I drove to Canada over the weekend! Believe it or not, even though I’ve lived in Minnesota my entire life, I had never been to Canada. I was thrilled to complete my last big bucket item during my month in Seattle: an overnight road trip to Vancouver, British Columbia.
My national park tour continues! Last weekend I drove to Mount Rainier National Park, about two hours from Seattle. The glacier-capped volcano is the center of the nation’s 5th oldest national park. It’s a hiker’s dream, and I was thrilled to spend a day among the jaw-dropping scenery.
A week ago, I arrived in Seattle! I’m spending October living and working from a lovely apartment about 10 miles north of downtown, only a few blocks from Lake Washington. I’m adjusting to life in the fast lane—literally—compared to the laid-back atmosphere of Bend, Oregon. Traffic is nuts and the drivers are aggressive maniacs. But with my history of borderline road rage, I’m fitting right in. Seattle has so many iconic views and sites, and I’m enjoying being a tourist for a few hours each day.
Today is my last full day in Oregon, and this post is all about the magical city of Bend. In fact, it’s official: Bend stole my heart. This month has been perfect. If I could, I would like to put September 2022 on repeat for a while.
I spent most of Sunday absolutely speechless, soaking in the breathtaking views at Crater Lake National Park. It was the final bucket list item for my month in Oregon. A couple of weeks ago I was chatting with a local while on a river hike, and he said Crater Lake is so blue it will make your eyes hurt. An accurate statement, but in a good way. And if it’s not obvious, I’m having the time of my life on this travel adventure.
I’ve been hiking along the Deschutes River a lot this month. A day or two after I arrived in Bend, I realized a trailhead to miles of hiking is directly behind my townhome. And I don’t even have to get in the car!
One of the great things about spending a month at a time in a different state is learning what it’s like to be a local. Each place has its own quirks that have been fun to discover. But this month’s biggest learning opportunity hasn’t been as fun: I’m discovering what it’s like to live close to a raging wildfire.
I’m in another new-to-me state: Oregon! A state without sales tax, where it’s illegal to pump your own gas, and with fir trees galore. I arrived in Bend on Thursday and have settled into the spacious townhome where I’m spending the month discovering why Bend shows up on so many Top 10 lists of cities to live in the U.S. The journey here through the Columbia River Gorge was truly gorge. (You knew that was coming.)
I’m only in Idaho for a couple more days, and I can’t leave without talking about Coeur d’Alene. It’s a native tribe. A river. A lake. A scenic byway. A resort. And a city. Over the past month I’ve driven the 25 minutes to Coeur d’Alene several times, and I was giddy every time. What an amazing area of the country.
I’m enjoying my month in the Silver Valley of the Idaho Panhandle, nestled in the northwest Rockies between the Montana border and Lookout Pass on the east, and the Coeur d’Alene River and Fourth of July Pass on the west. The mountains in this valley are densely covered with many types of evergreens, and it’s truly breathtaking.