Day 1 : Pleasant Hill, CA to Lake Tahoe.
Ahhh, the beginning of a new adventure!!!!
I was so filled with excitement, it was going to be hard to contain it in a car for the next 2 weeks.
It was a typical bright, autumn morning in northern California, and we were about to begin the longest drive either of us have ever done : California to Boston.
Here was the 12 day plan :
Since I already planned out the major attractions for each day and plotted the cities we would sleep in, all that was left to do was follow it and enjoy ourselves.
We crammed a rental car full of our rolleybags, a guitar, 6 houseplants, my computer, and some miscellaneous things that didn't make it into the uhaul box I shipped out ahead of time from Los Angeles.
Day one involved driving only 180 miles, (a nice, slow start!), ending in Lake Tahoe.
We stopped for a snack in Sacramento, but didn't stay for long since we only had that evening to explore Tahoe. (By explore, I pretty much mean just drive around the lake a little bit.)
It only took about 3 hours to get from Pleasant Hill to Tahoe, which was nice since we weren't starting right off the bat with a billion hours of driving.
There's two major ways to get to the lake; the north side and the south side. Since we were coming from the southwest, (and our lodging was in the south area) we came in through the south side.
There's lots of great scenic areas to stop, even before reaching the lake.
When I was doing research about things to do in Tahoe, I read about a hot air balloon tour. I really had my heart set on it but unfortunately it shuts down for the season in October, so we just missed the open window. (Next time though!!)
We arrived around 4pm or so, checked into our motel, then decided we might as well just drive around the lake until we see something interesting. (But first, quick dinner!)
There's this little cafe called Sprouts that we went to last time we were in Tahoe. We remembered it being really tasty last time... and it was this time too. :)
By the time we started driving around the lake, it was already getting dark, so we sort of tried to 'speed run' our drive-by tour around the lake.
It took a bit longer than we expected to go around the whole thing (2+ hours), and in hindsight, we probably shouldn't have attempted it. We only got half-way around before it became pitch dark, and so all the beautiful remaining vistas were wasted!
The plus side is you can see A LOT of stars though :D
Day 2 : Lake Tahoe to Bend, Oregon
Day 2 would be 430 miles, quite a bit more than the previous day. But we were going to be visiting Crater Lake, which I was really looking forward to.
We woke up early, grabbed a quick bite, and headed out.
Even after leaving Tahoe, the scenery continued to be gorgeous. Tons of beautiful open fields, filled with happy looking cows, lakes, and snow-capped mountains in the far off distance.
We took a pit stop for a picnic and bird watching in a cute little town called Klamath Falls in Oregon.
I loved the autumn colors starting to peek out!
By the time we reached the major attraction for the day, Crater Lake National Park, it was already evening, and again we were racing the sunset. I don't know if it was because the high traffic part of the year was over or because it was late in the day, but lucky for us we got to come in for free! Normally you have to pay around $20 to enter the park.
Crater Lake was neat! It used to be a GIANT volcano millions of years ago. Hard to imagine just how massive that volcano must have been.
During the summertime they do boat tours to the little island in the lake.
On the way out of the park towards Bend, we caught a spectacular view of the sunset over the gorgeous Oregon landscape. The way the haze laid over the trees and the bright pink and orange glow was pretty magical. <3
We ended up seeing a lot of sunsets during the trip, but this was one of my favorites ^^
We arrived in Bend around 8pm, too late to check out the city unfortunately, but in time to get some tacos and hit the hay before it got too late.
Day 3 : Bend to Boise, Idaho
This day's trip would be around 320 miles, and go through Smith Rock National Park and the Painted Hills of Oregon.
Smith Rock State Park is just a short, half hour drive outside of Bend. I allotted just a quick hour for us to check it out, but it was SO gorgeous we ended up spending a good amount of time there.
It's pretty crazy how the ground can be so flat for so far, until suddenly there's a bizarre patch of crazy, spikey rocks and canyons.
We walked along one of the hiking trails for a bit. It turns out this park is well known in the rock climbing community... there were lots of groups practicing rock climbing together.
Michael did a painting on his phone while I practiced some handstands.
The park was a real pleasant surprise! I was expecting to basically just drive by, but it really drew us in.
After that, we drove for about an hour and a half until we reached the Painted Hills.
Amazing how nature can create art like this!
Speaking of art... it turns out Oregon is covered in crazy rocks!
I love how varied the landscape was, even between fairly short distances. We'd pass golden, California style hills, then they would become sharp, rocky mountains, then we'd pass a forest, then more fields. (Lots and lots of cows along the way too.)
We were blessed with another beautiful mountain sunset, before eventually arriving at Boise, again late (but not too late for a quick burger!) and went to bed.
... and that concludes the first 3 days of the road trip!
Sophie is a video game developer who has a variety of passions including yoga, traveling, and photography.