https://youtu.be/vS73OmCDepsOnTheRoad1015 was my second big road trip and the first time I did daily vlogging. It has taken me nearly a year to edit 10 days of footage, but I did it – the final vlog has been edited. The final folder of photos watermarked and color-corrected. Our first trip together 4 years ago was to Monterey and this 6-hour retreat from Los Angeles holds an incredibly special place in our hearts. On top of that Big Sur is one of the most beautiful places in the United States and Monterey is home to cute cuddly seals and otters. Did you see Finding Dory? Oh, the adorable otters could start a traffic jam.
I’m sorry if my storytelling is off, honestly, I’m just currently in awe of the completion of this project. I haven’t even completed writing about #ontheroad1014. It’s a strange feeling, completion. I’ve gone on these adventures, collected the stories from the road, filed it away in my memory bank and revisit it when I write these blog or edit the videos. But now this chapter is complete, like putting down a really good book. I don’t want to move on, but know I should. It feels good and sad at the same time. So at that, I transition into the cute adorable pictures of seals and stunning Big Sur scenery. Watch the vlog for our full recap of the day.
Being behind on content, especially when it comes to travel is a blessing and a curse. A blessing because it forces me to revisit my adventures and look back fondly on them in a cloud of nostalgia. A curse, because as I edit photos and video footage I see the difference between my skill now versus then. A curse, cause I’m constantly dipping into the past and that’s not very healthy when it comes to being happy in the present. A curse, cause new memories are being layered on top of the old ones and distilling information into a new story.
Next up on my content calendar for YouTube and my blog was when I visited Iselton, the hometown of my Bachan. I was incredibly close with my Bachan, and was proposed to with her ring. Earlier this summer I went on a pilgrimage to Tule Lake concentration camp where she was detained during WWII for being Japanese. As I edited the footage from my 2015 Pacific Northwest road trip headed for Iselton, I ended up capturing Mt. Shasta on film. At that moment when filming the mountain and scolding Dan for trying to take a picture and drive at the same time, I had no emotional attachment to that mountain. Now, in 2016 after going on the pilgrimage, I see that mountain as a landmark for the hundreds of Japanese who were shipped off to Tule Lake, completely lost and confused as to what may lay ahead.
Iselton is a rundown small town that holds historical significance as one of the first thriving Japanese and Chinese communities pre-World War II. I found a fascinating paper on Iselton that I’ll link to here, as it will highlight the history of the town much better than I could. We went to Iselton looking for a building that could possibly be my O-Jichan’s (great grandfather’s) boarding house and soda shop. A few buildings were pointed out to us as potential sites, but nothing confirmed. On one side of main street was the formerly Chinese neighborhood and the other side was the Japanese side. Today the Japanese side is falling apart, while the Chinese side has a new museum and a few of the buildings are newly renovated. But mostly this little main street was a shadow of its former self, families now using the store fronts as housing.
We fortunately had the opportunity to walk around main street with a board member of the Iselton historical society, and she graciously answered as many of my questions to the best of her ability. Sadly, I didn’t film any footage of our tour. Honestly, I just felt too uncomfortable to film. Now, I’m disappointed with myself as all the details of our time there has now fallen through the cracks of my memory. I should have at least recorded audio –something to remember for next time.
Also in my vlog I remark on how I found my Bachan’s records of being at Tule Lake. I had completely forgotten about that and I’m not entirely sure what records I found. But yesterday, my mother did send me my Bachan’s official Tule Lake records; documents that include medical history while at the camp and a letter of recommendation to her “Americaness” from a former employer.
The past can be painful but it’s powerful, it lays the foundation for who we are and who we will become. I’ve now seen the hometown of my Bachan and my Grandpa (my Dad’s father). I’ve seen how these once middle class vibrant towns have been beaten down by time. I’ve seen the metaphorical dirt in which the seeds of my story was planted and how my family has grown, following the line and realizing where I am on this tree is very far from where it originated. As I dip into my own past adventures, seeing where I’ve been and who’ve I’ve met along the way, I’m reminded I am growing and living my best life. Day to day I can become restless, anxious, frustrated by the present. But if I’ve learned anything from my adventures it’s that time waits for no one. Time will pass anyways and it’s what we do with time that shapes our present and future. It’s how we experience every minute, every hour, every day that adds up to the sum of our life. It’s not just the roadside attractions and destinations that make up the memory, but the in between parts to and from places as well.
I was going to do a separate post just outlining my thoughts about my plans from now till 2017, but I think it’s more fitting to put it here. Since I’m talking about time, the past and present etc. I obviously have trouble with past content versus posting in the present. Publishing a story that happened 2 weeks ago is completely acceptable, 2 months ago sure why not, but 2 years ago just seems lazy. And I have a lot of feelings when it comes to completely abandoning stories that I have every intention of sharing, even though it’s not even remotely current. So I post with a non-existent timeline that may be confusing. and press publish with an attitude of “Hey it’s me take it or leave it” (awkward smile). I want to be more present for my blog and in my life. So between now and the end of year. I will be finishing the stories for my 2014 road trip, completing all the 2015 PNW roadtrip blog posts and videos, and finally getting to a few other miscellaneous adventures that are taking up space on my hard drive. Then in 2017 I start fresh. I have a 7 day turn-around, no more than 14 depending on external circumstance. My adventures in “real time”, then I can stop dipping into the past and instead relish in the present.
When Dan and I travel we have no shame about trying to make it to a destination right before closing. We parked and ran to the Molly Brown museum in Denver, Colorado and we parked and booked it into the Tillamook Cheese Factory. Now that I’ve edited all the footage from October 23, 2015, I’m really damn impressed with the amount of fun we squeezed into that day. But since the internet can be deceiving I also want to confess, that by the time we were racing to Tillamook my anxiety was sky high. That when we went to the Goonies rock, I was definitely on edge and had to apologize for momentarily turning into a mega bitch, because I’m not perfect. I also had tunnel vision and wasn’t the best listener, as you’ll see in the video. These anecdotes are my truth, but my memory is that Dan and I flipping killed it that day and from Seattle to Eugene, Oregon we saw everything on our travel list. We laughed and ate a sandwich from a Seattle deli around the Oregon / Washington border. We created more dorky memories for us to treasure. Since I’m not super proud of my 2015 vlogging skills, here are pictures from inside the Goonies Museum and Tillamook Cheese adventure. I highly recommend these road trip stops for any big kid!
Based on my 90’s pop-culture obsession, I assume that it would be obvious that my pop-culture obsession dips into the 80’s as well. So, yes I was raised on Goonies and I recommend looking at the following photos with the Cindy Lauper classic “Goonies ‘R’ Good Enough” playing at the same time.
The employees were really nice and snapped this picture for us. I was trying to take a quick selfie since the factory was closed, but one of the workers said, “No let’s do this right and get in the bus.”
He took my camera and this photo is now in existence.
I was a child in the 90’s, but my sister was a teenager and with minimal parental supervision Seattle pop culture was downloaded into my brain pre-double digits. I knew of Nirvana and Kurt Cobain, I watched Kurt Loader read MTV news and my favorite season of Real World to this day is Seattle. My attraction to the opposite sex was shaped by a sexy zombie Brandon Lee in The Crow. And I had watched Reality Bites and Singles before I could understand most of the jokes. From video dating and garage door openers to complicated post-college love affairs – I was really learning my early lessons in love. Then as I grew into my own teenagedom, I fell in love with Seattle-based movie “10 Things I Hate About You” and as my angst grew so did my desire to live where it rains 80% of the year.
At some point, my obsession and depression subsided and I became less Seattle-bound as I entered my twenties. But when Dan and I went on our Pacific Northwest road trip, all my pop culture Seattle obsessions were ignited and I had to see all the sites. (insert Pokemon theme song – “gotta catch em all”)
Dan was already a big Seattle fan and I had my reservations as I now appreciate the sun. But when we were there I could see us living in Seattle. If it wasn’t for it’s notorious “Seattle Freeze”, the term for the fact no one in Seattle wants to be your friend, it would be one of my top choices. But so far Austin, Denver, and Louisville are beating out Seattle as potential relocation destinations.
Here is the documentation of my pop culture Seattle over two days.
We also had an incredibly awkward Airbnb experience that you can hear all about in the videos after the jump.
Our Airbnb hosts told us about Sweedeedee, as they put it, the breakfast spot is a quintessential Portlandia style experience. As two Los Angeles hipsters, there was no way we could skip out on a spot like that and off to Sweedeedee we went. Everything about the eatery was perfect and everything about me that day was falling apart. I was dealing with major in the moment fear of missing out anxiety. That terrible anxious feeling I get where I question my experience while I am experiencing it, wondering if I’m having enough fun – when that question alone takes all the fun out of it. Sitting in our adorable corner booth in this darling restaurant, looking at an old couple eating their food and reading the paper, I tried to slow down.
I tried to enjoy the moment and my amazing fiance tried to remind me that we were on vacation. I ordered corncakes with greens and bacon, and Dan ordered the smoked trout with eggs and potatoes. His breakfast was much tastier than mine, I’ve come to find out I’m not a big fan of corncakes – I can’t blame the restaurant for that. I did, however, drool over the plate my breakfast was served on, the mugs for our coffee, the dish for salt and everything else on the table. When we walked in there was no line, but by the time we left it was clearly out the door. Here’s what our breakfast at Sweedeedee looked like before our adventure in Portland.
Check out the vlog for our full day in Portland post breakfast.
We woke up before the sun and filled our bellies with the slim pickings at our motel’s continental breakfast. On this trip I started putting Cheerios in my Yoplait yogurt to make it more filling and fuel me for our adventure. Plus one can never go wrong with a little extra fiber. The Northern California coastline is like no other, especially in the morning when the low clouds and mist of the waves combine to create an ethereal landscape. The soft pastel colors of the sun rise is accented by a pearlescent lining above the sea foam.
Seeing deer signs are not uncommon while on a road trip, but seeing a deer grazing by the road can be unique. When we came upon an Elk sign we figured it was the same thing, until we noticed dozens of Elk all around us, munching on their breakfast right along the road. My car was rolling along at a snail’s pace as we tried to take pictures and not explode with cuteness overwhelm. Then about 20 miles after the Elk party, we saw a perfect “Back to the Future” DeLorean drive past us. Sadly, I couldn’t snap a picture of the car but talk about an insanely cool morning drive!!
We arrived to Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park around 9:00am and aside from the park ranger cleaning out the bathrooms, we were first on site. I’ve expressed this on the blog before, but I LOVE being the only couple or person at a place. I enjoy the feeling of privacy and it makes the moment extra special. Even just arriving to an event before everyone else, so I can take in the silence, the electric hum before the world starts up. We took the river trail in Stout Memorial Grove and lost ourselves in nature; looking up at the tall trees, finding wild mushrooms, and letting the birds and river be the soundtrack. After walking along the marked river trail and ending up at the side of the road, we turned around and upon inspecting some interesting moss found an unmarked trail that led right out onto the river. Inside the trail the tall trees created a shadowed canopy and walking out onto the river bed was like opening up the blinds to let the sun shine in; white rocks made the sun brighter and the sky appear bluer. We played along the river for a while and if we weren’t pressed for time, I could have seen us lay down a blanket and read beside the rushing water.
As we walked back to the parking lot, the trail started to fill up with other tourists. We really had the Redwoods all to ourselves.
It was 11am by the time we returned to the car and our next stop was Grants Pass, Oregon to grab lunch before heading to our campsite in Bend, Oregon – four and half hours away. The rest of our drive was beautiful and fun, filled with singing and naptime. We were starved by the time we reached Grants Pass. Bowerbird had looked up a cute organic restaurant on Yelp called Ma Mosa’s. The coffee was self-serve and we ate a delicious brown rice bowl filled with black beans, blackened salmon, avocado, tomatoes, corn and some other yummy real food. It’s funny because the bowl is totally something we could make at home but of course, would never taste as good.
Once again, we were trying to beat the sun and get to our campsite before dark, so we made very little stops or detours. I had to be the grump and tell Bowerbird we couldn’t make a 2-hour detour to Crater Lake. When you’re used to packing adventure into every hour while on the road, a 2-hour detour doesn’t seem like that much but it makes a huge difference if you’ll be setting up a tent while there is still light outside. The one stop we made was at a little café at the end of the highway, a mountain range in front of us and the merging freeway running North and South. We darted across the empty highway to the Diamond Lake Junction café in order to use the restroom. I have no idea who would go to this restaurant as there wasn’t a city or town close by, it was basically made for travelers. We went inside and I ordered a muffin and coffee to be able to use the restroom. I went first but as Bowerbird was relieving himself, I talked to the owner/cook/waiter about Time Life magazines and almanacs. The owner was a sponge for knowledge and loved knowing about different decades and history. He looked like he could easily be a member of the Sons of Anarchy and that café might moonlight as a clubhouse.
As we reached our Tumalo State Park campsite the sun was starting to set. This was a very posh campsite and not very far from the bustling city of Bend. We were slightly bummed that the campsite wasn’t as removed from civilization as we had hoped, but while I was setting up our air mattress in the tent, Bowerbird went to Trader Joes to get us dinner and find some fire wood.
This was my favorite night of the entire road trip, aside from the day we got engaged. We sat by the fire drinking red wine and eating French bread with brie. Bowerbird and I talked about our future together, our plans, hopes and fears. We had fun adding wood to the fire and shifting where we sat on the bench depending on where the wind was deciding to blow. I put away my phone and computer, I unplugged for the night and was present in that moment. Sleeping on the air mattress bundled under multiple blankets and sleeping bags I fell asleep instantly in Bowerbird’s arms and we let our bio-clock wake us up instead of our phones. It was perfect, pure bliss.
October 17, 2015 | Pt. 2 of Day 3 of #ontheroad1015 ( previous post )
When we left San Francisco for the Redwoods it was noon and gloomy. Our goal that day was to get to the Redwoods, to a specific camping spot Bowerbird had picked out, and spend the night in our tent. Unfortunately, time and weather were not on our side. By the end of the day, as the sun was setting, we were still 45 minutes away from the campsite. Slightly defeated, we decided to stop in Arcata and book a hotel. Fun fact, Arcata has a pretty decent Pho restaurant. We filled our bellies with warm bowls of Pho and were asleep in our hotel room by 10:00 pm. Although Arcata is a sweet little city, its lights were still consumed by the night. Once we realized how dark it can be up north, we were incredibly happy to have booked a hotel room instead of committing to camping. Growing up in the city it’s easy to forget what true darkness looks like; the kind of darkness where a flashlight only illuminates your feet.
Although October 17th was mostly a driving day, we ended up having a lot of fun in the car. We stopped in a little town called Hopland to get lunch, but nothing looked appetizing, so we just enjoyed it’s old creepy architecture and were on our way. During a portion of the drive, we picked up a Mary Jane radio station that played folk songs singing about good ole’ bud and green thumbs. We also drove through a tree! The best part of the day was all the rainbows we saw, because of the sprinkling weather it seemed around every bend was a brilliant rainbow. We counted eleven rainbows in all and since I’m a numerology nerd, eleven is the doubled meaning of one that symbolizes new beginnings and purity. As we only got engaged a few days before the rainbow phenomena; I’m totally reading into the meaning of eleven.
The best rainbow photo I took that day was when we pulled over for gas. This rainbow had a complete arch over the mountain tops across from us.
This is one of the few times my vlog covers more of the day than my photos or story telling could. A day in the car with me is a mixture of karaoke, dancing, dream casting, and spiritual discussion on the meaning of life. In this vlog you’ll mostly witness dancing.