Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The Narwhal Honeymoon - Round up

Part 1 - The Route
Part 2 - AccommodationsPart 3 - Cities

Part 4 - Hiking and Parks

Well, we've gotten to the end of our honeymoon recaps (which means it's almost time to jump into wedding day recaps!). For our last post I have a bit of a round up from our adventure.

Best Moment
I should probably leave this for last, but I'll start on a high note. We both struggled with this one to come up with the very best. I did mention the best place for me was the Hoh Rainforest, but when it comes down to a moment, we both agreed that spending the day on the beach in Big Sur (Pfieffer Beach) wins. At this point in the trip the laziest day ever had to happen, and on the windy beach in Big Sur it just takes the cake. We had a completely lazy morning, ventured our way to the beach laying in the sun, listening to the waves crash, and returned after dinner to watch the sun go down. Perfection.

All photos personal

Runner up moments: our cabin at the commune, the boardwalk in Venice (most notably for Mr. Narwhal on his skate) and an amazing meal with the best conversation at Cafe Gratitude in Venice Beach before heading to the airport.

Lowest Moment 
Okay, it existed. Which will indeed lead to our funniest moment... but, we definitely had a low point on our trip. I have alluded to it in our other posts as the day with our longest drive. As the one in charge of the map, I was in charge of our stop for dinner. After the previous night dinner of our styrofoam cooler food and leftovers for lunch, I had a grand plan of us getting to our camp ground (before dark) and heading to the nearest town for a hot dinner at a restaurant. Based on my map navigation it looked like there was a town not far from the campground. We also had been thinking about a hot shower all day.

Completely over the drive day 11.5 hours in. I tend to awkwardly laugh in the restless state. Mr. Narwhal clearly stoked.

About 45 minutes from our location Mr. Narwhal stopped at a grocery store and said that we should grab food. I was tired, cold and over the drive and just wanted to get there and get to that nice restaurant I had imagined in my mind.* As we drove away, Mr. Narwhal said, "We're taking a risk!!" and I said, "Just trust me."

Well, I'm sure you can imagine where this is going. The town didn't exist in the way I had imagined (the map failed me!). The campground was practically abandoned (no camp host) and there were no showers. There was also no firewood to make a fire. Not only were we completely over driving 13.5 hours later, we didn't have enough gas to risk going back to the last town for food.  It was a low point for sure. We both questioned our honeymoon adventure choice. Mr. Narwhal was quite literally not a happy camper and we were both super hungry. Which leads me to the funniest moment...

Funniest Moment
We had lots of random snacks in our car... bananas, a few apples, granola, bars, plantain chips and english muffins. As I munched on a banana and granola, feeling super guilty for this horrible situation I put us in, Mr. Narwhal popped the trunk open and grabbed the bag of english muffins. I looked over at him as he pulled out a whole wheat english muffin, gave me a look and ate the thing dry.

I'm kind of the worst in bad moments and immediately started laughing at the ridiculousness of the situation. As we went to bed (super early) that night I said I hoped we could laugh about this night in the future, and we do. Poor Mr. Narwhal has sworn off of english muffins for life. The hot breakfast and coffee in the morning was enough to cheer us both up to carry onward to San Francisco with smiles on our faces.

Best Sleep
I've talked about it before, but in the round up it has to be mentioned again. The cabin on the commune will probably forever be one of the best sleeps in my life. The cold fresh air in the morning, the cozy bed. I could live in that moment (see above).

Camp Singing Wind in Toledo, WA

Best Food
This one is easy. Portland. We ate some seriously good food in Portland, which I highlighted in our cities post.

Portland eats - Hawthorne's Bagdad Theater & Pub / Division's Bollywood Theater / Mother's breakfast

What We Would Have Skipped
Mount Saint Helen. When we stayed in Toledo our host mentioned that we should make the trip since we were so close. We talked about it and decided to go for it. It was a two hour detour that ate into our waterfall day. We kind of regret the decision for the detour, as it was too far of a drive to classify it as worthwhile. We both would have gotten more out of the waterfalls along the Columbia River Gorge and the scenic views of Mount Hood.

Mount Saint Helen

Where We Wanted More Time 
Naturally, we wish we had more time in the Portland area. We both would like to plan a return trip to Portland and surrounding areas of Oregon to explore everything Oregon has to offer. We don't regret our route (which the exception of the detour to Mount Saint Helen) and like to think that our trip was an opportunity to plan longer trips in the future.

More of this
The Lesson of Road Trips 
Road trips aren't exactly the easiest of adventures to plan. When you are travelling along a busy route, you have to predetermine your drive lengths and stops along the way. You have to decide how far you want to go and how quickly you want to pass through each area. It's all about balance... getting the feel for each area, while maximizing the amount of ground you cover.

We definitely hit a few points in our trip where we were over the on the go feel of our trip, and I'm glad we planned it the way we did. The first seven nights we were in a different place every night. By the seventh night (San Francisco) we didn't want to go anywhere again, so staying in Yosemite for two nights, Big Sur for two nights and ending with three nights in Venice Beach was perfect for us.

The Pacific coastal drive is a one time trip in our minds. The roads are windy, it's a long trip, but definitely something that should be done in your lifetime. We're excited about future trips to favourite spots like Portland, Venice Beach and the Olympic Peninsula. We also would like to make our way to Sequoia National Forest, since we were both pretty upset it got cancelled.

Views from the road

And, I'll end it with my biggest honeymoon recommendation. Plan your honeymoon for right away. I cannot recommend this enough. Getting away right after the wedding was so very needed and the best decision of our entire trip. We were running on a high from our wedding and that time together was so special, and something we'll always look back on fondly.

Did you go on your honeymoon right away?

*We had a roaming package on my phone and our service was super limited outside of cities, so it was kind of difficult to plan or Google with my phone on the fly while on Hwy 101 and Hwy 1.

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