September 30, 2014

ROAD TRIP: RUGGED BEAUTY IN THE PACIFIC NORTHWEST

During my first visit to the US in 2011 Nick and I took an epic road trip up the West Coast. We traveled from San Diego all the way to Seattle in two weeks, camping along the way. This is the story of that journey and you can read the previous posts here.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

KALALOCH CAMPGROUND & THE TOWN OF FORKS




Reaching Kalaloch meant that the end of our Road Trip - catch up on the other stops here - was fast approaching. In a way I was definitely looking forward to that after being on the road for two weeks and having to pack and unpack our carload of stuff almost every night. Kalaloch was going to be our last night sleeping in a tent, because our next stop would be Seattle! 

Still, I was so glad Nick decided to include (remember, he prepared the whole trip) this beautiful spot on the West Coast. California is definitely beautiful, but Washington simply took my breath away and I can safely say I had never seen anything like it. It's so green (which reminded me of home) and it looks mysterious with its fog shrouded forests. 


The Lodge


The Quinault Indians came up with the name 'Kalaloch', which literally means 'a good place to land' and I can see they were right. The campground and lodge are part of the Olympic National Park and a great place (also the only place on the coast from what I've read) to stay at if you're thinking of visiting Ruby Beach or Beach 4. A post on those famous beaches will be up next week!

As per usual, we had reserved a campsite and setting up our tent for the last time felt good. This road trip was honestly something I'd never really expected to do, but having seen so much of the US in such a little time was an eye-opener and felt really rewarding. Obviously there's an even bigger world out there, but for me it definitely started here.

Drift wood: a guaranteed source of entertainment

For those who know the place or are 'Twilight'-fans, yes, Kalaloch is technically in Forks, but it's still a 40 minute drive from the actual town. Nick did not know about the other touristic reasons for visiting this area when he made our reservation. Now, I'm not a die hard 'Twilight'-fan but I did read the books and since we were this close I made Nick drive into Forks after we visited those famous beaches. Just to see it, you know. I didn't see any film locations but we did see people sell 'Twilight' fire wood. That puzzled me for some obvious reasons. Does it sparkle when you hold it in the sun? I really just wanted to fall for that sales trap to find out. Oh and Forks has a Stephenie Meyer-day. Did anyone know that?  



For more information about staying a Kalaloch Lodge, visit their website.
Kalaloch Lodge
157151 Highway 101
Forks, Washington 98331
 

Have you ever been to the Olympic National Park?



Travel Tuesday
 
Linking up with BonnieCamilaJessi and Amy for Travel Tuesday


September 16, 2014

ROAD TRIP: CHASING NIRVANA

During my first visit to the US Nick and I took an epic road trip up the West Coast. We traveled from San Diego all the way to Seattle in two weeks, camping along the way. This is the story of that journey and you can read the previous posts here.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Have you ever visited the hometown of a musician, writer or any other type of celebrity that you really admired? If yes, you know how special that moment can be. Or maybe it's an iconic venue like The Cavern in Liverpool, the Whisky A Go Go in LA or CBGB's in New York, those are moments that will stick with you if you're that kind of music lover! 

I'm a pretty big Nirvana-fan so visiting Aberdeen was very special to me. It was one of my only non-negotiable required stops on the road and Nick was probably just wondering what the hell we were doing in a random city in Washington. 


Driving into Aberdeen there's a sign greeting you with lyrics from the famous song 'Come as you are'. It was only afterwards that I learned that sign was added in 2005. To say that Kurt Cobain and the city of Aberdeen have had a rocky relationship, would be an understatement. And being there... I could understand why. It's like they were each others worst enemy but at the same time they made each other famous. The acceptance of Kurt Cobain's legacy might have started off slowly but as time heals all wounds today you can visit several places that are prominent in Nirvana-songs and Aberdeen even had its first Kurt Cobain Day this year (although I doubt he would have liked that). 

We were only in town for a very short visit, more like a drive through actually so went to the Kurt Cobain Memorial park on the banks of the river Whiskah, where we saw the bridge that he supposedly slept under. We drove through the area and he grew up in and past some of the houses he lived in. I realize I'm sounding like a stalker now and I have to admit I kind of felt like one at times, since we were the only people there.  


Aberdeen seemed like a completely different world to me - and in no way similar to my own hometown - but I could see how they sometimes refer to it as 'the birthplace of grunge'. Driving around the city and walking on its streets you can even still feel a ghost of that music lingering around. 

Who's your favourite musician? 



Travel Tuesday
 
Linking up with BonnieCamilaJessi and Amy for Travel Tuesday


September 12, 2014

DAILY ROUTINE: THE NEVER ENDING WEDDING


My trip home seems like a lifetime ago already. It's September and I haven't even had the chance found the time to talk about it yet. Did I tell you that we almost missed our flight? Yeah, we did. Not because we were late but because we were standing at the wrong gate (for 3 hours). So when the airline called to check if we were going to make it, I started panicking. We had been there for hours already and never realized. Turned out we had to go to another terminal - going through security again! - and I had these doom scenario's in my head of actually missing that flight I'd been looking forward to so much. We made it, thank god, but I've never been so sweaty in my life. 

The main event during those two weeks was to be our wedding reception(s). It had been the idea from the beginning to have some sort of celebration back home, because I really wanted to include everyone in this and share it with my friends and family. Planning everything however (especially from another continent) was more stressful than I'd expected and I'm sure I could have done a better job at organizing. Part of me wants to do it all over again and take my time now but the other (more dominant) part is actually glad that this wedding marathon is over. I mean, normal people don't have three wedding celebrations in less than a year, right? I wouldn't mind having a party every weekend, but I'm definitely happy we can close this wedding planning chapter! 

We did't take a whole lot of pictures (here I go again) during these two parties, because we were chatting the whole time, eating tons of good food or more likely just drinking. So I'll share a snapshot as proof that it actually happened! 

Picture taken by a thoughtful friend

The first weekend we had a party in our backyard for my friends. Of course it was raining incredibly hard that whole weekend. We made it work, but it just shows you how Californians have it pretty darn easy. The second weekend we had booked a venue for my family and guess what... it was 35 degrees C, humid and no cloud to be seen in the sky. Being inside proved to be a blessing anyway because of the air conditioning, but still Belgium definitely didn't disappoint with its fickle weather.

And with that my friends, I'm officially closing this circle of weddings! I should probably start planning the renewing of our wedding vows in 10 years though. Just to be sure. 

Have a wonderful weekend!

September 6, 2014

DAILY ROUTINE: DIARIES OF A WANNABE SURFER #1

My first attempt at surfing


After living in San Diego for more than a year, I feel like I am finally - maybe- ready to talk about my first encounter with a surfboard. Consider yourself warned when I say that it didn't end well but that doesn't mean you shouldn't read it. It's the true (I swear) story of a silly Belgian girl's attempt at conquering the California waves.

It all started that same summer we took our road trip along the West Coast: in the glorious year of 2011. I've talked about nature in California, the weather and the beach but I left one part out... the water sports. Californians love their workouts and what better way to get stay in shape ladies than to elegantly glide along a massive wave? I L-O-V-E the water so naturally I was in for something that looked quite cool. Enter my teacher Nick. You might know him as the husband, but he used to be a pretty good surfer back in high school (or so I've been told, proof has yet to be given). 

hubris

While I consider myself a good swimmer, the ocean is definitely at a whole other level than the pool and I had very little experience with such a force of nature. Also, since my very patient teacher only owned a shortboard I decided to just try it, despite some warnings. One thing to know about shortboards is that there's a reason beginners don't start on them. Oh and we might have gone straight past those white waves for beginners too... That's probably the reason I ended up frustrated as hell after that first session. The fact that I completely 'ate it' as they say, is an understatement. If you want to know what being trapped inside a washing machine feels like, try getting beaten by one of those big waves. Unfortunately my competitive nature kicked in and I really did not want to give up until I could sort of stand up for more than 1 second. Which obviously didn't happen. I ended up with chafed knees (and some pretty scars to prove that) from the waxed board and couldn't wear jeans for a week because that hurt too much. Oh, karma...  

renewed energy

While I didn't immediately give surfing another try, I've started practicing again these past couple of weeks (admittedly, we mostly went body-boarding, but still...). I didn't grow up near the ocean, but I do understand its appeal now. We bought a cheap foam surfboard at Costco (amen for that store) for me to learn and even though that's still not going great, I'm mostly enjoying it. La Jolla Shores has perfect baby waves to start with and on an average weekend you can admire my exquisite skills of falling on my face there. This week I even stood up for a few seconds (definitely three). My arms and back are sore in places I didn't even know I needed for surfing and I should probably start doing push-ups to remedy that. I realise that it's inevitable to look like and idiot for a while before you get better and I thought I might chronicle that process for you...  


Have you ever tried surfing? Any tips?  

September 2, 2014

ROAD TRIP: CAPE LOOKOUT & PORTLAND

During my first visit to the US Nick and I took an epic road trip up the West Coast. We traveled from San Diego all the way to Seattle in two weeks, camping along the way. This is the story of that journey and you can read the previous posts here.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Days #11-12

Picture taken somewhere along the Oregon coast en route to Cape Lookout

CAPE LOOKOUT

We had one more camping stop scheduled in Oregon before we would sleep in a normal (hotel) bed in Portland and move on to Washington. So are you ready for another beautiful Oregon beach on the blog today? I hope that's a yes! After having seen some pretty amazing sights already I hadn't expected anything to be able to top that. I was wrong of course, and I've got the proof right here. Cape Lookout with its wide and foggy beach took my breath away and our camp site was also literally a few meters from the beach, so no complaints there.  



Our camp site




I'm pretty sure this was the first time I saw a real life sea star and anemones. I was pretty amazed at this and Nick looked like he sees that stuff everyday. Which he probably does. You can go to tide pools in San Diego too to look for sea creatures but at that time we hadn't done that yet. So yeah, I tickled some anemones and had a ton of fun. 


PORTLAND

This is the point where the story gets embarrassing, because I actually have no pictures from our time in Portland. We probably have four pretty bad ones, but I guess overall that's a good sign since we were having way too much fun to think about getting the camera out (I speak of a time way before smartphones had decent cameras). 

What I can tell you is that I absolutely loved Portland. I liked the atmosphere and rhythm of the city, the public transportation and the fact that it's still a relatively small city. It was nice to be able to take public transportation into the city from our hotel and not have to worry about parking or having a drink. I would definitely move to Portland in a heartbeat should the opportunity arise. 

Also, I still regret not buying this one amazing jacket in a second hand store while we were there. Remember those khaki parkas? This one was like that but shorter and had fake fur (!) around the collar and no hoodie. Major fashion heartbreak! I don't know how I could have been so stupid, it was only 30 dollars. 

For previous #RoadTrip posts click here.

Have you ever forgotten to take pictures on a trip you really enjoyed?  


Travel Tuesday
 
Linking up with BonnieCamilaJessi and Amy for Travel Tuesday


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...