San Francisco-Portland-Vancouver / by Sarah Bronstein

I feel like I am running out of words to describe the incredible beauty of the landscapes.  I had an amazing time in Salt Lake City (basically spent the whole time hiking).  I left at 6am Tuesday to start the drive to San Fran which was as stunning as ever.  The 80W goes right by the Great Salt Lake and the timing worked out that the sun was rising behind the mountains as I passed.  About 100 miles West of Salt Lake City almost to the Utah/Nevada border was one of the best surprises of the trip so far: The Bonneville Salt Flats.  Stretching over 30,000 acres the white plains look like a giant field of packed snow surrounded by mountains; due to the salt there is no life or vegetation.  It is one of the most peaceful quite places I have ever been.  The coolest part was that the land is so large and flat you can actually see the curvature of the earth!  The rest of the 80W was no disappointment, through the hills and mountains of Nevada and California winding through beautiful spots including the Truckee and Humboldt Rivers, Reno, the Sierra Nevadas, Tahoe National Forest, Lake Tahoe, and Sacramento.

I got to San Francisco late but stopped at the marina park with Stevie before settling down for the night.  The to-do list for my 48 hours in SF included finding a storage unit, unloading the van contents into storage (by myself!), returning the van rental to the airport, picking up the new rental in downtown SF, and repacking for the rest of my trip.  I got everything done without a hitch and even had time for a quick visit to Alamo Square and my fave Dolores Park.   Stevie thoroughly enjoyed the quick stay in our new home.  We are both very excited to start our lives there post-adventuring.  

We left bright and early Friday to miss the notorious bay area traffic and took the 101 straight up the coast to Coos Bay, Oregon where we cut over the the I-5N to Portland.    The drive up the 101 was absolutely stunning.  While the California wine country and Redwood National Park was gorgeous, for me the Oregon Coast was the show stopper.  I couldn't drive half a mile without pulling over at the next vista to take in more of the breathtaking views.  The varying colors of the Pacific ocean water was amazing.... It went from the deepest turquoise blue to the clearest aqua green all against the rocky beaches and cliffs.  Oregon as a whole impressed me from the coasts to the mountains and lakes and one of the most spectacular sunsets I have ever seen. 

Portland was brief (I definitely plan to visit again soon) but with donuts and coffee (GOOD coffee) on every corner it won me over fast.  I stayed in the Richmond/Hawthorne district where each house had so much character and everyone I passed not only had a smile but was exceptionally friendly.  Stevie flirted with every lady he passed and had a blast sniffing around Mt Tabor Park while I enjoyed the view.  

From the park we got right back on the road to head to Vancouver.  I got lucky and didn't get too delayed through the Seattle traffic and Stevie and I got through the border without any issues.  My parents had flown into town the night before as most of my dad's family is here including his mom who is 94.   All my aunts and uncles and cousins were with my parents at Hadden Beach which in true BC form is clean and beautiful, and offered incredible views of the city.  It was wonderful to be welcomed by such a lively bunch and enjoy some time outside even though the drive was relatively short comparatively.   

I am SO excited to have a few days out of the car, in one of my favorite cities with many of my favorite people before heading to Glacier National Park Wednesday with my dad!!!!