Adventures: West Coast Road Trip
Just last week, I came back from one of the best experiences in my life; a family road trip along the West Coast, from Vancouver, Canada all the way to the extremely hot California, USA. We knew we were in for a crazy ride, but in the end, it was a new story to tell. I wrote a lot, reminiscing over the trip 'n' all, so read if you please. One thing you should know that might keep you reeled in is that road trips aren't like going on a plane and taking a taxi to your hotel. It is a vacation, but I believe it's more of an adventure. If we had gone on a plane to California and all of the other stops instead of driving hours and hours, the whole experience would be something completely different. (For photos, link is at the end of this long read) Day 1: June 26
This day consisted of travelling to our main state destination, which was California. We left our house at 6 am and after roughly 14 hours of driving, we arrived at our hotel in Red Bluff, CA where we rested for the night in order to gain energy for the next long day of driving. The most traffic we came across happened between Oregon and California, and the more south we drove, the more hot and humid our environment became.
Day 2: June 27
The early morning, we prepped for the day to leave once again to Anaheim; the city in which we spent most of our trip. It took 8 hours of driving to arrive there, and it was around dinner time when we checked in our hotel. I think we ate dinner.. and then we head to Downtown Disney, the only part of the Disneyland which doesn't require a Disney pass. After an hour or so, we stopped by CVS Pharmacy to grab some snacks and water (gotta save that money!) to suffice for the next day.
Day 3: June 28
This day was the first official one spent at Disneyland. We decided to hit the right side of the park first, which is the Magic Kingdom. For the more popular rides, like Splash Mountain and the Haunted Mansion, we got fast passes (passes which allow you to come later, during a specific time frame, to join a much shorter line) because who wants to wait in the boiling heat for almost 2 hours? We didn't get on a lot of rides or do anything at all really, because we were battling through the hot weather. I don't know if 35 degrees Celsius (or 96 degrees Fahrenheit) plus lots of humidity is normal California weather, but we couldn't take it. It was so relieving to get splashed on the wet ride.. no wonder it was so busy.
We headed back to our hotel around 3:30 pm after spending 8 hours at the park. Our bodies were so tired from walking so we rested for 4 hours, watching Hannah Montana on TV (#childhood) and lying down. After eating dinner, we headed back to the park at around 8 pm, went on a few more rides, including one of my favorites, Space Mountain, and ended the night by watching the Electrical Parade. The last time we went to Disneyland was back in the summer of 2008, so the parade was different, and boy was it amazing! They featured the song from one of my favourite Disney movies, "Wreck-It Ralph", called When Can I See You Again? by Owl City which immediately had been hooked on the show. Seeing the enthusiastic faces of the Disney characters and all the of the dancers made the performer inside of me want to join the dancers so bad and be part of the parade. Hmm.. maybe one day? Haha.
Day 4: June 29
The second and final day at Disneyland was spent on the left side of the park called Disney's California Adventure. There was less to do at this side of the park, but being sleep-deprived, having to always get up early and come home late, we weren't in a fuss. The family favourite ride was the Grizzly River Run, which is apparently (I just found out) "the longest, tallest, and fastest river rapids ride in the world". We were seated with two other women, who were mother and daughter, and WE. GOT. SOAKED. Which was amazing since it was so hot. Our butts were literally wet because the water had touched pretty much every part of our behinds, but we couldn't have been more pleased with the result of the ride.
After 7 hours in the park, we headed to a restaurant near our hotel called Bubba Gump; a very cute place to eat & family friendly! The food was delicious as well; not too expensive. After dinner, we went to our hotel, rested, and then came back to the Disney park to watch the World of Color show, a very colorful water show that was new to my family and I. My oh my, I would say that World of Color is a must-see at Disneyland, because it was so stunning; from the many fountains that rose up high, the surprise fire balls, the screen showing clips of Walt Disney's creations, & more. It was all just so pleasing to the eye. So incredibly beautiful.
Day 5: June 30
The last day of June was spent at Universal Studios Hollywood in Los Angeles, just one hour and half away from Anaheim. I remember this day being hotter than the others, but the theme park was higher than the road, which meant being closer to the sun, which meant more sweating.. okay I think you get it that I don't like hot places. Despite the heat, Universal was still pretty fun.
My family and I were kind of washed out from the long days spent at Disneyland, but after going on the 1 hour-long "Studio Tour", we were already satisfied with the day. The our was amazing. We passed by the big stages, where they film things from movies to reality TV shows like "America's Got Talent". We passed by the fake exteriors of cities, from New York to Chicago, and even this town in Mexico that I can't remember. We also witnessed the many special effects done by Universal Studios like floods, earthquakes, and fires. No wonder there are so many aspiring film makers! After the studio tour, we went on a few more rides, grabbed some food to eat, watched one more show, and drove back to Anaheim around dinner time.
Day 6: July 1
Canada Day! I felt so bad to not be back home celebrating and appreciating the wonderful country in which I live in, but I decided just to be grateful for the opportunity of experiencing my first road trip, even if it meant not to be back home on Canada Day. Anyways, this day, we drove to San Diego to see a family friend. She took us to the famous San Diego Zoo and USS Midway Museum. First off, I found the zoo pretty fun. I mean, my opinions on zoos/aquariums are contradictory. As much as I want the animals to be free, I also think that maybe the animals may be safer in the zoos, where they're being well-treated and where they are safe. I know that since they are being raised in zoos, they wouldn't know how to survive in the wild where they belong, but for elephants, for instance, a species that is going extinct, I feel better knowing that they aren't in their ancestral homes, unfortunately, for being very vulnerable for their homes being destroyed and themselves being shot for their tusks. Aside from my views, I didn't want them to effect my experience at the zoo, so I still took lots of pictures of some of the beautiful animals. San Diego Zoo Global is also a non-profit organization so they raise all the money themselves to bring in more animals and help the ones they already have.
After the zoo, we went back to our friend's home to re-energize with food before heading to the USS Midway Museum. The midway is huge. It is the main ship that carried aircrafts of the US Navy during WWII. The fact that I learned about WWII this year probably played a big part in my interest. We saw almost all the different parts of the Midway, including their own little chapel, where the soldiers ate, where they would send out bombs and missiles, and where they did the laundry. It's truly amazing how much work was put into building the USS Midway and ever so fascinating to see how life was for the 200, 000 men who boarded the ship. After visiting the museum, we stopped at a Filipino restaurant to grab food for our return back to Anaheim.
Day 7: July 2
This day was the longest travelling day of the whole trip. We drove about 16 hours from Anaheim, CA to our next destination of Portland, OR. Thankfully, since we were going up North, the heat wasn't building up in the van. We left our hotel at around 5 am, and arrived in Portland at around 9 pm. Exhausted, we decided to catch up on our sleep for the next two days ahead.
Day 8: July 3
A day in Portland! Not having to worry about waking up at 6 in the morning was so relieving. Even though we had breakfast at our hotel, our first stop was the well-known Voodoo Doughnut. They're famous for their unique doughnuts, pink boxes in which they are sent in, and I would say, their great prices. Afterwards, we headed to another popular place in the city called Powell's Books. Let me tell you, even if you aren't a book reader, being in this store will make you want to start reading books. It's filled with new and used books; SO MANY OF THEM. Shelve after shelve.. I could stay in there forever. The new books may be pretty pricey, but they tend to have large quantities of used books (depending on the book, how popular it is), which you should get instead for half the price. I mean, read, reuse, recycle, right?
Later, we drove to The Grotto ("National Sanctuary of Our Sorrowful Mother" - I don't really know how to explain) to catch the mass at noon. It's pretty much this place of nature that is very peaceful and beautiful (that's an understatement - I'm just too lazy to get into details). After The Grotto, we drove to Woodburn Premium Outlets to try taking advantage of the no-tax situation going on in the state. Unfortunately, we didn't see much, which is why I said "try", but we were still happy about the relaxing day, compared to the hectic ones before. This was our second time in Portland, so we were more familiar with getting around. Burned out, we ended the day there and went back to our air-conditioned hotel and settled down for the next day, when we drove back to Vancouver.
Day 9: July 4
The not-so-early morning, we left for home, but before that, we, well I, wanted to stop in Seattle to see Pike Place Market, as we have not been there yet. We literally stayed for half an hour and then left, because the whole city was crowded with humans celebrating their Independence Day. My family members were also pretty grumpy and tired, but I couldn't blame them with all we've been doing the past 8 days. We left for Vancouver right away and arrived at around 7 pm, just in time for dinner. After 9 days on the road, the journey ended as if we've been gone for weeks.
In conclusion, I still dream of going on road trips; in my cool jeep, with my best buds... it's been something that I had been interested in doing often since last year. So being able to experience this, even though I didn't drive, I was only a passenger, has been such a blessing. I love adventure and driving somewhere instead of flying by plane gives you the feeling that you're exploring, more thoroughly, the world in which we live in. When you're on a plane, you don't see the green of the Oregon coast, you don't smell the acres of farms in California, you just see clouds. It's not that I'm hating on clouds or anything (that sounded funny), but when you're just on the ground for 16 hours, driving through these different places, in a vehicle that you're familiar with, surrounded by places you don't know, you feel like an explorer and you feel like you're accomplishing so much more and seeing more of the world.
Days in the car aren't that great, at least in our blue Grand Caravan, because you're not really free to move. Most of the rides, we just slept, even if you could only sleep for one hour (being so uncomfortable). and sometimes, we would watch movies on our portable DVD player. There's also the obvious listening to music, reading a book, but there's really not much you can do. I would recommend road trips if you like adventure, and also if you're too scared you'll be reeled into "vacation mode" and go crazy with spending (like no.. you don't need another souvenir t-shirt..) Like I said in the beginning, road trips are vacations, but they feel more like adventures. Okay this is pretty much an essay, sorry.. BUT I READ THIS ARTICLE THAT SAID THAT YOU SHOULD JUST WRITE UNTIL YOU'VE SAID WHAT YOU WANTED TO SAY AND I HAVE NOW.
For more photos on my road trip, visit my Flickr album: West Coast Road Trip!
Peace out, live life, live authentic, be true, be you, GO ON ROAD TRIPS!