From beach to snow

We’ve come a long way since LA! After our trip to visit family in Southern California, we got ready to say some difficult goodbyes to our friends who became our family [in a van, down] by the [Trinity] river. We felt ready to move on, but had a really tough time letting go of the people and the place that had become like home in a short time. But that’s what makes this experience so special – we get the opportunity to create community and a home wherever we go.

From California, we headed up through the Redwoods and into Oregon up the 101 along the Pacific coast. On the East coast, we have a Coastal Highway where we go to the beach, but it’s nothing like this. The highway traces the coast for miles and miles, so that the ocean is always on your left as you drive North. Oregon’s State Parks are scattered every few miles so that you always have a spot to pull over and walk down to the beach.

After spending a few days driving up the coast and hanging out by the ocean, we decided to head inland to see what else we could discover.

I had been wanting to check out Crater Lake, so we got a National Parks pass and drove around the lake. It was a complete 180 from where we had just been on the coast. As we entered the park (in October), there was already 3 inches of snow on the ground, and it was COLD. It’s amazing how much of a difference a hundred miles can make!

Crater Lake was one of the most astounding places I have ever seen. The water is crystal clear and surrounded by snowy mountains, and there are places to park every half mile or so to take in the view. We spent all day driving the loop around the lake, getting out of the van to see each viewpoint until we were too cold and had to jump back into the heat.

That night we set up camp in the nearby National Forest and blasted our new heater to stay warm in the freezing temperatures. We came down in elevation so that there was no longer snow on the ground, but as soon as the sun dropped the temperature went with it and we spent a very cold night in the woods.

Before heading to Crater Lake, we got a recommendation from a friend to look for a place called Toketee Falls, which she told us was about an hour or so from where we camped for the night. She also told us that there were hot springs nearby, which was something we hadn’t yet experienced on our trip.

I couldn’t be happier that we decided to search for these springs. The almost vertical hike up the hill was totally worth it – we arrived to find several pools of hot water filled with people from all over the country. There were naked people, fully clothed people, young people and old people all hanging out together and sharing stories with one another. To me, it was amazing to be in a space with a group of people who weren’t judging each other and were allowing each person to be themselves. I wish I had pictures of the hot springs, but also wouldn’t want to post any nudies of strangers 🙂

Although we talked about staying another day at this weird-but-so-cool place, we moved on the next morning and headed back towards the coast to get ready to celebrate our first lap around the sun together as a married couple.

That’s right! One whole year of marriage under our belts as of October 5th. We spent the day on the beach in Lincoln City, splurged on dinner out, drank champagne on the beach, and saw a band play at a bar up the street. A perfect celebration of a year that truly has flown by. They say that time flies when you’re having fun, and that’s absolutely the case! We’ve been on the road for 5 months, and I sometimes feel like we left yesterday. It’s been an amazing journey so far, and I can’t wait to see where else this leads us. For now, we’ll spend a little more time in Oregon before beginning to head towards home for the Holidays. Stay tuned! Thanks so much for reading!

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