June 4, 2018: We Begin our Road Trip

Sometime earlier in the year, my girlfriend (Danielle), her parents (Dirk and Shera), and I discussed going on some kind of trip during the month of June. Being a part-time nurse, Shera must submit her vacation-time request many months in advance, hence the plan put in place well ahead of time. Originally, the four of us were thinking of doing some kind of multi-day trek, perhaps the Northcoast Trail, Westcoast Trail, etc. However, various factors came into play as we moved forward in time, and we then decided instead to do a roadtrip of some kind. The debate then became where we should go on said roadtrip, and what vehicle to take: Shera’s new-to-her SUV, or Dirk’s full-size pickup with camper. The debate also surrounded whether to bring along the Seeliger’s two dogs, and if we decided to do so, the truck would have to be the vehicle of choice. Again, various factors came in to play and, in the end, the four of us decided that we would be taking Shera’s Acura RDX, sans dogs, on a trip throughout the Northwest United States, and then back up through southeastern British Columbia.

On June 4th, we departed the Seeliger’s home in the Cowichan Valley and headed to Victoria in order to catch the Coho Ferry over to Port Angeles, Washington. If you’ve been following the blog for some time, you would know that in September of 2016, Danielle and I did the same thing. Back in 2016, when we arrived in Port Angeles, the first thing we did was head to a grocery store to grab groceries for cheaper than they are in Canada, do the same with petrol, and then head to Olympic National Park’s visitor’s centre a few minutes up the highway.

With these memories in mind, the four of us decided to do the exact same thing, even getting groceries and gas at the same location. With a tank full of fuel, a trunk full of groceries, our stomachs full of lunch, and an America the Beautiful National Park pass in hand, we once again followed in the footsteps of 2016 Rob and Danielle, and headed up into the national park and hiked the awe-inspiring Hurricane Ridge Trail. The trail is a relatively easy, non-technical (it’s practically paved the whole way) hike that steadily ascends to the top of the ridge, which, on one side, allows for a breathtaking vista of the snow-capped Olympic Mountain Range, and on the other side, overlooks the Juan de Fuca straight, with Victoria and much of Vancouver Island visible. Or, at least it does on a clear day. On this particular day, to the disappointment of Danielle and I, the straight was clouded in, offering no views of the water or our home of Vancouver Island. That said, the snow-capped peaks were still clearly visible, and the hike up was rain-free and well worth it. While hiking, we were lucky enough to see a variety of wildlife including my favourite bird, the Whisky Jack, deer, chipmunks, grouse, and the endemic Olympic Marmot.

After finishing up our hike, the four of us debated our next move and where we should head next. We had a rough plan in mind for where/when this roadtrip was going to take us, but outside of the fact we wanted to meet some Seeliger family friends in Nelson, BC on a particular date, we had no solid plans. After studying a map and debating what to do, we decided we would drive into the night until reaching the Wash-Oregon border where we would find a hotel for the night and then drive through the Columbia River Gorge the next day. Thus, we enjoyed a very scenic drive down the east side of the Olympic Peninsula and to the Columbia River, stopping along the way at a group of old trains that had been converted into a dispensary where we used their beautiful grounds to make dinner. After finishing up a scenic and delicious dinner, we continued driving late into the night, eventually finding a hotel east of Portland where we enjoyed a much needed sleep.

People in this blog: Danielle’s Instagram.

The classic Coho ferry with its 70s stylings.

Driving up to Hurricane Ridge.

Local fauna.

Local flora.

Shera, Dirk, and Danielle.

Thieving little Whisky Jacks.

Cool collection of old trains beside the highway which a dispensary was actually using as their storefront.

Cooking up some chicken pasta.

The view from our train dinner spot.