Monday, August 31, 2009

Drives of a Lifetime (part 2)

O.k. let's finish reviewing this list of National Geographic Traveler magazine's "50 Drives of a Lifetime". Or at least we'll take a peek at the next 4 of them that we've had a chance to enjoy. Of course, I could do several posts on each and every stop, but won't take the time here. Let me know if you'd like to hear more about any of these and I'd be happy to oblige.

Warning - this is going to make you want to go on a road trip!

1. Olympic Peninsula, Washington - We've done a pretty good chunk of this one just a few years ago. I think this was one of our first driving vacations without the kids with us and with my new camera. I drove Terry crazy asking him to stop so I could take pictures. It was fun, but definitely quiet without Amy & Kevin. We would absolutely go back to this area again!

Here are a few highlights:
Crescent Lake is gorgeous!
Sol Duc Hot Springs is pretty cool but a little smelly from the sulpher in the springs.
Hoh Rain forest was amazing, but probably the most humid place I've ever been.
Here are just a few photos that I took:

Crescent Lake and the cottages at Crescent Lake - Don't they just take you back about 50+ years?

The one at the top is a photo of Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park.

2. California's Pacific Coast Highway - Since we lived in southern Cal for 18 years we had the privilege of driving PCH and the central coast many times. It is truly one of the most gorgeous places in the world and explains why the cost of living is out of this world. Of the places listed here, my top pics would probably be:

Monterey Bay Aquarium - You have to go at least once. It is so much fun to watch the sea otters and see all the crazy creatures that live under our seas.

San Simeon - Hearst Castle is just unbelievable! Especially considering it was built during the Great Depression. I want to go around Christmas sometime when they have it decorated for the holidays.

Carmel-by-the-Sea - storybook town, perfect weather and oh so quaint. Would have loved to go much more often. This is a little sliver of the Carmel Mission. There are old Spanish missions all up and down the Cal coast. Well worth visiting too!

Cambria - great little town for a romantic getaway.

3. Rocky Mountains - Although we have done just a sliver of this drive, I thought I'd mention it because we just got back from visiting Rocky Mountain National Park (one of our favorites) last week. We saw tranquil lakes, amazing wildlife, and drove Trail Ridge Road. It's the highest continuous paved road in the United States, reaching an elevation of 12,183 feet (That's above the tree line).

4. Santa Barbara Loop - This is another area that we're quite familiar with, since it was less than 2 hours from our house so an easy day trip or lovely weekend. Also a gorgeous area in So Cal! Hard to list favorites. We have lots of stories from these parts.

Solvang
- A fun place to visit with lots of shopping, bakeries, outdoor theater in the summer and much more.

Santa Barbara - A wonderful respite from the heat in the summer with an awesome arts and crafts fair every Sunday. Nice restaurants too. If you ever have a chance, attend an outdoor concert with a view of the ocean at the Santa Barbara Bowl. We discovered it just before we moved away and are sad that we didn't know about it sooner.

Santa Ynez Valley - Made semi-famous by the movie, Sideways. The NGT magazine failed to mention one of our favorite stops for lunch. The Cold Springs Tavern, which used to be a stage coach stop. It's well worth the short diversion off the highway on the way to Solvang. Be sure to check it out for a meal or some afternoon refreshment. And don't let the bikers intimidate you. Most of them are dentists or podiatrists from Orange County.

Even though we've skimmed the edges of some of the other Southwestern drives, I don't feel like we've done enough to mention them, so I'll leave it at that. It's been so much fun reliving some of those unforgettable trips. I would love to do them all again anytime.

In looking at the remaining drives, I think it would be nearly impossible to decide which one I would want to do next, if I could choose any of them. I will definitely keep this list as reference for when we're planning trips in the future. Let me know which of them you've had a chance to see. Travel is such a gift! I would do it full time if I had the chance...o.k., maybe not full time, but at least half time. I'm so blessed that I've had the chance to go as much as I have, considering I had only gone on 1 vacation before I was 16 years old.

If you want to continue to hear about our Colorado trip, stay tuned and come back soon.

Happy Trails! I look forward to hearing from you.

1 comment:

Judy ~ My Front Porch said...

I just happened over here...and loved to see your 'roadtrips in review'. I live in the Pacific Northwest...and we love to roadtrip...so I have been to many of the places you mentioned. We did the Olympic Peninsula in Early April...and sat in Sol Duc hotsprings with snow falling all around. Quite lovely! We have also enjoyed the Pacific Coast Highway...and our visit to Hearst Castle many years ago.