When it came to our honeymoon we knew we didn’t want a sun holiday or what they call a “traditional” honeymoon, much like our non-traditional Marvel Themed wedding but about a year into the planning people started asking where we would be off to once the big day was done. Neither of us had given it much thought but I said we should probably go somewhere we’ve both always wanted to go and almost in unison we both said “Portland!” So that was very easily fixed but when we started looking at prices and all the activities we wanted to do (given that Boyler loves the outdoors and how many amazing things there are to see in Oregon).
I asked advice from a fellow blogger and friend Kathleen over at Squidgy Moments who not only is a travel blogger but has the joy of working for TourAmerica also. Although, of course Portland wouldn’t be top of their destinations list, Kathleen was so patient and helped us plan the trip of a lifetime, even suggesting while we were on the west coast, why just go to Portland and Seattle but to maybe take in Vegas, San Francisco or Yosemite National Park. So we did, and we are so grateful she suggested it! So here’s how we got on on the first leg of our trip!
Was amazing – the hotel was grand although online it gave the impression there was free WiFi – there’s a daily charge for this but free wifi in the lobby. The area was a bit mad, we were staying in the central location of Union Square – I definitely wouldn’t recommend walking around too much as you can turn down one street and the area completely changes but there are plenty of transport options. The hills are another story altogether, brace yourself. You can turn a corner and the street will nearly be vertical they are that steep. North beach/Embarcadero seemed a much better/safer place to stay.
We did a tour with Tower Tours through Guideyou.com to visit Muir Woods and Sausalito opting for the ferry home, it was brilliant. Definitely recommend.
We hired a car to drive up to Yosemite and I got my first taste of not only driving on the other side of the road, but also driving an automatic and driving in 5 lane traffic! The car hire was swift and easy and the options were great – this was through Alamo.
On the way up we decided to take a little detour to Mount Diablo and the whole way we listened to one of our favourites and local band The Story So Far, and it was inspiring. Although you can drive up to the summit – which on a clear day they say you can see across the whole bay area – we went to the first pit stop which had lots of windcaves that people used to live in!
The drive up was incredible and our lodge couldn’t have been closer to the park without being in it. Although it wasn’t our first choice it was definitely adequate. The location of Yosemite View is amazing right beside the river but there are hotels and campsites within the park also – They looked lovely from the outside but reckon they are pretty pricey. I wouldn’t recommend using the lodge itself again though as the staff were rude and for a few nights stay the food options are very limited unless you have camping/portable cooking equipment or have the car to stock up on groceries in Yosemite Village! Nevertheless it was the price to pay for the incredible experience of Yosemite.
The views are just spectacular and I couldn’t believe even though I was driving I wasn’t missing out on any of the sights. They have the park laid out really well with plenty of space to pull over and take it all in or go for a walk.
As we were there in late March/early April, most of the hikes were still closed and some of the other roads in the park too. We’re not really the outdoorsy types so this didn’t bother us too much. And we quickly found out why – the first photo below was taken about 20 minutes before a snow shower hit with hail the size of golf balls, completely out of the blue! Either way we wandered around, sometime off the beaten track but most of the animals like bears and raccoons’ were still in hibernation so we figured we were safe enough.
I am so glad Kathleen and Boyler insisted we do something like this as it’s probably something we won’t get to do again. Yosemite is 3.5 hours from San Francisco and if you have a couple of days to spare you should definitely go! It’s an incredible experience and really connects you with nature (even if you’re eating frozen burritos for breakfast!)
Stay tuned for our second leg where we flew up to Portland and Seattle!