two in each city, of course, it’s really hard to get a good feel for a location (as I experienced with past trips with short stays). What you’re really able to do is hit the main touristy locations, and not have time to venture into any museum or attraction of the sorts.
^This image, after I had posted to IG, Google decided to bump up the saturation on all the dull colors and create this work of art. A bit ridiculous, but neat.
One fun thing I got to do was visit a flight museum (just outside Seattle), and they had a large Aviation Pavillion of various aircraft just hanging about, including the West Coast’s only Concorde (!), the first Air Force One, a Boeing 787 Dreamliner, and a Boeing 747 paired next to a B737 and a B 727. You got to stand up next to them at ground level (I’ve never done that before) and also go inside these various planes as well. They also had a cockpit of a SR-71 Blackbird (salvaged from a wreck) that I got to sit in. If you haven’t read this excerpt before, you should check it out.
Also got to see some flying fish up at Pike Place Market. Total tourist novelty, but cool to see nonetheless.
Border crossing on the ground USA<>Vancouver was a 5 min pause in each direction, which was nice. Managed to get by in Vancouver without needing currency, as I was able to complete all transactions with my CSR. Sweet.
We had some more time in Vancouver, so the sister and I were able to wander about a bit more than we did in Portland and Seattle. We hit up the Capilano Suspension bridge (first thing in the morning = relatively empty), Granville Island, and biked around Stanley Park and half of the Vancouver area. Neat. I think I checked in like 12 beers that day lol.
|Best Western Plus Bayshore Inn||Eureka, CA|
|Crowne Plaza Portland-Downtown Convention Center||Portland, OR|
|Fairmont Olympic Hotel||Seattle, WA|
|Best Western Plus Chateau Granville Hotel||Vancouver, BC, Canada|
All these hotel stays were close to free (<$5 after all’s said and done) through 2 credit cards (Barclay Arrival+ for general travel redemption and Chase Fairmont for 2 free nights). Although, considering the redemption value for the Fairmont was around $800 for 2 nights, we were less than pleased with our experience compared to the other locations. (Heck, I’ve a phantom charge from Fairmont that they can’t figure out, so I have to call back on the weekday to get assistance…) Would not recommend.
Got “upgraded” rooms at BWP Bayshore Inn for being a Gold Member (status match from SPG Gold) and Crowne Plaza for signing up for rewards program on the spot. I used a suite upgrade for the Fairmont (also free with CC). BWP Chateau Granville did not honor my BWP Gold status for upgrade. Lame.
The only eye-popping moment from the 14 hr drive back home was coming down on 5 south and seeing the full view of Mt Shasta bearing down on you with her snow-capped top. Pretty amazing.