The 2-hour drive from Jackson WY to Idaho Falls ID on WY-22 & ID-33 was scenic and put us on a beautiful route toward home. Lunch at The Snake Bite restaurant in Idaho Falls was amazing, hands down the best burger & fries we'd eaten in a long time. The town itself was fun to see, check it out when you get the chance.
Our journey from Oceanside CA up the west coast and across the northern states to the east coast and back to this point has been filled with unique scenery and landscapes. Idaho has yet more to offer. Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve is plain weird. It's ahh-inspiring and weird. According to Wikipedia the 'Preserve is a U.S. national monument and national preserve in the Snake River Plain in central Idaho. It is along US 20 (concurrent with US 93 and US 26), between the small towns of Arco and Carey, at an average elevation of 5,900 feet (1,800 m) above sea level. The protected area's features are volcanic and represent one of the best-preserved flood basalt areas in the continental United States.' We were driving through Arco on Hwy 26, there were literally miles of this volcanic rock.
We continued on Hwy 26 to Hwy 20 and stopped in Boise for a Planet Fitness shower. We have a Road shower on top of the van and it's great, but sometimes taking a shower inside a building is just what you need.
Once we entered Oregon we started seeing these brown signs with different symbols indicating campfires, tents/camping and such. We decided to give it a try at Pine Creek Road in Drewsey. We turned right and found this fantastic campsite. We were the only folks in the area.
We continued west on Hwy 26 and stopped in Bend for brunch and to stretch our legs. Something else this journey has not been short on is waterfalls, from Kootenai Falls to Niagara Falls. Hwy 126 was our next leg, Willamette National Forest offered one last beauty of a waterfall in Foster OR.
This is part of the spectacular headwaters of the McKenzie River, one of Oregon's most popular recreation areas. We saw about 4 people, now that's my kind of popularity. This National Scenic Byway is basically a result of Lava Flow over 3000 years ago.
Hwy 126 took us to one of our favorite routes, US 101. We planned on finding a place to sleep and relax near Bastendorff Beach but the circumstances were not ok with me.
As we were setting up for the night in this remote area, a very sketchy individual pulled up and just sat and stared at us. Why do people have to make it weird? Another vehicle pulled in and they appeared to know one another, one went on past and the other soon followed. The sound of gunshot was not sitting well with me so after a little nagging we moved on. Just a guess, but there may have been some secretive agricultural activity they were protecting - Beware.
We continued to search for a place to sleep as we got closer and closer to where we were planning to eat breakfast the next day. As it turned out, we ended parked near the restaurant for the night in Langlois OR. The Spoon is one of our go-to favorites for an awesome breakfast, nothing fancy - just good food and great people.
Back on the road headed south we followed the coast of Oregon into California. This was bittersweet. We knew we were within a day of travel to get home but we also knew this amazing trip was coming to an end. Six weeks prior to this day we had experienced a huge loss and we both were aware we were about to come face to face with those memories. This journey has given us so much to look forward to and reflect on, so let's focus on the blessings.
The Northern California coast is rugged and relatively unspoiled. Taking the scenic route is well worth the extra time it takes to navigate the narrow curvy roads - the views are captivating and unforgettable. We discovered a string of State Beach camping areas and decided to check availability in order to be close to the ocean - We lucked out and settled in at Westport - Union Landing State Beach.
I have a brother that hates heights so we decided to make this video for him...
Since we were driving down the CA coast - we were able to stop in and visit my Uncle in San Francisco. Covid still has its limitations so we walked to our favorite local pizzeria for take-out.
Bernal Heights never disappoints when it comes to views... We usually luck out in finding a flat-ish place to park for the night in the area.
Earlier I mentioned we were within a day of getting home... well we stretched that out to three days in order to stop in at some of our favorite spots... Just south of Los Padres National Forest is another go-to for us.
Our northern states coast to coast trip came to an end. We started out with no itinerary and no idea how long we would be gone. This trip was all about reconnecting with each other and resetting our core outlook on life itself. We succeeded in that and learned that life is to be lived to the fullest, enjoyed and shared. The following weeks were focused on how to move forward in this strange world we live in.
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