Day 19-21: Crater Lake and heading home

It's finally THE LAST POST about this road trip, completed 4 months after we came home.  The last few days were spent driving back through Oregon and California, but we stopped by Crater Lake National Park in Oregon before heading home.  We went at sunset so the crater was highlighted even though the lake was a bit dark.  I would love to go again on a bright sunny mid morning.  It's supposed to be one of the clearest and bluest lakes because it's formed from rainfall and snowmelt, not from an underground water source (basically it's one big bucket).  

And this was our last morning in the RV.  Not a great picture but just wanted to capture the moment.

And we're home!  Ellie was so exhausted from the whole ordeal of sleeping in an RV and truck.

Last couple of thoughts about the trip:

-This trip was amazing and probably one of the best trips of my life (and I've been to Asia, Europe, and Australia), and I think that's because I started to get to know my own country better.  The vast scale and beauty of the nature out there is astounding.  

-And I want to do this again asap, but next time we're getting a better tow vehicle and I want to go further east

Day 16-18: Portland, Oregon

I'm almost done here guys!  Ok, so in Portland we basically ate and shopped through the 2 full days we were there.  It was our first time in Portland and even though it rained the whole time I loved it (but man, that rain does not let up!).

First stop when we got in that night, a nice hot bowl of ramen.  We just picked a neighborhood close to our RV park and picked a restaurant through yelp.  It was awesome.  Good food and no wait.  A place like this in SF would require at least a half an hour wait.

Then we stopped by Salt and Straw for some local ice cream.  I remember it being good, but I can't remember what I ordered...

The next morning we had Pine State Biscuits.  So yummy and again, no wait!

Stopped by the local Whole Foods Market where they had a refrigerated beer room.  A whole room for just chilled beer!  Amazing!!!!!

Another lunch at Laurelhurst Market (I think...I can't seem to remember since there were so many good places to eat in Portland).

This is a good reminder of the calories before you start drinking!  Only in Portland?


At Blue Star Bakery-they're so good! (p.s. Voodoo donuts are over-rated)

Creme Brûlée donut

And then dinner at our last night in Portland.  Super cute outdoor market/eating area complete with airstreams!

We then ate at PokPok which is just down the street.  Again, no wait!  Portland was by far my favorite big city on the trip and I can't wait to go back.  Even with 2 days there I feel like we missed so much!

Day 14-15: Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park, located in northern Montana was definitely one of the most beautiful national parks I've seen, quite possibly the most beautiful.  Unfortunately we only had 1 day to spend there so we did a hike to Avalanche Lake and then drove up Going-to-the-sun Road to Logan Pass.  Fortunately we were there the day before they close the Going-to-the-sun Road and shut up park services.  A day later and we would not have been able to go up the mountain.  Anyway not much to say except everyone must go there at least once in their life.  Must!

On the way we stopped for some jerky.  We walked in and they were literally cutting up the cow in the store (it was less like a store and more like a butcher shop).  There were 2 large carcasses hanging from hooks and when we asked if we could buy jerky there, they pointed to their one retail rack on which were hanging maybe 15 bags of jerky.  They didn't even have a cash register.  Outside was a trash can of meat scraps and bones.  I wanted to take some for Hachi but didn't.  Though it was a semi-traumatic experience, the jerky was pretty good. 

The cutest little pottery yurt.

The RV park we stayed at was gorgeous!  It's called North American RV park and I highly recommend it.  It didn't hurt that we pretty much had the park to ourselves.

Fall in Montana is amazing.

Next are pictures from our hike to Avalanche lake.  It was my most favorite hike of the whole trip.  Not a lot of effort, but a lot of great pictures.  Easy and scenic, just the way I like it.  

The clearest lake I've ever seen.  

After our hike, we drove up Going-to-the-sun road.

By the time we came back down the sun was starting to set.  So we stopped by the side of the road waiting for it to go down.

A beautiful end to a beautiful day.

Day 11: Yellowstone

Yep, I'm still going on about this trip.  Sorry for dragging it out but since I'm over halfway done and some of the best pictures come from Montana, I'm going to keep slogging on.  After Jackson and the Grand Tetons, we headed north to Yellowstone.  We only spent one full day here so we definitely want to go back and explore the rest of the park.

As you drive into the park, you start seeing clouds of steam on the horizon.  And as you get closer you start seeing how massive these steam clouds really are.

Because some of the hot water from the hot springs empty into the stream, the stream starts to give off a little steam as well in the early morning (looked super eerie).  This particular morning was COLD!  But since the streams were relatively warm, we saw some fly fishermen in the water without a lot of extra jackets.  If you ever want to go fly fishing in the water during the fall, do it at Yellowstone.

Looks like an alien planet.

Also during one of our hikes we had a close encounter with a bison.  I took this picture peering over a rock.  I admit I was a bit scared, this guy was massive!  (Though looking at the pictures now, he looks a little gaunt).

Here's a picture of all the people waiting for Old Faithful.  I've seen it before and wasn't that excited the first time, so this time I just people watched.  I couldn't actually find any photos of old faithful even though I thought I took a picture of it.  

Guess you'll just have to be satisfied with this (tried googling old faithful gifs and couldn't find any):

Day 9-10: Jackson, WY and Grand Teton National Park

When we got to Wyoming things got more interesting.  I discovered my most favorite small town: Jackson!  I love love loooooove this town.  We were initially only going to spend 2 hours here and move on to our next stop, but we didn't want to leave so we decided to stay overnight in the area.  Yay for spontaneous airstream adventures!

Lucky for us, Jackson had RV parking!  And since it was the off-season, we had the parking lot to ourselves.  Too bad we couldn't stay overnight there since it would have made our lives so much easier.  But more on that later.

How can you not love a town that has parking stalls for RVs only!

Our first stop: the Fjallraven store (there's only a handful of these in the US, and there needs to be one in SF--they would make a bundle off of the rich hipsters here).

Been spending most our lives, living in the hipsta paradise...

Too many to choose from, but of course I had to get a backpack here.  I ended up with the maroon one there.

My other 2 favorite stores were MADE and Mountain Dandy.  

Here are some of the things I wanted to buy, but just took a picture of instead.

And here's Mountain Dandy, started by the same person who started MADE.

After a bit of shopping, we took the dogs for a walk around the small town.

Their main park had these awesome arches made from antlers.

As the sun was setting, we were looking for a place to eat dinner.  Right next to the Cowboy Bar is a restaurant called Local.  It was AAAAAAMAAAAZING!!  The couple who runs Fjallraven recommended this place, and they're from NY originally so you know that they would recommend something good (ok, so maybe not all New Yorkers are foodies, but still they were right).  As the name suggests, most of the food here was locally sourced.

Buffalo tartar.  Not usually a fan of raw meat, but I had to try it since you're not going to get fresher buffalo anywhere else!  The meat was lean and the texture was bordering on fresh sashimi.  The best tartar I've ever had.

Beer sampler on obligatory reclaimed wood plank branded with a cow.

I had the steak with foie.  One of the best steaks of my life!  

Brian went with some Elk medallions.  Also very tasty.  So much food!  But the prices were super reasonable.  

By the time we finished dinner it was super dark out, and they had a special antler arch for Breast Cancer Month.

And desert was some ice cream.  I tried their huckleberry ice cream and it was delicious!

So here comes the adventure part.  Since we didn't plan on stopping over in Jackson, we made a last minute search for RV sites.  We ended up going with the RV campground in Grand Teton National park, which isn't that far away from Jackson.  However it was elk migration season, and there were signs all over the road telling us to be careful of the elk.  So we drove a bit more carefully (plus it was pitch black) so it took us about an hour to get to the campsite.  Along the way, sure enough we saw some elk right alongside the road.  It was cool, but also creepy at the same time.  Elk are huge!  Much bigger than deer, and when their eyes glow they don't look very friendly.  These aren't my pictures but they look pretty much like what we saw that night.  They just kind of glared at us as we passed by.

Once we got to the campsite, it  was super small and dark.  And it required some back-up maneuvering of the trailer.  It was the most difficult RV site to get into!  Our 27 foot RV barely fit, and our truck didn't fit at all so we had to then park it somewhere else.  It took us about an hour to finally get it right.  We were exhausted!

Yea, something like this.

The next morning we woke up in beautiful Grand Teton National Park.  Of course on the drive in we didn't see anything, so the next morning was a pleasant surprise.

Too bad it was so gloomy, but still breathtaking!

Trying to pose with some uncooperative dogs.

Bye Grand Teton, and back to Jackson.

So we went back into town to grab some coffee and breakfast.  We had some delicious sandwiches at Backcountry Delicatessen (if you're in Jackson go there after you go to Local).

Those are some odd movie times.

 I have been informed it's probably phone number, thanks Jen!

Fall was in full effect!

Thanks Jackson for a great time!  I'm definitely coming back!