One Second of a Road Trip

I’m so proud of us! We managed to keep going with our one second every day videos the whole time we were on the road (Andrew found a reminder service, SO HANDY).

As much as the photos are cool, and re-reading our blog posts is similar to having a diary, this is just another way to see the absolute highlights of every day.

So, here we have it: LA to Vancouver, our holiday before we begin living at a holiday destination 😉 #sorrynotsorry

Canada Eh

You have reached your final destination.

Cannot begin to tell you how incredible that sentence is. Not that we were travelling for that long, but it does make a big difference when you finally arrive in the country you plan on living in.

We hit Van City on Thursday, and headed to Kitslano to crash at our friend Carla’s spot. Kits is a suuuuuper cute area to stay in, right on the “beach” (I use this term loosely), nice little strip of shops and cafes, and only a 5km walk into Downtown.

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The main purpose for hitting up Vancouver was to get the admin side of life sorted, which we smashed out in half a day! We got our Social Insurance Number plus great deals on a sim card and bank account (Virgin Mobile and CIBC if you’re wondering). The banking system is so backwards here, they still use cheques, have only just begun using internet banking and most of the bank will charge you for internet transactions.

Once we finished the boring things, we took advantage of the sunshine and hit up Stanley Park. After the longest wait for an average burger (there are always downsides to travel), we grabbed some bikes and road the seawall.

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The ride was so flat and the bikes were amazing to ride, 14km went by so quickly.
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This cool kid.

The sunshine continued through Saturday, and with Carla not working we had a buddy! With a car!
After an amazing brunch (following from Perth traditions) at The Oakwood, Carla drove us all out to Lynn Canyon to walk around the falls and NATURE.

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Doing this little walk has gotten me so excited for living in Whistler, hiking and riding every day!

IMG_0575Rewarding ourselves with ice cream, naturally…

Our little group headed into Gastown in the evening, for drinks and dinner. I managed the dinner portion before taking myself home with a mother flippin’ cold. NOT HAPPY.
Gastown is very cute though, old school-style gaslamps on the streets, cool little restaurants and bars down alley-ways. I hope the others enjoyed it to it’s fullest!

We took Sunday a little easier (easy like a Sunday morning, some would say) due to my stupid sickness. Not wanting to waste the whole day though, we did a quick visit to Granville Island for chicken noodle soup and pot pies.

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The markets are gorgeous, full of fresh fruit and vegetables. We, however, were drawn to a different kind of dessert;

We had to try a maple donut in Canada 😉

After this I basically retreated to the couch for the rest of the day, but we did manage to watch Eurovision and laugh uncontrollably at the outrageousness. This made me feel a little better 🙂

Hi Canada! I like you, I think we’ll stay.

Hanbel.
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Observations of the USA

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After 16 days through the states, I’m pretty much an expert now. Ha! No, I don’t think I could ever be, but the experience of driving the coast has opened my eyes to some ridiculous, funny, stupid and different observations of this country.

  • McDonald’s is legitimately everywhere. We’d be driving through a small town (comparable to Yallingup for example) and there will be a McDonalds, Taco Bell and Starbucks on offer. If not more!
  • Car pool lanes. These are bloody genius! If you have two or more passengers, you can drive in the furtherest left hand lane, which is always quieter.
  • All the food and beverages are sweeter or are cinnamon flavoured. Soy milk is sweeter, tonic water is sweeter, chewing gum tastes like cinnamon. It’s ridiculous.
  • Most people we met were super friendly, but always think they’re right. They want you to have the best trip, so you need to cancel that hotel you have in Pismo beach immediately and book in at Morro Bay.
  • The catch phrase is “SO good”.
    – That donut was SO good
    – Her hair looks SO good
    – That bar is SO good
  • Speaking of bars, every single one has at least one TV showing any game of sport. Even the classy bars will have it on, and then you hit Buffalo Wild Wings where they show at least 10 different types of games on 50 screens around the restaurant.
  • Pick up trucks are no joke. To me they resemble monster trucks, and scare the life out of me on the road.
  • Customer service is insane! As the staff work off tips they always go above and beyond to make sure you have the best experience. So, even though at times you know they’re faking it, it’s a nice change to the grumpy hipsters back home.
  • Having said that, tipping SUCKS. American companies need to sort their shiz out, pay their staff the correct wage so that the customer doesn’t have to.
  • On top of that, please just include the taxes in the price tag of any item. I don’t want to have my $5 note ready, to have someone tell me “Oh, that’ll be $6.20 thank you”.

Rant over. This country, like all others has positives and negatives. I loved the trip, and wouldn’t have done it any differently at all. I just find these little differences fascinating, and thought you might too!

Big American love,
Hanbel.
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I’m Headed Downtown, Cruising Through the Alley

Seattle; home of the Space Needle, Pike Place Markets and Grey’s Anatomy. It’s also the home of Andrew’s mate Ozzie, who hooked us up with an Air B’n’b in his apartment complex.

Checking out a city on your own, versus having some show you their city is such a different experience. I love both versions, but having Ozzie show off Seattle was pretty special.

He’s a gem, not the kind of guy you would picture either of us being friends with, but has an absolute heart of gold and generous nature. He drove us around to a couple of bars when we got into the city, and played the most intense game of Jenga with us. 27 stories high, the leaning tower of pisa did so well! and I don’t want to talk about how it’s existence came to an end…

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We snuck in another run, this time around Lake Union. Such a beauty!
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Ozzie is half Puerto-rican, half Colombian. He drives a Mercedes, with R’n’B tunes blasting from the speakers. He works as a consultant, making deals and schmoozing clients all day long. He’s also a massive foodie and picked out the BEST food for us all day. You see why I like him?

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Mac and cheese, BBQ pork skewers, steamed buns, lemon cheesecake greek yoghurt and oyster shooters were all delectable. Ozzie also wanted to sample some ghost pepper syrup (literally the oils drained from the hottest chillies in the world). We spent the next half an hour watching him sipping milk and looking very sorry for himself.

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We hit up some touristy sights, rode the monorail, checked out the city a little more before Ozzie and his girlfriend Lily took us to meet up with their mate, Ahmed.

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Ahmed is exactly the kind of friend you want to have. Not only was he pretty cool and a super nice guy, he also had a boat rental.

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So, in Seattle you can sign up for a boat share programme which lets you pick from 10 boats to take out up to three times a week. You only have to pay during summer, and they get new boats in every year, plus do all the maintenance and storage.

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He took us all around the lake for some pretty sweet views of Mt Rainier. I’m usually not the biggest fan of boats, but this was a spectacular sight!

The night ended with Ozzie’s home cooked pulled pork tacos, glasses of wine and laughing about the state of the American politics.

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The next day we had to ourselves, so we set off to check out more of downtown and Pioneer Place, before heading to the baseball!

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This was SO much fun! I thought I’d enjoy the atmosphere and the energy around the field, but I found myself loving the game too. It was such a close game, going into 11 innings with the Mariners winning off a walk-off home run.

Surprisingly, this has been one of the best days on the trip, I had the best time on another glorious day in paradise. Also, red wine spritzers are not the worst thing in the world 😉

Let’s just say I’m pretty happy that Seattle is so close to the border, because I’d love to come back here again. Perhaps when the football is on… maybe this live sport thing ain’t so bad.

Hanbel.
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I Think I’ll Have Myself a Beer

Except by me, I obviously mean Andrew. #glutenintolerance

Although for all the places we’ve travelled so far, Portland is definitely the most food intolerance/ preference friendly. This town is basically a giant hipster suburb.

There’s a brewery on every corner, a fixie flying past at any moment and the most perth-like coffee we’ve come across so far. Safe to say, I like this town.

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We hit the ground running, heading to a “Big Lebowski” themed bar, a rooftop hangout, meeting locals, and playing ping pong against them for most of the night. I feel like I need to mention that among all the Americans we’ve met, these guys were the friendliest, most easy going and easy to talk to. It was such a pleasant surprise getting to hang out with them for a night.

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With more sunshine heading our way, we got up early to sneak in a run, before heading out for some of the weird and wonderful things Portland has to offer.

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Ugh, this coffeeeeeeee! I need another in my life ASAP.

Also, notice the glittery wall behind it? That bad boy is part of Voodoo Doughnuts, an institution among Portlandians. You queue up amongst tourists and locals alike, with the scent of sugary baked goods wafting through the door. You walk past the bright pink sign on the door, to be greeted by cashiers looking way to cool for school, and two giant rotating glass cabinets of doughnuts.

This is when the panic sets in; do you want a regular, cake or vegan doughnut? Maple or glazed? Covered in oreos? Topped with fruit loops? THERE ARE TOO MANY TO CHOOSE FROM.

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Get the maple, it was THE BEST. Enjoy the hell out of it and try not to feel too guilty, because there’s always another form of exercise you can try. It’s called BrewCycle and it’s super fun.

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Eight people hop onto this contraption for pedal power, three get to chill on the back seat, and one “tour guide” sits in the middle to steer. You get to a maximum speed of around 7km/hour and sing along to whoever’s manning the iPod.

This vehicle took us to one brewery and two dive bars, where we sampled Portland’s finest and ended up with a hasty shot (we’ve got 10 minutes left, let’s do a shot!). Which seemed like a good idea at the time, until we rolled back into headquarters for another beverage and the rest of our tour got white-girl wasted.

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Ahhhh Portland. You have amazing gluten free burgers for maximum alcohol soak-up-age, the best coffee in the states (I’m calling it!), beautiful weather and our kind of people. I will be back to visit you in a heartbeat.

Hanbel.
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Into the Woods

Back when we started planning this trip, Andrew suggested getting off the beaten track and heading in land for a few days. He figured we would probably have had enough of big cities, and want to see some of the countryside and quieter towns.

I LOVE THIS BOY.

The last few days have been so cruisey and full of the most amazing sights, that these photos absolutely will not do justice.

We started off with a VERY long drive to Lake Tahoe (we got an hour or so in before realising the road was closed off, and had to turn around and go another way). It also pissed down with rain the afternoon and evening we were there.

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Despite this, it was one of the most beautiful drives either one of us has done, we had no idea there would still be so much snow on top of the mountains!

Plus, the next morning, it looked like this:

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We didn’t have enough time to properly explore, we would have loved a few days here but had to keep moving.

Another five hour drive (I’m getting way better on the roads by the way, just not in cities – may have almost hit a parked car yesterday…) brought us to Klamath Falls, in Oregon. The quickest route took us just over the border into Nevada, before crossing back into California, which meant that we did three states in one day!

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We hit the hay, preparing to wake up early and get going. I’d read about a lake in South Oregon that was highly recommended and was dying to check it out. It added an extra hour to our drive, and the park cost US$15 to enter, but I would pay it again and again for this view:

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Quick facts and then I’ll shut up, I promise. Crater Lake is actually a basin of an erupted volcano, the deepest lake in the US and is the cleanest and clearest large body of water in the world.

And it’s so pretty!

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I’m quickly falling in love with this state. It’s so much greener and more beautiful than California, the drive into Portland was breathtaking.

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They also have some pretty tasty food, and beer is half the price. Winning!

Hanbel.
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Big City Life

Yo yo yo! We’ve made some good progress in the last few days, and have officially hit Oregon! We’re right down the bottom at a little town called “Klamath Falls”, and I will tell you all about it in due time.

For now, we shall be re-visiting San Francisco.

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The city of cable cars, a beautiful red bridge, clam chowder and a lot of junkies, as it happens. When Andrew and Harley came to San Fran a few years back, they stayed in an area called South of Market or SOMA, and they loved it! It’s downtown, right in the middle of everything and a quick walk to the cable car which shoots down to Fisherman’s Wharf.

Naturally, we booked a hotel there for this trip too. Little did we know, that this area has a changed a little and is now the home of many a drug dealer, junkie and homeless person. Please don’t stay here if you visit.

As much as I tried not to let this bother me, arriving at 6pm and struggling through the traffic, only to be welcomed by the charming neighbourhood wasn’t a great start. Not to mention the four hour sleep I managed due to noise and friendly mice playing under our bed.

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Regardless, we pushed on and headed out for some tourist attractions. This particular cable car runs up from Fisherman’s Wharf to market street, where the workers jump off and literally push the car around to travel back the other way.

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Fisherman’s Wharf is pretty much what you’d expect. Plenty of tourist traps, a seafood cafe every two metres and the sea lions at Pier 39. We grabbed the obligatory meal (I stole some and it was deeelish!) and started our search for bikes to hire.

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The wind was howling like a mofo that day, and it was bloody cold down by the water. So we made the choice not to ride over the bridge and possibly get blown off said bridge. We did take the bikes the 5km round to the start of it and get a gooooood look.

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She is a thing of beauty, even on a cloudy day. Despite the weather and my weariness, I’m glad Andrew pushed me to ride out there and have a good look.

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We finished the afternoon with a walk up to Lombard Street; seriously those hills are a killer. I better have buns of steel after this walking, not to mention the fact that every hotel we stay in has stairs. Every bit of exercise counts right?

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The following morning, we swung by the painted ladies for a quick peek, before hitting the road again and getting out of this big city.

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The overcast day doesn’t do the colours justice, but these houses are so freaking pretty. The yellow was my winner!

I’m still unsure how I feel about this city. I like the elements it has, I’m just not sure that they mould well or work exactly right. It’s hard to describe, and I’m sure the area we were staying didn’t help, but I just didn’t get the city. I still had a great time though, and I didn’t want to leave it with a sour taste in my mouth. Which is why San Francisco will always be known as the place I bought my first American Peanut Butter 🙂

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Much pb love,
Hanbel.
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