A Travellerspoint blog

Hillsboro & HOME

Once we hit the west coast, we already felt like we were home. After traveling for so many months, it is funny how you notice all the culture right here in the US. The people, the places, the customs are all very different from one state to the next and right when we stepped foot into Washington, we felt like we were closer to home. :)

We spent a couple nights out by Mt. Rainier, which was beautiful and we enjoyed the little park we stayed in. We took it easy and decided not to go into the national park because the roads were very windy, so we decided we will do that on another trip when we have a car to drive instead of a big rv!

We went into Seattle for just a day. It is very hard to get around a big city in the rv (we have avoided them most of the trip), so we could only spend a day there. We did all the tourist stuff like the Space Needle and Pikes Place. We went to the “gum wall” which we took some pictures of and we bought a coffee at the very first Starbucks. Seattle is a fun city and we loved wandering around there for the day!!

After Seattle, we made our way into Olympic National Park. We loved this place, it was just so beautiful!! The beaches had a lot of drift wood and rocks. Ruby Beach had amazing tide pools where we found a lot of amazing star fish and sea anemones! We had so much fun climbing the rocks and finding things as we went! After Ruby, we made our way to Forks (oh yes, we did some Twilight looking!lol) and then down to La Push. Everything was just so green and beautiful! We even lucked out for one of the most rainy places in the US, we actually had sun almost every day! We spent a few nights in Port Angeles at a cute little RV park and then made our way back onto I-5 to get moving into Portland area.

We are now in Hillsboro, OR which will be our future home, so we are very excited to explore and see what it looks like here! Chris starts Helicopter Pilot school in August and I am looking for teaching jobs. As we end one adventure, we start another and we are so excited!!!!! We will spend a little over a week here and then we will head home (maybe a quick stop at Crater Lake, depending on gas prices!lol).

This will be our last entry…..we cannot believe the journey is over. Thank you so much to those of you who have followed along with us…this blog has helped us to feel connected as we have traveled across the US and we love hearing from all of you. Here are a few answers to the questions we know will come up as we make our way home:

1. Favorite Place: Chris- Tetons for the landscape, South Dakota for wildlife, and Great Smokey Mtns for hiking & biking!
Jenny- Tetons and Yellowstone were just so amazing…nothing can compare!
2. Coldest place – Grand Canyon Hottest place – Big Bend, TX Most Humid – Little Talbot, FL
3. Worst sunburn/base tan (Chris) – Destin, FL
4. Longest we went without a shower – 4 days :(
5. Yes, Chris and I still really enjoy each other’s company!lol We can still stand to be around each other…good sign! :)
6. Things we learned along the way (the hard way): Put up the jacks before you drive away (they actually bend!), turn off the headlights (especially when going into a 2 hr movie), switch the fridge to proper power source (this has taken us the entire trip to get right), and make sure that everything is secure before driving off….we have lost a dish or two!lol, remember to put on the gas cap before driving away (we lost two of those).

This trip has been an incredible journey and we have learned so much, seen so much, and met so many wonderful people along the way. We wouldn’t change a thing and we would do it all over again. We have missed our family and friends and we are looking forward to seeing them and spending some much needed time with them this summer! We are looking forward to planning a wedding and moving to Hillsboro, all very exciting!!!!!! Thank you again for taking this journey with us……our only advice is to go see it all and make sure to have a very good sense of humor along the way! :)

xoxoxo

Posted by Chris-Jen 19:18 Comments (1)

The GRAND TETONS

THE GRAND TETONS ARE AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!! This was our favorite national park so far because it was so amazingly beautiful! Every time we looked around us, we couldn’t believe that it was real….it looked like a picture painted in front of us.

The road from Yellowstone to the Tetons, which is a fast road into the park, was closed due to a lot of snow still on the ground so we went the long way around through Idaho. We ended up going through a pass, which was a 10% grade and sharp turns! About 4 miles into the pass, our breaks were already getting soft and we had to stop and let them cool twice! It was very scary and Chris and I were trying not to pee our pants and cry! But, once again, Jinger got us through it safely and we are forever indebted to her….we LOVE her! We were very happy to hear that the entrance from Yellowstone to Tetons opened a few days later so we could take that back up instead of going through the pass again, thank goodness!

Our first stop after the pass was the cutest little town called Jackson Hole. We fell in love with this little ski town! It reminded us a little of Tahoe, but less people and even more amazing views! We really enjoyed this little town full of friendly people! We highly recommend it to anyone headed that way!

The first day we were in Tetons, we saw a moose!!!! It was awesome! He was a mangy little thing, but cute none the less! He looked like he was shedding some fur for the summer and he didn’t have his rack, but he was still a MOOSE!!

We lucked out and had some amazing weather! Although the lakes were frozen and snow was covering the campground, we still had sunny, almost 70 degree weather! We were soaking it up! :) We enjoyed a bike ride to the dam, which had so much water flowing through it with all the snow melt that was coming into the lake! We also went on some walks, and we got snow shoeing in! Our snow shoe adventure was to Hidden Falls, which ended up being about a 5 hour hike due to all the snow and the trail being hard to find. We ended up following a moose’s tracks along the lake….we figured if an 800 lb animal made it that far through the thick snow, then so could we! :) We were glad we stuck with it because the falls were very pretty and we got a very good work out in! With all the snow, Chris decided to build me a yoga platform in the snow, which turned out to be pretty amazing, so I got to enjoy my yoga looking out over the mountains and frozen Leigh Lake…it was incredible!

On our last day out of the park, we saw two more moose and these ones were a little bigger! We made our way back up to the South entrance of Yellowstone and drove back through the park in order to get back into Montana. On our way through the park, we had amazing timing and saw a grizzly right on the side of the road! A lot of people were taking pictures and he couldn’t have cared less! It was crazy…he was just eating his grass and making his way through the field, unbelievable!!!!! We continued our drive and after just a few more miles, we came across a momma grizzly and her two baby cubs!!!!! They were way out in the field…I think the moms are a little more aware of who they get close to in order to protect her cubs. We tried to get some pictures, but they look like little spots. It was an amazing day to say the least!

Now we are in Montana for the night, doing laundry and grocery shopping. We have two more days to get to Seattle…we will officially be back on the West coast! Seattle, Portland, Crater Lake….home! Bittersweet that the journey will come to an end soon, but we are also so excited to see our family and friends!

We will write again after Seattle! Love and miss you! xoxo

Posted by Chris-Jen 19:32 Comments (2)

Yellowstone

Greetings from Yellowstone! This place is amazing!!!! Everywhere you look, there is something incredible to see, we loved it!

Yellowstone was the first National Park and probably the most unique out of all the national parks because it is so different than the other ones that we have seen so far. The geysers and hot springs are just so incredible to see and there is just so much history here. It is amazing that millions of people come to this park each year and it is a very active volcano!!!!!!

We spent the first two days at Mammoth Hot Springs and we explored around there a little bit. The springs are very cool, all different colors, with boiling water, we took lots of pictures!!! We also saw so many bison (we learned that they are called bison here and they have buffalo in Asia…we didn’t know the difference until now!). Bison don’t seem to mind the cars and were just resting in the grass of the main village area of Mammoth, it was pretty funny to see!

After Mammoth, we made our way to Madison Campground, which had just opened for the season and there was still so much snow on the ground! There were a few people in the campground, but it was still pretty empty! Chris dug the snow out of our fire pit and built us a snow couch in front of it so we could enjoy our smores! It was very nice! :) We drove to Old Faithful and got to see her erupt in a snow storm!!!! It was amazing!!!!! It was hard to see how high the water went because of all the snow, but it was incredible to see all these people out there in the snow to see Old Faithful go off…….it was a pretty cool moment! We also went and checked out the lodge, which is like a huge log cabin, the inside is so amazing. We came out of the lodge just in time to see Old Faithful go off again and this time the snow was not as bad, so we enjoyed seeing it all over again!!!! :) Although the warm summer might have made it easier to see, we really enjoyed the snow and the small amount of people who were there….we wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. We saw some more geysers that day along our drive, putting on our snow coats at each stop. We also saw a lot more bison, elk, and geese. It was a good day. :)

The next day, we decided to head over to “The Grand Canyon” of Yellowstone to see if we could get some snow shoeing in. However, all the trails were closed due to all the bear activity since they are just coming out of hibernation. On our way over to Canyon, we saw our first GRIZZLY BEAR!!!!!!!!!!!! It was amazing!!!!!!!!! He was across the river (which made me feel better!lol) and he was digging for food and sniffing the air, it was just an incredible sight to see!!!!!!! We took lots of pictures so you will have to check them out!!!!!!! We drove along the rim of the canyon and saw Upper and Lower Falls, which were beautiful and there was so much water coming over right now from the snow melt!

We had a wonderful time in Yellowstone and already want to make another trip back (maybe when it is a little warmer!). We are off to the Tetons! The main road south through Yellowstone is still closed due to snow, so we are going to make our way through Idaho and go around. It should be an adventure as always! :)

We hope all is going well! Love and miss you!
xoxoxo

Posted by Chris-Jen 11:13 Comments (0)

Glacier National Park

We have spent the last week in Montana and we have really enjoyed it here! This state is so beautiful!

Glacier National Park was absolutely stunning! A lot of the park was not even open yet because they have had a very long winter and there is still a lot of snow on the ground. Campgrounds weren’t open yet, but we were able to stay in the day use picnic area, which was right on Lake McDonald and it was picture perfect. The locals said that we really lucked out because we had some sunny days while we were there and the lake was so calm. We took some amazing pictures of the lake!

Chris and I bought a hammock along our journey and we put it to good use in Glacier. We tied it to two trees, right on the lake, overlooking the beautiful mountains……..we found a little slice of heaven.

We decided we should go snowshoeing, since we have been carrying them with us on the entire trip, but haven’t been able to use them yet. So, we put them on our backpacks and trekked into the snow. But, once we finally found a trail that we thought would have deep enough snow for us, we also found bear and mountain lion tracks! I think Chris would have kept going, but I was the scared one and I turned back!lol Hey….those bears just came out of hibernation and I am sure that they were very hungry and I didn’t want them to have a “Jenny Snack”!!!!!

We are now in Missoula and love this cute little college town! Beautiful mountains all around, friendly people and the cutest little shops! We have enjoyed relaxing and wandering around here!

We are off to Yellowstone tomorrow!! We are looking forward to staying in one place for about a week…we have been doing a lot of driving lately! We are excited to see all the wildlife and the beautiful scenery…another amazing national park ahead!!

We hope all is going well for you! We will post again after Yellowstone…hopefully with some beautiful pictures! :) Love to all! xoxoxo

Posted by Chris-Jen 19:44 Comments (1)

South Dakota

We love this place!

Greetings from South Dakota!!!

Chris and I have made a very long journey from Florida to here…..we drove four straight days through Nashville, St. Louis, Columbia IL, Kansas City, and Sioux Falls!!!! It has been a long trip, but the reward at the end (South Dakota) has been breathtaking!

Along the drive, we lucked out and had some really great weather compared to the horrible weather that so many places have had to face. We went through St. Louis and saw the exact places that the tornado hit….we took some pictures and we could not believe the damage these people have on their homes and their community. We felt so horrible for these people and we were literally watching them on Easter day going through the rubble and trying to put their homes back together again. We just could not imagine. We noticed how high the river was getting and it actually flooded and caused a lot of damage the day after we had gone through there……we think there might just be a guardian angel following us on our travels. We are very thankful for that!

As we drove into South Dakota, we noticed tons of signs on the side of the road saying Wall Drugs. We had no idea what these signs were for, but Chris and I decided that we had to go there (very smart advertising!lol). So, we went to the town of Wall to see this “Wall Drugs”. We walked back in time into this old western town. Wall Drugs is a drug store, but it has also become so much more than that. It is a piece of the wild-west, a little tourist attraction! We enjoyed looking at all the old things you could get there, good homemade fudge, 5 cent coffee (Chris said it was good!lol), huge dinosaur in the back along with all sorts of fun things for kids to do. It was a must see on our adventure and we were glad we did! We also went to the Corn Palace, which is the only building in the world decorated by corn. They change it every year to have different designs and Chris and I were so impressed! :)

We drove through the Badlands on an amazing day. The clouds were huge and dark in the sky….it looked like rain, but instead it held off and highlighted the amazing spires and grasslands. Chris and I were literally in awe of this park. Everywhere we looked it was something new….prairie dogs, deer, colorful birds, rainbow hills….it was truly incredible (hence all the pictures!lol). We even caught an amazing sunset….this place pleasantly surprised us and we even lucked out and had one of their warmest days yet!

Next stop was Mount Rushmore! It is always amazing to see something that is so much bigger than you…..I think that sums up our journey thus far……enjoying all the amazing things that are so much bigger than us, it is humbling and puts so many things into perspective. I remember seeing Mount Rushmore when I was a little girl, but this time it seemed even bigger and more amazing! Chris and I loved reading about the history of the sculptor and all the men that spent 17 years of their life building this symbol of America. We also learned that what we see today is not the finished product….there was more that the sculptor had in mind, but funds ran out…..it is hard to believe that there could be more than what there already is.

We leave the best for last…….we had heard of this park, Custer State Park, that we might want to go see if we wanted to try and see some buffalo. So, we had some time in the evening after Mount Rushmore and we wanted to check it out………it turned out being the most incredible place we have been on our entire journey!!!!!! We felt like we were on a safari…..we saw buffalo, pronghorns, white tailed deer, mule deer, elk, mountain goats, a woodchuck and burros. Not only did we see buffalo and burros, but we also saw babies!!!!! The baby buffalo were running around with each other and there was one that I named “Wild Child” because he was so wild and even came close to the RV running and making funny sounds….I think he was trying to play with us too!  None of the animals seemed to mind us there, they would come right by the RV, it was so amazing and we took some incredible pictures! We even saw a mother that had just given birth, with the umbilical cord still hanging out!!!!!! Unbelievable! This was honestly one of the most incredible experiences we have ever had and we are still in awe of everything we had the amazing opportunity to see!

So….I decided I am going to move to SD and have a buffalo sanctuary because I have fallen in love with buffalo….however, Chris has fallen in love with buffalo burgers, so I am not quite sure how all of this is going to work out yet……hmm, upside is we both love buffalo!! :)

Sorry for such a long blog….we just had such an amazing time here in SD and we had so much we wanted to share with you! Please come here and see it for yourself…..it will be one of the best trips you will ever take! Enjoy the pictures, there are a lot!
We hope all is well! We are off to Glacier soon! Love and miss you all! xoxoxo

Posted by Chris-Jen 09:01 Comments (1)

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