By now, you all know I’m a bit of a wanderer, right? I’ve got a deep love for road trips and hours spent in the car discovering amazing, new-to-me things. And don’t even get me started on discovering new delicious things to eat. When a Seattle-based Chevrolet dealership reached out about lending me a car, I knew I needed to do something cool. After much brainstorming, a coastal road trip was it — down to San Francisco and back in a week, with lots of climbing, camping, mountains, and dunes along the way!
(This is gonna be a long one… so here goes.)
We had loads of cars from which to choose, but in the interest of making this adventure as fun as possible (and as economical), we went for the Volt. I’m not exactly a car savant or anything, but I watch my fair share of Top Gear to keep myself educated. Initially, my biggest concern with the Volt was that we were planning to drive over 2,000 miles. Did that mean we’d need to charge the battery constantly? Or pull over for gas even more? The answer was a resounding no. In fact, I was blown away by the efficiency of the Volt and it’s engine. I say this without hyberbole: we drove over 2,000 miles and only spent about $120 on gas. That’s it. Crazy, right??
Now, onto our itinerary… the first stop was Smith Rock, aka a rock climber’s paradise. The temperatures got quite toasty during the day, but dropped significantly at night, so it was definitely the perfect time to get cozy in my tent and favorite sweatpants.
The climbing was great, especially because it was my first time outdoors since my big injury this summer… it felt awesome.
From there, we kept driving south a few hours to Crater Lake, my absolute favorite stop of the trip. These photos don’t do any justice whatsoever — the lake is absolutely gorgeous.
We camped at the smaller of the two campgrounds at the park and it was definitely worth it. We even got lucky and got the last spot! Because Crater Lake isn’t close to any major cities, the stars were completely visible and absolutely breathtaking. Plus, it was one of the few campgrounds that had lifted the burn ban, meaning that we could have a fire at our site! Talk about the perfect end to the day…
After camping in Crater Lake for a night, we had our biggest day of driving yet: we were off to San Francisco!
When I’m back in SF (especially if it’s only for 48 hours), I have a few requirements: In and Out burger, hanging in a park with friends, and as many amazing meals as possible. This trip, my two favorite meals were brunch at Padrecito and dinner at Cockscomb.
We got to San Francisco pretty late, but not too late for a few fun times with my good friends — I’ve missed them so much since moving back to Seattle. We all went to dinner and I even surprised my bestie. He had no idea I was there to visit. It felt incredible to spend time with my people… if that makes sense.
After less than 48 hours in SF, we had to head back north… on Highway 1! Instead of getting to the highway via a major artery, instead I navigated us to Lucas Valley Road, one that leads directly to Hog Island Oyster Co., my favorite of the local oyster spots. The road is windy, yet fun. Sunny, yet totally peaceful. Definitely worth the extra distance.
For those not in the know, Highway 1 follows the coast line and allllll of it’s windy, exciting curves. We happened to catch a large portion of this iconic road during the golden hour and it was pure magic.
At one point, we pulled over to watch the sunset and let Noodle run around naked on a beach. He was in heaven.
The Oregon Coast is misty and dramatic and beyond breathtaking.
Eventually, the 1 brought us back to the 101 and through the Avenue of the Giants — aka tons and tons of super-tall redwood trees. It was at this point that I really felt like we’d left the coast and were in the heart of the Pacific Northwest again. The air was damp and smelled of fresh dirt.
This leg of the trip was a bit too ambitious and we were stuck finding a campground in the dark. Let’s just say… it was not our best night’s sleep. We got rained on, the dog started barking at 4 am… it was damp and cold. As soon as we could, we packed up camp and headed north again to a very cool spot: the Oregon Dunes!
To say the Oregon Dunes were ‘awesome’ is an understatement… I’ve never seen anything like this in my life. And I didn’t even know that they existed prior to visiting! While there, we opted for a sandrail tour and it was so much fun.
That night we stayed in a yurt at Honeyman State Park… my first yurt experience! By this point in the trip I was soooort of over sleeping in a tent in the rain, so we opted for the yurt and it was great. Super cozy… and a great way to wrap up our trip.
This is the kind of trip that makes me want to hit the road and just keep going. This is the sort of thing that feeds my soul, my creativity… and I long to do more of it. The wheels (no pun intended) are already turning and I’ve got lots of trips in mind. Stay tuned for even more of my adventures… they’re gonna be good.
Disclosure: Chevrolet was kind enough to lend me a Volt to review for this post. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the content that keeps Jojotastic awesome.
photography by Jojotastic and Sean McBride.