The Sweetest Road Trip in the Pacific Northwest
I felt a bit uncomfortable about going on a road trip with my boyfriend’s family, since I often traveled alone or with a few close friends. However, as I spent more time with them, I was comforted by everyone’s kindness and caring. My boyfriend’s parents are both in good health and love outdoor adventures. His sister is an elegant and kind-hearted lady, who made sure that everyone in the group was enjoying themselves. Her husband was in charge of making the trip schedules and guiding us in the journey, so we “elected” him as our president. Looking back on this journey, the family members made the trip a wonderful experience.
Upon arriving in Portland, we drove around the downtown area, in search of interesting places. One of Portland’s nicknames is the City of Roses so our fist destination was the Rose Garden. When I entered the park, I could not take my eyes off the roses. All of the roses were smiling at me, and showing off their beauty. In contrast to roses’ delicate petals, their slender branches are covered with thorns. I like to compare the rose to a girl who is beautiful, aloof, and finds it difficult to fall in love.
We also visited the Japanese Garden which was small, quiet, and elegant–similar to other Japanese gardens that I have visited in various American cities. We strolled through the pathways at a slow pace in order to fully appreciate the park.
Olympic National Park
We spent three days in Olympic National Park, which was definitely my favorite site in Washington. Inside the park, there are different types of scenery: the Pacific coastline, the majestic snow-capped mountains, numerous waterfalls, and the ancient temperate forests. My favorite memory is hiking in the Hurricane Ridge. The trail was shredded in fog, and a variety of wildflowers were in full bloom everywhere along the trail. Every flower petal had raindrops on it, shining like little diamonds. We saw several groups of deer coming close to us. They were not at all afraid of us and looked like spirits coming from fairylands.
We also took several hikes in the forest. The ancient conifer forest floors are lined with moss-covered fallen timber, ferns, and fungus, creating a primitive landscape. The trail took us to a lake. Surrounding the lake, there were pure white daisies blooming, and there were several ducks swimming in the lake.
The weather in Washington State is always gloomy and humid. Under the foggy weather, the land seems to be covered with a mysterious veil. We sat on a bench and enjoyed the dreamlike scenery. Walking along Ruby Beach, I drew my boyfriend’s face on the sand and made highlights of his big nose. I felt like I was a kid again.
This scene was quite beautiful, and I realized that sometimes we don’t need to plan for something amazing to present itself.
At the end of our full-day adventure in Olympic National Park, we found a Chinese restaurant in a small town on the way. I was surprised to see a Chinese restaurant in this isolated area. As a Chinese person, I am very picky about American Chinese food. I used to dislike it but I have become much more tolerant during my time in the country. I also regard myself as an expert in “detecting” Chinese food, and I love introducing it to my American friends. This particular restaurant was perfectly Americanized. The meat was deep fried and tasted very sweet. They also served the American sweet and sour sauce, which does not exist in China.
In the evening, when everyone was tired and ready to sleep, my boyfriend and I snuck out and went on an adventure in the small town. It was my first time seeing a group of deer in people’s backyards. My boyfriend told me about the deer that feast on his sister’s vegetables every night.
Later, we got lost and could not find our hotel. I was worried and started complaining. We walked two hours, unable to find our way, and even thought about calling the police. When we finally reached our hotel, my legs were weak and I couldn’t stand any longer. We snuck back to the room and quickly fell asleep . The following morning, we both laughed and proudly talked about our adventure.
Along the Pacific Coast Highway, I felt that Oregon’s spectacular coastline was much more vast and scenic than the famous California Coast. Seal Rocks is one of the must-see spots and another highlight of our trip. In the evening, we got out of the car in order to get a better view of the sunset. This park appeared before us, and it was beyond gorgeous! We passed through a narrow brush path, and admired the wonderland in front of our eyes. The sunlight painted the world in golden hues. In this primitive landscape, there were muddy and slippery rocks, stunning cliffs, and high tides brushing up against them. It was very cold and windy but we absolutely had to stay there longer. We didn’t see the seals this time, but the seabirds did not disappoint us. The seabirds were lying on the moss-covered rock and bathing in the sun. This scene was quite beautiful, and I realized that sometimes we don’t need to plan for something amazing to present itself.
Seattle was our last destination. I knew the rainy city from previous visits–the steep hills, the small fancy boutiques, and the variety of coffee shops. I especially enjoy going to the Pike Market, where they sell all types of fresh produce and seafood. I like to watch the performances of the fish throwers and browse through the beautiful flower shops.
There is always a long line waiting in front of the oldest Starbucks in the world. During the last time I visited this place, the store was closed. At night, the coffee shop was so quiet and its old logo of the mermaid looked creepy in the dark. When I remember that day, I feel a sense of nostalgia. I came with a Chinese friend whom I met in my hostel. We shared a language and a passion for traveling and literature, and got along very well.
Our road trip to the Pacific Northwest was my sweetest journey. Now, I am married to my boyfriend, and his family has become my family. Back in China, I miss them all.
Top Photo By Joe_Parks