Day 7-8 - On our first proper day in Portland we explored the city. We stopped by the saturday market and sampled some of the delicious food on offered. Both Chris and I had huge breakfast burritos while Keith had a stuffed crepe. Walking around the city was great and we found some amazing shops. One I liked in particular was a shop called Tender Loving Empire where Keith and I both bought screen-printed T-Shirts from. We also visited Powells bookstore which was HUGE. We could have easily spent all day in there. That evening we went bowling with some of Tim and Carly’s friends which was fun. The next day Keith and I visited a church in the city and after we started our long drive down the Oregon coast on the 101. That evening we stopped off at a restaurant in Yachts and had the most incredible fish and chips.
Day 9 - We continued to drive down the Oregon coast and head toward the Redwood forest in California. The scenery was beautiful. Every corner we turned we were greeted by another amazing view which meant there was a lot of jumping out of the van and taking photos. We drove down the rest of the Oregon coast this day and arrived into California in the early afternoon. That afternoon we drove through the Redwood National forest which was beautiful. Once we had driven through the redwoods we kept following the 101 and stayed the night in a very out of the way campsite in the Avenue Of The Giants. Finding this campsite was a little stressful as it was really dark once we started looking for it and it was miles away from the highway which we didn’t expect. Once we arrived at the campsite we were greeted by bear and mountain lion warnings which made things a little scary.
Day 10-11 - We awoke really early and aimed to get to San Francisco by early afternoon this day. This was a long day of driving through wine country. We arrive in San Fran in good time and stopped at the Golden Gate bridge before we crossed over into the Bay where our hostel was. Once we were in the city we paid another $50 to park our car for the whole time we would be there. We wasted no time once we were settled in to the hostel and we went straight out to explore the city. We decided to walk towards the harbour as we wanted to eat at Bubba Gump shrimp. The walk was really beautiful as the the sun was slowly setting and everything had a gorgeous golden glow. The next day we walked miles to a record store that chris wanted to go to. It was a good walk but it was a lot further than any of us had though so we were pretty tired on the way back and stopped off in a park to have a sunbath and a little snooze. We then slowly walked back to towards our hostel but took our time popping into shops. That evening we had dinner at the cheesecake factory. I ordered a salad and it was so big I could only eat half of it, by the time the meal was over I felt really sick from over eating and actually thought I was going to throw up on the walk back.
Day 12 – In the morning we walked around a different part of the city in search of an American Eagle for Chris and did a little bit more shopping. We were then back on the road by early afternoon heading inland to Lake Tahoe. Once we arrived at Lake Tahoe we weren’t too sure where to go and as I was driving at that point I decided to drive roughly in the direction of a campsite so at least we could get an idea of somewhere to stay. We then found an nice little restaurant on the lake, next to the campsite so decided to eat there. While we were eating Chris noticed that Edward Sharp and the Magnetic Zero’s were playing in a near by casino so we decided to go and see if there were any spare tickets, which there was! The show was amazing and was such a fun and spontaneous thing to do on what otherwise would have been a pretty boring evening.
Day 13 - We left Lake Tahoe early and started our drive to the Yosemite National Park. One thing we hadn’t realised before we came away was that the snow had only just melted on some of the major roads around the Yosemite. If we had tried doing the trip any earlier we probably wouldn’t have been able to access a lot of the roads we needed. Another thing we didn’t realise was that we were travelling on a weekend which was also a national holiday for America and everywhere was VERY busy. When we arrived at the Yosemite visitors centre we were advised to quickly find a camping ground as only 2 of the ones in the park weren’t already fully booked for the holiday. We managed to get a camping spot by late afternoon and then quickly did a couple of small trails that we had been advised to do, finishing with watching the sunset. Once we got back to the campsite it was pretty dark but there were so many people out with campfires. This was so different to any of the other campsite we had been to which had either been empty or only had a couple of other people staying in them, it was a really nice change.
Day 14 - Having been advised that it would be very busy in the Yosemite Valley we set of really early to do a hike before we needed to leave. The early start was really good and we had managed to drive around the valley and do a hike by 10.30am. We the decided to drive to Las Vagas as driving all the way to the Grand Canyon in one day would be too far. As we drove the surroundings became more and more desert like and it was so hot. We made it into Las Vagas in good time and decided to see if we could fine a motel to stay in (we hadn’t pre-booked anything). This proved a lot harder than we expected because everywhere was booked up or really expensive because of the national holiday. We drove around a lot to try and find somewhere and things were getting pretty stressful so we decided to start driving towards the Grand Canyon and see what other cities we would drive through on the way. The first city we came to was called Bolder City which was just outside the Hoover Dam and we pulled into the first motel that advertised vacancies. We ended staying in an apartment which wasn’t the best quality but it was just what we needed.